Hobbies are fun---but also beneficial to your health and wellbeing! Escaping for even a little while in gardening, doing a crossword puzzle, or working on a sewing project helps to relieve stress, and increase self-esteem.
Hobbies are great distractions from everyday worries. Allowing yourself to get lost from time to time in something you really enjoy doing makes you a healthier, happier person.
Studies show a link between hobbies that stimulate the brain, like reading, playing cards and games, and doing puzzles---a a decreased risk of memory loss. Resarchers go as far as saying that mind-building hobbies may actually prevent Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia!
1. Hand-Made Crafts: painting, embriodery, scrapbooking, anything that makes you feel happy and relaxed. Projects like these require your thought and attention. One medical study of heart patients found that heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate went down while participants worked on crafts.
2. Gardening: Being outside working with growing living things is a wonderful form of self-expression. Many people report feeling at peace while designing and planting a garden---even outdoor chores like weeding and raking leaves have been shown to provide stress-relief.
3. Playing with a Pet: Research shows pets provide wonderful social support. You've probably heard about the benefits of the "unconditional love"-kind of relationship that comes with caring for a pet. Health care centers and Hospices are paying attention to this research, and many offer Pet Therapy sessions. If you don't feel you have time to keep a pet yourself, many animal shelters welcome volunteer dog-walkers, etc.
4. Photography: You don't need a big, fancy, expensive camera to exprience the positive feelings that can come when you shut out everything else around you and look at the big world through a tiny lens for a few minutes. Focusing in on something in that way allows you to more fully see and appreciate the beauty in life around you.
5. Physical Activity/Sports: If you're able to bowl, or ski, or walk with a friend or two, you're getting multi-health benefits. The activity itself, of course, will strengthen your body and brain, as well as trigger hormones in the brain that will help to rellieve stress. Doing the activity with others helps self-esteem and confidence by allowing you to feel part of a healthy, positive group.
This project is a nice way to keep children familiar with relatives who live far away, or who have passed away. Try not to feel rushed with this project. Spend time smiling and sharing stories about the people in the pictures. When complete, display it, or use the pictures and leaves, and add little written facts and stories about each family member to create a scrapbook that you'll cherish for years to come.
What Do I Need?
Assorted colors of cardstock (find it in the scrapbooking section of most craft stores)
Leaf pattern/template - (we used a cookie cutter)
A variety of pictures of family members and pets
Tree branch with several shoots to be able to hang leaves from
Flower pot or other container
Styrofoam ball or foam brick
Spanish moss or shredded colored paper
Acid-Free Glue Stick (safest for working with photos)
How Do I Make It?
1. Trace and cut out several leaves on the different pieces of cardstock
2. Cut out faces of family members from pictures
3. Glue the cut out pictures to the leaf shapes. Write the name of the person somewhere on the leaf (on the back if you'd like to play a little "Who's Who in the Family" game with the kids)
4. Punch a hole in each leaf, insert some thread and tie to make a loop to use to hang the leaf from the tree branch.
5. Wedge a Styrofoam piece into the flowerpot, or other container you are using to support your family tree; insert the branch into the foam to secure it.
6. Hang your leaves with pictures on the branch to create your tree.
7. Use Spanish moss or shredded paper to fill in around the base of the branch and finish off the look.