Can your hobby be more than just that?

Most often than not we are running like robots in this fast paced world. We tend to forget about our heath, family, and friends and more importantly about ourselves. When was the last time you actually pursued something you like? This does not mean watching your favourite series or having a movie marathon with yourself at 3 am. Having a hobby that helps you improve yourself in any way is a best way to have a good lifestyle. It also helps you relax and take a break from your work. Most of us are not lucky enough to be pursuing one of our hobbies as a career, but we sure can take it up in our free time and not lose out on it. Now I can understand that making free time for yourself is not easy. And when you finally get some time off your monotonous routine you would definitely want to sleep it off or maybe finish a movie you’ve been eyeing for some time. But trust me you will feel better by doing something you love instead. Don’t get me wrong I know having occasional movie nights and some extra hours of sleep is great but what I’m saying is that make sure to devote some time to your hobbies also. It could even be a mere half an hour but do it. You will definitely see a change in yourself and your mood. You don’t even have to do it on a daily basis even once a week will be enough.

You will understand better if I quote some examples and benefits.

1. Hobbies encourage taking a break. Hobbies offer an opportunity to take a break—but a break with a purpose. If you’re like me, you might like to feel productive while you’re engaging in an activity and a hobby gives you that. You are doing something while still having fun. Hobbies are great ways to take a break from your busy life while still having a sense of purpose. 

2. Hobbies promote eustress. Eustress is that positive kind of stress, the kind that makes you feel excited about what you’re doing and about life. Hobbies, I’ve found, are one of the greatest ways to access that kind of stress. When you’re doing something you love—something you don’t have to do for any other reason other than the fact that you love it—you feel a rush of excitement and joy. 

3. Hobbies offer a new challenge. Hobbies break up routine sand challenge you in new ways, ways that are different from work, ways that are positive. The great thing about picking up a new hobby is that it provides an excellent outlet for challenging yourself without the negative stress that comes from a work-related challenge. The new challenge can also open your mind to new ways of seeing the world. 

4. Hobbies unite you with others. Even if you engage in a solo activity, like illustrating, you’re exposing yourself to a new world of people, people who find the same thing enjoyable that you do. Though I don’t talk much about illustrating in the “real world,” online I find myself connecting with all kinds of people who are passionate about what I too feel excited about.  

5. Hobbies provide an outlet for stress. Adding another activity to your to-do list might seem like a way to create more stress, but I’ve found that engaging in a new hobby actually provides a great outlet for releasing stress. By focusing on a non-work-related task, you’re giving your mind something else to focus on. And when you really get in the flow, all of your worries and stresses seem to fade away. 

6. Hobbies promote staying present. If you really love what you’re doing, you tend to get in the flow or zone and really, truly focus on the moment. When I’m working on an illustration, hours can magically fly by because I’m so intensely focused on what I’m doing. Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, I’m completely and undeniably in the present. 

7. Hobbies have physical health benefits. Research has found that engaging in enjoyable activities during down time were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index. Engaging in these activities also correlated to higher levels of positive psychosocial states and lower levels of depression and negative affect. Hobbies are good for your mind and your body.  

Finding a new hobby isn’t always easy. You can’t just force yourself to like something; it has to come naturally. If you don’t already have something you’re interested in (or might be interested in), try new things. Sign up for a class that sounds interesting or ask your friends what kinds of hobbies they enjoy doing. The key to finding a new hobby—and falling in love with it—is keeping an open mind and being willing to give new things a try. You never know what might become your next favourite past-time! Start discovering yourself.