How to Find a Hobby as an Adult

It might take some exploration.

Having a hobby is good for your health. Here, leisure expert Colleen Deyell Hood shares tips for finding the right one for you.

(Related: The Life-Changing Power of Hobbies)

Look to the past

Ask yourself: What have I previously enjoyed? And even more importantly, what about it did I enjoy? If you loved playing basketball in university, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to, or can, play basketball now. So what is it about basketball that you liked? Was it being on a team? The competition aspect? The skills associated with ball handling? Once you’ve figured it out, think about other options that do the same thing. If being on a team was important, maybe there’s an opportunity to be part of a community organization or a group that keeps your neighbourhood clean.

(Related: How Learning an Instrument as an Adult Helped Me With Brain Fog and Anxiety)

Know yourself

If you’re a super driven, achievement-oriented person, and you bring that energy to archery and you’re lousy at it, then you’re probably not going to enjoy it. But if you’re into exploration and the outcome is less important than the process, then you could be totally lousy at archery and still have a great time. Our leisure activities allow us to take the self we know and put it into action.

(Related: The Surprising Health Benefits of Stress-Baking)

Know that there may be some trial and error

Try something. You like it, you stick with it; you hate it, you drop it. That’s the beauty of leisure: It’s relatively inconsequential, and you can quit something and nobody will mind. It’s important for overall health and well-being that you do something, but what you do doesn’t matter to other people. Take a class, sign up for an online workshop, join a choir—if you don’t like it, try something else.

Hobby Books

Get Inspired

Need some inspiration? Pick up a memoir from a passionate hobbyist.

Julie Zarankin shares what spotting her first red-winged blackbird at age 35 led to in Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder. (Spoiler: a lot.) ($25,

Jessica J. Lee documents her experiences and discoveries swimming 52 of Berlin’s lakes through all four seasons in Turning: A Year in the Water. ($20,

Booker Prize–winning novelist Penelope Lively lets readers in on her lifelong gardening passion (and tours us through her top plots, past and present) in Life in the Garden. ($22,

Now that you know how to find a hobby, find out which hobby is the most relaxing one to take up.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada