Image: Chris Danger

Spring in Houston blooms with a sunny backdrop and warmer temps, making it the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. But as we enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, things haven’t been as sunny for some. “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a rise in new and existing cases of mental health crisis,” says Jacqueline Muñoz, LCSW at Houston-based therapy center The Muñoz Practice. “The pandemic has brought upon social isolation, unemployment, limited access to mental health services and the inability for people to engage in activities that they utilize to cope with their symptoms.” 

Although certain restrictions on travel and activities have been lifted, the effects of the initial shutdown still linger. A study cited by public health researchers at Brown University and Boston University found 32.8% of U.S. adults experienced an increase in depression symptoms in 2021, compared with 27.8% in early 2020 and 8.5% before the pandemic. More specifically, 2021 research by CVS Health found that 37% of Houstonians experienced an impact on anxiety, and 35% increased in stress. 

So how do we deal with this? While keeping to a routine of good hygiene, sleep and exercise were common tips to get us through the pandemic, hobbies also play an important role. In fact, researchers found that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress and depression, and those suffering from mild depression were able to lessen their feelings of depression overall. “Hobbies can help people with depression and anxiety occupy their mind and reduce negative thoughts and symptoms,” Muñoz says.

Although you can pick up a hobby at any time of the year, there’s just something in the air during spring that makes you want to clean out your home, refocus on your goals and start fresh. If trying something new isn’t calling you out of bed, it’s never too late to get back into something that you used to love. Now is the time to shake off the winter blues and get excited about a hobby.

Charcuterie Boards

Also known as “adult Lunchables,” charcuterie boards are the latest Instagrammable food craze since cake pops. Learn how to make your own delicious spread of fine meats, fruits and cheeses at one of ElevEats’ live, virtual or public charcuterie workshops. Visit ElevEats.com for booking details and pricing.

Roller Derby

Looking to refresh your usual workout routine? Lace up your skates and join a roller derby team for a fun and competitive change to your regular workout. The Conroe roller derby team is open to women and men aged 18 and older. Houston Roller Derby also has a variety of programs ranging from beginner skate camps to advanced leagues. Visit conroerollerderby.com for details. For Houston Roller Derby, visit houstonrollerderby.com.

Photography

Learn to express yourself through photography at one of Houston Center for Photography’s Levy Park workshops. Learn basic photography skills, including composition and lighting. Themed workshops are free and open to all levels of proficiency. Levy Park, 3801 Eastside St., Houston, TX 77098 (Meet under the Pavilion), 9-11 a.m., 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.

 

Love & Make in Rice Village offers candle making workshops among its DIY classes.

Image: Love & Make

Candle Making

Love & Make in Rice Village offers candle making workshops among its  lineup of DIY classes. Workshops include all materials to make a candle of your own. Register as a group or on your own.  Workshop classes are scheduled on Thursday evenings, Friday evenings and weekend days. Visit loveandmake.com for more details.

Wooden Home Décor

Make the custom home décor of your Pinterest dreams. The BYOB classes at the Rustic Brush offer instructor-led DIY projects with tons of different ideas available. Visit therusticbrush.com for locations and details.

 

Make breathtaking floral arrangements with the pros at Casa De Flores Design.

Floral Arrangements

Make breathtaking floral arrangements with help from the pros at Casa De Flores Design. The founder and creative director, Mariela Aguilar El-toukhy, was a contestant on HBOMax’s Full Bloom, and she’s sharing her top tips with Houston. Visit casadefloresdesign.com for workshop schedules and pricing.

Custom Makeup

What better way to break out of the winter blues and express your inner creativity than with a bold new lipstick? At MYX Blend Bar, you can learn to make your own custom lipstick shade. Visit myxblendbar.com for pricing and workshop reservations. 

Goat Yoga

What better way to take a yoga class than with adorable goats by your side? Houston Goat Yoga offers a Texas spin on the classic yoga class, featuring country music and at least 20 goats. Yogis of all skill levels are welcome to join. Visit goatyogahouston.com for location details and pricing.

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