17 Best Hobbies for Introverts and Loners

17 Best Hobbies for Introverts and Loners

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Having a hobby that you enjoy doing in your free time can help enrich your life and ensure that you have an outlet for entertainment. Many people also seek new hobbies to enlarge their social circle and interact with other people. But what about those who are more introverted and get their energy, pleasure, and restoration by being alone?

People who are introverted prefer focusing on their own ideas and need time alone to recharge after being around people all day. While others may want to head out to happy hour after work, introverts prefer to engage in a hobby that:

  • Is challenging  
  • Requires creativity
  • Provides an outlet for higher levels of curiosity
  • Requires a good amount of thought
  • Does not require personal interactions

Your hobbies can not only provide you with an entertaining activity, they can also offer opportunities to learn. There are so many options for hobbies out there, and the best way to foster a new hobby is to try new things until you find something that you really enjoy. There are a lot of hobbies that introverts and loners can find fulfilling and enjoyable, they just might be activities that people don’t talk about quite as frequently as others. Let’s take a look at some of these unique pastimes.

17 Best Hobbies for Introverts and Loners

1. Listen to Podcasts

No matter what you’re interested in, there’s a podcast out there for you. It’s easy to find and listen to thousands of podcasts on any topic from art and comedy to business and politics. Most podcasts are free to subscribe to, so once you find one that you click with, this is an enjoyable (and often addicting) hobby to pick up.

Any introvert would enjoy this hobby because it can be fun, thought-provoking, educational, or anything you really want it to be. Listening to podcasts provides a great escape from the routine of everyday life that lets you to focus on a topic that you’re interested in. Also, it’s easy to optimize your time by listening to a podcast while you’re going for a jog, commuting to work, or cleaning the house. Once you find your favorite podcasts, it can make even a six-hour drive fly by.

Resource: This article tells you everything you need to know about finding, downloading, and listening to podcasts.

2. Cooking

Cooking is a great hobby because it’s useful–you have to eat! Instead of making eating a chore, learn to enjoy the process of making food. This is a great hobby for introverts because it offers a creative outlet and it ultimately gives you a tangible result that you can either enjoy alone or with a friend (if you want). 

Reading cooking blogs and watching YouTube videos is a great way to get your feet wet if you want to learn how to cook. You can experiment with a variety of cultures’ traditional dishes and different styles of cooking the same thing (there are actually 59 ways to cook an egg).

You will uncover hacks along the way and different techniques that you can practice mastering. The great thing about cooking is that you can make it as abstract (i.e. messy) or precise as you want–as long as you like it, that’s all that matters. 

Cooking at home instead of grabbing something to-go is also a hugely impactful way to save money and eat healthy, so your wallet and your body will thank you, too!

Resource: Here is a video on mastering five basic cooking skills.

3. Play Chess

The good thing about technology these days when it comes to playing chess for introverts is that it is readily available online and through apps, so you can play either against the computer or against someone somewhere else in the world without having any interaction! And, if you do want to play it in-person, playing chess doesn’t invite too much small talk because there is so much strategizing involved. 

Chess never stops being a challenge. Once you’ve mastered one level, you rise to the next and find that you’re back to the beginning in terms of being stumped. With endless strategies to learn, chess is basically an endless test–but playing it comes with many benefits. Playing chess can:

  • Improve cognitive function in areas of the brain that determine your ability to focus, problem-solve, recognize patterns, think analytically, remember things, and make decisions
  • Improve your ability to strategize and formulate a plan based on probable events
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Increase your attention span
  • Promote mental alertness

Chess is a great hobby for introverts who enjoy playing games and engaging in activities that keep their mind active.

Resource: Here is a video to start out with that explains how to play chess.

4. Running

Any hobby that involves any type of exercise is ideal for loners, especially for those who experience periods of depression. And running is a great choice because…well, I love it.

