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Recreational activities are supposed to help you reduce stress, relax, and connect with others. But many common recreational activities seem too intensive or too demanding to qualify. Certain hobbies like running seem objectively miserable to some people, and even if you love competitive sports, recreational matches can be taxing.
So what are some of the best recreational activities that truly allow you to destress and relax?
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Buying and maintaining a boat does cost some money, but probably less than you think. If you live near water, you can take your boat out for a wide range of different recreational activities, such as fishing, wakeboarding, and water skiing. With properly installed dock ladders, you can even go swimming and easily reboard the vessel. And if you want, you can simply sunbathe in silence in the middle of the water, where no one else will bother you.
Hiking is a somewhat physically demanding activity, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly intense one. There are plenty of beginner paths that allow you to experience the wonders of nature and breathe fresh air without requiring you to exhaust your muscles or push yourself to the brink. Go slowly to fully appreciate your surroundings – and try out different routes and areas.
Advanced yoga positions can be challenging, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics. A yoga routine based on the fundamentals gives you an opportunity to breathe thoughtfully, stretch, and ultimately bring your body and mind to a place of greater relaxation. As you become stronger and more flexible, you can work your way up to more challenging routines – but you certainly don’t have to.
Coloring and Doodling
Some people see coloring as a children’s activity, and there’s no doubt that most children love coloring, but this activity is repetitive enough yet stimulating enough to be highly destressing for most adults. Find a coloring book based on a theme you genuinely enjoy, get yourself a set of colored pencils, crayons, or markers, and go to town. There are no rules here; you can even color outside the lines. And if you have some artistic ability or a creative streak, you can go a step further and start doodling your own creations.
Word and Number Puzzles
Puzzles based on words and numbers force you to think, but not so hard that you feel exhausted by the end of them. You can zone out while listening to music and rely on your experience and mental abilities to guide you through the completion of each challenge. And if you’re tired of the same-old Sudoku and crossword puzzles, don’t worry – there are literally hundreds of types of puzzles you can try for something fresh.
You may not consider yourself a dancer, but that doesn’t really matter. Anyone can dance. All you need to do is find a song, or preferably a playlist of songs, that you truly enjoy. When you immerse yourself in that music, you might feel yourself grooving without even trying – and if you put some energy into it, dancing can be a great, stress-relieving exercise.
Miscellaneous Arts and Crafts
There are countless arts and crafts that can help you relax and relieve stress in your life, from knitting to carpentry. Experiment with different techniques and approaches to see what fits your personality – you might be surprised at what you discover about yourself.
Even if you don’t believe you have advanced culinary skills, with a bit of practice, you can develop all the abilities necessary to follow standard baking recipes. With time and experience, you may be able to create some of your own. And at the end of this relaxing, mindful activity, you’ll have a fresh batch of goodies to enjoy.
The benefits of meditation are well-established in the scientific community, and it’s something you can practice even without any investment or prior experience. In fact, there are many different types of meditation you can try. One of the most popular forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation, which encourages you to focus exclusively on the present moment, letting go of any thoughts about the past or future. The activity itself may not be fun (in the strictest sense), but it’s ideal for relieving stress and getting to a more relaxed state.
Keep in mind that every person is different, and that even the activities on this list may seem unappealing or be ineffective for some types of people. For example, if you don’t typically enjoy music and the idea of physical activity turns you off, dancing probably isn’t a good fit. You owe it to yourself to try a wide range of different recreational activities so you can determine which ones fit best with your goals and lifestyles.