7 pastimes to try in the new year

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Looking for new screen-free pastimes to try this year? One of these activities could be just what you need.

Woman knitting with blue yarn.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

In today’s fast-paced world, exploring new screen-free pastimes may offer refreshing and enriching additions to an increasingly tech-driven life. For many people, finding uncomplicated, enjoyable hobbies and pastimes may help foster self-care, enhance well-being and reduce stress. Consider these seven pastimes if you want to try something new this year.

Journal writing

Woman writing in a journal.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Are you ready to explore writing? It is a great hobby to embrace simple living in the new year, suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Consider keeping a journal as a powerful way to reflect, plan and alleviate stress.

Writing each day allows you to chronicle your life journey, express emotions and cultivate gratitude. It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to some other pastimes.

To begin journaling, choose a quiet time of day and a comfortable spot. Use plain lined paper or a notebook. 

You may prefer to treat yourself to a beautifully bound journal and a pen to make the experience more personal and enjoyable. Regular writing may become a valued daily ritual to center your thoughts.

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If you love visiting the spa, try pastimes that include making beauty products, such as soapmaking. This craft combines artistry with chemistry, resulting in beautiful, usable products to enjoy or give as thoughtful gifts.

You’ll need basic supplies like lye, oils and a silicone mold to make your soap. Experiment with scents, colors and textures as you become more skilled. Soapmaking not only stimulates creativity but also gives a satisfying sense of self-sufficiency.


This pastime is an enjoyable, meditative and productive pastime. Whether you’re creating scarves, sweaters or blankets, knitting offers a rhythmic, soothing activity that can be as simple or complex as you like. It’s also wonderfully portable.

Knit indoors or outdoors, at home, at your favorite coffee shop or while visiting a friend. You’ll need a set of knitting needles and a ball of yarn to start.

Start knitting by learning the basic knit and purl stitches on YouTube and then let your curiosity lead you to more intricate designs. Knitting can be a tranquil counterpoint to a busy life, resulting in beautiful, functional pieces that warm the body and soul.


Of all the physical activity pastimes, walking may be the easiest to start — and it’s free. Embrace the simple joy of walking or hiking outdoors for the added benefit of fresh air. Walking or hiking is excellent for physical health and offers mental clarity and a deepened appreciation for the natural world. 

Whether you prefer quiet neighborhood walks or exploring local trails on a family nature hike, make this activity a regular part of your routine. Remember, it’s not about speed or distance — it’s about taking the time to breathe, observe and connect with your surroundings.

“I recently read that dancing is one of the best pastimes one can pursue as one gets older. Since I look worse than Elaine from Seinfeld on a dance floor, I’ve decided to learn the drums. It’s supposed to be equally stimulating but in a whole different way.”

— Sage Scott, Everyday Wanderer


The holistic practice of yoga combines physical postures, breathwork and meditation. It strengthens the body, calms the mind and nourishes the spirit. With styles ranging from gentle to vigorous, there’s a form of yoga suitable for everyone.

Consider starting with a beginner class or online tutorial from the comfort of your home. All you need are comfortable clothes and some space.

When you become more comfortable, invest in beginner yoga accessories, such as a yoga mat, clothing or yoga blocks. As you grow in your practice, you may discover a sense of balance and inner peace extending beyond the mat.

Sourdough baking

Baking sourdough bread marries the art of baking with the science of fermentation. Making sourdough starter, nurturing your starter, kneading the dough and finally witnessing your loaf rise and turn golden in the oven is magical.

Try the old-time art of breadmaking as a nice break from the hectic pace of modern life and enjoy the bonus of delicious, wholesome loaves of bread. Begin with a simple recipe and as you get comfortable, experiment with different flours and techniques, such as trying sourdough discard recipes.


Two women on a pickleball court.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It has quickly become a favorite among people looking for fun, social and accessible physical activity. 

Not only is pickleball easy to learn, but it’s also suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Join a local club or community center to start playing and enjoy the health benefits and the opportunity to meet new people.

As you think about which pastimes to embrace in the new year, remember the most important aspect is the joy and fulfillment they bring. Whether writing reflective journal entries, creating with your hands or engaging in physical activities, these pastimes offer enrichment and a positive outlook for the days ahead.

Which pastime are you excited to try this year? Here’s to a year of discovery, well-being and meaningful leisure.
Sarita Harbour is a homeschooling, homesteading mom and a long-time business and finance writer. She created An Off Grid Life to help people become more self-reliant. Sarita and her family live off the grid in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

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