Hobbies and Activities That Promote Confidence and Independence

Man hiking and drinking water in mountain meadow

Hobbies that promote confidence and independence and impact self-esteem are important. A person’s level of self-esteem directly affects their relationships, perceived levels of depression and anxiety, and overall worldview. Building resiliency is an important part of a happy life.

Certain hobbies build real-world skills, encourage physical fitness, and offer the sense of being part of a bigger movement. When an activity impacts our health, our communities become resilient alongside our own journeys. Outdoor recreation is a great area to search for our ideal hobby. Let’s take a look at a few options.

Hiking and Camping

Hiking and camping build self-reliance and confidence by challenging ourselves to learn multiple skills. Learning to plan ahead, start a fire, pitch a tent, and choose a camping site are all micro-challenges that add up.

These small challenges keep us engaged and confident in our skills as we progress.

For those who don’t know where to start, getting your feet wet with a car camping experience while hiking around your site is a great way to begin. Then, when you feel like you’re ready for the next step, tent camping and finally backpacking or trekking are hobbies that connect us to nature while challenging our independence.


A craftsperson who practices woodworking, leather crafts, or canvas is involved in their work. The struggles of daily life seem to slip away. The flow state, a psychological state of mind, is experienced when someone is focused on something. This state inspires feelings of happiness and contentment.

While a beginner woodworker might feel challenging at first, that sensation will soon give way to satisfaction and pride. Both of these contribute to high self-esteem.

Drawing or Painting

Many famous artists have been quoted saying something like, “The real value in having made something is not in the product but in the process.” Activities like drawing and painting can be a personal journey. This means self-esteem is found from within instead of outside ourselves.

Experiencing this kind of independence can be fulfilling without needing a specific result. Just the satisfaction that comes from completing a canvas or new page is enough to feel accomplished.


Inside a single green pepper are the seeds to sow hundreds more. The work that gardeners put into their hobby is returned in spades. Gardening is truly a life-enriching hobby.

From the time spent outside, the meals you’ll make, and the food you’ll share with your neighbors, gardening provides much more than fruits and veggies. Just getting started with gardening can seem scary, but starting small with simple veggies or could turn into a lifelong love for soil and seeds.


Woman fishing on a lake

Fishing is so relaxing and rejuvenating that organizations like Project Healing Waters use fly fishing as a form of therapy. The sound of water and fresh air allow the mind to take a break from the stressors of everyday life.

While you don’t need to jump right in with a club, overlooking the benefits of fishing with a group means you could miss out on a welcoming and supportive community.

Many areas have free fishing programs that are the perfect place to start. Searching close to home for fishing classes, facebook groups, or even a patient friend will make your first fishing experiences memorable.

Beginners make the mistake of jumping in without knowing good techniques and learn to dislike fishing. Avoiding this by finding a seasoned and patient mentor helps prevent disappointing first trips and negative experiences.


The rise in local food movements has caused a surge in hunting interest. For those who didn’t start hunting as a kid, the learning curve can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, learning to hunt as an adult and also providing new opportunities for kids to learn alongside you are plentiful. Contacting local fishing and hunting agencies or reaching out to local clubs will help you find a mentor. Also, youth hunting seasons are offered by most states and are widely-available. There are options even if a parent or guardian has never been hunting before. The fishing and hunting community is always welcoming to new members


Food is medicine, and cooking is the path towards learning how to take care of our physical health. From sourcing ingredients, preparing different dishes, and choosing flavors based on what we want, cooking is one of the best methods towards fostering our independence.

The endless styles of food and ways to get the ingredients make this hobby available to everyone. One of the best ways to learn is to ask a chef friend if you can join them in creating a dish. After a few experiences, the process will become familiar enough to follow most recipes.

If you don’t have a mentor, starting with frying an egg will help build a good foundation.

Solo Travel

Man in airport looking at flight boards

Solo traveling is often overlooked when we think about ways to raise our confidence and self-esteem. After all, it may seem scary to be alone.

This is an opportunity to be self-reliant and learn to trust ourselves. When we trust that our bodies and minds can work together to find peace, that sense of ability transfers into other areas of our life.

Also, some of the best experiences come from listening to our intuition and following the paths that feel right. Solo travel helps us hone that skill as we learn to listen to our instincts.


Finally, helping others discover or accomplish their needs is a surefire path to better understanding ourselves. When we help someone, we gain the pride and happiness that comes from seeing someone else smile. This has large impacts on our health.

If you do one or all of these different hobbies, volunteering your time to help someone at the start of their journey can be the perfect way to give back.

When we increase our sense of self-esteem through hobbies that build confidence and independence, we not only help ourselves but encourage everyone around us. These are things worth pursuing.