what is a hobby

Is watching TV a hobby?

Is listening to music a hobby?

Can you call your work a hobby?

In the traditional sense hobbies are defined as activities undertaken solely for pleasure to utilize one’s leisure time in a relaxed manner. Our busy lifestyles have taken us far away from our hobbies, wandering in the meandering lanes of watching TV, surfing the internet, browsing social media.

As kids, we all picked up fun activities that we did solely for joy – crafting, painting, sports, reading were parts of our routines. However, with the burden of studies, then work, then family, we feel thankful if we get to sit in front of the TV at the end of the day for an hour or two and sip a glass of wine or browse Facebook posts and retweet some interesting content. What we create in this process is content for social media companies to profit off of rather than something of value, something of use, something to sharpen the brain and enhance creativity.

Can a like or a comment on Facebook, or a follow on Instagram bring you pure joy? Here is a checklist to help you see if your Leisure time pursuit is truly a hobby that benefits you and brings you pure joy and relaxation –

Motive – What is your motive behind picking up this activity? Learning, creating, simply breathing fresh air are the motives behind real hobbies. Posting selfies, pretty pictures on social media, fulfilling your curiosity of what your ex’s life looks like now are not.

Necessity – Hobbies do not address necessities. For example, cleaning, showering, eating are not hobbies. They are of course necessary for survival but if you consider those your hobbies, you are not really using your time for leisure.

End result – What is the end result that you expect from pursuing the activity? Is it enhancing your resume by volunteering, impressing someone by showing off your dancing skills, achieving a model-like physique by working out? You are not in the hobby zone but in a goal achievement zone. Real hobbies come with no strings attached, they just help you relax. The phrase ‘dance like no one is watching’ is a good measure to pass the end result test.

Pure joy – Last, but not the least, hobbies bring you pure joy. Research has found that the body releases more Dopamine, a natural antidepressant, when people are pursuing hobbies. So pursuing a creative activity with no strings attached for pure joy brings you in the real hobby zone and enables you to reap all the benefits of using your leisure time mindfully.

So next time you pick up an activity for a hobby, use this checklist to see if it truly will get you in the self care zone and help you relax.

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