In Defense of Hobbies
As responsibilities pile up and stress builds, the first thing we tend to let go of are hobbies. We tell ourselves that we “don’t have enough time” for hobbies when there are other important tasks demanding our time and attention.
It is undeniable that there are responsibilities that require a high priority in our daily life, and times when our schedule becomes particularly busy. However, hobbies play an important role in maintaining our overall mood and wellbeing, and deserve time in our schedule.
Enjoyment – Sometimes the most important aspect of hobbies that we forget, is that hobbies are meant to be fun! These are things that we do for ourselves because we enjoy them, and don’t require the approval of others to be important or rewarding.
Mood – Taking time to do what we love plays a key role in our overall mood. During busy times of the year, we feel irritable if we haven’t made time for fun activities recently. By investing a bit of time in our weekly schedule for hobbies, it can boost our mood, lower stress, and keep us engaged in a more positive mindset.
Connection – Hobbies are also a way we connect to others. Often we feel a sense of kinship with others who share similar interests, whether we’re meeting them for the first time or discover a shared interest over time. Other times, hobbies can be physically shared with others through groups (like a knitting circle or book club) or through gifting the result of our hobbies (such as sharing baking with friends or donating knitted hats to charity).
Fulfillment – Having an outlet for our creative and energetic side can be very satisfying. Whether your hobbies are ‘hands on’ such as painting or gardening, ‘high impact’ such as dance or sports, or ‘slow paced’ such as reading a great book, we gain a sense of fulfillment. This can be from channelling our energy into a loved activity, meeting a goal, creating with our hands, or being able to meet needs that aren’t met in other areas of our life.
Ripple Effect – The hidden value of hobbies is how it can inspire others. We often look at what others are doing to inform our own life and choices, and whether we realize it or not, other people in our lives do the same. By doing what we love and making time for our hobbies, we can lead by example for the people close to us.
This is just a short list of the value and importance of hobbies, and how they can positively impact our mood and day-to-day life. Hobbies can also contribute to our identity as a well-rounded person in addition to our other life roles (e.g. employee, citizen, family member, etc.). Whatever your hobby happens to be, finding a way to add a bit of hobby fun to your week, even as small as 20-30 minutes, can be an investment well-made.
Lisa Gust, MSc, is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists and specializes in the areas of stress management and life transitions, as well as many others. For more information on Lisa and her work click here to link to her full bio page.