But, my opinion aside, taking up running as a hobby has some great benefits and can definitely give you the sense of solitude you may be looking for. 

But, let’s start with the “runner’s high” that people aim for. This happens when your body releases endorphins while you’re working out. This “feel good” chemical is a natural opioid that’s made by your body and acts much like morphine when it’s released in your brain.

In order to experience a runner’s high, you’ll need to:

  • Run for about an hour at 60% of your max intensity
  • Run on a regular basis
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Do some trial and error to find your “sweet spot”

The physical health benefits of running are also pretty amazing. According to Runner’s World, running can help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, running can reduce your blood pressure and help you manage your weight. 

To set yourself up for success, set some SMART goals related to your running that you can work toward. One easy program that follows the SMART format is the Couch25K program, making this a great option if you’re brand new to running. But no matter what your goal is, having one will give you more motivation to actually get out there and do it than a vague intention of “one of these days.”

Resource: Here is a great guide to help you get started if you’re new to running. 

5. Writing

There are so many different outlets that people can use these days to write, from journaling to blogging to even writing a play. Seeing as loners typically have a very small group of friends, there may not be other people readily available to listen to your feelings when things get tough. Even when you experience one of life’s highlights like getting a new car, you may be excited to share that with someone. Writing is a really great way for introverts to express their thoughts while also having an opportunity to be creative.

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Writing for yourself as a hobby doesn’t have the pressure associated with it that comes along with writing for other people.

Introverts are known to be overthinkers, and as such, creating written content can be cathartic, as it’s a good way to empty your mind and get all of your thoughts down on paper. 

Furthermore, people who write as a hobby rather than just out of necessity are putting themselves at a professional advantage over others by practicing their writing skills. It can be hard to come across someone who knows how to write well, and when it comes to applying for jobs, being a good writer can put you a step ahead of other candidates.

Writing for yourself as a hobby doesn’t have the pressure associated with it that comes along with writing for other people. You can set your own deadlines and focus less on perfection and more on telling a good story or constructing a unique poem. The process of writing when you’re doing it on your own terms becomes enjoyable while also allowing you to practice creating and sticking to a schedule (if you want), and set goals for yourself, which are important life skills to have despite the context of your writing.

Resource: Here is a video that offers some great writing tips.

6. Take an Online Class

Not that learning was ever really limited to the classroom, but in our age of the internet, you can have a “formal” learning experience that offers structure and a schedule literally while you’re sitting on your bed. 

Gone are the days of the Dewey Decimal System, and we’ve traded in our encyclopedias for laptops as people are learning on-the-go. Taking classes online is very convenient, and is becoming increasingly popular with our rapidly changing world and subsequent rapidly changing needs of employers. 

There is an online class for nearly anything you could possibly be interested in, many of which are free. Of course the internet also allows you to do some pretty intensive research yourself on your topic of choice, but taking an actual class through websites like Coursera and Udemy can be especially helpful because they’re already designed around whatever subject you choose and there is an instructor available who can help clarify things for you if questions arise. 

Many online courses give you supplemental resources like guides and PDFs that aren’t available for the public to access online. Having these up-to-date materials will help you stay on top of emerging professional trends. 

Whether you’re looking for an online course in a subject that you just find to be personally interesting or you’re doing it to stay ahead of the game in your industry, this lifelong learning tool is a very practical hobby that can help you out in many regards. 

Resource: Here are 14 places you can find online courses. 

7. Yoga

You’ve probably heard of the health benefits of yoga and you may have even taken a class or two. And what you’ve heard is true–doing yoga on a regular basis is both mentally and physically healing, as it offers time for self-reflection while also incorporating physical movement, making it the perfect hobby for introverts.

Let’s start by looking at the physical benefits of yoga. As you progress with your yoga practice, your flexibility and balance will both improve while your blood pressure and cholesterol will go down. What’s more, not only does practicing yoga reduce the risk of heart disease equally as well as conventional exercise, it can also help you lose weight and improve health problems such as fatigue, chronic pain, asthma, etc.  

