Sarah Greene of Winterport learns about birding and helps count the Guilemots amongst other birds at the Rockland breakwater in this 2006 file photo. Credit: Joshua Bright / BDN

With the lingering pandemic, offices reopening and kids going back to school, the beginning of fall is coming with many more unknowns and stressors than usual. Having a hobby is a great way to unwind after a long day, or even to get your mind to take a break whenever you have a free minute.

Here are 6 hobbies you can get into this fall to help ease your stress and give you a new creative outlet.

Bird watching

Zephyr Caputo, 5, searches the skies over Freeport for hawks on the summit of Bradbury Mountain in Pownal. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Bird watching, or “birding,” is a relaxing way to spend time outdoors this fall. Here’s how to get started bird watching. Here’s what a birding expert has learned from 60 years of birding in Maine. If you are planning a birding outing, here is what you need to know.

Felting

Needle felting. Courtesy of Caryn Burwood

Felting — the process of matting, pressing and connecting loose individual locks of wool in order to make a sculpture or shape — is a great pastime to flex your creative muscles, relax and create cute little bits and bobs along the way. Here’s how to get started with felting for beginners to the craft.

Podcasting

Increasingly, podcasts are a great outlet for creative Mainers. Here’s how to start a podcast, with tips from Mainers who have successfully done it.

Canning

Staff writer Sam Schipani joins Kate McCarty, food systems professional at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, to learn how to make and can onion jam. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

Canning isn’t just a great way to preserve your harvest as the season comes to a close, but it is also a fun way to make your produce more tasty. Here’s how to get started with home canning, and how to get started with pressure canning. Canning doesn’t stop at produce, either. Here’s what you need to know if you are interested in canning meat. Also, importantly, here’s how to not make yourself sick when canning foods.

Whittling

Laurie Sproul whittles and sculpts locally-sourced wood into realistic flower sculptures at her home in Canton in this April 29, 2016, file photo. Credit: Micky Bedell / BDN

Whittling, the act of shaping a piece of wood with a single tool, is a classic craft to pass the time. Even if you are not roaming around the woods looking for a way to keep your hands busy, learning how to whittle this winter will not only help you fill the long days, but it might just be your gateway to woodcarving. Here’s what you need to know about whittling to get started.

Cheesemaking

Sam Schipani making mozzarella cheese. Credit: Sam Schipani / BDN

Maine’s cheesemaking industry is on the rise, but you don’t need to be a farmer to enjoy the fun of making cheese. Here’s how to get started making mozzarella cheese at home.

Starting a new hobby is a great way to relax while quietly exercising your mind. Starting one of these new hobbies this fall will make the transition from summer to autumn a little easier.