7 Skills Anyone Can Learn Online or with Friends - Guest Blog by Cheryl Conklin
7 Skills Anyone Can Learn Online or with Friends uest Blog by Cheryl Conklin
(Image courtesy of Unsplash.com)
Do you ever feel like you're busy and bored all at once? Your life is tightly scheduled between work, school, family, and other responsibilities, leaving little time for leisure. When you do get downtime, it gets spent in front of the TV or computer for a lack of better things to do.
It's a reality for many of us. When you have little time, it's hard to make plans and cultivate interests. Instead, you reach for instant-gratification relaxation in the form of media. However, it's not the healthiest habit; studies have shown that while watching TV is an effective distraction from stress, it can leave you feeling worse than before. Rather than veg out in front of the TV, people seeking stress relief are better off doing something that engages their mind or body.
The next time you need to unwind, don't reach for the remote. Instead, try your hand at one of these seven skills that anyone -- regardless of age -- can learn online or with their friends.
Prepare to Learn
No matter what skill you want to learn, the internet has countless resources that you can take advantage of, and many of these are free. For example, there are many tutorials available on YouTube that can teach you about the skills listed below. There are also many apps that you can download to your smartphone that can connect you to a specific hobby or skill. Just be aware that if you’re using apps on your smartphone frequently, you may need to take a look at your data plan. If your current plan doesn’t include much data, it may be time to upgrade to an unlimited one; paying for an unlimited data plan for around $35 a month is a much more budget-friendly option than paying for data overages.
1. Playing an Instrument
Playing music is one of the best hobbies for strengthening your brain, but that's hardly the only reason to pick up an instrument. Playing music builds confidence, helps you meet friends, and is some of the best fun you can have without leaving your house. Even if you've never plucked a string in your life, you can start learning to play an instrument using online resources.
When is the last time you made art? Art class is part of our lives throughout childhood, but as we enter careers, most of us forget how much we enjoyed drawing as kids. Learning to draw as an adult is just as rewarding, and because you're more focused, you'll see progress more quickly. The best part: there are tons of free instructional videos online to help you out.
3. Playing Chess
There's a whole world of board games out there, but chess is a classic for a reason. It's a simple game with complicated strategy that blends logic and psychology so no two games are the same. According to Big Think, chess is also revered for its ability to sharpen pattern recognition, memory, and critical thinking skills. To get started with chess, dust off the board in the back of your closet and read up on the rules at Chess.com. Then, get with friends and start playing -- or take your skills online and challenge people from around the world.
Although you may not think so, dancing can improve your mental and physical health. Not only does it get you up and moving, but performing a routine with a friend can boost your confidence and self-esteem. The best part: you don’t have to take lessons to get started. There are plenty of dance videos available for free online.
If you don't think meditation is a skill, then you haven't tried it yet. To meditate successfully, you have to learn to empty your mind and not think about the million responsibilities on your plate. It's a lot harder than it sounds, but there are many types of meditation — so if one type doesn't click with you, you can try another meditation technique for quieting your mind.
6. Fixing Your Car
Learning how to fix your car saves money and gets you out of a pinch if you're ever stranded in a small town on a Sunday. Anyone can learn basic car maintenance like changing air filters and fluids; for more complicated repair tasks, there's a near-endless stream of instructional videos to be found on YouTube. The Mechanic Doctor lists some of the best channels to check out.
Whether you want to mend your clothes or sew your own unique creations, sewing is a great relaxing activity to do indoors. Hand-sewing is the easiest to start with but the hardest to master. If you plan on sewing a lot of projects, invest in a sewing machine. A decent entry-level machine will run you around $200, but they're easy to find secondhand at thrift stores and yard sales. If you need help getting started sewing, there are many resources online.
There’s nothing wrong with watching TV sometimes. We all need the occasional couch session, and there’s great media worth watching out there. But if you find yourself plopping down on the couch out of habit and regretting it later, it’s time to try something different with your downtime. What’s more, you can do it for free with your friends by your side!
(Image courtesy of Unsplash.com)