8 Hobbies to Try If You’re Chronically Stressed

Owning a small business is incredibly stressful, and if you want to be successful (while avoiding burnout), you’ll need to find some kind of outlet for that stress. Ideally, you’ll take frequent breaks throughout the day and occasional vacations throughout the year to maintain some semblance of a healthy work-life balance.

However, even if you’re taking enough time away from work, you’ll still need to find the right hobbies to relieve you of stress and decompress. If your hobbies are as stressful as your job, or if you don’t have any hobbies, you may not reap the full benefits of your breaks.

The Best Stress-Relieving Hobbies

Consider incorporating some or all of these hobbies if you need to relieve more stress on a regular basis:

  1. Firing guns. Going to a firing range can relieve stress in several different ways. For example, shooting bullets can make you feel powerful, and improving your accuracy over time can give you a sense of accomplishment. Even better, you may be able to share this hobby with a network of other gun enthusiasts—and there’s no shortage of different firearms to try out!
  2. Playing music. Playing music on an instrument also relieves stress. As you become more proficient at an instrument, you’ll feel more confident and accomplished. Eventually, you’ll be able to play along with your favorite, stress-relieving songs, and sing some of your favorite lyrics while doing it. And if you like being creative, you can even write music of your own.
  3. Running/biking. Consider taking up running, especially if you don’t have much of a current exercise regimen. Running consistently can introduce you to new areas of your city and local parks, all while burning stress (and calories) with physical exercise. If running is too hard on your joints, or if you’d prefer something different, you can try biking instead. Almost any hobby related to physical exercise is going to be perfect for reducing stress.
  4. Gardening. Many people find gardening to be stress relieving. Pulling weeds may be tedious, but it’s calming, and it feels amazing to clear an entire patch of weeds. Watching your plants grow from seeds can fill you with pride. And when you’re done, you can put together a meal of all the fruits and vegetables you created. If your weather conditions aren’t favorable (like if you’re in the middle of a cold winter), you can consider some kind of indoor growing; for example, you may be able to grow gourmet mushrooms like portabellas or shiitakes in your closet.
  5. Playing video games. If you’ve never tried video games as a hobby before, you should consider picking up a console. These days, there are games for almost every personality; depending on how you relieve stress, you can play a terrifying horror game, a first-person shooter where you can play competitively as part of a team, or a sandbox or simulation game, where you can take your time and create things from in-game resources.
  6. Completing puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles may seem old-fashioned, but they’re a great opportunity to relieve stress. One by one, you’ll put the pieces into place, gradually revealing a bigger picture, and when you’re done, you can mount the completed puzzle on your wall. This activity only demands a fraction of your full attention, so you can listen to music or your favorite podcast while you do it.
  7. Caring for a pet. Depending on the context, you can consider taking care of a pet to be a full-fledged hobby. Cats don’t need much work, and millions of American households own a dog already, but what about a different kind of pet? For example, you could set up an elaborate aquarium, and take care of a diverse array of different fish species. Or you could get a terrarium, and care for an exotic species of reptile.
  8. Volunteering. Finally, there’s volunteering. There are many causes and organizations for which you can volunteer, and nearly all of them will feel rewarding. You’ll often be engaged in physical activity, which burns stress just like exercise, and when you’ve completed a shift, you’ll feel good about yourself.

Spending Time With Friends and Family

No matter what other hobbies you pursue, make sure you spend plenty of time socializing with your closest friends and family members. Even if you’re not doing anything, just chatting and hanging out, you’ll feel a peaceful sense of belonging and form closer bonds.

With the right hobbies and the right social circles, your stress will melt away whenever you’re not at work. Over time, this can help you stave off the threat of burnout, and return to your small business with renewed focus and energy.