Whether holding a pole or tossing an elegant cast into a trout stream, fishing is truly a “zen” hobby. Water is a calming element, relaxing to sit beside and calming to touch, as long as it’s not too cold. Instead of causing stress, the very uncertainty of fishing gives us an excuse, if we need one, to relax. As long as we have our line in the water, we can do absolutely nothing while pretending to be completely occupied.
Hobbies like knitting and crochet involve working with material that is pleasing to the eye and soft to the touch (as long as we get to pick out our own yarn). The repetitive motions of needlework take just the right amount of concentration: enough to keep our mind off our worries; not enough to turn our hobby into work.
The golf course is a prime example of “outdoors lite”. It’s a place to spend time outdoors in a smooth and manicured landscape. We can ride in the cart if we get tired or stop by the clubhouse if we get hungry. We can spend time with friends on the course when we feel like it or play alone when we don’t. If we’re really stressed, the best part of playing golf may just be getting to hit something in the name of playing a game.
At a time when more and more “activities” are virtual, there’s something very satisfying about growing food we can eat, flowers we can pick and herbs we can taste and smell. The fruits of gardening all help put us back in touch with the simplicity and authenticity of the natural world. In addition, the physical activities of digging, planting, weeding, and cultivating use enough muscles to take the edge off of too many hours spent sitting in a chair attending remote meetings.
Doing a jigsaw puzzle gives the illusion of creating art to people who have no talent. It lets us spend time looking for something, the next piece, without needing to actually find it. It is a hobby that we can drop at any moment and pick back up the next day or in a month. There is no pressure to finish it, as long as we have a table to leave our puzzle on. We can work on it alone or with friends, and we don’t even have to have any particular skill to be good at putting it together. If one puzzle turns out to be too hard, we can throw it away and buy a new one. It’s an inexpensive hobby that anyone can afford.