15 Stress Relieving Hobbies For Nurses (#13 is Unusual!)

hobbies for nurses

Are you looking for stress-relieving hobbies for nurses?

Every nurse should have at least one fun diversion. As the name suggests, hobbies “divert” your attention from the rigors and stress brought on by the nursing profession. Whether it be the actual physical hardships or workplace drama, hobbies are a fun and effective way to get your mind off work for a change and have F-U-N.

We’ve taken into consideration your limited time, energy reserves, and resoures. Here are fifteen stress-relieving hobbies that nurses can get into.

1. Gardening

Gardening is a hobby that’s a win on SO many levels. Simply being able to go out of doors and reveling in Nature will surely lift your mood and calm your mind. Studies have shown that being out in the sun and handling bacteria in the soil helps in releasing seratonin, our favorite “happy” hormone.

Gardening is also a very rewarding activity. Whether you’re gardening on a big plot of land or just planting off handy containers, you can grow your own vegetables and herbs for “clean eating”.

Get Started: Check out Gardening pins on Pinterest.

container gardening
Via blog.diynetwork.com

2. Adult Coloring Books

Coloring books aren’t just for children. They’re for adults too. Lawyers, business owners, and other busy professionals attest that coloring is very therapeutic and relaxing. People who are recuperating from an illness or going through a rough patch in life find coloring to be a calming diversion—almost like meditation.

The great thing about coloring books is that they need very little set up and cost very little. All you need is a coloring book and some crayons. If you want to get fancy though, you might want to check out anti-stress coloring books for adults. (Yes, there’s such a thing!)

Get Started: Check out Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) or The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People

Adult coloring

3. Knitting

If we were to tell you that knitting helps people overcome addictions, helps inmates reform, and relieves patients with chronic pain, that’s all very well right? But what about for nurses? How can knitting help you?

Because of the repetitive and rhythmic motions of this activity, many knitters find themselves destressing, relaxing and getting more calm. Knitters get “in the zone”. It is a great anti-depressant even, especially for nurses.

In 2010, two Oncology nurses wondered if knitting can mitigate “compassion fatigue” that many nurses experience. Oncology nurses are particularly prone to burnout because at the end of a hard day’s work, their patients are still suffering. Anderson and Urso worked with Project Knitwell volunteers and after measuring burnout scores 13 weeks into the knitting program, nurse participants displayed improved burnout scores and reported equally improved well-being. The sample group composed of nurses who were suffering from degrees of compassion fatigue loved the soothing rhythm of knitting and the distraction from work-related fatigue.

project knitwell
Via projectknitwell.org

Now if that story doesn’t persuade you that knitting is one of the best hobbies for nurses, just think of all the Christmas gifts you’ll get done!

Get Started: Find a knitting group in your hospital or the area where you live.


4. Reading

Ahh, reading. We LOVE reading. Reading lets you escape to any world you fancy. Do you like mystery? Romance? Fantasy? Horror? When you open a book, it is synonymous to opening a door to a new adventure.

And with the convenience of eBooks nowadays, you can easily stash hundreds of books into your gadget and start reading anytime. You don’t even need a night light!

Get Started: Check out Goodreads, a social platform for booklovers where you can follow your favorite authors and fellow readers.


5. Cooking

While nurses may scarf down breakfast and any other meal for that matter, you can still take up cooking as a hobby for those rare days when you have time. Some recipes are tailored for busy folks so have fun browsing the Internet.

Eating is one of life’s best pleasures and home cooked meals are the best and the healthiest.

Get Started: Join Facebook groups that specialize on the kind of cooking that you like.


6. Jewelry Making

If you’re pre-disposed to crafts and love handmade jewelry, why not take up this hobby? Studies show that DIY crafting works as an antidepressant and has the added benefit of protecting the brain from ageing.

And jewelry-making is so much fun! You get to browse the craft stores for pretty beads and stones. You can search the Internet for designs. And best of all, you can give out your best works as gifts for special occassions or even sell on Etsy.

Get Started: Check out Jewelry-making pins on Pinterest and Tumblr.


7. Photography

Do you like photography? Why not take it up as a hobby? If you already have the equipment, it’s easy just to go out on walks and snap away. With the digital age, taking pictures costs nothing and creating your portfolio in social media can be rewarding.

While actual photography equipment might be expensive, your mobile phone should be enough for a beginner or casual photographer. There are also numerous free apps in the Internet for filters and editing.

Get Started: Take a walk with your camera. Right now.


