Health Wellness
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Pretty much all of us know that we should spend less time on our phones, but when the world wide web is so vast and the task of keeping up-to-date on social media is so daunting, it can be hard to shut off. Especially when there’s, like, nothing else to do.

Not only are we spending way too much time on our phones, studies have found that all this unnecessary phone time is having negative impacts on our mental health including increases in depression and anxiety.

Obviously, it’s impractical for us to unplug forever, but in an effort to curb some of those negative side-effects, why not take up a calming non-phone-based hobby?

Knitting

Okay, we had to include it. Once you get the hang of it, knitting is the perfect activity to occupy your hands while letting your mind wander. Think through a problem, listen to music or just get into the rhythm of your own stitching. If you’re a beginner knitter who wants some trendy patterns to get started on We Are Knitters now ships to Canada.

 

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Meditation

Some people swear by meditation and others swear they’ll never do it. Whichever end of the spectrum you land on, there’s some form of meditating on your own life and reflecting on your day that can work for you. Whether it’s traditional meditation, breathing exercises, religious reflections or just practicing gratitude, setting aside some time for a version of meditation is a positive habit to get into.

Yoga

Yoga gets your mind and your body moving, which is always good for you. You can check out a beginner class at a studio or rec center, but there are also sooo many classes of various lengths that you can do right in the comfort of your home.

 

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Cross Stitch

If knitting isn’t quite your cup of tea, cross stitch is a nice alternative. It’s the same kind of repetitive motion in a different form. Plus, it’s much easier to make your own unique designs that make perfect (thoughtful and cheap) birthday gifts.

And it’s not just for old ladies; we’d like to personally recommend feminist cross stitch. With patterns like, “A woman’s place is in the revolution” and “Smash the patriarchy,” these designs aren’t for the faint of heart.

 

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Bullet Journaling

Much blood and e-ink has been spilled on the benefits of bullet journaling so we won’t bore you with them here. Basically, journaling in general has been associated with a myriad of mental health benefits and the “bullet” part just makes it prettier and more economical. Buy a notebook and some markers and go crazy keeping track of your schedule, monitoring your mood, recording rainfall and whatever else people put in their journals (start simple with the original Bullet Journal System).

At a loss for inspiration? Here’s a super-secret source for ideas.

Adult Colouring Books

If you like the idea of being artistic on paper but want more of an absent-minded hobby, colouring books might be for you. They were all the rage a few years ago but have died down a little in popularity since then. They’re still out there though – online and in a lot of book stores.

Painting

As long as you’re painting for the joy of painting and not putting pressure on yourself to create the next Mona Lisa, it’s a great de-stressor. Throw on a Bob Ross tutorial and get to work!

Reading

Do we really need to talk up reading? This is your reminder that there waaay more books out there than you could ever read in your lifetime, so you better get started.

Reading Print Journalism

Reading the news is generally pretty stressful, but a lot of that stems from the constant onslaught of reactionary posts and the sense of urgency everything online seems to have. Print journalism is a great way to stay up-to-date but with a deeper insight and more time for reflection.

Rock Climbing

Want a more physical activity? Rock climbing is a non-traditional option that you can do either solo or with friends that will get your body moving and your brain concentrating on something basic and repetitive – always great for relieving stress.

Walking/Hiking

Just getting out for a mindless walk is underrated as an activity. Just head out the door with some music or a good podcast and see where your feet take you.

 

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Kanaskis Country Canada Photo by: @vagabondhearts #hikingculture

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Swimming

Another active alternative is going for a swim. If you can get to a pool at a relatively quiet time (kids screaming with delight is decidedly not relaxing) the repetitive motion of swimming along with the muffled solace offered underwater can literally wash away the day’s worries.

Baking/Cooking

Everybody has to cook, but if you enjoy it, why not experiment and make it more of a hobby? The new Canada’s Food Guide suggests that Canadians be more mindful about what they’re eating and cook more at home; it’s the perfect opportunity to turn a daily chore into a fun hobby.

Baking speaks for itself. All baked goods are delicious so why not make some?

 

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Learning an Instrument

It’s never too late to learn something new and music is associated with a bunch of mental health benefits. Not only will you gain a cool new skill, learning an instrument is great for keeping your mind dexterous since it requires using many different functions at once, including a totally different language.

If you want something small and cheap to start, there are any number of Ukulele tutorials out there.

Writing Poetry/Short Stories

If you enjoy writing, putting effort into creating shorter works of fiction or poems can be a relaxing and constructive way to spend your time. If you like what you produce, you can send it into competitions or magazines and potentially get it published.

Calligraphy

Is there anything more relaxing than watching a calligraphy pen perfectly form words? You can learn how to do it yourself with a book or tutorials online. All you need is a set of good calligraphy pens.

Gardening

If you don’t have a green thumb, gardening can be more laborious and needlessly expensive than it is relaxing, but if you enjoy getting down to work in a flowerbed, it’s a great way to spend your time during the warmer months. Plus, with the help of some handy dandy tech, you can do it all year round indoors.

Jewelry Making

Jewelry making might take a little effort to get the hang of, but it’s a great option for anyone who wants a non-yarn-based creative hobby that yields concrete results. There are a bunch of DIY jewelry tutorials online and if you’re so inclined, you could even make your new hobby into your new side hustle.

 

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Music Appreciation

How often do you just sit back and appreciate the music you’re listening to without any distractions? Take some time to really appreciate music from your favourite artists. Hook up those noise-cancelling headphones, lie back and enjoy those carefully crafted sounds.

Puzzles

Got a big table? Then you have a puzzle center. Buy a thousand-piece puzzle new or from a thrift store and get to work. It’s the perfect activity to work on alone or make a group project when you have people over.

 

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Word/Number Puzzles

If you want to portray intelligence, simply walk around with a book of Sudoku or New York Times Crosswords. Not only will you look like a scholar, you’ll actually be exercising your good ol’ brain muscle (you know, assuming you’re actually cracking the book and not just wandering around with it).

 

It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 30, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message (not iMessage) sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.