Top Hobbies for Women Professionals
After a long day at work, it’s important to blow off steam in your spare time. If you’re doing that by binge watching “Orange Is the New Black” until you fall asleep, though, you probably could be spending your free time much more productively (not that OITNB isn’t amazing!).
Think you don’t have time for a hobby? Think again. The benefits of learning a new skill or playing a sport when you have down time make picking up a hobby worthwhile. Studies show that brain energy spent on hobbies improves creativity and boosts self-confidence and can even improve your performance when you get back to the office.
If you don’t already have a passion that you devote your weekends or free time to, don’t worry. Here’s a list of the top 10 hobbies for women, enjoyed by some seriously successful ladies, to inspire you:
Reading is a favorite hobby of many successful women, including America’s book club hostess-in-chief, Oprah Winfrey. Reading is a great hobby to take up because it requires no special skills or equipment. All you need is a library card or a Kindle in your purse, and you can read any time you have a free moment, whether that’s riding the subway or waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Reading can feel like a restful vacation to exotic lands, or you can dive into some non-fiction to improve your skillset.
From actress Julia Roberts to lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, lots of working women have embraced the feel of dirt under their nails as they nurture flowers into bloom. Gardening gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine, and the process of helping young things grow is good for the soul. On top of that, if you plant some easy-to-grow lettuces, carrots and tomatoes, you’ll give your meals a healthy boost with some delicious summer salads.
You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy a round of golf on the weekends — just ask former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In addition to being great exercise (wean yourself off of the golf cart to up the cardio value), improving your golf game can be a valuable skill to have in your back pocket at work. back pocket at work. Remember, the best place to start is definitely from the feet. Firm golf shoes will keep your form up to par. From there, a good performance will follow the determination!
You may never be called on to entertain a client on the links Mad Men-style, but having a swing that’s good enough for the charity event or office outing will serve you well at work.
Former presidents aren’t the only ones who like to paint in their spare time. Talk show host Rosie O’Donnell also picks up a brush to relax. Painting lets you explore your creative side, and the tactile sensation of spreading paint along a canvas can be quite soothing. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of those trendy “wine and paint” nights at your favorite local bistro to see if this is a good activity for you.
While some sports require specialized equipment or steep admission fees, all you need for running is a pair of sneakers and the open road (First Lady Michelle Obama also needs the Secret Service, but thankfully you can skip that part). Running (and walking, if you need to build your stamina) gets your blood flowing, increases your endurance and improves your overall heart health — not bad for a hobby!
Think stamp collecting is impossibly old-fashioned? Try telling that to tennis star Maria Sharapova. If you’re the kind of person who likes to collect things but don’t have room to house a large amount of stuff, collecting stamps could be just the hobby you’re looking for. Your entire collection can be neatly stored in scrapbooks or specialized folders, or you can artfully display your favorite designs.
Is there an Oscar for knitting? Meryl Streep could probably lock that one up, too. The actress knits to relax between scenes, and even made part of her own costume for the movie “Doubt.” Knitting is a portable hobby, and once you get the hang of it, the rhythmic knit-one, purl-two pattern is like meditation in craft form. If you don’t live near your grandmother, try joining a knitting club to learn the basics.
Supermodel Heidi Klum and singer Victoria Beckham are just two women who love to hit the slopes. If you live where January days are short and cold, you can fend off the winter blahs by getting outdoors. Skiing is fantastic exercise, too, so it’s definitely worth a try next winter.
Playing an Instrument
Do you catch yourself wishing you had listened to your mother when she begged you not to quit piano lessons? It’s never too late to learn a new instrument. Actress Willa Holland strums the ukulele. Halle Berry plays flute, and Jennifer Garner still has her high school saxophone. Learning to read music has all the brain benefits of learning a foreign language — with the added bonus of being able to entertain your friends at your next cocktail party.
New media guru Arianna Huffington swears by the benefits of yoga, and it’s no wonder why. Yoga has been proven to reduce stress, increase flexibility and strength and even help manage chronic health conditions. Yoga is so popular that it’s a piece of cake to find a class near you, or you can try following along with a YouTube video at home.
No matter what hobby you choose, the important thing is that you find something you’re passionate about. After all, only work and no play makes Jill a dull girl!