If you’re anything like me, you’re running the 9-5 job like a boss, squeezing in a side hustle, and managing a home. You may also have children in the mix, too. Yet finding a hobby, and time for yourself, is absolutely paramount to positive mental wellbeing. So how do you find what you like – and how do you get the time to do it?
Make Time For Your Hobbies
If you need to book a babysitter for two hours a week – do it. If you need to ask your partner to cook dinner that evening – do it. If you have to choose between your hobby and cleaning the house – the house can wait.
Instead of seeing a hobby as a fun pastime that you do if and when you have the hours (which, we all know, means you’ll never actually get around to doing it), make it an essential meeting with yourself in the week. Book it out like any other appointment, and promise yourself that you’ll not cancel.
You might need to get up much earlier in the day to do your hobby, or sacrifice some time on the weekend. Do. It.
A hobby is essential to your health. Seriously! Me-time is highly under-rated in its ability to reduce stress, improve focus, boost positivity, and encourage creative problem-solving. IN a way, it’s your duty to yourself to take up a hobby. Without one, you’ll be brought down by the daily grind, and that’s never a good place to be.
So, how do you find a hobby you like?
Step One: Try Everything
I never thought I’d enjoy rock climbing, but after my first session I got a buzz that was like nothing else. Unfortunately, now fibromyalgia has fully taken hold, it’s no longer an option for me. However, it’s a great example of saying ‘yes’ more often – even if you don’t think you have the time for it.
Scout your local paper for clubs and groups. Think about the subjects at school that really got your creativity flowing, or your excitement up. Set yourself a goal to try one new thing a month. That’s it. Block out a couple of hours in your monthly schedule and go and do something new. Whether it’s a cookery class, a stich-n-bitch group, or the Women’s Institute, you’ll never know until you go.
You don’t have to spend a lot on hobbies – though there are some that have costly equipment requirements (airsoft, I’m looking at you) – and you’ll often be able to find gear on second-hand sites or eBay from those who started up and either moved on from their beginner stuff or gave up entirely.
Step Two: Tell Your Loved Ones
When you’ve found something that really inspires you and takes a grip, you’ve found a new hobby. Now, you need to make it clear to your loved ones that this hobby is important to you. Those two hours a week – or whatever time you need for it – are essential to keeping you healthy. They need to learn to respect your free time, and support you in developing your new skills.
If you find the support isn’t readily available, tell them that hobbies are important because:
- It gives you mental relaxation
- It is a way for you to work out the week’s frustration without shouting at them
- It allows you time to focus on something other than work or family
- It gives you a sociable event that you can look forward to
- It is productive/creative/good for your physical health
- It will help you to better focus your attention on them all the other hours of the week
- It gives them time off from you, too.
(I can come up with more reasons, if you’re really struggling – but if you REALLY have to convince someone that a hobby is essential to you, perhaps think about how positive that relationship really is).
You may find that your hobby is something that can involve them – such as fishing, swimming, cooking, even reading – but remember that your hobby is first and foremost your me-time!
A hobby is also great for birthdays and holiday gift time: whether that’s because you’re now crafting presents, or have a wishlist of gear as long as your arm, it’s a great way to involve your loved ones in your hobby!
Step Three: Remember It’s OK To Be A Beginner
The absolute number one reason that people quit their hobbies is that they don’t get good enough, quickly enough. What tosh!
You’re going to be a beginner. Remember what it was like at school, when you had no clue what those symbols in algebra meant – but a year later you were easily performing complex calculations? Hobbies take dedication and practice in order to become fulfilling.
You’re going to struggle. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to want to quit.
However, there comes a turning point in every hobby where the penny drops and it suddenly all works together. This is true for any hobby: I used to be a slow reader, but now devour a 300 page novel in a day. I used to knit scarves with holes in… and still do. There’s always room to learn.
If you don’t have time this week to go to your class, or to create your latest project, you can still spend some time doing things to progress your skills. Hop onto hobby-related chat forums and learn from those with lots of experience, or watch a few YouTube tutorials to discover how you can take your hobby to the next level.
Step Four: Set Yourself Challenges
Even though hobbies are a great way to get away from the pressures of daily life, it can really help to set yourself some challenges to work towards. This could be to cook an entire three course dinner from scratch, or to knit something without holes in it. Or, you could identify local and national competitions related to your hobby, and work towards competing in them – if you’re of a competitive nature, this is a great way to help focus your hobby time.
My main hobbies are reading, writing, sewing, and – most recently – knitting. These are all great hobbies for an introvert like me, but I like the challenges you can set yourself – such as entering a writing competition, or sewing everyone’s Christmas presents.
What’s your favourite hobby – and how did you get into it?