The chillier weather and work-from-home situation has been keeping a lot of us indoors lately. I don’t know about you, but if I’m not being careful, I’ll easily find myself absorbed in YouTube videos or Twitch streams (and that’s after spending 8+ hours a day in front of my work laptop).
Thankfully, YouTube has also been a blessing in disguise, as it’s where I’ve been introduced and inspired to try out quite a few creative at-home activities. Below are a few of my latest favorites to do on the weekends, or after work / before bed to wind down. I find they give me the peace and quiet I crave after a long day, and the headspace to reflect. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun to create something from scratch that’s all your own. Here are a few that I highly recommend if you’re looking for some new screen-free hobbies.
Painting is an amazingly relaxing hobby that gives you so much creative freedom and room to experiment. Watercolor is probably the easy (and cheapest) place to start. There are tons of YouTube videos and books out there to help you get started. And when it comes to materials, all you really need is some watercolor paper, a paint pans (or tubes, if you want to jump straight into the higher-quality stuff and learn how to mix colors), and one good quality brush.
From there, you can experiment with adding subtle illustrations over your work with black or white pens, mixing in salt or rubbing alcohol to create unique textures, and so much more. And bonus – when you create something you really like, you can use it to decorate your space – simply frame it or use a magnetic frame hanger to easily display it on your wall.
Whether you have a DSLR camera or a phone camera, you can create some pretty amazing photos with just a little creativity and some editing software. And the best part is, you can do so much on your own. Kutovakika, for example, shoots all her content on her own and she shares her tips over on her YouTube channel. Her tutorials cover everything from creative self portrait ideas to mobile photo hacks (including editing and shooting without a tripod, which I found very useful!).
Calligraphy is one of the most relaxing – albeit challenging – art-related activities I’ve tried recently. It takes some time to learn how to properly hold and glide the tip to get the gorgeous transition from thin to thick, but once you get the hang of it, it comes in handy for everything from decorating bullet journals to greeting cards. And all you need to get started are a pack of pens – I love these dual-tip ones!
I was first introduced to knitting by my dad – he made me a green and silver, Slytherin-inspired knit hat a few years back (we’re both pretty big HP fans). It all seemed too complicated to me at the time, until I discovered loom knitting. Forget the needles, all you need is a loom, a knitting needle, and some yarn.
After making a warm winter hat, and doing a bit more research online (thanks to YouTube tutorials like this one), I bought some needles, learned how to do the most basic knit stitch, and then just kept on going to make a cozy scarf, followed by a chunky knit blanket using a circular needle.
If you’re interested in starting, here are some easy-to-follow tutorial videos:
Similar to knitting, embroidery work is another very relaxing and almost meditative activity. Once you learn a few of the basic stitch types – like satin stitch, lazy daisy, and the chain stitch – you can create some pretty interesting designs. And all you need to get started is a hoop, some fabric, different colored threads, and a set of needles. You can then transfer on your own design or pattern using heat erasable pens, or purchase and download one from online (Etsy has a ton!).
If you’re completely new to embroidery, I recommend grabbing a beginner kit that comes with everything you need. I picked up the complete DIY kit to make this snowflake design from Embroidery Art by Nat’s Etsy shop – it was super easy and only two me three evenings over the holidays to complete!
The end product also makes for fun handmade gifts for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays – you name it. And the best part? Once your comfortable with the basic stitches and techniques, you can move on to embroider just about anything – from tote bags and backpacks, to t-shirts and jean jackets!
I used to envy anyone who owned (and had the space!) for a kiln in their home – it opens up a world of opportunity when it comes to creating bowls, plates, mugs, and other unique ceramics at home. Little did I know, you can easily make some fun (and useful) containers/pots, coasters, and more using plaster and molds – no heating required (the plaster heats on its own!).
To create the pot above, I purchased some Plaster of Paris, geometric molds, some acrylic paints, and paint brushes. I made two so far – one for my makeup brushes and another for mascaras and eyeliners. You can also use the same molds to create cute planter pots for succulents – you’ll just need to seal the post with an acrylic sealer once you’ve finished painting it. You can really get creative with these and use different materials (like concrete), paints, and embellishments – I personally love these decked-out geode planters!
Crafting your very own custom skin and body care, and even makeup, can be a relaxing process in itself (just like cooking your favorite meal). And once you’ve finished your creations, you can enjoy them through a little self-care ritual. The options are endless when it comes to what you can create at home – from soothing bath bombs and soaks, to nourishing lip balms and face masks. Below are just a few DIY beauty care ideas to get you started (may of which use things you probably already have in your kitchen!).
- Lip Care:
- Face Masks:
- Bath & Body Care:
Lastly, I have to throw in reading as it’s an easy activity to pick up – and it’s free! These days, most libraries offer e-books that you can checkout online and transfer instantly to your phone, Kindle, or any other device.
On the other hand, if you prefer the feel of a real book in your hand and have a small book budget (but don’t want to leave the house), then I’d recommend checking out the Book of the Month club. They hand-pick some of the best new releases each month, across all genres. Plus, they allow you the flexibly to choose from that month’s picks or from their catalog of previous books, for a fairly low cost too ($11.99 includes one hardcover book + shipping). Plus, you can skip or pause your account anytime. Mine is currently as pause as I work my way through my current stack!
What are some of your favorite stress-relieving activities?