15 hobbies for women in their 20s (that make life better)

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It’s all too easy to get lost in the void of endless Netflix marathons.

Free time can feel precious, so how can you make the most of it?

Take a look at these hobbies for women in their 20s that will nurture your body, mind, and soul.

15 hobbies for women in their 20s (that make life better)

1) Grow your own garden (even inside)

Admittedly, I’m not really the maternal type. But becoming a plant mama has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Seriously, I got way too much of a thrill watching some red pepper seeds sprout last month that I’d planted straight out of a store-bought pepper.

It felt like magic.

There’s just something innately satisfying about nurturing another living thing. But luckily it doesn’t come with quite the same responsibility as pets and babies (phew).

This timeless hobby keeps rising in popularity. And for good reason. Maybe it’s the ideal antidote for our tech-driven, always connected, modern lives.

Getting green-fingered is totally possible with both limited space and even if you have zero outdoors.

If you’re questioning whether this sounds like a bit of a limited hobby. I mean, how much does it take to look after a few pot plants, right?!

Actually, with so much variety in the plant species, the scope is much wider than you might think.

It can also be super cheap and easy to get started with. You could:

  • Grow your own veggies and fruits in pots
  • Have herb gardens
  • Convert crates into mini gardens
  • Get creative with your indoor spaces by making hanging wall gardens.
  • Make biodomes to support more exotic and tropical plants.
  • Create terrarium displays around your home

How will it make your life better?

Well, research by NASA has found that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a British University study concluded that green spaces can increase productivity by 15%, improve concentration, reduce stress, and lift your mood.

So, you look after them, and they’ll look after you.

2) Ferment your own superfoods

At the risk of offending anyone, I’ve always found baking a bit boring. Fermentation on the other hand isn’t just food, it’s science.

Us humans have been fermenting since the Neolithic age.

The living organisms that initiate fermentation help keep us alive. They’re basically those beneficial bacteria we hear a lot about today.

 As BBC Good Food explains:

“Fermented food and drinks are produced via controlled microbial growth and enzyme actions, which convert some of the food’s components into other compounds. During fermentation, microorganisms like bacteria, yeast or fungi convert organic compounds like sugars and starch into alcohol or acids. These act as natural preservatives and improve the taste and texture of fermented foods, leaving them with a distinctive strong, salty and slightly sour flavour.”

I’ve been a kombucha (fermented black tea drink) addict for years. Largely because it tastes like soda but as a gut-friendly probiotic is really good for you.

It’s not cheap to buy from the store. But luckily last year I discovered that you can make it at home for next to nothing.

As well as brewing your own kombucha, you could try:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Yogurt and kefir
  • Sourdough bread
  • Tempeh
  • Fermented vegetables

How will it make your life better?

Other than it being super satisfying to play around with fermentation to create your own food and drink, there are also plenty of reported health benefits.

We’re talking about all the “anti’s” covered…anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-atherosclerotic activity.

You can help your body to keep on fighting the good by making your gut happy, all whilst exploring a new hobby.  

3) Get crafty

Remember the pride you felt as a kid simply from sticking empty yogurt pots together or gluing a few bits of macaroni to a piece of paper?

Maybe it’s time to tap into that innocent enthusiasm and inner well of creativity again, but bring it up to date in a slightly more adult (and hopefully useful) way.

Whatever you’re into, I’m willing to bet there’s a craft out there that will float your boat.

Whether it’s:

  • Pottery and ceramics
  • Jewelry making
  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Candle making
  • Making Your Own Clothes
  • Painting
  • Soap making
  • Tie-dying
  • Making dream catchers

How will it make your life better?

In short: creativity promotes well-being.

Research has shown that even small daily acts of creativity help cultivate positive psychological functioning.

Getting into a craft, no matter which one you choose, has the potential to boost your moods, reduce stress, decrease cognitive decline, and improve mental agility.

Plus you can start gifting what you make for presents and save a fortune on Christmas gifts.

4) Volunteer or get involved in activism

Don’t just make life better for you, make it better for someone else too.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, meet people who share similar interests, and grow as a person.

There are so many ways to volunteer, whether it’s helping out at an animal shelter, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or working with a nearby charity.

If there are causes you feel passionate about, why not consider becoming an activist?

From environmentalism to social justice, there are countless causes worth getting behind.

Just think about how you’d like to see things change and then find a cause that resonates with you.

How will it make your life better?

Of all the hobbies on the list, arguably this one has one of the greatest potential to come with a real sense of achievement.

It can build confidence and social skills. You’ll learn new things. It could even help you get a better job one day.

If you’re looking for a meaningful and fulfilling hobby, this could be it. Research has shown that giving back is good for us.

Scientists say that doing things for others releases endorphins in the brain, which makes us feel better through a sort of “helper’s high.”

