By KAREN AUSTIN
Hard to believe a year has gone by while we’ve sheltered at home. For some, it’s brought a chance to reinvent themselves after losing track of personal interests pre-COVID while busy at work and raising children. Many people have taken advantage of the extra time at home to take up new hobbies or rekindle old interests.
Hobbies at home are the new go to outlet for entertainment, replacing time once spent on soccer fields, at movie theaters, or attending pro sporting events and concerts. According to Statista, “arts, crafts and design saw a 63% increase in web searches … compared to the pre-COVID period from Jan. 1 through March 13, 2020.” A resurgence of pastimes like gardening, sewing, carpentry, cooking, baking, crafting, geneaology, and fitness has been taking place. A hobby can add joy, purpose, accomplishment and a sense of connection and community to your life.
Set time aside to be active or find ways to relax. A walk, run or bike ride outside is still permissible, but if you’ve been displaced from your gym, try new online workouts for cardio, yoga and dance. Free fitness apps abound, like Fitness Blender, HASfit, Popsugar Fitness and Cosmic Kids Yoga for the younger set.
If you are starting to feel like you are in a pandemic rut, try something new or recommit to a former favorite activity. How about pulling out that old guitar or find a beginner ukulele starter bundle online? Learn a language with the help of language learning websites like Duolingo.com. Delve into your family history using geneaology sites like MyHeritage, Ancestry and FamilySearch, now offering free access and trials. Take advantage of free how-to craft YouTube tutorials and free classes at Michaels.com to learn and complete knitting, painting, cake decorating, jewelry-making and other crafts.
And then there’s bread! In the words of poet, Mary Oliver, “eat bread and understand comfort.” That’s just what Lori Mullen of Alvarado Estates did. She started a new hobby at home by learning to make bread.
“A friend mentioned that he was making sourdough bread. He gave me some of his sourdough starter and my sourdough journey began,” she recalled.
Mullen has since shared her starter with friends to help them do the same. She quipped, “Having sourdough starter is kind of like having a pet. It requires daily feeding, care and love, and in return gives you back so much more.”
While Mullen was baking bread, her neighbor and friend, Susan Clarke Crisafulli, planted a garden. She joined the ever growing number of hobbyists around the nation, as evidenced by a significant increase in gardening-related sales revenue during the pandemic (U.S. Census Bureau, Advanced Monthly Retail Trade Surveys, 2020).
“I have an herb garden with swiss chard and arugula,” she stated, adding, “more than we could eat, so we share them,” Clarke Crisafulli said.
Lori and Susan are staying connected even during the pandemic by swapping the fruits of their labor … er hobbies.
Both got started by easily accessing information online. Mullen turned to pantrymama.com for bread-making tips and Clarke Crisafulli found fantastic online support for gardening at mastergardenersd.org and www.californiagardenclubs.com
Stay safe, stay sane, stay engaged, stay connected. Time to put down a screen and pick up a hobby!
— Karen Austin writes on behalf of the Alvarado Estates Association.