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Winter is quickly approaching, and with the COVID pandemic still in full effect, I think we are all expecting a long, dark season.
Practicing social distancing and staying home this winter will take its toll on everyone, especially after isolating ourselves for so long already. Having a hobby will benefit you as it will allow you to have an outlet for your stress and bring a little more joy into your life this winter. Spending time doing something that you enjoy that isn’t related to work or other commitments will boost your sense of satisfaction with life and give you the chance to engage in an activity that’s relaxing and rewarding.
In this article, we will look at 35 examples of hobbies you can do indoors during the cold or inclement weather. These are great ideas to have in your back pocket when facing the long upcoming season.
What You Will Learn
- 35 Indoor Hobbies for Winter or Inclement Weather
- 1. Cooking
- 2. Writing
- 3. Create Vision Boards
- 4. Couponing
- 5. Create an Organizing Routine
- 6. Study Philosophy
- 7. Play Video Games
- 8. Make Bread
- 9. Make a YouTube Channel
- 10. Interior Design
- 11. Take a Class Online
- 12. Learn How to Play Chess
- 13. Yoga
- 14. Do Puzzles
- 15. Upcycle
- 16. Start a Blog
- 17. Learn About Investing
- 18. Watch Documentaries
- 19. Study Your Genealogy
- 20. Practice Doing Stand-Up Comedy
- 21. Learn a New Language
- 22. Read
- 23. Listen to Podcasts
- 24. Purge
- 25. Make a Scrapbook
- 26. Keep a Journal
- 27. Teach a Class Online
- 28. Get a Pet
- 29. Preserve Snowflakes
- 30. Practice Feng Shui
- 31. Watch TED Talks
- 32. Create a New Workout Plan
- 33. Play Board Games
- 34. Make Some Crafts
- 35. Learn to Play Guitar
- Final Thoughts
35 Indoor Hobbies for Winter or Inclement Weather
Cooking is a useful hobby that will benefit you and your family as they get to enjoy your creations. Learning to love the process of making meals will teach you a skill that will be helpful for life and it will offer you a creative outlet while still allowing you to do something that’s practical.
Following cooking blogs and relevant YouTube channels is a great way to get started with learning how to cook. You can have fun experimenting with different cultures’ traditional dishes and put some new twists on some of your old favorites.
You will uncover tricks and techniques along the way that you can begin to master. Plus, as long as you’re enjoying it, you can be as messy or precise as you want!
Finally, cooking at home this winter instead of ordering delivery will help you save money and eat healthy, so your budget and body will thank you, too!
Resource: Start with these quick and easy meals for two that can be on the table in under an hour.
One of the worst things about inclement weather is that it often becomes lonely while you’re waiting for it to pass. Writing is a great way to spend this alone time because you can express your thoughts while also having an opportunity to get your creative juices flowing.
There are so many different outlets that you can use to write, such as:
Writing as a hobby doesn’t put any pressure on you that you may feel when you’re writing for other people. Getting your thoughts on paper can be relaxing, whether you write about things that are happening in your life or you write an allegory that reflects your feelings. The process of writing when you’re doing it on your own terms can be very cathartic, no matter what the context of your writing is.
3. Create Vision Boards
Making and keeping up with your vision boards is a great thing to do when you’re stuck in the house, and it will benefit you in all areas of your life. Your vision board will act as a daily reminder of your long term goals and give you an easily accessible source of motivation to help you work toward them.
Here is a checklist of supplies you should have on hand when making a vision board. Of course you can add any type of material to your vision board that you want–make it unique!
Once you’ve mastered your own vision board, you can throw a vision board party to get all of your friends on board as well.
While you may not be headed out to shop, you can do some work ahead of time by finding and organizing your coupons. Couponing is a fun hobby that can save you a lot of money if you know what you’re doing. If you love the thrill of finding great deals, couponing may be a great hobby for you.
Once you get really comfortable with couponing, this practice will become second nature because you will start to notice how much an item typically costs, who offers the best deals, and when to stock up on necessities.
Resource: Here is a video on extreme couponing for beginners.
5. Create an Organizing Routine
Look out, Marie Kondo, if you’re ready to get organized, you can make your own system for getting rid of clutter and maintaining a clean house. Create a process that makes sense to you to help you organize any belongings that you have that don’t have their own place to be put away.
