9 hobbies that will get you away from your computer during the pandemic

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you’re worried you’ve been spending too much time online lately, whether it's for work, school, or leisure, I’m with you. These times have shown us how important the internet is not just for entertaining us, but also for connecting us to the rest of the world. Many of us wake up to news alerts and fall asleep to Netflix. The internet plays an important role in our everyday lives. It helps us feel more connected to others in this time of social distancing. Now that we are required to stay home, many of us can’t find a reason to get away from our computers. Reducing screen time may not be your highest priority, but there are numerous benefits to reducing screen time. According to Harvard Medical School, one of the most important benefits of reducing screen time is getting better sleep. Here are 9 hobbies you can take up that don’t involve a screen (Note: you may need a screen to order some supplies or watch a short tutorial).

#1 Make Jewelry

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Making jewelry can be as expensive as you want it to be. If you keep it simple and are more focused on the action of making jewelry than the outcome, you can get away with buying some basic items. There's a large variety of materials that range in quality, from copper metal components to sterling silver. You can basically make anything into jewelry. I’ve seen everything from earrings made out of folded leather to rings with just about every gemstone you can find.

I know I said these hobbies would get you away from your computer, but if you have no idea where to start, look for a tutorial. This tutorial for beginners explains the jewelry making basics.

Here are a few places where you can order jewelry supplies:

  • Etsy: Not only does Etsy have a wide variety of earrings to get inspiration from, but there are also many individuals that sell the supplies necessary to make earrings on Etsy.
  • FireMountainGems: This is a wholesale site that has pretty much every material you would need to make jewelry.
  • Amazon: You can get jewelry making kits here that would serve as a great start for beginners.
  • Craftsman: Jewelry making is much easier when you have a few pliers to help you craft the little details. I use this 6 piece mini pliers set that comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Almost any craft store: Check out your local craft store or choose from a variety of places online. A search of “jewelry supplies” on Google brought me to Joann, Rings & Things, Art Beads, Jewelry Supply, Michaels, and Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.

#2 Crochet

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Crocheting requires only 3 supplies to get started: yarn, crochet hooks, and scissors (as pictured above). You probably already have scissors at home and only need to pick up the yarn and crochet hooks. Once you get the basics down, you can make anything from shirts to tote bags.

This tutorial explains how to start crocheting with these 3 essential supplies.

You can get the supplies here:

  • Etsy: Again, Etsy isn’t just a place to sell these beautiful creations, but its also a sort of online craft store where you can buy the supplies too!
  • Craft Stores such as Joann, Michael’s, and Panda Hall

#3 Embroider

Photo by Lucas Mendes on Unsplash

I know several people who have taken up embroidery lately, so I thought I should look into it. Turns out, the materials for embroidery are surprisingly affordable. What do you need? An embroidery hoop, thread (sometimes called “floss”), needles, a fabric of your choice, and scissors. You can choose to trace a model or just go for it.

What’s great about embroidery is that you can wear your creations on your favorite t-shirt or put it on a pillow.

I found this tutorial really helpful as it explains how to start off with a minimal amount of supplies.

Here are some places where you can buy the supplies:

#4 Garden

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

Don’t think that you can’t take care of plants just because you killed a succulent once. It's not as simple as buying a potted plant at the store and neglecting it while it sits at your work desk. If you have time, do some research and learn how to create the environment that the plants you want to grow need. Every plant is different.

Gardening can be for aesthetic purposes or for consumption. Either way, it's a great hands-on task that is also a survival skill. If you grow vegetables, you may reduce the number of times you have to go to the store. Growing flowers may provide you with a peaceful view to look at every day.

You can choose to buy seeds (found at nearly every type of store and at nurseries) or even infant plants (which are a bit more expensive but will mature faster in your backyard than seeds). I recommend going to your local nursery, or even to lowes or home depot. You will also want to buy soil at these places.

Propagation is a great option for people who may not have access to a backyard or a large enough space for a garden. It involves taking a cutting from an existing plant and reproducing more plants from it. This tutorial shows how to propagate 5 house plants that you may already have at home.

#5 Learn how to play an instrument

Photo by William Recinos on Unsplash

That instrument that has been gathering dust in your closet? Pick it up and learn a new song. I am guilty of having an instrument I pick up once or twice a year. In my case, it's my ukulele. With this hobby, you just have to pick it up and start playing. Learn your favorite song, or even write a new song.

If you don’t already have an instrument but have always wanted to try it out, I recommend it. It's a great way to channel your creativity. Plus, you can save up some favorites to play at a campfire in the future!

#6 Journal

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

The best way to journal is to just start writing. This doesn’t have to be a diary. You can write stories or opinions that you may later want to publish on the internet. Sometimes all it takes is a cup of coffee, paper, and pen for the creative juices to flow. There may be a lot of news floating around right now to talk about, but if you’re tired of thinking about the past or present, write about the future. Make travel plans, etc. It's okay to dream! Hope is a beautiful thing.

#7 Paint or Draw

Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash

You probably already have some paints or markers at home, and if you don’t, these are also located at your local craft store. These traditional arts may have always felt too time-consuming and messy to get into. Now’s the time to reconsider.

These are hobbies that can be as expensive as you want them to be. You can buy paint of varying qualities, special canvases, and even fancy art pens, or you can use the pens you already have, draw in a notebook, or paint a box you already have at home.

#8 Collage

Photo by Mr TT on Unsplash

Supplies for collaging can be found everywhere. That's the beauty of it. Collaging can be a way to recycle paper that you would otherwise throw out. I love finding cuttings of plants to press and then use in a collage. Newspapers are especially great for this, as well as magazines.

#9 Repurpose and Repair

Photo by Amanda Kariella on Unsplash

Repurpose: Take whatever materials you aren’t using and turn them into something new. You haven’t used that old wooden bowl in years? Turn it into a roof for your new birdhouse.

Repair: Give an old piece of furniture new life and repaint, reupholster, and refurbish. You’d be surprised how satisfying it is to repair and old item rather than throwing it out and buying a new one.

The hardest thing about getting started, is getting started. — Guy Kawasaki

Don’t be afraid to start something new. It may cost you a few dollars to get started, but the benefits of creating something new, using your hands, and getting away from a screen are worth it.

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Isabella Blair

Isabella Blair

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Road tripper, outdoor enthusiast, environmental studies student. Investigating inequality, climate change, and international affairs.