Many of us think we should only spend time on our hobbies once we’ve taken care of everything else (you know, the important stuff). After you get the house clean or set the annual budget for your business, then—and only then—you can finally do that fun activity that you get completely lost in.
Well, that’s nonsense. I’m here to tell you that making your hobby a priority helps you be at your best, both mentally and physically, for everything else life requires of you. As I see it, here are the top three benefits of having a hobby.
#1. Stress Relief
There’s no doubt that stress relief is something we all need. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re on the clock, work leads to stress. Whether you have kids or fur babies or just take care of yourself, home life leads to stress. As we’ve discussed, a little stress is fine, but chronic stress does not do the body (or mind) good.
When you’re engaged with a hobby that requires your total attention, it forces you to put everything else on the back burner. This can pretty much put you in a meditative state even if you don’t realize it (and even if you’re not sitting sit in the lotus position). It helps clear your mind and potentially allows you to see issues from a different perspective. Often times, shifting our perspective rather than sticking with the status quo keeps us moving in the direction we most desire.
#2. Creative Outlets
Creative outlets are as diverse as we humans, and they make fantastic hobbies. There are the obvious ones, like painting or writing poetry, but baking cakes and landscaping qualify as well. Creativity is expressed in any activity where you start with nothing and end up with something that was first formed in that beautiful brain of yours.
The benefits of creative endeavors and self-expression are many. Consistently getting your creative juices flowing encourages you to trust your instincts. Seeing the results of your pursuits builds self-confidence. Learning to recognize when you need to change course to get the outcome you desire helps you become a better problem-solver and critical thinker. Creative outlets allow you to show the world who you are—you can be yourself.
Double bonus: Sometimes creative outlets can turn into a side hustle and help you save for a dream vacation or a college fund. Hell, it can even mean extra income in retirement—doing something that doesn’t even feel like work. Nice!
#3. Increased Well-Being
There are also health benefits associated with pursuing your hobbies. Expressing yourself creatively, in whatever medium you choose, can help you make sense of various experiences and lead to greater mental health. If your hobby involves something of a physical nature, like hiking, dancing, or gardening, you’re sure to see physical benefits as well.
In this day and age, it seems that most of us are connected 24/7. But it’s important to schedule time when you’re completely unavailable and then use that time to immerse yourself in your hobbies. Close the door to your workshop. Turn your phone off. Distance yourself from the things that distract you the most. It will be okay, trust me. All of your notifications will still be there after you take some time to prioritize yourself and your overall health. Bonus—you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.
Images from iStock/monkeybusinessimages (main), Artem Peretiatko (post).
holistic health | stress relief