There are plenty of supplies you can buy to help you declutter your living space. After doing so, you will feel less stressed and overwhelmed because when your living and working space are both organized, you will find it much easier to be productive throughout the day.
6. Study Philosophy
If you’ve ever wondered what the purpose is of human life or why you are where you are right now, studying philosophy may be a good hobby for you to adopt. Studying philosophy allows you to use your logic and reasoning skills to try to understand the various perceptions that people have about life, the world, and its origins. Reading the theories that other philosophers have come up with can help you decide what you believe is the truth.
Learning about philosophy will offer you some insight into your life’s purpose, and it is a subject that will always be both useful and interesting. Once you get into a little philosophy, it’s easy to get lost in it as one unanswered question leads you to the next.
7. Play Video Games
Playing video games all day doesn’t have to mean that you’ve wasted all of your time. Playing video games has some educational benefits and some cognitive benefits for both adults and children such as:
Plus, studies have shown that even if playing video games just makes you feel happier, this is a benefit that’s important to take into consideration when determining how you’re going to spend your down time.
8. Make Bread
A lot of people have taken up bread making as a hobby during the covid pandemic, and this is the perfect hobby to carry you through the winter as well. Having fresh, homemade bread right out of the oven is extremely comforting, and much healthier than the processed bread you would buy from the grocery store.
You can experiment with various types of breadmaking if you pick this up as a hobby, and then use the bread you make for other things like French toast and croutons. You can incorporate your homemade bread into just about any meal you have!
Resource: Here is a video that will walk you through making bread.
9. Make a YouTube Channel
I’m sure you know of some famous YouTubers, and you could try to become one yourself! Take whatever skill you have and record it on video, whether that’s cooking, fixing appliances, or even just reading children’s stories out loud, and share it with the world through YouTube.
10. Interior Design
If you have a great sense of style and enjoy matching furniture with wall colors and decor, you can make a hobby out of interior design. And, while you’re stuck inside, start with your own living space!
Redecorate some rooms in your house, then open an Instagram page or other online platform to show your work off to your friends.
11. Take a Class Online
Learning outside of the classroom has always been possible, but in our age of the internet, you can have a formal, structured learning experience in the comfort of your own home. There are a lot of platforms for online learning, many of which are offered at no charge.
Taking classes online is convenient, and while it once seemed a bit questionable in terms of its legitimacy, an online education is now valued just as much as one that you receive in-person. Plus, there is an online class for pretty much anything you may be interested in. Another benefit of online learning is that you can do additional research if a certain topic really piques your interest or you’re having a hard time grasping a concept and you want to try to learn about it from a different perspective.
Using websites such as Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy can be especially helpful because you can choose from thousands of courses and have an instructor available who can help clarify things for you if you have any questions.
Finally, online courses typically offer supplemental resources such as guides and PDFs that can’t be accessed by the public. Having up-to-date materials such as these will help you stay on top of emerging professional trends.
Whether you want to learn about a subject that you just find to be personally interesting or you’re trying to stay ahead of the game in your field, this lifelong learning tool is a very practical hobby that can benefit you in many regards.
12. Learn How to Play Chess
You don’t need a chess board to play this classic game anymore, as it is readily available online and through apps, so you can play any time, even if you’re home alone! You will be having fun strategizing as you give your brain a good workout while playing chess–whether you do it virtually or in-person.
The challenge involved with playing this game never ends because there are unlimited strategies to learn to beat your opponent. Playing chess will help keep your mind active and improve your cognitive function in the areas of your brain that help improve your focus, problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, memory, and ability to make decisions, so this is a very beneficial hobby to have!
Resource: This video will help you get started learning this game if you are a beginner.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the health benefits of yoga, and you may have already gotten into it a little bit. But, as with any other healthy habit, you need to practice yoga on a regular basis in order to reap its benefits. Practicing yoga offers time for self-reflection while also incorporating physical movement, which means it’s a great thing to practice on those days when it’s too yucky outside to leave the house.
One thing we may all have to deal with this winter is symptoms of depression. Well, the good thing about practicing yoga is that it can benefit both your current and future mental health. Yoga will not only help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, studies have shown that engaging in this practice can also protect your brain from losing gray matter with age. The study showed that seniors who practice yoga had the same amount of gray matter as the younger population. This means doing yoga could prevent your brain from shrinking as you age.
