The Benefits of Hobbies

When we were young, we had plenty of time for play and sports and hobbies. Remember? Having grown up in the country, I used to ride my bike down to the creek and hunt berries. We had a basketball hoop (just the metal hoop, the “basket” had long since worn off) and used to bounce the ball around. I loved to draw. What did you love to do when you were young?

Now that we’re grown it seems that work, raising children, lawn care, farm work, and housework stretch out to fill our time and wear us out. Then we spend our evenings watching tv or scrolling thru Pinterest (or whatever social media you like). Or doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher.

We’ve forgotten about play. That’s for children isn’t it? Not necessarily. I’m not suggesting we all play a round of hopscotch, but there is something to be said for the grown up version of playing – hobbies.

There’s nothing wrong with vegging out. Sometimes our brains just need to coast. But do you feel a longing for having a little fun? For something meaningful to do with your time? Do you long to create something? Is there something you used to do that you never quite forgot…that you’d like to get back to?

Maybe you do, you say, but you don’t have the time. A hobby doesn’t need to take all of your evenings. Maybe just once a week, or a half hour a night, or whatever. You can manage that. And you know what? Once you squeeze a little time in your schedule, and you start enjoying your projects, you’ll fit in more time for it. It’s a fact, we all make time for what we deem important. Make time for yourself.

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Five Benefits of Having a Hobby

  • Hobbies can help you make friends. Some hobbies get us out of the house, where we can meet people and connect based on our interests. It’s nice to share a passion with others who feel the same as you do. And social connections make life meaningful, and make us happier. Social hobbies could be bowling, exercise classes, a book club, or a charity.
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  • Having a hobby helps you cope with stress. After having a rough day at work, picture yourself grabbing that paint brush or saddling up your horse or heading to your pottery class. Remind yourself that you are talented in many things, and work is just one part of you. Also, getting into a project takes your mind of your troubles.
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  • Hobbies help you organize your day. Whether you work, run a business, or are retired, setting time aside for your hobby helps you plan your time. If you have a club that meets twice a month, and you have a garden to tend 3 evenings a week, you have a plan. Once you find a hobby you really love, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the time you spend at it.
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  • Hobbies promote flow. Flow is a zen like state where you forget about time and just get into what you’re doing. Very few of us have found an occupation that we truly love. But all of us can certainly find a hobby that we love enough to lose ourselves in. And when you do, you may just find yourself truly absorbed in the moment. And what a wonderful break in the worries and problems of the day.
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  • Having a hobby gives you added energy. Finding a hobby that you enjoy, that makes you forget about everything else, charges your battery so to speak. And that will help you feel more energized thru the rest of your day. You’ll be excited to get back to it, and it will make your days more enjoyable.

So, the next step is to decide what kind of a hobby you want. Do you want a social hobby or a solitary one? Do you want an active hobby or a sit-down one?

You could reconnect with a musical instrument you played in school. Or learn a new instrument. You could join a softball team. You could take a pottery class, or learn a new language. You could start raising goats, or learn to ride a horse, or kayak down the river. You could start sewing or quilting or take up knitting. There are as many hobbies as there are middle-aged country women.

Think about photography, dog sitting, wood working, rug making, painting or drawing, making wall art, playing guitar or piano, raising sheep, growing berries, making wreaths or floral arrangements. You can make things to decorate your home, and then for family and friends, or even to sell. Your hobby could even grow into a part-time business. Look at everyone selling handmade items online, like on Etsy or Ebay. Etsy is a good place to look if you’re wondering what you could make.

Find something that interests you, and check it out. See if there are any groups or clubs around you that you’d like to participate in. But remember, your hobby is for you. So make sure it meets your needs. If you work a hectic schedule and need down time, maybe grab a pad of drawing paper and some pencils and start doodling. Or listen to your favorite music while you stretch out in your hammock. Or buy a new cookbook and start baking.

If you work a desk job and long to get outside, try gardening or raising animals. Find some friends and go camping. Try growing vegetables or roses. Or take up jogging. Or get out and walk your dog. Whatever level of activity fits your life.

There are many benefits to taking up a hobby. Find some time, find something that lights you up when you think about it, and give it a try. You might just find yourself feeling a little lighter.

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