6/22/2022 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Do you know how to choose the right hobby after retirement? A meaningful hobby will be enjoyable while providing important benefits.

Retirement is a time of change. After a few blissful weeks of doing nothing, it can be intimidating – even depressing – to know how to fill all that empty time. By pursuing a hobby, you can fill the time with something that’s beneficial, meaningful, and enjoyable. These practical tips on how to choose the right hobby – whether a new pursuit or something tried and familiar – can help you make the transition to a regularly fun-filled life.

Benefits of pursuing an enjoyable hobby

In your professional life, doing things at a high level was valuable. If you begin a new hobby after retirement, however, you’ll probably start at a lower level, with plenty of mistakes and novice outcomes. From a new sport like pickleball or Tai Chi to a creative art like pottery or painting, your efforts may reflect your beginner status. But that’s OK! This is the time to ease up on your expectations, to let loose, and not expect perfection. And have fun, so you will stay engaged.

A hobby provides plenty of benefits, from the satisfaction of trying something new and fun, to specific mental and physical benefits. A hobby can:

  • Relieve stress
  • Alleviate boredom
  • Bolster mental health
  • Help improve or maintain physical health
  • Build relationships
  • Help you earn extra money
  • Help you grow as a person and expand your horizons
  • Stimulate your mind and keep your intellect sharp

Tips to help you choose the right hobby after retirement

What are the traits of the “right” hobby? It should be a source of joy. It may be challenging but not impossible. It should be an activity that occupies your time in a positive manner and provides benefits to your life. In looking for a meaningful hobby after retirement, look for the following characteristics.

1. The right hobby will have resources for learning.

Imagine the frustration of setting your mind on a new hobby (or improving upon a familiar one) only to discover there are few resources to help you learn, practice, or improve! Unless you’re a tenacious maverick, you’ll be better off identifying possible resources before digging in.

You can find a wealth of information in books, magazines, blogs, and online tutorials. Check your local libraries for a start. Online videos demonstrate a diversity of skills, from knitting and other crafts to mastering ethnic cuisine.

Better yet, classes and groups enable you to join with like-minded people to learn, ask questions, share tips – and enjoy the chance to gather and socialize. The local parks and rec departments may be able to connect you with such classes, clubs, or meetings where you can meet new people with the same interests.

2. The right hobby will offer opportunities to socialize.

adults in an art class. photo by Monkey Business Images, Dreamstime. Do you know how to choose the right hobby after retirement? A meaningful hobby will be enjoyable while providing important benefits.

Retirement often leaves us bereft of time with people, making it even more important to find social opportunities elsewhere.

Having a hobby after retirement is important for your mental health. It can be anything from playing the guitar to painting to dancing. Whether learning or participating, the right hobby will help you stay active and bring you in touch with people who have similar interests.

Consider how a hobby can keep you in touch with people.

  • After learning an instrument, such as the fiddle or ukulele, you can connect with music lovers for jam sessions, church or civil club performances, or getting together to watch others perform.
  • Sports like pickleball, Skee-Ball, cornhole, or bocce can bring you together with other players. Even individual sports can be social – look for running groups that welcome those of all abilities, or for other sports with inclusive training teams, like triathlons and distance biking. Involvement with groups like this can extend to serving on a group’s board and volunteering at competitions and other events.
  • Through an acting or improvisation class, you’ll be in touch with small theatrical groups and improv theaters that offer opportunities for continuous learning and for ongoing performances.
  • Cooking classes not only provide for group engagement, your friends will likely be happy to let you share your newfound skills with them!
  • Besides taking yoga or meditation – improving your own sense of mindfulness, centeredness, and relaxation – you can take classes to earn certifications to teach.
  • Find volunteer opportunities, such as teaching children, helping maintain an art studio, coaching a youth running club in an underserved school, etc.
  • Look for a part-time job that includes your hobby: an arts supply store, running or biking store, music store, etc.
  • Consider a hobby that you can learn and practice with your spouse, partner, or close friends.

3. The right hobby will stimulate your intellect and keep your brain sharp.

four seniors bicycling on a wooded trail photo by Robert Kneschke Dreamstime. Do you know how to choose the right hobby after retirement? A meaningful hobby will be enjoyable while providing important benefits.

Continued learning is especially important for senior adults in maintaining brain health. While most any new pursuit can stimulate the mind, you can get targeted benefits from playing games chess and Scrabble, or learning a new instrument. Physical activities such a cycling, hiking, and running also support brain health.

4. The right hobby will whet your creativity.

Creativity helps expand our minds and keep our brains healthy. It’s the key to innovation and problem solving. When we’re creative, we try new ideas and break out of our habits. Plus it’s satisfying and enjoyable.

5. The right hobby will be cost effective for you.

If you’re on a fixed income, you won’t want to take up an expensive hobby, like learning to fly a plane!

Some hobbies, on the other hand, might save you money (you create crafts that make worthwhile gifts, for example) or even add to your income. Perhaps you learn woodworking skills and can create marketable projects. Maybe you can teach your skills to others, too.

6. The right hobby will provide other important benefits.

Think about the benefits of a particular hobby, from those described above to other advantages.

  • Does it relieve stress? If your competitive streak means a competitive sport is likely to be stressful, try an individual sport instead. Or consider yoga, arts and crafts, Tai Chi, dancing, etc.
  • Does it improve and/or maintain your physical health?
  • Does it help you grow as a person and expand your horizons?

7. Most importantly, the right hobby after retirement will be enjoyable!

There is one thing you should never do: retire from life. Finding pursuits that you enjoy can keep you engaged.

These tips on how to choose the right hobby can help ensure you stay active and engaged.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.