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Attempting to find a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic has been like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Good news has been very difficult to come by. The daily counts of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are about as depressing as it gets.

For some, the speedy development of the vaccines and their rollouts have been a lift. But others are more skeptical and leery of potential side effects.

If there were light at the end of the tunnel, it would be easier to bear this heavy burden. But health experts don’t see the pandemic ending any time soon.

Making a positive of a negative

So, what can we see as a positive that’s connected to the coronavirus? I would say that for many of us, hobbies have become a bigger part of our lives.

Today, as part of 4Patriots’ Pandemic Prep Week, I’d like to discuss why hobbies are especially important during this challenging time. As well as some of the particular hobbies folks have engaged in.

The increased amount of time we’ve spent at home over the past year has allowed us to either revisit old hobbies or launch new ones.

And that has helped reduce our stress levels and spark our imaginations. And maybe create new friendships.

‘An anchor to familiarity’

Some of us had forgotten how much we enjoyed these hobbies. Or how much of an emotional boost beginning a new hobby gave us.

Hobbies connect – or reconnect – us with our passions. Some enable us to stay mentally sharp or physically fit.

Dr. Jeff Gardere is a clinical psychologist. Here’s what he told CNN about the importance of hobbies in stressful circumstances.

“In this time of uncertainly and instability… people need an anchor to familiarity. And what once brought them comfort, stability, safety and happiness.

“The psychological shock of this unprecedented… and dangerous time has us grasping for our old lives and customs.”

Indoor hobbies

Here are some of the hobbies people have been enjoying indoors since the pandemic arrived in America.

  • Scrapbooking. This is a great way to organize and share memories.
  • Home decorating. This might be something you’ve put off for a while.
  • Coin or stamp collecting. Many of us did this as kids. Time to get back at it.
  • Collecting “whatever.” This could be coffee mugs, ceramic turtles, shot glasses, fridge magnets or just about anything else that strikes your fancy.
  • Organizing photos in books. Some of us have a bunch of photos sitting in boxes. Photo books make it easier for us and others to appreciate them.
  • Playing a musical instrument. Whether it’s pulling out your old guitar or learning to play piano for the first time, this is a hobby that will bring you great pleasure.
  • Writing poetry, short stories or a novel. If you like to write, let your creativity flow. It’s very therapeutic.
  • Learn a new language. Yes, it’s challenging, but there are many online tools that can make it much easier. Succeeding will give you a great sense of accomplishment.
  • Knitting, crocheting or sewing. Learn patience while designing a usable item.
  • Crafting origami. Another hobby requiring patience, but one that produces beautiful figures.
  • Doing puzzles. A pleasant way to spend a few hours, with or without help.
  • Have fun with model trains. A great hobby to share with a child or grandchild. One that can be passed along from generation to generation.
  • Reading. You were probably reading before the pandemic came along. But this has been the chance to finally tackle some books and magazines you vowed to get to eventually.

Outdoor hobbies

So far, I’ve focused on indoor hobbies. But there are plenty you can participate in outdoors as well. They include:

  • Sport shooting and archery. Muscle memory activities such as this require discipline, but they still feel more like a hobby than a job.
  • Hiking. This has the added advantage of helping you get in and stay in better shape.
  • Kite flying. Not as easy as it looks, this colorful hobby always attracts the attention of passersby.

Gardening – a hobby and a half

I’ve purposely saved one of the most fulfilling, productive and potentially life-saving hobbies for last.

Gardening provides you with the obvious advantage of being able to grow your own food. Which will save you money and increase the amount of nutrition you get from meals.

But it’s also fun and emotionally rewarding. Plus, it’s something you can do with the entire family.

Now, depending on where you live, late January may not be the best time to plant your outdoor garden.

But there are all sorts of vegetables and fruits you can start indoors over the next few weeks. Then you can transfer your seedlings outdoors following the last frost.

Even if you did not pick up an old hobby or start a new one in 2020, there’s no time like the present. It will be good for your body, soul and mind.

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