SELF-CARE NOT SELF-INDULGENCE: THE BENEFITS OF FINDING A NEW HOBBY
If you’ve always thought of hobbies as a way to fill up the time when you aren’t working, think again. Hobbies should be thought of as an important part of self-care, something you do for relaxation and enjoyment and to alleviate some of the stress you face at work all week. Whether you prefer to enjoy a hobby with a group of friends or by yourself, it’s good for you mentally, emotionally, and physically, and can even help in addiction recovery. And there are many different ways you can go with it - thanks to the internet, you can find hobbies that closely match your particular interests, whether you’re an intellectual, athletic or social type. If you enjoy it, you should do it.
Crafting with a twist
If you’ve always liked crafting but prefer to do something a little offbeat, look around you. There are lots of objects, things in the recycling bin or piled up in the back bedroom, that make excellent material for expressing your creativity. Think of it as do-it-yourself crafting - making colorful pinatas out of empty cereal boxes, turning empty red and white wine bottles into decorative candle holders, or transforming the cardboard inside paper towel and toilet paper rolls into stylized picture or art frames. As long as you’ve got trash, you’ve got media for your imagination and creativity. For further ideas, check out Pinterest or YouTube for something really cool.
You can find podcasts on just about any subject. In fact, there are so many, you may find something you didn’t even know you were interested in. Listen in on interviews with your favorite celebrities, politicians or comedians; binge-listen to your favorite detective mystery stories, learn a foreign language, or contemplate the mysteries of outer space. The best part is you can listen in pretty much whenever you like by using your smartphone. Tune in at work or while you’re driving the kids around. You might even become inspired and decide to launch a podcast series of your own.
Start a club
Everyone loves belonging to a club. It’s appealing socially and makes you part of something a little bit unique. If you and your friends love reading and talking about your favorite books, start a book club. Consider launching a web page inviting like-minded people to join your group, and add their perspective to your discussions. Perhaps a drawing or writing club might be more your cup of tea; as long as you’re doing it with people you care about, you should go for it. Change things up now and then by having brunch or dinner meetings. If scheduling is a problem, check out Doodle, an online resource that simplifies scheduling problems.
The great outdoors If you and your friends love getting outside in the fields and woods, hiking might be the hobby for you. Check out Backpacker.com for information about equipment and where to find the best hiking locations. It’s great exercise and terrific for your outlook - enjoying nature’s beauty with best friends would make anyone feel good.
Photography with cameras
Smartphone technology has shunted the traditional idea of photography to the background. Even some photojournalists use their phones. But taking photos with cameras is an art form of its own and can capture nuances and dimensions that somehow escape the smartphone.
If you’re into music and have always wanted to learn an instrument, why not make a hobby out of it? Enjoyed with friends, music is an excellent way to commune with each other socially and to gain the many mental benefits of learning to play music. There are many free lessons to be found online whether your interest lies in acquiring new flute, saxophone, or clarinet skills - or anything in between.
Hobbies can teach new skills, help you make new friends, and provide the means for relaxation and enjoyment through intellectual stimulation. It’s an important aspect of self-care that’s good for your mind, body and sense of well-being.