It’s never too late to start making stuff, and creative hobbies offer a host of benefits. Having a creative outlet can reduce stress, improve sleep and even help with cognitive function. These activities are great for people of all ages, but seniors might find they have more time and energy to invest in creative pursuits now or simply have more interest in them than when they were younger.
Whether you want to work on mental health or just want something to do, a creative hobby is a great addition to a well-rounded lifestyle. Here are five creative hobby ideas to get you started.
The relaxing, meditative action of drawing can be enjoyed by masters and beginners alike, and it doesn’t take much to get started. All you need is a pencil or pen and some paper. However, as you level up, you’ll probably want to invest in drawing paper and artist’s pencils.
Getting started with drawing can present a bit of a learning curve, but it’s really just about putting pencil to paper. The first thing to think about on your drawing journey is which type of drawing you want to make. The styles and forms of drawing are virtually endless, but they can be boiled down to two main categories: studies and creative drawings.
A study drawing is one that's generally naturalistic and tries to capture a real object on the page. Creative drawings are basically those that come from the imagination; these can range from abstract doodles to comic strips. How “good” your drawings are isn’t important for reaping the benefits of this hobby, but here are some tips.
• Don’t try to finish the drawing before you start it. Lay out the drawing and think of the big picture, not the tiny details.
• Use a large range of values. Make sure you have black, white and three greys in the drawing to help you provide shade and depth.
• Plan the drawing with a thumbnail. A thumb nail is a tiny quick version of the drawing used for composition. It helps you get that big-picture idea so you know where you're going with your art.
• Don't critique yourself as you go. Just enjoy the process.
This hobby can take many forms and is very personal. One common form is journaling, but writing can be whatever you make it, whether it's writing about life events, creating fictional worlds or just scribbling down random thoughts you have throughout the day.
You could also try writing some poetry. Poetry can be a quick form of writing, so you don't need to devote a lot of time to it. If you don't know where to start, you can get poetry prompt books that offer words or ideas so you can create a daily poem.
If you're looking for a longer project, consider writing a memoir or other autobiographical piece. Writing about yourself and what you’ve done is a great place to start.
Making music is a hobby that’s as old as the human species itself. It’s in our DNA. Whether it’s alone or in an ensemble, making music is a pastime anyone can enjoy.
Learning an instrument is a great way to start creating music, and playing them also comes with other perks. Playing an instrument is great for your brain and serves as mental exercise. Also, most instruments require an element of dexterity, so you get the added benefit of a hand workout when you play.
Guitar and piano are great for this, but make sure you learn the correct form to avoid injury. In an assisted living community, small instruments might be the best option, as they take up less space. Ukuleles, flutes and small percussive instruments are the best space savers and are also highly portable. After you’ve been playing for a bit, you can even start to put a band together. Playing with other people doubles the fun and can incentivize you to improve.
If you’re feeling extra-adventurous, you can branch out into the world of music making on the computer. There are plenty of free online music programs to explore. They let you compose, record and edit audio files. Then, you can share your music with friends and family online.
Crafting offers a wealth of creative possibilities. A fun craft you might want to try out is paper cutting. This basically just involves cutting designs into paper and then layering these designs over each other. All you need is paper, an art blade and a steady hand. There are also a ton of 3D crafts to try. Paper mache sculptures make for a fun and challenging craft, or if you don’t want that much of a mess, you could try making a mobile from paper and wire.
Engaging in a hobby can bring many positives into your life. Here at Bethesda Gardens in Terre Haute, Indiana, we want residents to have the healthiest and happiest life possible. Ask staff about opportunities for crafting and hobby classes or what types of common areas are available for residents to use.