12 new skills that you can learn from home and how to get started

From learning first aid to painting portraits of your pets and getting to grips with how to grow plants in small spaces – there are plenty of different skills you can learn from home.

Learning a new skill is a great way to keep your mind busy, work on your personal and professional development, and add meaning and purpose to your life.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, then consider learning one of these 12 skills.

1. Learn to cook or bake

Whether you’re new to cooking/baking and want to learn the basics, or you simply want to work on perfecting and developing your skills, home is the perfect place to experiment in the kitchen.

Having skills in the kitchen can help you to expand your mind, save money, and eat more of the food you love. Some people also say that cooking gives them a greater sense of control over what they’re putting into their body

From huevos rancheros to chicken pot pie – there’s always a new recipe that you can use to learn or develop some new skills.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, then why not head over to the food and drink section of our website, where you’ll find plenty of recipe inspiration? Here you’ll not only find a variety of tasty recipes, but also tips and tricks to up your cooking game.

Take an online cooking class

And if you’d be interested in taking part in an online cooking or baking course, then why not have a browse of the courses we have available on our site? From whole food and vegan cooking, to cake baking and decorating diplomas, these courses are a great way to expand your knowledge and skills.

2. Learn to organise your home

Organise your home

If you spend a lot of time at home, it can be helpful to declutter and organise your surroundings in a way that allows you to keep a clear mind and feel less overwhelmed.

For example, if you can never find anything in your wardrobe and things fall out every time you open it, then this can make you far more likely to avoid your wardrobe altogether. And before you know it, it’s 2pm and you’re still sitting in your pyjamas! The more organised we are, the less likely we’ll be to procrastinate.

Organising your living space can also help to pass the time, and seeing the results of your work can help you to gain a real sense of satisfaction and achievement. You could also consider taking before and after photos of any particularly disorganised rooms or spaces, so you can see what you’ve achieved.

If you’re looking for some cleaning and home organisation tips and inspiration, you might find some of the resources below useful…

Marie Kondo

Organising consultant Marie Kondo has a great Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which shows people how to let go of the things they no longer need, so they can feel happier and freer.

If you’re someone who tends to hoard or finds sentimental value in absolutely everything, then this could be a great show for you.

Sophie Hinchliffe

Sophie Hinchliffe – also known as Mrs Hinch – became a social media sensation when she began sharing her innovative cleaning and organising tips on her Instagram page.

Her tips are now used by “Mrs Hinchers” around the country, who say that they are now seeing cleaning in a whole new way. It’s worth checking out the Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips group on Facebook, where over half a million people share cleaning tips and tricks inspired by Mrs Hinch herself.

Stacey Soloman

Loose Woman Stacey Soloman has recently been recognised for sharing tips on how to organise and make the most of spaces at home.

She offers demonstrations on her Instagram page on how to organise everything from batteries and pots and pans, through to the food in your fridge.

Take an online organising and decluttering course

You could also consider taking an organising or decluttering course online to develop your knowledge further and learn how to help others develop these skills. You may even decide that a career as a professional organiser or declutterer is for you.

On the learning section of our website, you’ll find a wide variety of decluttering courses, including Udemy’s How to Declutter & Organize Any Space and The International Skills Academy’s Decluttering Your Home Masterclass.

3. Improve your gardening skills

improve your gardening skills

Whether you have a garden or not, there are plenty of green skills that you can learn at home to help you make the most of your living space.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to grow your own fruit and vegetables, nurture a bonsai tree or simply learn more about what’s growing in your garden.

Gardening equipment

You’ll be able to get hold of gardening equipment like trowels, pruning shears, compost, and seeds from most DIY stores and garden centres – especially larger ones like Homebase, Wilko, and B&Q.

However, it’s also worth making the most of what you might have in the house already. For example, using seeds from your supermarket-bought peppers to grow your own, or using an old bucket or washing up bowl as a plant pot. Katie Elzar-Peters has written a great book called No Waste Kitchen Gardening (available on Amazon), that’ll show you how to regrow vegetable cut-offs and scraps into harvestable, edible plants.

Growing in small spaces

You can grow plants on balconies, window sills, and patio spaces – so having a garden isn’t essential for developing a few horticultural skills.

To find out more about growing plants in small spaces, you might want to have a read of our articles; 10 things you can grow in a window box at home and 10 flowering houseplants to brighten up your home.

Patch also offers a selection of helpful videos on their YouTube channel that can help you with topics such as picking the right houseplants…

Developing gardening skills

If you’re looking to develop your general horticultural skills, for either your personal or professional development, then it’s worth starting with a reliable source – like the Royal Horticultural Society website. This is packed with advice on how to grow plants and maintain green spaces year-round.

Take an online gardening course

Alternatively, you can search the wide range of gardening courses we have available on our site. For example, International Open Academy’s Growing Food in Small Gardens and The Complete Gardening Diploma from New Skills Academy

4. Learn office and IT skills

If you’ve been meaning to brush up on your Excel skills, set up a LinkedIn account, or learn how to code, then now could be a great time to do it. The busy nature of our everyday lives can make it difficult to sit down and truly focus on learning new skills.

