If you haven’t hit all the points on your seasonal bucket list just yet, there’s still time. If one of your goals was to pick up a new hobby, there are plenty of activities out there that you can start at any time. Here are eight hobbies you can still try before the season ends:
Knitting can be a rewarding hobby that acts as both a great way to de-stress and a creative task that allows you to produce fun crafts you can give as gifts or use in your home. While you’re churning out beautiful scarves, blankets, hats, and sweaters, you’re also doing yourself a favor. The tactile, repetitive nature of knitting can reduce anxiety as well as produce other positive health outcomes, such as reducing chronic pain. And you get those benefits no matter how many stitches you drop.
Even if your current culinary adventures have never gone beyond reheating leftovers, you can quickly learn how to whip up a dish or two in the kitchen. If there’s a specific dish you’d like to learn how to make, find online recipes or videos that walk you through the process step by step, and don’t be afraid to engage in a little trial and error. (If your first efforts don’t succeed, you can always order delivery!) Or if you’re looking to learn a wider array of skills and techniques, you could always sign up for a meal-delivery service, which can send you pre-measured ingredients and simple, visual instructions for cooking a few meals each week. Eating food you’ve cooked yourself can be more rewarding, and studies have shown that cooking can have mental health benefits as well.
4. BIRD WATCHING
Want to spend some time in nature and learn something while you’re at it? Bird watching might be just the thing for you. All you need are a pair of binoculars, a guidebook, and a willingness to go for a walk with your eyes and ears open. You might be surprised at how many different species of birds you can spot in your own neighborhood, and being on the lookout for birds will likely make you notice new things about the trees and shrubs they call home, too. Even better, studies have shown that seeing birds, shrubs, and trees can lower levels of anxiety and stress, so you might feel more relaxed after a trip out to see your feathered neighbors.
If you’re looking for a hobby that will take you to new and exciting places, hiking is the real deal. You need very little equipment to take a hike—on some trails, you might not even need hiking boots—and it doesn’t require many specialized skills beyond being able to walk up a hill and read a map. And it’s great for you. Studies have found that walking outside in nature can lower stress and improve mental health. Not to mention all those beautiful pictures you can post to social media.
You already know dancing can be a fun social activity, but you might not be aware that it can be a great form of exercise, too. A 2017 study found that just 30 minutes spent on the dance floor can burn over 300 calories. Hitting the dance floor can be a little daunting if you’re not confident in your moves, but you can hone your steps by taking an introductory class at a local studio with other beginners. If even an intro class seems like a bit much at first, you can get your feet wet by following along with online how-to videos until you feel you’ve got the basics down. With a bit of practice, you’ll be ready to hit the floor.
There’s a reason chess has been popular for centuries. If you’re just getting started, you can use an app or a web tutorial to teach you the basic mechanics of how the pieces move and the rules of the game. You can pick up the rules in an hour or two, but mastering the game can take years. Once you understand the basics, you can sharpen your skills by playing with a friend or in simulated matches against your computer. Even better, the internet is full of opportunities to connect with similarly skilled players for real-time games. You may make new friends over a game, and you may also build up your brain. A 2011 study found that experienced chess players displayed stronger pattern recognition skills than novices, in part because the experts utilized both hemispheres of their brain. If you’re looking for a tactical challenge that can help you meet new people and strengthen your mind, chess might be the choice for you.
Whether it’s a “paint and sip” class where you can enjoy a low-key art class with a glass of wine or a multi-week course at an art studio, there are plenty of ways for beginners to get their paint brushes wet. Even if you think you’re not much of an artist, art classes can teach you how to see the world like artists do, mastering perspective, light, and other technical aspects of painting. If a full class is too much commitment, there are plenty of videos online that will help you learn painting basics at your own pace. Or, you could simply enjoy making great paint-by-numbers creations. Even if your landscapes will never make it into a gallery, learning how the masters do it will help you appreciate the artwork you see in museums.
It’s never too late to try a new hobby, and it’s never too late to find the right credit card. Whatever your new passion, Discover Card can help you explore it by matching the cashback you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year. Visit Discover to learn more.