Hobbies are really important for your mental health and well-being, especially during isolation, so why not try to spice it up a little?
A lot of actors I know have hobbies that blend with acting, such as playing a musical instrument or fitness. They chose these hobbies thinking of how it will improve their chances of getting cast - not necessarily how it will relax them. So here's a list of hobbies that are great for performers without seeming like an extension of your work.
Most actors I know love to read, so it isn’t much of a leap to writing. Writing is super easy to get into. And with apps like Google Docs available on any device, you can write wherever you want to as well. It's a great form of escapism, as you can create your own fictional worlds or if you’re more into journalling and a healthy way to deal with emotions and wind down from the crazy acting lifestyle.
And the best part is: if you don’t want anyone to read it, they don’t have to. It's a very private hobby, and who knows? You may come out with a great script.
2. Dungeons and Dragons
D&D is a tabletop role-playing game that's been around for over 40 years. Don’t let the fantasy genre and nerd culture surrounding the game fool you: there are many different worlds you can play in and unlimited combinations when it comes to character designs.
That being said, try to play with groups that focus more on the role-playing aspect than the statistics side of the games. All the numbers can be intimidating for new players, especially if you’re just there for a chance to improv being a Dragonborn druid for a few hours. Ask around in your acting community, chances are quite a few people you know play the game and they're always welcoming to new players.
There are also a bunch on online platforms to play the game through, such as Roll20, meaning you can start playing during lockdown from the comfort of your own home.
3. Video games
Video games are the ultimate form of escapism and surprisingly common as a hobby among actors like Henry Cavill and Mila Kunis, to name a few. And it’s not surprising; you have beautiful worlds and stories created for you, and you don’t necessarily have to play fighting games (although sometimes it's a good way to get out that pent up rehearsal rage).
Steam is always a good place for beginner gamers to start. They have all types of genres, a wide range of Free to Play games, and all you need is a computer to play.
With phone cameras getting better each passing year photography is becoming an increasingly popular hobby. Personally, I know a lot of actors who are photographers, and I can see why. Capturing stunning locations and people is rewarding and relaxing. You don’t even need to take a class if you don’t want to, a lot of websites will give you professional advice for free.
And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to take your own headshots.
Planting something and helping it grow is one of the most rewarding things I can think of. Not only do you get time outside to soak up that vitamin D, there are heaps of fruiting plants that are easy to look after so you get a physical reward for all your efforts. I personally like the feeling of being closer to nature when I garden.
And if you have a brown thumb, you can try your hand at some cacti or succulents that need very little care, but can brighten up a windowsill or office space with ease.
My favourite on the list has to be cooking, but only because of all the great things you get to eat out of this! When you take the time and prep properly cooking is a stress-free time. It's also a great way to spend time with loved ones. Get them helping in the kitchen or invite them around to help you eat all your wonderful creations.
If you're particularly artistic there’s also baking and cake decorating, and, trust me, none of your acting friends will say no to free food.
So that’s all I have for today. There are heaps more hobbies out there that may suit you more but there’s nothing wrong with trying new things. What have you got to lose?