Now, in terms of the mental benefits of yoga, this practice can help improve your current and future mental health. Yoga is widely known to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, but studies have also shown that engaging in this practice can protect your brain from losing gray matter as you age. The study showed that older people with more yoga experience had the same amount of gray matter in their brains as those who were significantly younger. This means doing yoga could prevent your brain from shrinking as you age.

Try finishing up each day with a calming yoga session. This habit has benefits that will spill over to your everyday life that you’re sure to notice.

Resource: Here are 21 books on yoga that can help you get started.

8. Mountain Biking

While a lot of people who mountain bike claim they do it for social reasons, this is something that you ultimately do alone since you’ll be alone on your bike. And, while it does offer the same mental and physical benefits of other types of exercise, mountain biking provides some unique perks that are great for introverts.

First off, it allows you to get back to the basics. Putting all technology aside, you’re able to become one with nature while you’re biking through trails and navigating your way through naturally-occurring barriers. Also, there is not much training involved–it just requires practice to improve, so you can keep this as a solo hobby.

Mountain biking helps take you away from the everyday hustle and bustle of interruptions and notifications and lets you explore new areas on your own time and at your own pace. Plus, most cities have a variety of terrains that you can use for mountain biking– and the more practice you get in, the harder the terrain you will be able to handle.

Resource: Here are 10 tips for beginner mountain bikers. 

9. Read

Reading is such a personal hobby, but it has a ton of benefits.for anyone who enjoys it. Reading is a great way to escape from everyday life and slip into another person’s reality (depending on what you prefer to read). 

Regardless of what you choose, you will be exercising your brain by reading, building your vocabulary, learning, and reducing stress. If you really want to relax, have someone else read to you by listening to an audiobook.

Reading before bed can even help improve your sleep by taking your mind off of your everyday worries, helping you disconnect from your phone, and giving you a sense of peace. But you can also keep whatever you’re reading within reach during the day since books are so portable, so if you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, you can turn to your book for some mid-day entertainment. 

Resource: Check out what is currently on the New York Times Best Seller list here.

10. Single-Player Sports

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean that you don’t have energy to burn. And doing so doesn’t have to be a group activity! Consider taking up a sport where you’re competing against yourself–such as boxing, ice skating, bowling, or golfing. There are a lot of individual sports that are enjoyed by introverts who aren’t interested in coordinating with other people to practice and play. 

Instead, individual sports offer great flexibility when it comes to creating your own personal training schedules and regimens. You can focus on your own training needs by practicing a favorite shot or focus on improving upon a personal weakness, which can be hard to do when you’re playing for a team.

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There are a lot of individual sports that are enjoyed by introverts who aren’t interested in coordinating with other people to practice and play. 

Playing individual sports helps cultivate mental strength because you need to motivate yourself to work through challenges alone, including dips in your performance or your results. Single-player sports don’t allow for athletes to turn to their teammates when they don’t achieve what they hope to.

Alternatively, when you win or accomplish a personal best in an individual sport, you’ll feel a huge sense of achievement because you can take full credit for the work that has been done without having to rely on others’ skills to perform your best. Playing individual sports can give you a sense of personal mastery as you develop and improve upon new skills, which will enhance your performance and confidence.  

Resource: Here is a list of 25 sports that you can play alone.

11. Gardening

Gardening is a great outdoor hobby for introverts that is good for your mind and body because it allows you to get in touch with nature while producing fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in your yard. 

Gardening outside while absorbing the fresh air and sunshine can help increase your happiness, reduce stress, and even reduce your risk of developing depression. Anything that is on your mind that’s bothering you can be set aside as you focus on engaging in this enjoyable hobby. 