This, coupled with the fact that technology is constantly evolving, may leave you feeling a little left behind – so why not spend some time catching up? If you’re in the market for a new job, then developing some office and IT skills could also give you some extra plus points to add to your CV.

Office productivity skills

If you’re looking to become more confident using office tools such as Word, Powerpoint, or Excel, then Alison offers a selection of short free online courses that will help you do this.

Social media skills

Social media has a lot of personal benefits, such as helping you to stay connected with friends and family, but it also plays a prominent role in business these days.

There are plenty of courses out there that’ll show you how to use social media for marketing purposes – for example, how to create a YouTube channel, become a social media influencer, or create a content strategy on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you’re interested, we have a range of digital marketing courses listed on our website.

Coding and computer science

If you’re interested in getting to grips with coding or finding out more about computer science, then you could check out Khan Academy. Khan Academy has a number of helpful free tutorials that’ll introduce you to everything from algorithms to debugging programmes and how to write clean code.

5. First aid training

First aid training

First aid training is one of the most valuable skills we can carry with us throughout life, but it’s surprising how few people have these skills.

For many of us first aid is something that we’d love to know more about but simply never get around to – unless we work in a field that requires it. But if you’ve got some spare time, then why not take a first aid course online?

If you want to become a qualified first aider, then you’ll need to undertake some practical training. However, you could always brush up on some learning beforehand.

The British Red Cross offer a number of free resources including videos and guides that can help you learn how to respond to different health emergencies, including a person who is choking, not breathing, and/or bleeding heavily.

Note: It’s important never to practise first aid skills like resuscitation on real people, as you could cause a lot of damage. You should wait to practise in a simulated environment on a practical, supervised training course.

6. Learn to dance

Are you happiest when you’re shaking your groove thing? Then why not think about taking a few lessons to develop your talent? Learning a few routines and finding out more about different styles of dance can be a fun way to pass the time and keep both your body and brain active.

According to Bupa’s calorie counter, you can burn over 400 calories an hour dancing. Physical activity also stimulates your brain to release endorphins (happy hormones), which are natural mood-boosters. Dancing, which involves learning and practising routines, can also help to improve cognitive function and prevent mental decline.

Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse and her husband Mariushave a collection of free dance lessons available to the public. Her classes – which include dances inspired by South Africa and Romania – can be found on her YouTube channel.

Take an online dance course

You could also consider taking an online dance course that’ll break down different dance styles and techniques to give you a more in-depth understanding.

Udemy courses cover a great range of dance styles from belly dancing to salsa. Or, to find out more about different dance classes, why not read our article; 11 online dance classes for beginners?

7. Learn how to cut your own hair and trim your beard

learn how to cut your own hair

Cutting your own hair is a skill to try at your own risk, and shouldn’t be rushed if you want to give yourself the best chance at getting it right. However, if you do get it right, you could end up saving yourself some time and money going forward.

For men, London-based barbers Ruffians have posted a selection of videos on their YouTube channel to take you through how to do everything from beard trimming, through to a full buzz cut.

For men and women with longer hair, it can be helpful to watch a handful of different tutorials on YouTube before you attempt anything yourself. By watching a few different techniques from different people, you can better assess which method would work best for you, based on your general preferences and hair type.

If you live with someone who’s in need of a beard trim or hair cut, you could also consider learning these techniques to use on them – if they’ll let you, of course.

For further advice, you might want to have a read of our article; How to cut your hair at home.

Take an online hairdressing course

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, then Hairdressing: The Complete Guide is a popular course offered by Of Course for anyone looking to start a hairdressing career. The 13-hour online course comprises over 600 lectures, split into 15 topics such as treating the skin, hair and scalp, hairdressing techniques, and health and safety.

We also have a range of hairdressing and beauty courses available on our website.

8. Learn the skill of optimism

Learn the skill of optimism

Many people are surprised by the suggestion that you can learn to be optimistic, as it’s often assumed that people are simply born that way. But the reality is that you can learn to be optimistic at any age by practising a few techniques. This includes things like recognising negative thoughts, keeping a gratitude journal, and visualising a positive future.

Optimism can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that are often caused by catastrophizing. Optimism has also been linked to better quality sleep, a decreased engagement in unhealthy behaviours, and a greater social network.

If you’re interested in finding out more about optimism and how to develop it, we’ve written a guide that you may find useful.

Take an online course in optimism

It’s also worth checking out Udemy’s free optimism course that’ll show you how to identify whether you’re naturally optimistic or pessimistic and learn how to avoid thoughts that may lead to anxiety and depression.

9. Learn a new language

Learn a new language

There are multiple benefits of learning a new language, including keeping your brain sharp, having an excuse to travel, and advancing your career.

