How your quarantine hobby may be benefiting your health

What was the quarantine hobby that helped get you through the darkest of days when it seemed like we'd never get outside our own four walls again? Did you take to baking, or were you spending more time in the garden? Maybe jigsaw puzzles were your jam, or were you one of the urban pioneers who jumped on the city chicken trend? Perhaps you tried working out online with Jane Fonda, and felt pretty silly when an octogenarian left your butt in the dust. 

Whatever your hobby, as long as you were actually doing something rather than just watching TikTok videos of other people doing stuff, it's bound to have done you some good. More, perhaps, than you may know. Not only do you now have a freezer full of banana bread, a pantry packed with canned tomatoes, or buns of... well, maybe not steel, but possibly aluminum, but you're probably a lot happier and even healthier than you might otherwise have been after such a stressful time.

Why hobbies are so good for us

According to James C. Kaufman, professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut – Storrs (via American Heart Association News), hobbies help us to focus on something outside of ourselves so "we're not thinking about any negative thoughts or fears or worries." Jeanine Parisi, an associate scientist in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, adds that the activities we choose to engage in "are the one thing that could provide structure and give you back a sense of personal control."

Not only are our minds in better shape, but our bodies are healthier, thanks to those pandemic hobbies. Obviously, if you picked a hobby like, say, fishing or hiking (in a safe, socially-distanced way), then you got some exercise, not to mention fresh air, sunshine, and so on. Even if your hobby kept you indoors and sedentary, though, the whole zen of getting into the flow of some mindful pursuit may have brought you not only inner peace but a lower heart rate and blood pressure. 

Plus, as Dr. Christopher D. Stanton, M.D. of Renown Medical Group points out (via Best Medicine), hobbies can also help to boost brain functioning, which is something we could all use a little help with from time to time. So stay strong, stay sane, and keep on doing what you're doing — unless your freezer's full and you can't stand another slice of sourdough, in which case you might want to switch to making tiny food instead.