Quiet Hobbies Bring New Opportunities

Quiet Hobbies Bring New Opportunities

younger than 30

A recent discussion in our new Pulmonary Fibrosis News forums was about quiet hobbies that are beneficial for patients living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). As the forum’s moderator, I shared a post about my own quiet hobbies and asked patients to share some of the relaxing hobbies that they have adopted since their diagnosis, as these diseases impede participation in physical hobbies, such as running or sports.

Learning to adjust my hobbies has been one of the hardest parts of living with IPF. The things I enjoy post-diagnosis, versus the activities I enjoyed before, are drastically different. I used to play sports regularly and maximize my days with busyness from sunup until sundown.

Despite my days being drastically different from what they once were, I’ve learned to enjoy the new and quiet hobbies. They provide a therapeutic outlet by keeping my mind focused on something positive, instead of on upcoming appointments, medical results, or IPF symptoms. My quiet hobbies have also granted me many different opportunities, including earning a little extra income and documenting memories for my friends and family. Some other opportunities are:

  • Scrapbooking: I’ve enjoyed this for years. I had stopped scrapbooking for a while due to a hectic schedule, and I didn’t pick it back up again until the last year or two. Sifting through the heaps of printed photos that I have in my crafting room and reminiscing about the memories associated with each photo brings me joy. I am acutely aware that this hobby will leave memories behind should my lung disease cut my life story short. This has been a wonderful opportunity to think about what I want to capture and leave behind for family and friends. I enjoy reliving the many memories and opportunities, such as international travel, that I have been privileged to experience as a young adult.
  • Cardmaking and DIY projects: I have space in my home to be creative with my décor choices, so I have been filling my days with do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This makes me happy and is an opportunity to think about gifts that I can make for loved ones. I have made different projects for their homes and enjoy thinking about their interests and hobbies, and how I can incorporate them into various DIY projects that I know they will like. It is always a privilege to have the opportunity to bring joy to others.
  • Reading: It wasn’t until recently, when I finished my schooling, that I took up this hobby. Reading allows me to set aside thoughts about whatever is going on my life and trade it for the fictional life of a character in a good book. This has been an outlet to forget about some tough stuff associated with life-threatening illness.
  • Photography: This is a hobby and talent that I have always appreciated in others, but I didn’t try it myself until recently. A member of the PF forums inspired my desire to learn about photography. It turns out that I have a bit of an eye for photography, and I am enjoying capturing memories of my friends and family. Photography has also taught me about the importance of slowing down, getting a new perspective and appreciating the smaller things. I know it sounds cliché, but I believe a photographer has a unique eye for beautiful things. I am grateful for the new perspective this new hobby has given me that helps me appreciate the beauty in daily life.

What are some of your quiet hobbies?


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


  1. Lesley Harvey says:

    Ancestry! Researching my family tree keeps me engrossed for hours, and is an introduction to history that I would never have dreamed of.
    I knit as well, chunky fast growing sweaters and hats. Past the beginner stage, I’m looking at more complex patterns. I still get out to look after my hens and goats but need help to walk the dogs.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Lesley,

      Thank you for reading my column and contributing to the comments. I was actually shocked to learn how many people have turned to looking up their ancestry since their diagnosis. It is fascinating and actually isn’t even something I would have thought of! Many people say they start doing this to better understand the health history of their family, and others talk about simply wanting to research their family tree. What a neat idea! Has it turned up anything of interest for you so far?

      I also need help on the regular to walk my dog, so I know how frustrating that can be. Glad to hear you’re doing some knitting though and can complete certain chores around the house. Thanks so much for sharing Lesley 🙂


  2. Sheila Blanchard says:

    Hi Charlene,I have taken up knitting again,it has been years since I have done this. This past Christmas I made some hats,scarves and throws for family and friends also hats for a couple of senior baskets which my daughter was doing.I am also thinking of doing a book of pictures of Scotland where I am from.I have been thinking of my heritage lately.Thank you, it is nice to take my mind off my IPF sometimes although it doesn’t always work, nice to talk with you again.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Sheila,

      It is wonderful to hear from you – thanks for connecting via the comments of my columns! Doesn’t it feel nice to be able to make handmade gifts for loved ones, especially over the holidays? While I never wanted IPF to be the cause of my learning new “quiet” hobbies, in a way this has been a gift. Not only do I love making things for friends and family members, I am intentional about it too as I want everyone to have a piece of me, if heaven forbid something happens to me. It is kind of my way of coping I guess. I do however need to learn to knit…this is something I need to try!
      Ahhh Scotland! I am thinking of coming to your beautiful country this September. I’m currently planning a UK trip and Scotland is part of that list 🙂 Did you see Lesley’s post below about looking up her ancestry? It is neat how many people have turned to this, so I hope if you choose to pursue it, that is interesting for you!

      Nice to talk with you as well, and I hope you’re doing alright. Wishing you nothing but the best Sheila!


      • Charlene Marshall says:

        I need to learn how to knit, I think I would find this very therapeutic. I’ll add it to my ‘bucket list’ items of things I want to learn, right next to learning the guitar. I think a quiet, musical hobby would also be very therapeutic for me to try.

        Thanks again for reading and getting in touch!

  3. JIlly Thwaites says:

    For years I have made cards from cards given to me from my friends at church. I’d cut out the front and words, and then put them on coloured card, sharing the decision of which colour with my husband, which was fun when we used to go away in our caravan, because by the end of the evening there would be about 20 + cards on the table. It was lovely to hear from friends that they looked forward to receiving a card from me, because they knew that I had put thought and time into it.
    Since moving and down sizing unfortunately I haven’t got so much room for my card making, which I miss. But once a week I go to the MacMillan Day Centre, which is a lovely caring place, and we do painting ceramic molds of all sorts of things. It gives me the same creative pleasure that my card making did. I can recommend trying a hobby for relaxation.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Jilly,

      Thanks so much for reading my columns and contributing to the comments – I love hearing from readers! Your cards sound lovely, and what a great idea. Not only does this “recycle” the face of cards given to you, it would allow you to create something totally anew. I can imagine it was such a meaningful gift for friends and family to receive! I also make cards, and am a big scrapbooker so I love being able to give friends and family members handmade cards. There is something very rewarding about it 🙂

      The MacMillan Day Centre and the activities there sound great, and likely an awesome creative outlet for you. I’m glad to have this resource! I do my hobbies for relaxation as well, so I couldn’t agree more about the importance and benefits of this!

      Take care,

      • JIlly Thwaites says:

        Thank you so much for your reply to my letter. It is great to hear from people who totally understand how crafting makes you feel, a way of completely cutting off.

        • Charlene Marshall says:

          I couldn’t agree more my fellow crafter! 🙂
          Today was a bit of a tough day for me, and I went home following an appointment asking myself “what is going to bring joy back into my day?”. My answer was crafting! I am so grateful for this quiet, therapeutic hobby. Thank you for connecting 🙂

          Warm regards,

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      What a great idea Hazel! Knitting for friends must be such a lovely gesture that is so appreciated by them, and knitting for charities must be very rewarding. What an incredible way to give back, kudos to you! 🙂


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