30+ Hobbies that Relieve Stress

Emma Greenfield

Updated on:

hobbies that relieve stress

For many of us, picking up a hobby is a great way to break from our routine, especially for those of us who are stuck in a 9-5 job. Luckily, there are many activities you can learn and hone to get as a hobby. We’ve rounded up 30+ hobbies that relieve stress you can explore and you might just find your next passion project.

hobbies to relieve stress

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of Hobbies: Hobbies are activities done for pleasure and can help break the monotony of daily routines. They can also improve mental health and provide a sense of community.
  • Popular Stress-Relief Hobbies: The article lists several popular hobbies for stress relief, including reading, writing, team sports, individual sports, running, walking, video games, cosplay, traveling, card games, board games, jigsaw puzzles, gardening, dancing, photography, cooking and baking, and merchandise collection.
  • Unusual Stress-Relief Hobbies: Some unique hobbies mentioned are extreme and competitive ironing, beetle fighting, pet grooming, news raiding, toy voyaging, brewing and fermenting, niche gardening, metal detecting, doomsday prepping, knife making/sharpening, and witchcraft.

Why It’s Important to have a hobby

A hobby is aptly defined as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” With strong emphasis on “for pleasure”, a hobby is very different from a task you take on that’s done as a part of what you do professionally or for profit (though, a hobby can be profitable). 

It’s a great way to break away from your work routine especially when you’re involved in a job you don’t find pleasurable or you’ve lost a spark. 

Hobbies can also be a great way to socialize with other people who share the same interests as you do. This fosters a sense of belongingness to the community. 

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Do hobbies relieve stress?

Studies have shown that those who regularly do a hobby can improve mental health, linked to lower the likelihood of depression, prevent dementia among many benefits, so there is quite an importance of hobbies for stress relief.

The bottomline to this is linked to intrinsic motivation—we pursue hobbies out of pleasure and enjoyment. Unlike our jobs, hobbies are tasks that are not expected of us, thus kick-starts the reward system in our brain. 

So while some of these hobbies can be time-consuming or physically strenuous, the fact that we do it for our personal enjoyment relieves a lot of stress.

Best Stress-relief Hobbies

Some hobbies are more popular than others. Here are some of the usual hobbies people pick up on and do:

reading for stress relief


Reading is probably one of the most popular leisure activities most people do. Whether reading the published classics from known authors, online blogs, reddit posts, newspapers, alternate universe fanfictions by budding authors, reading is very accessible and can easily be picked up by anyone.


Along with those who like to read, you might also like to get into writing. Writing is a great creative hobby especially if you’re someone with a huge imagination and a lot of thoughts and ideas running through your head.  

team sport for stress relieve

Team Sports

From basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, baseball—you have a lot of options of team sports you can get into. Aside from getting physically active, you can also be part of a great team and community with a shared love of the sport. 

Individual Sports

If you want to be more physically active and enjoy sports but don’t like playing in a team setting, you can also get into individual sports. Sports like tennis, badminton, bowling, boxing, and even martial arts are great solo sports you can get into.  


Another physical activity that’s very straightforward that people do as a hobby is running. It’s a relatively easy hobby to get into, not to mention, great cardio activity. Get a good pair of running shoes, a route to take and you’re good to go. But if you want to take it slow…

ways for stress relief - running


Walking is a rather underrated cardio activity that’s more low-impact than running. Walking is a great physical activity especially if you want to take time to enjoy the view and feel the ambiance of a place. It’s even better if you have someone with you. 

Video Games/Esports

Video games have become increasingly popular for both children and adults alike. With numerous game genres in multiple gaming platforms, there’s a lot to explore and discover in the world of video games.

Some would even engage in competitive gaming and get into esports. This can be a great way to get into video games seriously and have a chance at making a profit if you join competitions and play against other players.


ways for stress relief - cosplay

This is like playing “dress up” taken to a whole new level. From characters in movies and TV series, anime, video games, books—people have made a whole spectacle in cosplaying. People who are into cosplaying enjoy the entire creative process of recreating and bringing to life their favorite fictional character. 


ways for stress relief - traveling

If you love to explore the world and get out then traveling is a great hobby. Traveling can help you expand your horizons, exploring new places, meeting new people and just generally experiencing the most that the world can offer. 

Card Games

Games like poker, blackjack, and solitaire are great for the usual 52-card deck, but there are a lot of other card games you can play. Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon cards, and even UNO are great games to explore with friends. 

Board Games

Along with card games, there are a lot of board games you can also get into. You can set up a special schedule with your squad to play through different board games. 

Jigsaw Puzzles

ways for stress relief - jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw Puzzles are also a great pastime and there are several who actually really take these seriously as a hobby. Whether it’s creating them for other jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts to complete  or collecting them, it’s a great hobby that you can even share time with kids and friends. 


ways for stress relief - gardening

Gardening has got to be one of the most popular hobbies out there; turning your empty yard or a piece of land into a beautiful patch of different plants, herbs, vegetables, and or flowers—cultivating a garden has got to be one of the most fulfilling hobbies. Along with this, you can also get into composting to help your garden grow and thrive by upcycling your food scraps and biodegradable waste at home. We created an article to give more in depth about composting using compost bin.


ways for stress relief - dancing

Dancing is another great hobby you can pick up; it allows you to be physically active while also being creative. Whether you’re covering or copying existing dance choreographies online, or making your own dance routine, dancing is a great outlet and hobby. 


ways for stress relief - photography

Landscapes of nature, portraits of people, birds, events, weddings, candid street moments—you name it. There’s a lot to take a photograph of. Photographers and photo hobbyists are also very passionate people so you have a great community to turn to. 

