By Allison Sadlier // SWNS


Passion projects are fueling big life decisions, according to new research.

Over a third of the 2,000 Americans surveyed said they picked up at least one new hobby during the pandemic. 

Of these, three in four say their passion project has inspired them to consider a major life change like a big move or career shift.

Among those who picked up a new hobby, 94% revealed that their new hobby helped their mental health through this challenging year. 

Additionally, 93% said it gave them a sense of purpose while they spent so much time at home and that it led them through a journey of reflection and self-discovery. For nine in ten (89%) their hobby taught them something new about themselves.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mixbook, showed that many of these new hobbies were creative. 

Among the top hobbies respondents have taken up during the pandemic cooking and baking came in at the top with 63% while 41% are playing video games.

A quarter have gotten into hiking (24%) or started to paint and draw (27%) with 28% getting zen with new meditation habits.

A quarter getting flexible thanks to yoga (24%) and 18% are embracing their musical side by playing an instrument.

Of those with a newfound hobby, three-quarters get an end product from their efforts like a piece of art, clothing or food.

One in two respondents shared that they have walked down memory lane through old photos, reminiscing about the good times, and looking to share them with the people who matter most in their lives. 

Six in ten respondents created a photo book during the pandemic after sifting through their memories. Of those who made a book, 98% said it made them feel a deeper, more meaningful connection to the special moments and people they care about most. 

While one in five saved their photo book for themselves, 17% have already given it to a loved one.

Michelle Marie Ritchie, CMO of Mixbook, said “the process of making a photo book empowers our creative expression, helps us remember and share happy moments and memories with loved ones, and gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment. Ultimately taking up a hobby like photo books provides us with numerous mental health benefits.”

Of those with a newfound hobby, three-quarters got an end product from their efforts, such as a piece of art, photo book, clothing, or food. 

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents plan on giving the products they created from their new pandemic hobbies as holiday presents this year. 

Two in three (68%) believe these homemade gifts and mementos will be more meaningful than any store-bought item as they look to nostalgia to find comfort during these times and to connect, even from a distance, with the people they love.

Michelle Marie Ritchie, CMO of Mixbook, said “the value of homemade, personalized gifts is especially meaningful right now with so many of us feeling isolated and disconnected. These types of gifts enable us to share our love, establish a sense of togetherness, and show those we love just how much they matter to us. A few of our favorite photo book ideas this year are creating a family recipe book together, top family vacations over the years, and family history books.”


  1. Cook/bake 63%
  2. Read 51%
  3. Play video games 41%
  4. Organize photos 32%
  5. Play board games 31%
  6. Meditate 28%
  7. Paint/draw 27%
  8. Print photos 25%
  9. Create personalized cards 24%
  10. Hike 24%
  11. Sew 24%
  12. Yoga 24%
  13. Bike 22%
  14. Make a photobook 19%
  15. Play an instrument 18%
  16. Knit 17%



  1. To reminisce on old times/remember the good times 34%
  2. To organize them 27%
  3. To share them with someone 23%
  4. For something to do 22%
  5. To look for a specific memory 21%
  6. To reconnect with an old friend or relative 18%
  7. To create a photobook for my memories 15%
  8. To do something with my photos (to print or create) 8%


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