Don’t let hobbies hurt 

Spare-time activities to help you cope with isolation and social distancing can cause health and safety issues.

posted May 01, 2020

If you’re among the people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be suffering from stress and isolation. Using your free time to return to old hobbies or take up new ones like cooking, crafts, and exercising can be a positive distraction. 

But if you want to avoid avocado hand, knitters’ neck, or workout woes, here are some safety tips to keep you safe at home.

For more general information about health and safety issues, many of which apply to hobbyists, visit


Cutting edge

Cutting edge
Sharp implements are a necessity in various hobbies. Make sure to wield a kitchen knife  with care to avoid “avocado hand”—a nasty gash across your palm—or other serious cuts. Quilters and other crafters should also take care with sharp scissors and rotary cutters.

Growing pains 
Potential safety hazards lurk among the greenery in your yard and garden. Make sure to wear personal protective equipment—safety goggles, hearing protection, and gloves when using powered yard and garden equipment such as mowers, blowers, hedgers, and trimmers. And no, earbuds don’t count as hearing protection.

Rung wrongs.
Downtime during the pandemic may seem like the perfect occasion to paint the house or clean out the gutters. Follow safety procedures on ladders, including three points of contact at all times and the “belt buckle” rule where your mid-section stays centered between the side rails.

Go ergo.
Knitting, crocheting, and doing jigsaw puzzles seem like gentle, relaxing pastimes, but if you don’t pay attention to ergonomics, such as the position of your body, it’s easy to hurt your neck and shoulders by looking down for long periods. Use the correct lighting, take regular breaks, and do light stretches.

Ease up on exercise.
Exercise is a great stress-reliever and investment in your health—if you don’t hurt yourself. If strength-training, yoga, or kickboxing get you moving, remember to warm up, follow proper form (check out the plethora of free videos on the web), pace yourself, and don’t overdo it, especially with heavy weights.

Too hot to handle.
The pandemic has seen a surge of interest in cooking, but it can be a recipe for disaster. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen, so don’t turn your back on a sizzling pan or forget a burner is still on, and make sure your kitchen equipment includes a fire extinguisher.


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