Lockdown has motivated many of us to try out new hobbies like yoga, gardening and baking. They help keep our minds and bodies busy as we focus on being creative. It need not be complicated, profound or time-consuming – simply find something that you enjoy.
One such hobby that is both convenient and exciting is birdwatching. All you need is a field guide, a sunhat (if you’re going outside) and a pair of binoculars. It provides a welcome change of scenery to help break the endless cycle of Covid days in addition to a host of other mental and physical benefits.
1. Calms your mind
Birdwatching is a great way to carve out time for yourself where you can relax. By focusing on different smells, sights and sounds, it will help unclutter your mind and distract from constant anxiety.
2. Replenishes your energy
Birdwatching is a wonderful leisure activity for people of all ages and abilities. Mix up your walking route or workout routine with birdwatching to keep things interesting.
3. Lifts your mood
Lack of variety in our lives can lead to boredom and a general sense of fatigue. Adding a new activity can make us feel more energised and positive, as it gives us something to look forward to.
4. Builds confidence
Creating or learning something new has the power to add new richness to our identities, plus it will give you something tangible you can point to as a measure of personal progress during the pandemic.
5. Boosts productivity
Intense focus induces a flow state of mind that makes us perform better as we are better able to face challenges with renewed courage and perspective.
6. Keeps our brains sharp
Looking for and identifying birds improves concentration and memory, which protects our brains against general fatigue as we age.
7. Keeps our bodies active
Whether you watch birds at home or embark on a more invigorating outing to a nearby nature reserve, birding keeps you mobile and is a good source of Vitamin D.
8. Connects us with nature
Staying close to nature has been proven to improve physical and emotional well-being and alleviate feelings of social isolation. You can even extend your hobby to planting a small garden to attract native birds (and bees).
Before the pandemic, maintaining a work-life balance seemed like an elusive goal. Now, despite its challenges, is the best time to reclaim your time and take up a new hobby.
It will make your days more memorable and give you something positive to look back on. Hobbies don’t just keep us busy; they offer a welcome escape that let is create something purely because it makes us happy.
There is no reason that social distancing should prevent you from trying something new – birdwatching caters to people of different ages and levels of fitness, is relatively inexpensive and convenient.
If this article hit home and you’re keen to find out if birding is your thing, have a look at these user-friendly bird guides (available in both English and Afrikaans):
This pocket guide (for both beginner and experienced birdwatchers) will prove as indispensable as binoculars. It includes precise information on over 400 species of birds, distribution maps and excellent colour photographs to aid in identification.