Hobbies that Boost Mental Health in Retirement

Hobbies that Boost Mental Health in Retirement

Retirement can be daunting if you’re accustomed to a routine dictated by your work schedule. Today, 20% of adults aged 60 or over experience some form of mental health issue, while 3.8% suffer from anxiety.

However, retirement also represents a beautiful opportunity to discover new interests and spend time with loved ones.

The hobbies you’ll discover during retirement can boost your mental health, too. Even easy-going activities, like gardening and hiking, can significantly strengthen your overall well-being.

Purposeful Hobbies

It’s easy to feel at a loss when you enter retirement. Without a 9 to 5, you may find it challenging to fill your days and could become lonely. Hobbies can help you shrug off the retirement blues and allow you to meet new, like-minded people.

Consider taking up purposeful hobbies in retirement like:

  • Social Sports: Easy-going sports, like golf and swimming, can boost your physical well-being and help you connect with your community. Consider setting some short-term goals, too, as this will help you appreciate your progress.
  • Creative Arts: Retirement is the perfect time to reflect on your experiences and produce art that reflects your personality. Try not to overwhelm yourself with expectations and focus on learning new techniques by joining a local art club or society.
  • Nature and Travel: Exploring the world in retirement is a great way to broaden your horizons. Consider joining a local hiking group or travel society for older folks. This will help you connect with like-minded people while engaging with new cultures.

New hobbies can reignite your passion for self-development and boost your mental health. Recently published research shows that engaging in sports can reduce levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. The researchers also found that working with a team has “additional benefits for mental and social outcomes across adulthood”.

If working up a sweat while playing a sport isn’t appealing, consider creative arts that help you connect with the community. Pottery workshops, painting classes, and photography clubs will welcome you into the fold and help you learn the necessary skills and techniques. You may find the social support these clubs offer helpful, too, as other artists will understand your struggles.


Gardening is a great way to destress and reconnect with nature. Getting out in your yard is extremely popular, too. Research by The Australian Insitute found that 52% of Australian households grow their food for better health and mental well-being.

If you’re new to gardening, start simple and focus on raising a few annuals from seed. This will help you get used to planting, watering, and deadheading your garden. Planting a bed of annual flowers will also help you notice key factors like sunlight exposure, soil quality, and wind.

If you’re a more experienced green thumb, maximize your garden’s potential by landscaping your space. You can take up cheap landscaping projects like:

  • Create a walkway;
  • Mulch your flowerbeds;
  • Beautify your post box or lamp posts;
  • Add some atmospheric lighting;
  • Recycle household wares for use as planters.

These projects are cheap, straightforward, and instantly improve your outdoor space. This approach to gardening can even help you live on a reduced income while mitigating boredom.

As your garden grows, consider growing a few fruits and vegetables of your own. Growing your own produce is extremely rewarding and can boost your well-being. Try to raise crops that suit your garden’s climate and use plant hardiness zones to increase your chances of producing a bountiful garden.


Retirement is the perfect time to discover new hobbies and make friends with like-minded people. You’ll discover plenty about yourself after joining an art class or golfing society, too. Make time for yourself by taking up a restful activity like gardening. If you start to struggle, speak to your GP and seek help to put together a care plan for later life.


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