Recovering is all about you, and what better way to celebrate a new start than with a new hobby?

But let’s face it: no one person is alike, and we all have different interests. So which hobbies are best? If you’re painting skills are akin to a neanderthal’s, should you even bother?

The truth is, there are hobbies that can impact your recovery’s success. The trick is finding the right one for you.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 9 new hobby ideas that will help keep you focused, encouraged and positive. Sober living can bring lots of new experiences in your life. Which is your favorite?

9 New Hobby Ideas

Hobbies keep you active and help you avoid addiction triggers. Plus, they are great for enhancing self-esteem and communication.

Finding the right activity might mean trying out several and see how you feel about each. The secret is not to worry about how “good” you are; instead, it’s all about how much you enjoy the hobby.

1. Journal Writing

Are you an introvert? Do you feel better after discussing your thoughts and feelings?

Try journal writing.

Writing in a journal can be an entirely solo experience or a tool for interaction with a friend, loved one or a trusted therapist. It’s up to you which path you choose.

Either way, expressive writing evokes mindfulness. Because writers engage with their thoughts and language, they not only increase thoughtfulness but even their communication skills.

Further, studies suggest journal writing helps in achieving goals. When writing about ambitions, it signals your intentions to the brain. When opportunities occur that could help your goal, the brain flags them.

For those in recovery, these changes are paramount. They can help individuals consider their actions deeply, communicate their thoughts and emotions with others and work towards aspirations.

2. Painting

Recovery is a time of healing, but it can also be a difficult period full of intense emotions. Painting and other arts are helpful hobbies if you experience these extreme feelings.

Painting, drawing and other art forms allow the artist to express him or herself without words. This is constructive for recovering people who may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and anxiety.

The act of being creative allows individuals to lose themselves to the art process, which enhances concentration skills.

Similar to writing, there is also research that shows art fosters growth in other areas. Those who participate in artistic activities and search for employment, for instance, find jobs faster than those who do not participate in artistic activities.

3. Meditation

Yoga is a healthy outlet that strengthens the body, but the meditation practices associated with it also strengthen the mind. In fact, meditation reduces stress and improves heart health.

Many people falsely assume meditation is only achieved through the standard method of closing your eyes, crossing your legs and being silent.

However, meditating can occur while running, rock climbing or painting. It is defined as slowing down the mind to focus on bigger notions, such as the self or the world.

In recovery, it is essential individuals contemplate themselves, their actions and the world in a way that is comfortable for them.

4. Hiking

A multitude of evidence points to the advantages nature brings to the mind, body, and spirit. Hiking adds to these benefits with exercise and is an option for anyone of any age who has access to trails or green space.

Hiking itself is excellent for the cardiovascular system but being outside is also helpful for your mood and mind. Several studies indicate green space calms the mind because the brain is not overcompensating for the many noises, visual cues and multitasking daily life requires.

Research also demonstrates green space reduces anxiety and depression, which makes it a fantastic hobby for those in recovery.

5. Volunteer

When you don’t feel good about yourself or the world, helping others is a great way to change your perspective.

Volunteering provides individuals with a sense of purpose, providing meaning during a time that may sometimes seem overwhelming. Volunteers also feel healthier; one poll indicated almost 80% of volunteers reported feeling healthier than normal.

Finally, volunteering encourages social interactions beyond the scope of recovery. The focus isn’t on the recovering individual but on assisting someone else.

Not a people person? Volunteering can still be a new hobby; consider helping a local humane society.

6. Cooking

Want some spice in your life? Try out cooking.

Many people don’t consider cooking as a form of art, but chefs literally make masterpieces from scraps—just like a painter weaves an image from paint.

The great thing about cooking is that recovering individuals can determine what environment is best suited for them. They can cook at home, with friends or in a classroom setting.

7. Sports

Sports is a mixture of exercise and social interaction, making it one of the best hobbies to pick up for recovering individuals.

First, the exercise reduces stress, enhances memory and encourages imagination. But that’s not all.

Other studies show sports provide meaning for players. They also help transform identities for some individuals, providing a social and engaging routine that aids in the recovery process.

8. Gardening

Remember how we said green space reduces stress, anxiety, and depression? Why not immerse yourself in the outside world as a hobby?

Gardening is one of the simple hobbies that most people can enjoy. Even an in-house herb garden for those in a city is beneficial.

Gardens instill responsibility in the owners while they also reap the benefits of the outside world.

9. Horseback Riding

Equine therapy creates a relationship between horse and human. It also teaches responsibility to those learning to care for another being.

More than that, it provides a sense of acceptance.

Studies demonstrate horse-assisted therapy even increases the likelihood of recovery retention.

Choose Your Outlet

Horseback riding, volunteering, gardening… the options are endless for those trying to identify themselves during the recovery stage.

Considering new hobby ideas is a great way to stay motivated and to remind ourselves of recovery’s importance. Which hobby is right for you?

But don’t forget your hobbies may be only one tip for staying sober during or after recovery. Learn a few more suggestions and start on your hobby today.

Don’t worry; even if your paintings look like primeval cave drawings, remember that you are participating in something that is for you. The point is to immerse yourself in the new experience and to find enjoyment in a new, healthy activity.