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by MindJournal - 8 min read
We can’t work and do chores 24/7. Where’s the fun in that? Here, we explore the importance of hobbies for your overall wellbeing, happiness and quality of life.
As children, we all have hobbies, be it climbing trees or collecting weird-shaped stones in the backyard. But, as adults, we can forget the importance of hobbies and the joy that they can bring. Between family life and work, we can feel our time (and hearts) are full. But there is something to be gained by picking up an extracurricular pursuit just for you.
Hobbies can provide a break from the daily grind, helping to alleviate stress in the process. Don’t feel like you have time for a hobby? Well, it turns out hobbies can enhance productivity and happiness and even impact your performance in the office. Think of it as investing in yourself.
In fact, according to a study from Barclaycard, 62 per cent of Brits who spent 5 – 10 hours a week on a hobby reported feeling more relaxed and claimed their social lives had benefited, making an average of 17 new friends, which is nice.
Need convincing? We've got you covered with a roundup of the key benefits and ideas to inspire you to get started.
Starting a hobby comes with many emotional perks, which can boost your psychosocial and physical wellbeing. In fact, according to research from Utah State University, by increasing social connection, hobbies can even reduce your risk of anxiety and depression.
Activities like journaling, gardening, or playing a musical instrument allow you to express yourself, unwind, and beat stress. They also trigger the release of those "feel-good" endorphins, making you feel happier and more accomplished overall.
If picking up a new sport or physical activity is your hobby of choice, you'll feel the benefits pretty quickly. With many of us spending a lot of time at our desks, moving our bodies reminds us what we are capable of - something we can sometimes forget in the busyness of our day-to-day lives. It's also proven to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and help us feel better about ourselves.
Think about hiking, swimming, or even dancing – they're not just fun; they keep you moving and help improve your cardiovascular fitness. And if you're into activities that require some fine-tuned skills, like woodworking or fixing up cars, they'll amp up your coordination and dexterity. Getting into these active hobbies often gets you off the couch and moving more, giving you more energy, better muscle tone, and feeling healthier all-around.
Consider developing your money management skills with a new course or workshop (you can find many free resources online), learn about real estate, or even dip your toe into stocks and shares. These hobbies provide opportunities for financial growth and help you develop valuable financial skills for every area of your life.
You could even start a side hustle. Whether you're into comedy, cooking or karate, consider creating a blog or online channel to share your passion with others. You only need a smartphone with a video camera and internet access to get started. And with unlimited potential to monetise content, you can enjoy your hobby and take steps toward securing your financial future.*
*The slight caveat with this one is to ensure you strike a healthy balance, don't overcommit and always put your wellbeing first.
Meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature can help you cultivate a deeper sense of purpose. Hobbies like this encourage self-reflection and mindfulness, allowing you to slow down and connect with yourself. By immersing yourself in meditation or spending time in the tranquillity of the outdoors, these pursuits can lead to a more profound sense of spiritual fulfilment and harmony.
As well as the mental health benefits, adults with hobbies were found to enjoy increased life satisfaction and increased positivity. All of which feeds into a sense of spiritual wellbeing.
According to Harvard Business Review, you should work less and spend more time on your hobbies. "When people don't have time for hobbies, businesses pay a price. Hobbies can make workers substantially better at their jobs," the article states, while also noting that many workers wish they had time for a hobby.
Don't see a hobby as a distraction from work but as an opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. Yes, you could network at events, hone your skills through online courses, or polish your public speaking profile, but if you're striving to achieve a healthy work-life balance, try something like running instead. The health benefits are well known, but it also nurtures resilience, focus and determination, specifically due to the production of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate the brain's response to stress.
The good news is that whatever hobby you choose will be positive for your overall wellbeing, helping you progress towards a more successful and fulfilling professional life.
Almost all hobbies have the potential to expand your social circle. Even the most solitary of activities is likely to have either a local or online community for support, helping you grow your social network among like-minded individuals, which can help you feel more confident about your place in the world.
Activities like team sports, joining clubs, or attending social gatherings can help you build and strengthen meaningful relationships. These hobbies encourage camaraderie, collaboration, and the opportunity to meet new people who share similar interests.
If you're unsure where to start, try volunteering. The benefits can be endless, from improving self-esteem to gaining confidence; research has found regular volunteering leads to lower levels of stress and anxiety through the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. Better than a box set, any day of the week.
With one study finding that of the Brits who dedicate five to ten hours per week to a hobby, 47 per cent noted a more positive outlook, 38 per cent felt healthier, 28 per cent more confident, and 27 per cent more energetic. What are you waiting for? It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you make a start today. After all, who knows where it could lead?
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