Cooking and Baking

ways for stress relief - cooking and baking

We take it that feeding other people would be your love language. If you found your passion in the kitchen, cooking and baking has got to be one of the most rewarding hobbies and nothing beats seeing the faces of your loved ones when they take a bite of your delicious goodies. 

Merchandise Collection

If you’re a passionate fan of a singer or a movie franchise, or other pop icon figures, you understand how passionate merch collectors can be. Posters, albums, photo cards, shirts, lightsticks, and other fan paraphernalia are just some of the stuff you can collect if you’re into it.

Other Popular Hobbies that relieve stress you can Explore

There are other popular hobbies you can pick up. These are pretty self-explanatory, and who knows your next passion project just might be here. 

  • Cleaning
  • Eating Out
  • Tree Shaping
  • Coin Collecting
  • Painting
  • Jewelry Making
  • Fishing
  • Sports Watching
  • Volunteer Work
  • Woodwork
  • Binge Watching Movies or TV Series
  • Calligraphy
  • Podcasts
  • Listening or Creating Music
  • Crocheting or Quilting
  • Acting/Theater

What are some unusual ways to relieve stress?

Now, most people would most likely have picked up something from what we mentioned above as their hobby of choice. But there are a few out there who have picked up hobbies that are rather…unusual or too niche for most people to understand. But make no mistake, the people who are into these are some of the most passionate people you could ever meet. So there must be something about these hobbies that draws people to it.

We’ve rounded up some of the most unusual and unique hobbies people have gotten into. 

Extreme and Competitive Ironing

You…read that right. There’s even a whole governing body that oversees the “sport”: the Extreme Ironing Bureau. Extreme Ironing or EI is the act of taking ironing boards to remote locations such as cliffs, mountains, forests, the middle of the ocean, and the like and iron clothes. The Bureau even states that it’s “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

Beetle Fighting

Popular in many parts of the world, beetle fighting is putting beetles in a small arena and making them fight (sometimes to the death). There’s whole culture to it; there are breeders who breed the best lineage of fighting beetles, there are those that film these battles and sometimes even livestream it and take bets. 

Pet Grooming

This may sound not so extreme, but some pet owners groom their pets to the extreme; think cosplaying for pets. Pets (most commonly dogs) are groomed in an eccentric way to look like another animal or look like a character or other funky designs. See some samples here

There are competitions that run and some have a hefty prize pool. No wonder pet owners go all out!

News Raiding/News bombing

If you haven’t heard about this, well…now you will. News raiding or bombing is the hobby of scouting live news reports in the field and make it in the shot. It goes to the extreme lengths of making research of where live news reports are going to be made and making sure you’re in the background. 

What started out as a protest, became a movement. Paul Yarrow started news raiding when news reporters refused to talk to him. Find out how and why he started news raiding here.

Toy Voyaging

Toy voyaging is the hobby of taking your toys to adventures. Think Toy Story but you’re the one making them “experience life”. There’s a whole passionate community of “Toy Voyagers” where you can swap toys with other voyagers and fulfill their toys’ bucket list.

Brewing and Fermenting

Now, getting into brewing and fermenting as a hobby isn’t that unusual per se; people have been making their own beers, kombuchas, wines or whatnot. But it’s what you brew and ferment that can become unusual and niche.

Some people have hopped on brewing and fermenting anything they can get their hands on to see what they can make out of it: various flowers and vegetables, fruits, even leaves and roots. 

Niche Gardening

Another hobby that isn’t unusual per se as we actually mentioned this in our previous list, but just like brewing and fermenting, gardening becoming a niche lies in what you’re growing.

Some niche gardeners only try to grow a very specific plant. Vegetable, or tree. This narrows down on trying to cultivate exotic and rare plants.

Metal Detecting

ways for stress relief - metal detecting

You’ve probably already heard of people hopping on to metal detecting as a hobby. They strap on various metal detecting equipment and try to discover what they can on the ground.

Doomsday Prepping

They wouldn’t have gotten their own 4-season National Geographic Channel show if this wasn’t an unusual hobby. This is a hobby for survivalists who want to prepare for the worst case scenario of the world. 

Knife Making/Sharpening

This is a sort of up-and-coming hobby that people have been picking up recently. While we argue it’s not that unusual to be into knife making or sharpening, its popularity (or lack thereof) lies in how expensive this is.


We kind of contemplated if we would put this in the list of popular hobbies above—because it is actually popular. There is a sizable community that practices and are getting into the hobby and study of witchcraft. 

From alternative medicine with herbs and roots, to crystals, stones and oils, manifestation rituals, tarot reading, and reading futures, there’s a whole set of people who actually seriously study witchcraft. We wonder if Harry Potter has something to do with this. 

Other Unusual Hobbies You can Try Out

  • Competitive Duck Herding
  • Cheesemaking
  • Beekeeping
  • Soap Carving
  • Parkour
  • Bug Collecting
  • Spider Derby
  • Hypnosis
  • Miming
  • Fork and Spoon Bending
  • Exploring abandoned places
  • Graffitti

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re picking up a popular, unusual or sustainable hobbies, what matters is that you do this for your own personal pleasure. You shouldn’t have to think about how your hobbies are strange to other people, as long as you love and enjoy what you do and relieves your stress, that’s more than enough reason to pick it up and pursue it regularly.

As a dedicated mother and passionate software developer, she weaves her diverse experiences into captivating stories that inspire and engage readers. Emma's love for sustainable living and environmental consciousness permeates both her personal and professional life. When she's not immersed in the world of coding and software development, Emma can be found nurturing her family and tending to her thriving organic garden. Her commitment to sustainable practices extends to every aspect of her life, from repurposing household items to embracing eco-friendly technologies.