Yoga also offers physical benefits. The more you practice yoga, the more flexible and physically stable you will become. Your blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of heart disease will all decrease–typically as much as they would if you were engaging in conventional cardio exercise. Finally, if you’re suffering from chronic pain, fatigue, or asthma, practicing yoga can help mitigate these issues.
Resource: Here is a 20 minute video of yoga you can practice at home if you’re a beginner.
14. Do Puzzles
Solving puzzles is a fun and challenging hobby that you can do indoors alone or with your family. And, even with the omnipresence of smartphones, playing real, tangible puzzles is still a common pastime for people of all ages.
The act of putting puzzle pieces together is a great cognitive exercise for your continued brain development. This hobby helps train your brain to look at the bigger picture, engage in visual-spatial reasoning, and improve your processing speed and short-term memory.
Puzzles will also help you with your problem-solving abilities because they require the use of trial and error skills. Being a good critical thinker and having the ability to see things from various perspectives are both important traits to have, and when you solve puzzles, you’re able to refine these skills.
Resource: This site offers thousands of free puzzles you can do at home.
Upcycling helps reduce the amount of trash we put back into land and you get to use your creativity to make something new out of something old. This means that in addition to minimizing landfill waste, you’re reducing production needs in factories for new products, which helps reduce pollution, CO2 emissions, etc.)
Upcycling old furniture or decor around the house can also help you make some money on the side. Refinishing old furniture is a common way to add a unique twist to your home decor, so many people shop for upcycled items in places like Facebook Marketplace and farmer’s markets. Every upcycled product is unique and special because it’s made with a homemade level of craftsmanship that isn’t as common as it once was. We’re so used to mass-produced items that fit into a cookie cutter mold, so seeing things that have been made by hand encourages a sense of creativity that helps our environment and our society.
Resource: Here are 38 upcycling ideas to get you started.
16. Start a Blog
Speaking of having an extra source of income, is there something that you consider yourself to be an expert in or something you’re really passionate about? If so, you can share your opinions, knowledge, and experience with other people by creating a blog.
Whether you’re writing about your upcycled furniture or you write a lifestyle blog about parenting, interacting with other people online through your blog is a great way to get new conversations started and create a platform for yourself where you can be heard.
If you allow companies to advertise on your blog and you start to generate some online traffic, you can earn a decent amount of money with this hobby. Plus, since you will be writing about something that interests you, this is a hobby that will help you be a lifelong learner through an enjoyable process.
Resource: This site will walk you through starting a blog.
17. Learn About Investing
This is a great hobby because it will help you understand and take control of your finances. Learning about investing will greatly benefit you if you’re able to turn it into an enjoyable hobby.
By learning about smart ways to invest or save your money, you will be setting yourself up for financial success. And, while this topic may sound dull or confusing at first, once you start to learn the basics about investing, you will likely find that you enjoy the challenge that comes along with it and the sense of satisfaction you get when you make a good financial decision.
Resource: There are plenty of podcasts about personal finance that you can listen to in order to get started with this hobby.
18. Watch Documentaries
Sometimes, documentaries are even more engaging than high-dollar blockbuster films, and getting lost in a documentary when it’s cold outside never feels like a waste of time. There are so many options for great documentaries streaming on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc that are educational, interesting, and thought-provoking. I always find that I’m able to take a look at something from a new perspective after watching a documentary.
Do some research on documentaries that cover your favorite topics (true crime? history? health?) and make a list of the ones that interest you. This could just end up being a hobby that you end up doing even when it isn’t cold outside!
19. Study Your Genealogy
Tracing your roots back to where your family originated is a satisfying hobby that can benefit you and other members of your family. In fact, this hobby can help serve future generations as well–for many years to come.
Many people research their genealogy as a hobby for practical reasons, such as:
All you need is your research skills to learn about your genealogy. From there, you will just need to organize the information that you find and maintain the curiosity to learn about your family’s history to keep you motivated. This hobby will help you understand where you came from a bit better.
Resource: Here is how you can get started with studying your genealogy.
20. Practice Doing Stand-Up Comedy
Doing stand-up comedy allows you to engage in positive and happy communication with others while ultimately hoping that they end up getting a good laugh.
If you’re interested in performing stand-up comedy, it’s important to practice. Just as any other type of performer practices before hitting the stage, comedy is no exception. You can even use your knowledge of comedy that you learn and practice at home as you’re interacting with others on an everyday basis.
