Are you stuck on what to add to your Christmas wish list this year? Why not consider a new hobby? Not only will it give you a good excuse for some quality ‘me’ time, but experts say it can actually improve your overall mental health and well-being! Let’s talk dig into the reasons why…
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We live in a fast-paced, high-stress society where it feels like many of us spend every waking minute working towards knocking items off our to-do lists. From work-related projects and assignments to the never-ending piles of laundry waiting for us at home, it’s exhausting! Who has time to think, let alone to carve out ‘me time’ in our days?
The good news is that there is a way to prioritize that much-needed down time in your day, but it comes in a package you may not have expected… Studies show that there are a number of important benefits associated with having a hobby including reduced stress levels and improved overall mental health!
That sounds WAY too easy, doesn’t it? After all, if happiness was that easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it? However, I challenge each of you to step back and take a look at your life. Do you currently have something that you truly enjoy doing outside of your professional life? If so, do you make it a priority to find time for this activity in your weekly schedule?
Rather than creating a Christmas wish list full of the latest gadgets and fashion, why not consider something with a greater impact on your life? Many hobbies can be explored with a relatively low initial investment. Consider asking for the supplies necessary to get you started with something new, or to prioritize a hobby that you once enjoyed and would like to bring back into your life again.
For example, I have been cross stitching off and on since I was a child. My mother originally taught me, purchasing simple starter kits while I learned the basics of how to start a new thread, creating even stitches and finishing off my work. As I get older, unfortunately, this was something that was put aside and forgotten about as I started focusing on schoolwork, building my business, etc. Recently, I purchased a couple patterns and picked it back up again, and it feels great!
Whether you still need to find something that speaks to you, or simply need a nudge to pick up a loved hobby once again – consider this your sign! Why not improve your mental health by picking up a new hobby today? You deserve it!
Table of Contents
7 Ways A Hobby Can Help to Improve Your Life:
#1 – Reduce Stress
There is no denying the fact that we have a serious stress issue in our society today. In fact, many professionals will go as far as saying that we are currently experiencing a stress epidemic, with ‘burnout’ costing businesses thousands of dollars each year due to poor productivity and job performance as well as a higher number of ‘sick days’ among their employees. Ignoring the problem isn’t working, so it’s time to consider what steps we can take to reduce our stress.
While taking up a hobby isn’t going to actually remove stressors from your life, it will provide you with a much-needed break from the demands of both your professional and private lives. Whether you’re participating in a team sport like hockey or knitting at home, in that moment you can put everything else aside and focus on the task at hand. This helps to calm your nerves while encouraging a sense of mindfulness. Why do you think we look forward to the next game or moment alone with a good book so much?
#2 – Connect with Others
Have you ever noticed how much more difficult it can be to make friends as an adult? While you may still have some friends from school, life happens, and we often find ourselves heading down different paths. This isn’t to say that we don’t still care for one another, but who are you going to call when all you need is some face to face time? Many hobbies will provide you with the opportunity to meet others who share your interests. This includes not only teammates when joining a recreational sports league, but also other group activities like knitting circles, book clubs, photography classes, and more.
The good news? You know right from the start that you share at least one interest, after all, that’s how you met. This helps to narrow the field to people you may develop a real connection with while also providing you with a great icebreaker.
#3 – ‘Discover’ Yourself
As children we got through a process of discovering who we are including finding our passions, the things we enjoy (and those we don’t), our strengths and our weaknesses. Unfortunately, for many of us this ends somewhere around our late teens/early 20’s when we feel like we’ve ‘got it all figured out’. The truth is that we continue to grow, change and evolve throughout our lives… 20-year-old you and 40-year-old you may be drastically different people!
By exploring different hobbies and finding which speak to you, it opens the door to continue learning about who you are over the years. As we change, the hobby we are drawn to may as well, and that’s okay! It’s better than okay – it’s a clear indicator of a higher level of self-awareness, which can help us in many aspects of life including our relationships, careers, etc.
#4 – Challenge Your Mind
One of the biggest concerns that come with age is the fact that we will, in time, start to lose our mental sharpness and clarity. How often do you hear people refer to ‘becoming forgetful’ in their old age? While there are no hobbies that will stop you from aging entirely, choosing one that challenges your mind can help to provide the stimulation necessary to slow the effects. Mentally engaging hobbies like card games, crafting, brain teasers, and playing music help to engage your mind, improving memory, boosting creativity and even enhancing your decision-marking and problem-solving skills.
#5 – Improved Productivity
You’re probably thinking that this is completely contradictory, right? I’m telling you that taking time away from your work may actually make you more productive… but it’s true! By scheduling time into your day to step back and enjoy a hobby, you provide yourself with a much-needed mental break. As a result, you can return to your latest work assignment with a clear mind and a fresh set of eyes. The result? You are prepared to buckle down and focus, producing better quality work and at a faster rate.
Moral of the story: Don’t allow your drive to succeed in your professional life keep you from trying out a hobby. Picking up a hobby may help to propel your forward towards your goals and dreams! Why not give it a try?
#6 – Improve Your Immune System
Many popular hobbies today encourage you to get up and moving. The obvious benefit is, of course, that physical activity will help you to lose/maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of physical health conditions like heart disease, but did you know that regular activity can also help to boost your immune system? That’s right, taking up a hobby such as biking, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, or playing team sports can help to keep you healthy. Enjoy your favourite activity and avoid that winter bug at the same time, it’s a win/win situation.
#7 – Passive Income
I have included this as the last point because it shouldn’t be the main reason for picking up a hobby. Choosing solely based on income potential would mean you’re making a career/financial choice, not one rooted in enjoyment and recreation. However, you may find that over time you can bring in some extra spending money from your hobby. While this likely won’t be enough to make much of a difference in your greater financial plan (living expenses), it may be enough to finance your hobby itself!
In rare cases, a hobby can develop into something bigger, leading you to discover a new career path or even open your own business. For many, this is the ultimate dream – making a living doing something you genuinely love!
Did you know that you can improve your mental health by picking up a new hobby? Do you currently have a favourite hobby? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!