By Chloe Bryan
Have you ever had that devastating experience where someone asks you what you’ve been up to, then the light rapidly leaves your eyes because you realize you’ve only been working?
If you can swing it, consider taking up a hobby.
Learning an entirely new skill can be daunting. Luckily, we have the internet, which is probably the place you’re spending all your free time (assuming you have it) anyway — and which allows you to learn the basics of pretty much anything for free.
Here are a few ideas.
If you’re a fan of embroidery Instagram, why not take up the craft yourself? There are loads of basic embroidery tutorials available on YouTube, and Pinterest is full of useful patterns. (Just search “cross stitch pattern.”) Once you get the basics down, it’s easy to experiment with your creations — one of the hallmarks of a good hobby. If you need inspiration, check out @embroidery_guild, which features a diverse range of work from artists around the world.
2. Plant care
If you’re looking for an outlet for your nurturing energy but can’t afford a pet, consider adopting a few plants. You can buy plants on Amazon, but if you want them to arrive packaged correctly and don’t want to give your money to Jeff Bezos, a website like The Sill is a better (albeit more expensive) option. The Sill also offers detailed guides to “Plant Parenthood” on its website, so you can educate yourself even if you inherited your decrepit snake plant from a former roommate.
Juggling is a fun party trick as long as you don’t do it for too long. (If you do it for too long, everyone will hate you.) Grant yourself a few precious seconds in the spotlight by learning from YouTube’s many juggling tutorials. Practice alone in your room with some lemons or whatever. It’s wild that this technically counts as a hobby.
There is no downside to learning Photoshop. At best it’ll help you get a job or beef up your creative résumé, and at worst you can make stupid memes and send them to your friends. Adobe offers its own set of tutorials, which you can use to pick up the basics. You can also check out YouTube channels like Phlearn for even more specialized lessons.
5. Cocktail mixing
You will probably not become a professional mixologist (cursed word) on the internet, but you can advance your cocktail game beyond “vodka with another thing in a cup.” Honestly, this info is everywhere — just start googling blogs, videos, and recipes. (The magazine PUNCH is a good place to start.) If you really want to do the damn thing, stock up on supplies beforehand using a handy checklist like this one.
6. Floral arrangements
Floristry enthusiasts love the hobby for its therapeutic benefits. Plus, you really get to enjoy (and brag about) the fruits of your labor. Aside from the expected YouTube offerings, there are plenty of virtual flower arranging classes available on Skillshare. And unsurprisingly, Instagram is full of breathtakingly skilled florists should you need inspiration.
7. Niche trivia
Remember Sporcle? Yes, from middle school. Well, the “world’s largest trivia quiz website” is still around and you can still learn your state capitals — which we know you don’t remember — on there. You can also take a quiz about actors named Matt, which is equally as important. Consider this the first step on your journey to become the next James Holzhauer.
YouTube is full of hand lettering tutorials, so you can perfect your calligraphy skills before putting them to the test on a Mother’s Day card. Calligraphy website The Postman’s Knock also offers a number of free worksheets, drills, and videos you can use to practice.
9. Vintage shopping
You can basically conduct an entire vintage store search on Instagram alone these days, and while waiting for curated items to appear on your phone lacks the thrill of rooting through thrift store racks, it’s still fun. Then there’s Poshmark, Depop, eBay: They’re all treasure troves in their own way. Knowing where to look and how to find good prices is a genuine skill, and it’s one that can only be honed by looking at beautiful vintage clothing for hours. Lucky you.
10. Just watch some movies
Sometimes we overthink what a “hobby” actually is. Things like watching movies, watching TV, and listening to music are all hobbies. Therefore, if you feel like you’d like to watch some more movies and then do so, you have participated in a hobby. Bonus points if you’re using someone else’s Netflix account — that means you’re participating in a hobby resourcefully.