So, use your living room as your stage and start practicing some jokes that you would like to perform in front of a live audience one day.
21. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language might sound really tough, but there are a lot of benefits to taking up this hobby. Living in the globally fluid world that we do, it will give you a competitive edge in your professional life to be able to communicate with people from other countries.
There are also cognitive benefits to learning a new language. Research shows that people who speak two or more languages have a better memory, improved problem-solving and analytical skills, and can focus better than those who speak only one language. There is also evidence that suggests people who are bilingual tend to be more creative than those who aren’t.
Finally, being able to access information and media in foreign languages that you would otherwise not be able to will also help broaden your worldliness and give you an opportunity to listen to what’s going on in other parts of the world first-hand.
Reading is a very personal hobby, but it will benefit anyone who does it on a regular basis. Reading is a great escape from the real world, and regardless of what genres you choose, reading will exercise your brain, build your vocabulary, help you learn, and reduce stress. If you really want to relax, sit back and listen to an audiobook, allowing someone else to read to you.
Reading before you go to sleep can even help you sleep better by putting your real-life worries aside, disconnecting from technology, and giving you something relaxing to do. But it’s also a good idea to keep your book on you during the day so if you get some free time, you can pull out your book for some mid-day relief.
23. Listen to Podcasts
There’s a podcast out there for everyone, no matter what your other hobbies or interests are. Whether you’re a history buff or you want to keep up on the latest celebrity gossip, it’s easy to find and listen to a ton of podcasts on any topic that you’re interested in. What’s more, you can listen to most podcasts for free, so once you find one that you enjoy, you won’t have to spend a lot of money to keep engaging with it.
Listening to podcasts will give you a great escape from your routine, and you can switch it up depending on your mood by listening to a funny podcast, an educational one, a murder mystery…whatever you feel like at the time. Podcasts are also great to listen to in the background while you’re cleaning or doing a mindless task. Once you find your favorite podcasts, listening to them can help make the time fly by.
Whether your closet is so full of junk that you really have no idea what’s way back there, or you’ve been having a hard time closing your desk drawers lately, it’s always relieving to do a good purge and get rid of things you don’t use or need anymore.
First, take everything out. Everything.
Make three piles. One is to keep, one is to trash, and the other is to donate. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re separating your items:
And yes, it can be difficult to let go of sentimental things that are somehow connected with a positive memory or important person. But it’s important to realize that we outgrow times in our lives just as we outgrow styles of clothes.
Resource: This video addresses how to purge your space, especially if you’re dealing with some sentimental items.
25. Make a Scrapbook
So, about those last few items that you just could not get rid of? Put them in a scrapbook. Take all of your old pictures and movie ticket stubs from first dates and get creative by making a scrapbook for your memories. Scrapbooking can help you preserve these things without creating clutter and in a way that will prevent them from getting damaged in the back of your desk drawer.
Scrapbooking is also a fun hobby because you get to use your creativity as you’re walking down memory lane and the final result is a practical keepsake. Plus, you don’t have to finish this project all in one sitting–you can work on it for a few hours, put it aside, and continue adding to it for years to come.
You can get fancy with decorations, or you can keep it relatively simple by essentially creating a timeline of memories. Either way, scrapbooking will help you purge your drawers while you reminisce about old times.
Resource: Here is a “how-to” video for making a scrapbook.
26. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal gives you a place to collect your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis so you can analyze and understand them better. Keeping up with your journal will help you notice patterns in your feelings and potentially identify triggers that make you feel or behave in a negative way, thereby helping you avoid those triggers moving forward.
Journaling can provide you with an outlet to help you manage your feelings and prioritize your busy life. That said, there are a wide variety of topics that you can write about in your journal. For example:
Choose whatever structure you want for your journal and make it into your own personal space. In addition to setting aside some time to write in your journal each day, make this practice easy by keeping your journal within reach throughout the day until you start to get into the habit of writing in it on a regular basis.
Resource: If you’re not sure what to write about, here are 59 ideas to help get you started.
27. Teach a Class Online
Is there something that you consider yourself to be an expert in that you want to pass on to other people? Or is there something that you love to talk about and want to spark curiosity in other people’s minds? Or maybe you just want to help kids in another country learn how to speak English.
There are many platforms online where you can sign up to teach a class just as easily as you can sign up to learn from an online class. Many everyday people are picking up part-time teaching jobs online through sites like VIPKid, Teachable, and Chegg.