Many of us admire others who can speak a second, third, or even fourth language, and wish that we could do the same. But with a little patience, determination, and passion, you can. It’s important to choose a mode of learning that you enjoy, to increase your chances of seeing it through.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, it can be helpful to start by using a programme like Duolingo, which you can download as an app or access on the web. Duolingo offers a choice of 106 different languages, which you can learn using fun games and activities for just 5-10 minutes a day.

The University of South Carolina and the City University of New York carried out an independent study, which showed that 34 hours of learning on Duolingo (on average) was equivalent to a full semester of language education.

Take an online language course

Or, if you’d prefer to take a more structured approach to language learning, then you could take a distance-learning course online. We have a selection of courses on-site (some free) that you can browse here. You can study in your own time, at your own pace, and will usually receive a certificate upon completion.

For more inspiration, why not have a read of our articles; The benefits of learning a new language and 9 widely spoken languages that are useful to learn?

10. Learn to draw, paint, sew or something else creative!

Learn to draw, paint, sew, creative

If you have a creative streak, then at some point you may have thought about sitting down and developing a new creative talent. This could be drawing, painting, sewing, calligraphy, photography or something else entirely.

Creative talents like these are great stress relievers because they offer escapism and can also help express how you’re feeling.

Take a creative course online

If you’re looking to explore your creative side, Skillshare can offer a helpful place to start. It offers a variety of free and paid classes, which are broken into bite size chunks – allowing you to take regular breaks and learn at your own pace.

Whether you want to learn how to paint with watercolours, capture self-portraits on camera, or draw your pet – Skillshare has a wide range of creative learning opportunities available. You can enjoy all Skillshare courses free for the first two months (at the time of publishing), after which you’ll still have access to 500 free classes, with the option to pay for thousands of premium courses.

Alternatively, you might like to take a look at the creative courses we have available on our website or have a read of some of our creative guides – both of which can be found on the learning section of our site. You’ll find everything from upholstery and photography, through to technical baking and carpentry.

11. Learn to meditate

There may be one or more skills in this list that you’d be interested in developing, but sometimes the biggest problem can be quieting your mind enough to do them. In this case, you could consider learning to meditate.

Mindfulness is one of the most popular meditation techniques that increases your awareness of the present moment through your senses. For example, focusing exclusively on what you can smell, touch, or taste in any given moment.

When we’re in the present moment, we aren’t able to focus on and worry about the past and future. So during mindful moments, we tend to feel more peaceful. Our guide to mindfulness offers more information about the benefits of mindfulness, plus tips on how to get started.

You could also try downloading apps like Headspace or Calm. Both have hundreds of mindfulness exercises that you can do whilst you’re doing everyday activities like cooking and eating.

They can help you to develop gratitude, improve your sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Both can be tried free for a limited period of time, after which there’s a monthly or an annual fee. However, Calm also has a number of free resources including gratitude journal templates and mindful living calendars., 

12. Learn to play a musical instrument or develop your music skills

Music offers so many different things to so many different people. But one thing that most people will agree on is that when you’re lost in your favourite song and singing along in your car or in the shower – you probably won’t be thinking about much else. It acts as a great distraction from anxious thoughts and can significantly lift your mood.

If you’ve got a musical instrument at home that you bought and have never got around to playing, then why not dust it off and learn a few chords? YouTube is a great place to find music tutorials from people of all sorts of ages and levels, who can break down the basics for you.

Alternatively, if you don’t have an instrument like a keyboard or a guitar, then you could try getting creative with things around the house, like spoons. Or, if you’re into singing, there are plenty of videos that you can use to improve your singing voice.

To give you some more inspiration, we also have plenty of great music-related articles in the art and culture section of our website, such as 12 benefits of introducing more music into your life and 7 of the easiest musical instruments for adults to learn.

Just for fun - a few extra courses you could try

If none of the options above piqued your interest or if you’re looking for some extra skills you could learn, then why not try one of these…

And finally…

Learning new skills can be a welcome distraction if you’re feeling bored, restless, or anxious – but it’s best not to put too much pressure on yourself to master everything all in one go.

When you’re thinking about learning a new skill, it can be helpful to start small and break your goals down into manageable chunks. Even starting with one hour a day can make all the difference to your self-confidence and how you feel at the end of the day.

Are there any other skills that you’re learning at home? Or do you have any recommendations for great learning resources? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on the learning section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below. 

Bring your learning to life this summer

Experience life as a University of Cambridge student on this year’s Summer Programme. Choose from over 100 one-week courses taught by leading academics, immerse yourself in a programme of cultural events and stay in a Cambridge College.

Learn more


Loading comments...

    Discussions are closed on this post.

    Leave a reply

    Thanks, your comment has been saved.

    Sorry, there was a problem saving your comment. Please refresh and try again.

    Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration

    No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering jobs, finance, learning, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

    By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

    Enjoying Rest Less? Help us reach more people like you

    Leave us a rating Want to tell us something?