Pick up a new hobby (and put down your phone)

Ditch the doomscrolling for a more creative or relaxing activity.

Three watercolor paintings sit side by side in triptych formation. The left shows rugged stripes of green with pen drawing, the middle shows a sunset sky background against the Vaux's swifts at Chapman Elementary, and on the right is a branch with two oranges.

Whether it’s watercolor or gardening, just having something creative to focus on can do wonders for mental health.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Hobbies have no pressure attached to them — by definition, they’re purely for enjoyment and expression. You can’t always say the same about life, which is why having a creative outlet (dare we say escape) is so important.

With just a little time and effort, you can learn a new skill — or pick up where you left off on a past passion no matter how long it’s been. Though the list of hobbies you can pursue in Portland is long, here are some ideas to get you started.

Painting

From Multnomah Arts Center to High Low Art Space, there are plenty of opportunities to brush up on your artwork and add a splash of color to your palette. There are classes for a variety of media (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and at every experience level. Bringing your friends to an event at Bottle & Botega is a great way to get started (they also have at-home paint kits).

Birding

If you can’t get enough of the outdoors and love being more in-tune with the natural world, get involved with Portland Audubon. The nonprofit offers free outings, paid ecotours, and online classes where you’ll learn to spot and identify birds and gain in-depth knowledge of our region’s feathered fauna.

Baking

Sugar, butter, flour — find the ingredients for lifetime of making yummy treats by joining a virtual class with BettBakes or pack your apron for an in-person session at Cookshop. Ready, set... bake!

A potter deftly shapes a cylinder from clay using their hands and a sponge at Elemental Studios PDX.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Pottery and ceramics

Throwing a lump of clay on the wheel and shaping it into a vase seems like it’s one of the most satisfying/frustrating/rewarding things a human can do. At Elemental Studios, owner and instructor Casey Campbell incorporates wellness and mindfulness principles into each workshop. Check out these other ceramics studios.

What kind of hobby do you like to do in your free time? Let us know.

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