Resource: Check out these important skills that are necessary to be a successful freelance virtual teacher.
28. Get a Pet
Because people often get lonely during the winter months, having a new pet around is a great way to feel a sense of love and companionship. While this hobby comes along with a big responsibility, caring for a pet can help you maintain structure on those days when you’re mainly stuck inside.
Plus, having a pet will encourage you to get outdoors on days where you would otherwise not get a breath of fresh air–even if just for just a few minutes while you let your pet out.
Resource: Here is the process you can expect when adopting a dog.
29. Preserve Snowflakes
Snowflakes don’t have to be something that’s gone in an instant. Using just regular microscope slides and some hairspray, you can preserve fresh snowflakes as small, natural works of art.
Just apply hairspray to a glass slide that has been chilled in the freezer. Then, the next time it snows, take the slide outside and allow a snowflake (or two) to stick to the hairspray on the slide.
Keep the slide out in the cold (preferably protected in an unheated garage) while you wait for the spray to dry. Once it’s all set, you will see your snowflake imprint perfectly preserved on the slide.
Resource: Here is a step-by-step process to preserving snowflakes.
30. Practice Feng Shui
This 4,000-year-old Chinese practice will help you create a living environment that supports your mind, body, and spirit, and enhances your life. While Feng Shui might seem complicated, it’s actually pretty simple and consists of common sense practices that you may already be doing.
The practices of Feng Shui involve:
Resource: This guide will help you make your house more Fung Shui-friendly.
31. Watch TED Talks
Watching TED talks can teach you about new concepts while providing you with entertainment. At just about 15 minutes a piece, these videos are short enough to keep your attention, but long enough to teach you something valuable.
TED talks feature thought leaders, trailblazers, doctors, philosophers, business-owners, among many others, and span topics from psychology and social issues to medical mysteries. There's a TED talk out there on almost anything you want to learn about, with more being added to the queue all the time. These inspiring videos will keep you thinking for long after they’re over.
32. Create a New Workout Plan
“Summer bodies are made in the winter.”
This saying can be easy to forget during the holiday season as families and friends frequently gather for parties full of treats and cuddle up at home with snacks and hot chocolate. But don’t forget the summer season is always around the corner, so it’s important to keep up a healthy workout plan–and you don’t have to step outside to do so!
Just get some free weights and some space where you can move around. You will quickly see that you don’t need an expensive gym membership to get fit!
Resource: Check out these free online workouts that you can do at home.
33. Play Board Games
There are plenty of board games out there for adults that are so engaging that they can make a day fly by. Plus, think of all the oldies but goodies that you can get out that you loved playing when you were a kid. Spending time with your family having some friendly competition will let you bond with loved ones while stimulating your brain with some lighthearted fun.
Pick out some board games and grab your partner, children, or friends, and make a day out of it. You can even grab some winter-themed board games to suit the season.
Resource: This site reveals the best board games that are on the market today.
34. Make Some Crafts
Winter and bad weather often exacerbate the “winter blues” that many people experience. Seasonal affective disorder is a real form of depression that can drain your energy and deplete your motivation. To combat this disorder during the winter when you’re stuck inside, try your hand at some art therapy, which psychologists claim can be as calming as doing meditation. Use your creativity to do some knitting, painting, or model-building–or any other type of craft.
Crafting hobbies such as painting are often used as tools for patients in therapy to help work on their recovery. Working with different colors and using your imagination to produce an end product can help boost your mood, build self-esteem, and reduce anxiety.
Resource: Here are 33 easy winter crafts to help get you started.
35. Learn to Play Guitar
I think that it looks pretty difficult to learn how to play the guitar–but apparently, it’s not as hard as one may assume. Sure, it takes time and dedication, but once you get the basic chords down, the learning process gets much easier.
Plus, what really makes learning guitar easier now than ever before is the unlimited resources online that are available to novice guitarists that were not accessible to musicians of the past. And, once you learn to play, both you and your friends and family will benefit from the memories that you will create while you’re all sitting around listening to some homegrown music.
Resource: Here is an overview of guitar lessons you can find online.
This winter may be long, but with these hobby ideas in your back pocket, you will have a ton of stuff to keep you busy. Pick one or two options and start getting the feel for them now before the cold weather really hits us!
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.