What’s New?

It may be my inner nerd, but I like September and the idea of new beginnings – back to work or school, activity gearing up again as holidays recede. No, I don’t like the darker evenings of autumn – or the thought of winter ahead – but I do like its fresh start. It’s a time to think about doing differently, about trying something new if that’s possible, even if only in a small way. I do think that can really help wellbeing.

Photo by Amanda Klamrowski on Pexels.com

I heard recemtly that since Covid, people have started taking up more new hobbies, pastimes & interests. The examples I heard were learning to surf, writing a book or learning to fly a plane. But obviously there are many, many possibilities, some more viable than others! Partly people started looking for new interests back in lockdown, when suddenly time opened up and they were at a loose end. But it’s also since lockdowns ended and life has returned to a more familiar pace that people have wanted to throw themselves into life all the more, to make the most of opportunities and to experiment and live life to the full.

Living life to the full can look very different to different people! You don’t have to take to the waves or to the sky. I also heard a separate survey which found that more younger adults have taken up traditional hobbies since lockdown, like gardening, painting, knitting and birdwatching. Covid turned life on its head for a while, and people started to think more widely about how to spend time. Pastimes themselves can be really positive, calming or stimulating, but so too can simply trying something new.

Hobbies and pastimes might seem flimsy ways to improve mental health and wellbeing. They won’t solve whatever issues may be going on in your life, but they will create stimulus, purpose, time out and a refuge – all known to improve wellbeing. They can ease overthinking for a time. They can reduce boredom and even loneliness, such enemies of wellbeing. One thing can lead on to another, and new hobbies can open other doors. Yes, it can be difficult to feel motivated, to find any spare time at all, or to focus and concentrate: but seize the odd moment here and there and see what helps or works. This in itself can aid concentration and motivate people to do more. New interests can also build self-expression and renew confidence.

Maybe you will try something daring and elemental, like learning to surf or to fly. Or maybe you’ll find time to knit or to plant bulbs for spring. Focus on trying something different and new to you, however small. Try a new art medium. Take autumn themed photos of berries and leaves and print these out to make cards or a montage to display in your home. Record the signs of autumn you see, like the last swallow and the first leaf tint and fall, and log these with The Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar survey. Listen to a music genre that’s new to you, or experiment with playing an instrument – percussion can be a great way to improvise. Look at the Do It website to find a volunteering opportunity from home or outdoors. Start to learn a language – 26 September is the Day of Languages.

It would be great to hear what you’re thinking of trying, in Medley’s Facebook group


Published by medleyisobel

My name is Isobel and I run Medley, an online initiative sharing art, nature and music for health and wellbeing.

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