8 Indoor Hobbies To Get You Through the Winter

The likelihood of me leaving the house for anything other than essentials decreases exponentially with the temperature outside. Below freezing? Yeah, probably staying indoors. 10 degrees with a wind chill? Screw the groceries, see you next April. For the days (or months) when the weather is less than ideal, it’s easy for our productivity—and general satisfaction with life—to come to a screeching halt as we hole up with blankets, junk food, and a long, long Netflix queue.

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Don’t get me wrong—I love a good Netflix queue, but it gets old. Add snowstorms into the mix, and suddenly an entire season is reduced to a placeholder (especially after the holidays end) for all the stuff we’ll probably start up again once the world thaws. If you don’t want to spend all winter feeling frozen in time (pun intended), here’s a list of fun, fulfilling hobbies you can start within the comfort (and warmth) of your own home.


1. Experiment in the kitchen

When it comes to cooking, there are two kinds of people: Those who cook to live and those who live to cook. Try venturing into the second category by trying new dishes, recipes, and methods. Experiment with new cuisines or flavor profiles and get creative. Yes, the food you eat for nutrition, pleasure, and comfort can also be an enjoyable way to pass the time and get your creative juices flowing when you’re stuck indoors through the season.


Where to start

If cooking anything beyond the basics feels totally out of your wheelhouse, try investing in a good cookbook first. As you get used to new recipes and new flavor combinations, you’ll need cookbooks less and less to whip up something great.


2. Stay balanced with yoga

Even if you’re more of a HIIT or treadmill kind of girl, think of yoga as an exercise for stress relief rather than just physical benefits. Certain yoga poses can help relieve anxiety or lessen the effects of sitting at a desk all day. Try adding a yoga practice into your daily routine to deepen your breath, stay connected to your body, and make it to summer with as little stress as possible. 


Where to start

If setting aside time for yoga seems difficult to fit into your schedule, incorporate some flows and poses into your daily routine. For example, try an energizing flow first thing in the morning to wake you up, a wind-down flow before bed, or sit in Child’s Pose whenever you start feeling stressed. 


3. Learn a new language

Why not spend all winter learning a new language, then try out your newfound skills on your spring or summer vacation? This hobby will keep your mind stimulated and, if you keep it up, give your resume a major boost. Plus, you’ll be challenging your mind and have a goal to work toward (like watching that French film without subtitles), which always makes hobbies more fulfilling. 


Where to start

Learning a new language doesn’t have to be complicated. Download a language app (like Duolingo) on your phone so you can pick it up anytime, whether it’s while waiting for your laundry cycle to finish, standing in line at the grocery store, or staying at home. Pick a language and start learning! It really is that simple.


4. Sharpen your writing skills

Bonus points if you’re one of the lucky ones who are born with natural talent, but writing is first and foremost a learned skill. Plus, writing is not just a fun, creative outlet—writing skills are also important for business emails, communication between loved ones, and as a way to express yourself. If you’ve ever wished you were a better writer, you’re in luck, because you totally can be. You just need practice.


Where to start

If you feel like you have a lot of learning to do, check out writing courses on Skillshare. If your goal is to get creative juices flowing, then make your own prompts (or find some online) and start writing. You can complete the prompt with as little or as much written word as you want. If you want something more interactive, sign up for Daily Page. Every day you’ll receive a new prompt, and you have until the end of the day to complete it. Once finished, you have the choice to share your writing publicly or keep it private.


5. Unwind with knitting

Knitting is a classic hobby for a number of reasons. For one, once you’ve got the basics down, you can do it while also doing other things (like watching TV or listening to a great podcast or audiobook). This hobby actually makes a night in with Netflix productive because you’ll end up with sweaters and scarves and hats at the end. Win-win!


Where to start

You’ll need a pair of knitting needles, yarn, a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, and a yarn needle for joining pieces of knitting together. Then, you’ll want to pick a pattern to start. If you’re a total beginner, take a look at these classes to help you get started.


6. Reconnect with your inner child with games

Remember when you were young and a night playing board games or doing puzzles was considered a night well spent? As adults, why can’t spending time with friends and family (with some good old-fashioned entertainment) be a hobby? You’ll bond with loved ones, stimulate the brain, and pass the time with some lighthearted (or ultra-competitive, if you’re into that) fun.


Where to start

First, pick your board games. Then, on a night you’d otherwise spend curled up watching TV, opt to play the games with your significant other, roommates, or friends. If you’re feeling extra fancy, make board game nights (complete with wine and cheese) a weekly gathering among your group of friends. If puzzles are more your jam, order one from Amazon and get to work. If you don’t have kids or pets that will make a mess of it, leave your puzzle out on the coffee table to revisit it throughout the day.


7. Start a new workout plan

I know, I know. You just rolled your eyes at the suggestion that a workout plan could actually be considered a “hobby.” But workouts don’t have to be forced, painful, or boring. In fact, your workout plan should look like finding a workout that feels like a hobby, whether it’s a relaxing yoga flow after a long day or an energizing dance class that reminds you of a GNO when it’s too cold to actually go to a club. 


Where to start

We stan Obé Fitness because it offers every possible class you could think of to stream live or on-demand at home, and the live classes turn your living room into a trendy studio or a boutique gym, thanks to fun music, livestreamed classes, and upbeat instructors. Try a wide range of classes for everything from cardio to sculpt to yoga, so you can find the routine that is most fun for you. Also, check out programs so you have a goal to work toward (like The Yoga Deep Dive or, ahem, The Everygirl Program, just to name a few). 


8. Start an indoor herb garden

Gardening doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity reserved for summertime. Keeping a few different herbs indoors not only adds a refreshing feel to your home (and makes for pretty decor!), but it also means more flavorful, healthy meals for a fraction of the price of store-bought herbs. The best part? It’s so easy to start and keep up an indoor herb garden, you don’t even need a green thumb to do it. 


Where to start

First, decide which herbs would be best to grow and where you’ll keep them. Parsley, cilantro, or basil are good herbs to start with indoors because they require less sunlight and give obvious signs if they need more or less water (AKA they’re pretty foolproof). If you get a lot of sunlight through your apartment and are lucky enough to get year-round sunshine, put plants right by the window to get six to eight hours of sunlight daily. And if you really want to get legit or aren’t sure if you’ll get enough sunlight from the slit they call a window in your studio apartment (me!), try an indoor Smart Garden


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