Better self-esteem, lower stress, less depression, greater happiness and satisfaction, and even a longer life — studies have shown a wide range of personal benefits from giving back through volunteer work.

5) Mindfulness, breathwork, and meditation

All of these different practices have the same purpose. They’re about trying to become as fully present as possible.

Ok, so technically mindfulness is less of a hobby and more of a way of life. But it’s still something worthy of practicing and making time for. Which is why it still makes the list.

By being mindful, we’re able to notice our thoughts and feelings without reacting to them.

We’re also able to observe ourselves objectively, rather than letting our emotions cloud our judgment.

Various forms of meditation, breathwork, yoga, pilates, tai chi, and qigong are all great tools for cultivating mindfulness.

How will it make your life better?

There are so many scientific studies bestowing the virtues of mindfulness. Including:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Help treat depression
  • Increase body satisfaction
  • Improve cognition
  • Reduce distractions

Starting a mindfulness practice might have an incredibly profound shift in your life.

In his book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism, Lachlan Brown explains how mindfulness helped him:

“I noticed that I started getting breaks from my “monkey mind” and began to be less wrapped up in anxiety about the future.

I began to see that the only way to truly go forward was to accept my life as it currently was – to live in each breath.”

6) Boxing

Build your strength, stamina, and overall fitness…and learn how to kick ass at the same time.

If you’re a pacifist, don’t worry, I take boxing lessons and you don’t actually have to hit anyone in the face.

You can just take out all of your pent-up aggression on a bag.

If boxing doesn’t feel like your thing then other ones to consider could be martial arts like:

  • Jiu-Jitsu
  • Aikido
  • Kung Fu
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Karate
  • Kickboxing

How will it make your life better?

Sorry Marilyn, but I think you got it wrong. Forget diamonds, the art of self-defense is actually a 21st-century girl’s real best friend.

This empowering hobby can make you feel pretty badass.

Plus, it’s less boring than the gym but with all the same great exercise health benefits.

7) Learn an unusual instrument

Sure, you can learn a more conventional instrument too.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to play guitar. For me, it’s always been piano I’ve been curious to try.

But there’s also a wide range of pretty weird and wonderful instruments out there. So don’t be afraid to try something a bit different.

More unusual choices might include:

  • Harmonica,
  • Bongos
  • Crystal singing bowls
  • Didgeridoo
  • Banjo
  • Bagpipes
  • Mandolin

How will it make your life better?

Other than giving you a cool thing to reveal about yourself at dinner parties, learning an instrument has other perks.

According to Brain Facts:

“Playing a musical instrument is the brain equivalent of a full-body workout. Unlike other brain-training activities like chess and sudoku, playing an instrument recruits almost every part of the brain, including regions that process vision, sound, movement, and memory.”

8) Get on stage

Don’t dim your light for anyone. Maybe it’s time to step into the limelight.

When we’re younger it brought us joy simply to escape into a world of make-believe and fantasy.

We loved to sing, dance, and play pretend. And we did it far more freely. Sadly, a lot of us lose touch with that feeling as we get older and more self-conscious.

Creativity is key, but so many of us don’t give ourselves permission to play anymore.

If you want to get experimental with some performance arts then you could join an improv class, take stand-up comedy lessons, or find an amateur theatre and dramatics group.

Take singing lessons, join a choir, or maybe get your groove on and learn a new style of dance.

There are plenty of online resources and courses, even if you don’t find anything locally.

How will it make your life better?

Self-expression and self-understanding.  

It’s a great way to have fun but also face your fears.

Putting yourself out there and taking part in performance arts can feel vulnerable, but that’s exactly why it can also be a great confidence booster.

It’s an expressive art form that encourages you to stand up and show yourself to the world.

9) Learn a language

I currently live in Portugal, and I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I’m still trudging along trying to learn the language even after many years.

Needless to say, I’m not a natural linguist. But I’m getting there.

And the sense of progress that comes with teaching yourself something new (and challenging) makes it worth it.

There are literally thousands of languages spoken across the globe.

From free apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Busuu to online course providers like Babbel or Rosetta Stone, learning a language at home is super accessible.

How will it change your life?

Learning a language opens up a whole new world of culture, history, and understanding.

There’s also evidence that learning new vocabulary boosts memory, and can make you a better multi-tasker and problem solver.

And if that fails to impress, how about this:

It can literally grow the size of your brain. In particular, flexing those brain muscles helps to pump up the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

10) Astronomy

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently”

— Bill Watterson.

Stargazing is a humbling hobby that has the power to put life in perspective.

You can use the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope to observe celestial objects in the night sky.

The Royal Astronomical Society suggests one of the best ways to get started doesn’t need to involve any fancy equipment:

“For anyone completely new to astronomy, the first step is to become familiar with the night sky, how it changes through the night and season by season, and how it varies according to the observer’s latitude. A planisphere (or “star wheel”), monthly sky guide, or computer software will help with this.”