8. Scrapbooking

Are you the type to go crazy in stationary shops? Do you like hoarding ribbons and stickers and cute notebooks? If yes, you’re a natural scrapbooker. There’s a growing craze nowadays in Midori scrapbooking and you might want to check it out.

Basically, you get a passport-sized notebook you can carry around and journal with it. The fun is in collecting all your scrapbooking loot (of ribbons, stickers, highlighters, and colored pens), journalling, and “creating” each page. Some hardcore fans even carry portable printers in their bags.

scrapbook page
Via stitchintime.typepad.com

It sounds easy but it’s a very detailed and creative process depending on how much effort you want to put into it. It’s one of our favorite hobbies for nurses. Scrapbooking is guaranteed to take your mind off any stressors at work.

Get Started: Get inspiration from Pinterest pins. Visit your local stationary shop for some goodies.

Via peppercreations.blogspot.com

Also Read: 10 Nursing Shadow Boxes On Pinterest That Will Inspire You To Make Your Own

9. Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to engage yourself. They don’t take up so much time and can be picked up at any time. You can carry a booklet of puzzles around or find a fun app on your phone. They don’t cost much but they’re a great brain-bender.

Get Started: Make a visit to your local bookstore and check out what puzzles or boardgames they have. You can also go online too to see the full selection of what’s available and popular.


Also Read: 15 Educational Nursing Games That You Can Play Online

10. Music

Music is a medium that heals and soothes whether you’re listening to it or creating it. Studies have found that music therapy lessens anxiety and uplifts mental health.

So, if you’re feeling down in the dumps or if work is getting in your nerves, we prescribe a quiet walk as you listen to your favorite music. Music can’t be beat as one of the best hobbies for nurses.

Get Started: Update your playlists with new tracks.

listening to music

Remember to stay away from loud, angry music though. The stress hormone cortisol wreaks havoc on your mental and physical health. To reduce your cortisol levels, listen to gentle music with a familiar melody.

playing the guitar

11. Blogging

There’s nothing like venting your feelings out! Let out your frustrations by blogging on the Internet. Many nurses have found audiences of thousands by talking humorously about the nursing profession. And an added bonus? They’re making big bucks doing it!

Get Started: Check out Top 100 Nursing Blogs That Matter for inspiration.

12. Keeping a Pet

Just to keep things realistic, if you’re living alone, keeping a pet might not be possible given your hectic schedule. But, if you live with other people who can take care of your pet when you’re at work (or passed out in bed), you should definitely consider keeping an adoring dog or a personality-laden cat (just to name the most common choices).

Here’s why (and it’s pretty darn interesting):

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those without pets.
  • People with pets who are in stressful professions or situations tend to have lower blood pressure than people without pets. The same goes for mental health.
  • Playing with pets elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which make you happy, calm, and relaxed.

Get Started: Check out the animal shelter near you. A poor little soul might just be waiting for you.

girl with pet

13. Mushroom Hunting

Unlikely as it may sound, mushroom hunting or mushrooming is now a growing hobby. There are books and seminars on the subject, and parks and nature centers are offering classes.

If you’re just going out to hunt particular species, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes, a guidebook, and maybe a camera. If you plan on eating these delicious wild delicacies though, it’s best to partner with a veteran or a seasoned group to avoid accidental poisoning.

Get Started: Go online and search for a mushroom hunting group in your town or state. Purchase a good mushroom hunting guidebook.

mushroom hunting

14. Biking

Biking is freedom. If you live in an area with bike lanes or places that can be explored on a bike, then biking is a fantastic hobby to take up. It’s a great cardio workout and an awesome way to get out of doors.

Get Started: Bike! Travel! Explore!


15. Home Brewing

Do you love beer? Enough to get into the art of crafting it?

Home brewing is another growing activity and home brewers agree that brewing beer is fun and easy. They even say that if you can make mac and cheese from scratch, you should be able to DIY your own beer too!

Get Started: Do your research and pick up a basic kit.



Don’t forget! Have fun with others!

While a lot of the above stress relieving hobbies for nurses are solitary in nature, the fun really starts when you meet and get together with people who have the same passion as you. It’s very easy nowadays to find like-minded people. You can find groups on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media sites. You can also find local chapters in your vicinity. And if you prefer being with fellow nurses, why, you can start your own group in your hospital.

There’s nothing like having a knitting circle, a home brewers group, or even a mushroom finding expedition to melt away that work fatigue that can otherwise bog you down.

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