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  • mcreynoldsle

Get a hobby!

Anyone feeling stressed, exhausted, worried, or resentful? Seriously, who isn't?

Guess what? Enjoying a hobby has been proven to improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your creativity and sense of accomplishment. Some hobbies can even help you make new friends and improve your social skills. Hobbies improve your self-esteem and overall happiness. And yes, we all need more of that!

To be clear, this isn't about having a second (or third) job. A hobby is an activity, interest, or pursuit that we engage in for pleasure, relaxation, and personal enjoyment rather than for financial gain or obligation. So, if you like to crochet funny hats or bake mini-pies and give them out to your friends and coworkers, there's no expectation that you should open up an Esty shop or sell your wares at the local farmer's market. 

Life is hard for so many of us, especially these days. You are more than an employee, parent, partner, or chauffeur. You deserve to enjoy your own life. Hobbies allow us to do that. By doing an activity that you enjoy, simply because you enjoy it, your life can be richer and more fulfilling.

If you don't know what hobbies you would enjoy, think back to grade school. What did you love doing in your free time? I loved to read and paint. Today, reading for fun is my most cherished time, and making art helps me feel transformed. I also love to cook and work in my gardens...just not all the time. I like to have a variety of hobbies so I never feel obligated to do something. Hobbies are things you want to do, rather than have to do. They are beyond daily chores.

Consider your finances and physical space before committing. Many hobbies are free or inexpensive, like reading, walking, and yoga. Other hobbies, like traveling or skiing, can get pretty expensive. Some hobbies require a lot of time, some do not. And some hobbies, like puzzles and crafting, require a space commitment. 

Low-cost hobby ideas: 

     1. Reading

     2. Writing/Journaling

     3. Walking/ Hiking/ Running

     4. Drawing/Painting

     5. Gardening

     6. Yoga/Meditation

     7. Puzzles

Moderate-cost hobby ideas: 

     1. Cooking/Baking

     2. Photography

     3. Crafts (e.g., sewing, knitting, crochet, wood, paper, glass)

      4. Art making (e.g., drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture)

     4. Playing Musical Instruments

     5. Fitness or Dance Classes (e.g., Zumba, Pilates, Ballet)

     6. Camping (can easily be a higher-cost hobby)

      7. Playing sports on a team (e.g., softball, soccer, pickleball)

      8. Video and Board games

  Higher-cost hobby ideas: 

     1. Traveling

     2. Golfing/Tennis

     3. Skiing/Snowboarding

     4. Sailing/Boating

     5. Collecting (e.g., stamps, coins, antiques)

     6. Pottery/Ceramics

      7. Scuba diving

8. Fishing

9. Cycling

10. Kayaking

When you get started, it's best to schedule in time for your hobby. Treat your hobby with importance and respect (because you are important and worthy of respect!), and find a reasonable amount of time to devote to this activity. For example, if you want to enjoy reading more, try setting a goal to read for 30 minutes every day (like you did in elementary school to earn that pizza party!), or if you want to get back into dance, make the class schedule a priority (Sorry Susan, I can't make HH to listen to you talk about the election, I have my dance class tonight!). Some hobbies are "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind", like art making and puzzles, so find a way to have the materials out and available. 

Hobbies should improve your quality of life, helping you feel joyful, playful, and accomplished. Having a hobby can help you learn how to handle mistakes and do-overs with grace and patience (like a burnt cake, or a ruined stitch). If your hobby causes you stress, try something else. No pressure, no judgment.

In our journeys for healthier mental and physical health, it makes sense to have fulfilling activities that improve our quality of life. Get a hobby!

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