Before you start reading this, do a simple exercise by answering these questions –
1- What are your top 3 hobbies?
2- Why do you have those hobbies?
3- How many hours in a day or week do you spend on your hobbies?
4- How much time has it been since you practiced one or all of them?
Can you name your top 3 hobbies?
Most adults will not be able to name their top 3 hobbies in 10 seconds! It simply denotes that they haven’t had a chance to engage in their hobbies for a while. The meaning of hobbies has gradually changed to pastime. Activities such as internet browsing and Netflix binging are slowly taking our time and space we used to reserve for things we truly loved to do.
Merriam Webster defines hobbies as – “pursuits outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation”. The main reasons people cite for hobbies is that they help them relax. Hobbies have long proven to be beneficial for people’s mental well being and have been effective in alleviating stress, depression, and anxiety. Practicing a hobby releases oxytocin that relaxes the brain. Studies have shown that people who pursue creative activities are also more productive at work than people who don’t. Yet, why is it so hard to name your top 3 hobbies?
Want perfect pictures of your cooking or beautiful hiking selfies?
The reasons and motivations of having hobbies is changing. Hobbies are activities we undertake without any aim for expertise or aspiration to enhance our social media profiles. However, if you are a student or a job applicant, you are likely not dancing or painting but volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or a school to build your resume. There is nothing wrong with that but those are really not hobbies, activities that are done for pure joy without any external motivation.
If you have picked up knitting or any other crafting, today your motivation is likely posting pretty pictures on instagram and pinterest or an aspiration to set up an etsy store. It is no longer to just create and enjoy your self care time with a hot cup of tea.
How to get more time to practice your hobbies
Isn’t it strange that the more gadgets and disposable income we have the busier we are and the lesser leisure time we have? What we have left of the time, we spend on ‘relaxing’ in front of the screen. Interestingly, hobbies are an amazing way to cure device addiction. Grab a paint brush and see how much time passes before you check your phone for emails. Take your backpack and head to the woods, away from the phone reception range, and see for yourself the peace it brings you.
A very big barrier to starting new hobbies or picking up old ones is the time spent on research and shopping. Try picking up painting as a new hobby – what will you make? What kind of supplies will you get? Where will you get the supplies from? How will you learn? All these questions are enough to deter even the most motivated to get started with something new.
While kids can still pick up new hobbies at school, picking up and learning new hobbies is specially harder for adults. With all the information available online, and supplies available for home delivery, we still cannot manage to glean through the noise. Try looking for ‘learn painting’ on youtube and be ready to prepare hours of video surfing before you abandon your pursuit. Try ordering paint from amazon and picking the right option for you. It is certainly not an easy task.
Are hobbies a thing of the past?
How many times has it been that you started to learn a new hobby but abandoned it due to lack of time, patience, or the realization that you won’t be an expert or a youtube star? Like it or not, social media today drives most of our behaviors. Gone are the days when we sat with our friends crafting, painting, singing. Everything today is driven by what looks good on your social presence. When you plan your next hike, think why you are hiking that mountain – is it to enjoy the fresh air or to post an accomplishment selfie?
How do you fit in self care in your busy lifestyles? What are you doing to preserve your health and happiness? Let me give you an easy exercise – pick your TV remote in one hand and tutorials, knitting needles, and yarn in another to knit a hat for donation. What would you like to do next?