Benefits of Hobbies: Books to Help You Find Your Next Favorite COVID-Pastime

While we’re all living this COVID-crisis together, our experiences of it are different. Whether we’re essential and working our job harder than ever, a working/e-schooling -from-home parent juggling more apps than should be humanly possible, or suddenly bereft of human companionship and needing something more constructive to do than washing day pjs, exploring hobby options can be beneficial.

Hobbies help you find your people. Nowadays may not be the best time to meet new people in real life, but you can connect to all sorts of people online who get excited about the same things you do. Even solitary hobbies can unite you with others.

Hobbies encourage purposeful mental breaks. Focusing on one thing can lead to brain-fatigue which means grumpy and unmotivated people. Having a hobby helps you change thinking gears so you’re having fun with purpose. We may recall from the Highlights magazines of our youth that fun with purpose is what it’s all about. Hobbies give you an outlet for stress.

Hobbies can challenge you and boost positive stress. Called eustress, this kind of stress gets you excited about life and what you can achieve. And with accomplishing any challenge, there’s a rush involved when you master a new skill or concept. It can change your perspective too which is always a positive thing. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.

Hobbies help you stay present. When you’re in the moment—and thoroughly enjoying it, it’s difficult to worry about the future or dwell in the past.

Hobbies are good for your body, just as much for your mind. Research shows that participating in activities you enjoy may lead to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. It also shows correlation to lower levels of depression and higher levels of positive psychosocial stages, such as intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, ego integrity vs despair.

Obviously, everyone knows reading is the very best pastime. But what if you need to expand your horizons and find a new COVID-hobby? The Haunted Book Shop wants to help with a few suggestions.

Click on the links for more info on each recommendation.

Bird Watching Birds of Alabama Field Guide, What It’s Like to Be A Bird, or if your tastes run more humorously, Effin’ Birds: A Field Guide to Identification and The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America. In our kid’s section, we have Look and Learn Birds PBS Kids for ages 4 and up.

Gardening If you’re trying to steer clear of the overcrowded grocery produce section, try Southern Fruit & Vegetable Gardening. If your gardening preferences run a little more magical, Garden Witchery. If you’ve always wanted to combine botany and a drinking hobby, we recommend the The Drunken Botanist. We have many more used books that run the gamut of composting and camellias, to the best plants for any sort of garden. For kids, Jam and Jelly combines gardening and cooking for ages 8 and up.

Poetry/Creative Writing/Memoir Writing We have an entire Writer’s Room full of new and used books on craft how-tos and inspiration. Including Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Writing Picture Books  and so many more. For our young authors, Write Your Own Story Book and Story Writer’s Ideas Journal for ages 8 and up gets the creativity flowing.

Crafting/Knitting/Sewing Geek Knits is perfect for fantasy and science fiction fans. For any age, we have Paper Crafting with Harry Potter Origami and Paper Planes to Fold and Fly.

Cooking This is a great way to learn about other cultures too! Check out our extensive new and used cookbooks. Making your own sourdough? Ferment will help. Still have Moon Pies left over from Mardi Gras? Check out the recipes and vignettes in Death By Moon Pie. Want to add a little magic to your meals? Try Wiccan Kitchen. Enjoy cooking for your pup? Check out The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook. For the kiddos, our selection includes Kid Chef Junior for ages 4 and up and The Vegetarian Cookbook for ages 8 and up.

Survivalist/Outdoor Skills Studies show the benefits of being outside, especially practicing social distancing, far outweigh the risks. We have local author, Joe Cuhaj’s Best Tent Camping: Alabama. How To Camp in the Woods and How to Stay Alive in the Woods are a popular series. We have books on Metal Detecting. Want to learn how to tie knots? Why not? Try Know Your Ropes for Better Boating. From the kid’s section, we have books such as My Very First Outdoor Book for ages 3 and up, and Survival! for ages 9 and up.

Get Active–Hiking & Biking Be sure to check online before heading out as some parks are closed. In the meantime, read Hiking the Gulf Coast , or if you want to bring your best friend, Best Dog Hikes of Alabama. For kids, try Lift-the-Flap: Nature to get young ones involved.

New Pets While not technically a hobby, with time home on their hands, many people are finally getting that dog they’ve always wanted. Become the best dog-parent with Dog Body Language: 100 Ways to Read Their Signals or Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?

What new activities & interests have you picked up while self-isolating?

Support local, shop local. During this corona-crisis, we’re offering no-contact curbside pick-ups, porch drop-offs in select neighborhoods, and free local shipping. We’re also opening up by appointment so if a hobby of yours is sniffing books (we totally aren’t judging you), book your time slot today.

Stay safe, stop the spread, and happy reading!

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