Remote working sounded like a good thing when the pandemic first began. We could skip travelling to the office, spend more time at home, and generally organise our days around our daily commitments. But soon, most of us realised that remote work was not all win-win. For one, that there was no end time to your workday and working late or extra hours became extremely common. Then the constant pall of Covid looming large gave us the jitters. And also, not knowing when it would all end made us teeter between depression and flourishing - a state called languishing. Some of us may still be feeling that way.

But humans are a resourceful lot. We can definitely find productive hobbies at home to keep ourselves busy, entertained and productive. There are various hobbies for work from home employees that we can pursue to wind down. Here are five such hobbies for remote workers that are both easy and fun.

1. Yoga: Yoga is one of the simplest hobbies for remote workers. Not only is yoga easy to do; studies have also shown that yoga has several mental health benefits like lifting mood and self-esteem and also reducing anxiety and depression. Yoga can purportedly improve physical and mental health in at least 38 ways, as studies from both India and the West will ratify.

Another form of gentle workout like yoga that some people may prefer is tai chi. Tai chi is a graceful form of exercise that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi is known to lower stress, depression, and anxiety as well.

The third type of gentle physical activity that can be taken up for relaxation is Pilates, a type of mind-body exercise that also confers various mental health benefits such as improving focus and concentration and reducing stress and anxiety. So grab the yoga mat, and get started!

2. Art: Studies have shown that colouring reasonably complex geometric patterns like mandalas may induce meditative states that may benefit individuals suffering from “inner chaos” or anxiety. Whether it is colouring mandalas, or sketching, painting, or even colouring something, the benefits of art are adequately documented. Again, this is one of the simpler hobbies for employees that you can develop and pursue.

If physical art is not possible, these days there are also apps that allow you to colour by number. Other similar relaxing hobbies for employees working from home that you can actively pursue are calligraphy, candle making, and pottery, among others. There are also enough resources available and enough workshops online to learn and pursue these hobbies without burning a hole in the pocket. So bring out the canvasses and your brushes from the closet, awaken the da Vinci within, and paint your way to bliss.  

3. Music: Not without reason is it said that sometimes music is the only medicine the heart and soul need. Last year when the world was locked down, videos of Italians singing in their balconies became viral. They may have been on to something because music is also known to have several psychological benefits such as improving cognitive performance, reducing stress, or manage pain, or even helping you sleep better. According to some studies, community singing can make you happier. So, it may not just be fun to gather all your family members and belt out your favourite songs, but also immensely healthy for your mind.

Even if you do not fancy yourself as a singer, you can play an instrument. Some instruments are relatively easy to learn and get a hang of. And you do not need to be an expert to get the benefits. Even dabbling in it may well be enough. Again, there are several apps and workshops on your mobile phone that can get you started with this music therapy at home.

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4. Pet parenting: There are dozens, nay hundreds, of studies that talk about the benefits of keeping pets. Keeping dogs may help reduce anxiety, improve self-confidence, and keep you grounded. Author Dean Koontz said, “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” Having a pet can also help you meet new people.

If you are not a dog person, keep a cat. Keeping a cat can be relaxing too and provide many benefits, once again like reducing stress and anxiety, among others. Or, if you just do not have the time, keep a fishbowl or an aquarium. Just watching fish in an aquarium is known to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Even something as passive as a fish in a bowl may help you relax after a stressful day. Once again, there are apps that aim to provide that as well, by keeping a virtual pet. If nothing, you could get one there.

5. Cooking: One of the most common categories of posts on Instagram during the lockdown was people posting pictures of their culinary ‘masterpieces’. Those who could not cook started learning the basics, while those who could, expanded their repertoire. Those who had the advantage of having an oven also tried their hand at baking. Cooking is super relaxing, and people find it cathartic. While many people do not like cooking, especially if it is a compulsory, unavoidable chore every day, regardless of other pressures, cooking and baking for those who need a relaxing hobby can be meditative, giving birth to a protocol called culinary therapy. Cooking also does not need to be complicated. Even the simplest of dishes can make you happier and proud of your handiwork.  

Apart from these hobbies, there are plenty of other hobbies for remote workers that you can check out. According to one research, knitting decreases the average heart rate and relaxes the body. Gardening has several mental health benefits, and so do activities like photography and flower arrangement. Thus, there is really no dearth of productive hobbies at home that you can take up and beat the pandemic blues. What hobby do you find most relaxing?