Life seems busy all the time. Days filled with household chores, childcare and/or aging parents and work can leave us overworked and tired. So who has time or energy for a hobby?
Family physician Pavandip Virdi, MD, with Bayhealth Family Medicine, Dover encourages everyone to find the time.
Turns out, a hobby can be just what we need to boost your energy and mood. “Hobbies have been shown to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. If your hobby is being outdoors, the mental health benefits are even greater,” Virdi said.
How does recreation help? Virdi explains that “active leisure” can be invigorating, giving us strength, energy and vitality. This is why leisure is so important, not only for retirees who may have more free time, but for the whole family.
Solitary hobbies such as drawing or knitting can give your mind the break it needs and bring great satisfaction from the results of your creativity. Hobbies that can be done with others, such as games or yoga, help develop social bonds that have also been shown to be fundamental to happiness and a sense of a meaningful life.
“Our hobbies add depth to our identities and reinforce our self-image,” Virdi said. “It also adds to our social life by giving us something to say. It reminds us that we are more than just an employee or an era. You may find that all the happiness your hobby brings you will stay with you during peak times as well.
How do you find time for a hobby? It’s hard to admit, but most of us waste a lot of time. If you’ve added up all the time you spend browsing social media or binge-watching TV, you might find you’ve had time to redirect those distractions into something more meaningful.
“Sometimes we need that downtime,” Virdi said. “But compare how you feel afterwards and how you feel after accomplishing something through a hobby. You will likely find the hobby much more satisfying.
Now that you’re motivated to find a hobby, how do you choose the right one for you? Virdi suggests considering the main categories that most hobbies fall into: artistic, productive, physical activity, game/sport related, spiritual, collecting, nature related, or travel. Which of these elements piques your interest? You can even combine two or three categories to create a hobby.
“By the way, studies show that having multiple hobbies can boost your mood even more, so don’t limit yourself,” Virdi says.