Whenever you are filling out a questionnaire and the dreaded “what are your hobbies?” question arises, do you draw a blank? I know that I have definitely struggled with this question! Oftentimes, as we get older, we join the workforce, we have children, and we reach any other miscellaneous milestones in life, we forget about taking any personal time for ourselves. However, taking time out for yourself to pursue a hobby may keep you sane and help you to be happier in other aspects of your life. This is especially important for those people who lead busy lives because these are the people who most often forget to put themselves first.
Let’s go over five reasons why hobbies are necessary to keeping all of us feeling sane, happy and fulfilled.
Hobbies help you prioritize your time. When you find a new hobby, it helps you reevaluate your schedule and restructure your time throughout the day. For example, my father has started doing historical research for a local train museum to create pamphlets for visitors. In order to have time for this, he still wakes up at the same time each day, but instead of watching morning television, he sits in his office and works on this volunteer project. You still have 24 hours in a day, and you are in control of how they are spent! Practice putting up boundaries where you never have in the past, such as not looking at work emails, watching mindless television, etc. In a way, hobbies help you use the 24 hours in a day more efficiently because you still need to meet the obligations of the day as well as set aside that precious 1-2 hours just for you.
Hobbies help relieve stress. It may sound strange that adding something to your already busy schedule can actually relieve your stress, but it’s true. A hobby is something that brings you joy, whereas your 9-5 job may not. The time that you spend working on your hobby allows your mind to escape from the daily stresses and demands of the day. This time is truly a gift to yourself, and you should relish every moment of it.
Hobbies help us create new friendships. While some hobbies may be more solitary, there are many others that are group activities (such as hiking, mountain climbing, choir, and more). This new hobby can introduce you to people who you may not have met otherwise and also share the same interest as you. Many studies have shown that social connection is a key component to having a rich and full life, and by discovering a new hobby, you create the potential in finding a lifelong friend.
Hobbies help with self-confidence. If you’re like me, I was never one for outdoorsy activities when I was younger. Since moving up to Canada, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone (more times than I’d like to admit), and in many ways, my self-confidence in doing certain activities like hiking, rock climbing, and group fitness classes has been boosted. If I had never experimented and tried these new activities, I would have never known that I actually enjoyed doing these things. By trying new things, you may discover a hidden passion and find that self-confidence boost that you’ve been searching for.
Hobbies help prevent burnout. Again, many of us push ourselves beyond our limits and forget to put ourselves first. By carving out time for a hobby, it allows our minds to rest and refocus. If you are overwhelmed with a seemingly unsolvable problem, take a step back, do something that you love, and revisit. Chances are that the problem won’t seem as impossible after your mind has had a chance to restore itself.
In the end, take time to find joy daily. Joy comes in many shapes and sizes, and with a little bit of trial and error, you should be able to discover your new hobby.
Some tips on finding a new hobby – come to a WE event, take a cooking class, visit a local Michaels or Home Depot to see what classes they offer, or search for volunteer opportunities. The sky's the limit! Once you find your new hobby (or if you already have one), I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments section below. Your hobby may inspire someone else on their own journey of self-discovery.