Don’t feel deterred if you think you don’t have a green thumb–no one starts this hobby as an expert. Gardening takes some practice and definitely trial and error until you find what likes to grow in your yard. You need to be patient, but you will definitely find that it’s worth it when you create a meal using your own fresh produce. If you are working with limited space, simply growing herbs can be gratifying and it can completely transform an otherwise dull meal. 

Gardening will also help you get some moderate exercise as you shovel, rake, and walk around your yard. And, because a healthy garden needs lots of attention, you will be able to engage in this physical activity frequently once you get started. 

As you work in your garden, you will also be improving your dexterity, muscle strength, and problem-solving skills, which are all lifestyle factors that are important for avoiding the development of brain diseases down the road. In fact, research has shown that those who garden on a regular basis can decrease their probability of developing dementia by 36 to 47%, which is very significant if you have a family history of dementia. 

Finally, think about all of the additional health benefits you will reap by literally enjoying the fruits of your labor. Gardening is an easy way to fit the freshest fruits and vegetables possible into your diet. 

Resource: Here are 26 tips for beginner gardeners that can make this hobby feel much more approachable if you have reservations about having a black thumb.

12. Learn a New Language

Taking up the hobby of learning a new language sounds like a tall order, but the benefits of doing so are just as hefty. Especially today in our interconnected world, being proficient in more than one language gives you the opportunity to interact directly with people in other countries, which is a highly sought-after skill in our global economy.

There are also cognitive benefits to learning a new language. Studies have shown that people who are bilingual have a better memory, better problem-solving skills, better analytical skills, and a stronger ability to concentrate than those who speak only one language. There is also evidence showing that people who are bilingual have high levels of creativity and flexibility.

Furthermore, this skill allows you to access information that you would otherwise not be able to, such as foreign entertainment and media. Being able to navigate websites written in other languages with ease will increase your worldliness and grant you with the opportunity to assess news from other areas of the world on a first-hand basis. 

Finally, as you’re studying a new language, your communication skills in your first language will improve as you look more critically at the relationship between various parts of speech. Your vocabulary will also grow and you will recognize that the base of some words in English are the same as they are in other languages. 

Resource: Here are seven of the best resources for learning a new language. 

13. Travel

Now that you know a new language, it’s time to put that skill to use! 

Or, not quite yet. It’s up to you.

It may be scary to think about if you’ve never done it before, but a lot of people travel alone for a lot of different reasons, and you may find that you really enjoy it. 

Think of the places you want to go or things you want to see in this world. When you’re traveling alone, the lack of company gives you the opportunity to fully engage with your surroundings on your own time. If you want to spend 7 hours at a museum in France, you won’t feel rushed by a travel buddy who feels like they’ve seen enough after 2 hours. 

This freedom also lets you change or make plans at the last minute. When traveling with others, a change in plans can be near earth-shattering, however, when you’re on vacation by yourself, you can make a decision at any time and move on with it, whether you want to stop and eat somewhere that looks interesting or you want to rent a car and go to a nearby city for a day. Not having to compromise on anything can feel so indulgent, especially because most of us are used to accommodating other people’s schedules in some way in our everyday lives.  

Finally, travelling alone can help you develop a new sense of self-confidence. It can feel unsettling to not have anyone around you that you know when you’re in a very new and very far away place. But learning how to find your own way out of a bind can offer you a renewed sense of self-confidence and restore your faith in your ability to be resourceful–and that’s a feeling you can bring home as a souvenir. 

Resource: Here is everything you need to know before traveling alone.

14. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Volunteering with animals is a “feel good” activity. It allows you to contribute to your community without having to engage with people too much. Instead, you get to interact with animals who are up for adoption. 

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If you’re passionate about animals, volunteering at an animal shelter could be a very fulfilling hobby.

As you start working with an animal, you will be able to see immediate results as they respond to you and their personality starts to come out, which can feel very rewarding. This hobby is also beneficial for your mental health because you get to be around animals, and studies have shown that this interaction can help reduce levels of cortisol (i.e. help you feel less stressed), elevate the release of serotonin and dopamine in your brain (the chemicals that make you feel good), and lower your blood pressure. 

