Mandy’s therapist once assigned her to (and I’m not kidding) find a hobby. She was completely stumped.
This may be hard to believe for some of you who were blessed with the “hobby gene” throughout life, but there are those among us to whom hobbies don’t come naturally. Have you ever heard the kitchen adage “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean?” Well, that’s how many of us go through life. If you have time to sit and do a puzzle or time to go play basketball with friends, you have time to get more work done. Our success- and productivity-driven society tends to reinforce this message. And for Mandy, a working single mom, every minute her kids were at school was a minute to be busy earning.
For those of us who don’t naturally gravitate to them, we have to learn the importance of hobbies. And not only that, we have to actually try things out to see if we like them. The choices can seem overwhelming. I tried pottery. Mandy dabbled in watercolor & embroidery. They didn’t stick. And then we have to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there to try again. It can be scary.
The payoff can be big though. It pays off in a mind and body that feel rejuvenated and more creative. Depending on the type of hobby, they can help promote self-confidence and social connections (traveling, volunteering, bowling league), improve your physical health (meditating, biking, Pilates), decrease stress by relaxing you and taking your mind off the more pressing concerns of daily life (gardening, photography, music), and much more.
And for those of you who say you don’t have time for a hobby, consider this from Psychology Today:
Hobbies help you structure your time. According to Parkinson’s law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” More simply, things take as much time as you have. So, when the evening stretches out before you, unscheduled, you might find yourself laboring over that work project or answering emails into the wee hours. Chances are, if you had choir practice or a book club meeting that night, you would get those tasks done much more quickly. So, hobbies can seem to create more time by encouraging efficiency.
Mandy has now found pickleball and she LOVES it! It brings her joy and gives her energy. Working in her garden brings her clarity and flow. I love reading (a book or Kindle at bed, audiobooks when I walk) to “forget about life for a while,” and I get great fulfillment and personal satisfaction out of volunteering at CAH’s Food Club. We have built these hobbies into our daily schedules.
We encourage you to do the same! If you’re new to hobbies, it can take trial and error, but keep at it and you’ll find your thing. And those of you who have hobbies you love, share with us and help others to find their next passion!