I found trying new activities such as baking and dancing helped in my recovery from depression as it showed me my mind wasn’t fixed. It also helped build my confidence which in turn helped me to try other new things. Learning a new skill can be challenging, and sometimes a bit scary too, but learning with someone else can make that easier. There is even evidence that it can help grow new brain cells whatever your age!
You are much more likely to enjoy and stick to a new hobby if you started it because you want to, not because you feel you have to. So perhaps pick something you’ve been meaning to try for a while. Nobody is an expert when they start something new, so you will likely make mistakes along the way. We usually learn more from our mistakes than if we got it right the first time and by accepting we might make mistakes we can feel more comfortable challenging ourselves.
My children and I used to do indoor rock climbing. We used to say to each other that to improve we needed to know it’s okay to fall off the wall. The rope was always there. If we were too worried about falling we wouldn’t feel brave enough to stretch for the difficult holds and we never know what we were truly capable of. I’ve learnt to apply that lesson to life in general, as well as to my work, and it has opened up opportunities I wouldn’t have taken before.
You might feel you don’t have the time or energy to try something new but it doesn’t have to be something that takes up lots of time or be physically tiring. It could be trying out a new recipe rather than one you have cooked many times before perhaps. How about trying something creative or calming? Give yourself permission to give something new a go. I have actually found that trying something new can be energising, somehow the change seems to recharge my batteries.
So what new things can you try?
There are hundreds of possibilities, plus you can start small if you want to!
The Shoebox has lots of groups and projects to help you try new things with some great company and support, including Mark’s Baking for Wellbeing project. Visit www.theshoebox.org.uk.