Creating a unique bond with animals can also boost your mood, support your emotional wellbeing, and (if needed) reduce loneliness. If you’re passionate about animals, volunteering at an animal shelter could be a very fulfilling hobby that helps you give back to others who need it in a meaningful way.

Resource: This site will help you find all of the animal welfare organizations in your area.

15. Do Puzzles

Solving puzzles is a gratifying pastime for people who need to recharge with some alone time. Contrary to some beliefs–puzzles aren’t obsolete just because smartphones exist.

Doing jigsaw puzzles is especially helpful in training your short-term memory and improving your processing speed because putting the shapes together requires you to use your short-term memory, which reinforces the connections among your brain cells. Recalling shapes and colors while visualizing a bigger picture also helps improve your visual-spatial reasoning. 

Puzzles also require you to take various approaches to solve problems since trial and error is needed to solve any type of puzzle. The ability to think critically and change your perspective is a valued trait, and solving puzzles will help you refine these skills. 

Finally, studies have shown that exercising your mind by doing puzzles encourages the growth of new nerve cells, which can help raise your IQ and delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Plus, once you’ve solved a puzzle (or even after you just put a piece in the right place), your brain releases dopamine, which makes you feel good and encourages you to keep working on it and continue to challenge yourself. 

Resource: Here are some free puzzles you can do online.

16. Make a Scrapbook

Do you have old pictures and sentimental airplane tickets or movie theater stubs all laying around somewhere? It’s time to organize that mess and make it into a scrapbook. Your pictures and memorabilia can be preserved for decades if you store them properly, so it’s also a good idea to create a scrapbook to prevent them from getting damaged or lost. 

Scrapbooking will give you a creative outlet and a practical end result. This is something you can pick up for a few hours one day, and if you don’t get back to it for several weeks, it’s not a big deal. You can also make your scrapbook as intricately designed as you want–or keep it simple by just having all of your memories in order. 

This will help you declutter your desk drawers and also take you for a walk down memory lane as you go through all of your old trinkets. 

Resource: Here is a great scrapbooking video for beginners.

17. Watch Documentaries

We talk about lifelong learning a lot on DGH, and watching documentaries is a great way to engage in this practice. These films are a very helpful resource for learning about all kinds of new topics. And, if you’re like me, after you see a documentary that you find really fascinating, you will be dying to find another that is equally as enthralling. 

Watching documentaries is an effective way to get acquainted with new topics and gain depths of knowledge in topics that you may or may not already be familiar with. Documentaries can offer insight into various issues, subjects, and lifestyles that you may otherwise never be exposed to, giving you a more comprehensive perspective that isn’t limited to your own experiences.

Documentaries are informative and entertaining, plus they offer an easy way to learn because of the “story-telling” aspect along with the visuals. I find they’re often much easier to pay attention to than reading a book or hearing a lecture. Keep in mind that documentaries can be presented with some bias, so don’t automatically believe everything you see on them– do your own supplementary research.

Resource: Check out Top Documentary Films to find a documentary that interests you–you really can’t go wrong with the options available on this site. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Hobbies for Introverts and Loners

The world is full of excellent opportunities to engage in unique activities that we can explore, and once you find that hobby that you click with, you’ll likely want to devote a significant amount of time to doing it. Your hobbies become a part of your life and gratify you in a very individualized way. They can enrich your life by giving you a new perspective on things and new ideas to consider. 

Finding a hobby that challenges you is the best way to become involved with something that you will stick with for a while. If you’re not challenged, you’re likely to become bored and abandon the activity. Try one of the hobbies listed in this article to see if it is something you enjoy. Investing your time in satisfying hobbies that help you master new skills will keep your mind sharp by satisfying your brain’s needs that extroverts get through social interaction.

Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.

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17 Best Hobbies for Introverts and Loners