How will it make your life better?

Looking up into the night sky creates a sense of awe and wonder for many of us.

It’s actually a powerful reminder of how vast and mysterious life really is.

You can even end up making your mark, as according to the Royal Astronomical Society, “it’s one of the few sciences where amateurs make genuine contributions to research”.

11) Creative writing

I say creative writing, but really, just writing, in general, can be such a great hobby.

Whether you’re penning a novel, short story, poem, essay, blog post, or anything else, writing gives you a chance to express yourself creatively.

And when you do so, you’ll find that it brings you closer to other human beings. I may be biased, but I think that writing connects you to others on a deeper level.

It’s a great outlet for expressing emotions, thoughts, ideas, and feelings. And it can also give you an opportunity to reflect on what matters to you.

Some varied ways to introduce writing as a hobby could be:

Journaling and scrapbooking

Keeping a log of your thoughts and feelings as an outlet. You can also answer poignant journaling prompts as a way to gain better self-knowledge and understanding.

Letter writing

In the era of texting and DM’s, there is something deeply romantic and intimate about the idea of writing letters to loved ones or even pen pals in other parts of the world.

Write your own book

You know what they say, everybody has a book in them. Maybe it’s time to get started on yours?

How will writing improve your life?

Writing is a way to connect with yourself and others.

It’s a form of self-expression that allows you to share your experiences, thoughts, and opinions.

Along with better communication skills and creativity, journaling has been found to reduce stress and boost health and well-being.

12) Puzzles

Before you mock it, let me just say, don’t knock it until you try it.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, I did my very first jigsaw puzzle and it was so damn therapeutic.

Puzzles and games help to build mental strength and can reduce stress levels. They’re almost like an active form of mindfulness.

There are many different types of puzzles out there, from crosswords to sudoku, word searches, and more.

You’ll find plenty of puzzle apps for your phone, or you can always unplug and go old-school with physical puzzles and puzzle books.

How will it make your life better?

Puzzles are play that sneakily serve as brain training.

They challenge your mind and stimulate your memory.

Some more brain perks of puzzling include brushing up on the following skills:

  • Reasoning,
  • Problem-solving skills
  • hand-eye coordination
  • Spatial arrangements
  • Deduction and logical thought processes

Research even found it has the potential to keep conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay.

13) Backpacking

Backpacking is a great hobby if you are longing to get away from it all.

It’s a great way to see new places and get out into the world. But you certainly don’t need to spend months interrailing around Europe, you can do it in your own backyard.

Pack a bag, take with you the bare necessities, and hit the trail.

You can take day trips hiking, go camping overnight somewhere, and simply explore the nature around you.

There is something about the feeling of freedom and self-sufficiency when you’re alone in the wilderness…or even at your local campsite.

You can hike through forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and beaches.

The beauty of backpacking is that it doesn’t have to cost much money. All you really need is a tent, sleeping bag, food, water, and some basic supplies.

How will it make your life better?

Research has shown that backpacking and hiking in nature help your mental health by combating negative thinking and low self-esteem.

Studies have also proven it’s a big stress buster.

The evidence suggests that even a shorter 90-minute hike can still have powerful results that create changes in the brain to make you happier.

14) Photography

Photography is another hobby that can be done anywhere, anytime.

Whether you want to capture memories of your travels, document your everyday life, or learn how to improve your photography skills, this is a hobby that will never run out of inspiration.

If you’ve got a smartphone, you already have access to a camera. But you can also pick up a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera pretty cheaply, which is like a point-and-shoot camera but offers better quality.

But the great thing about photography is it really is less about the equipment and more about cultivating a creative eye.

How will it change your life?

Taking photographs is an art form that inspires you to seek out beauty and notice the smallest of details in the world around you.

As a non-verbal form of communication, it can allow you to express and understand yourself in different ways.

As an added bonus, you’re effectively collecting memories and documenting your life when you take up photography as a hobby.

15) Upcycling

You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And you could make a hobby out of converting trash into treasures.

Upcycling involves creatively reusing and transforming outdated items into something new.

You can use anything from old clothes to furniture and discarded household items, to turn them into something useful and one-of-a-kind.

You may have some things lying around the house that you could get started on straight away. Or you can also trawl flea markets, online second-hand bargains, junk stores, and thrift shops.

Upcycling doesn’t need a big budget, just plenty of imagination.

What will it bring to your life?

Upcycling is such a great way to unleash your creativity in clever and unique ways.

If you’re looking for an environmentally conscious hobby, this could be a great option.

In today’s throw-away culture it encourages us all to repurpose and reuse, having a direct positive impact. As explained by Future Learn:

“The environmental benefits of upcycling are mammoth, aside from minimising the volume of discarded materials and waste being sent to landfill each year, it also reduces the need for production using new or raw materials which means a reduction in air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and often a conservation of global resources.”

Can a relationship coach help you too?

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Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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