Hobbies are not just for children; you actually need them in your life. Here’s how hobbies improve your well-being. By Gugulethu Mhlungu
My grandmother retired a few years ago, and moved to Durban to live with my mother and brother. She walks the dog every day, often spends hours at the sea, and has a herb garden with some of the best rosemary I’ve ever tasted. Every time I go home, I discover that she’s picked up a new hobby. She finds it tedious not to have activities hence she keeps busy. But, it turns out that hobbies are actually good for your health, according to life coach Thembi Hama. “They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Through hobbies or pursuing our personal interests, we get to utilise our time and resources in things that are beneficial to our psychological well-being. Hobbies also allow us to go through a journey of self-discovery,” she explains. In one of her columns on Psychology Today, Dr Jaime Kurtz says in addition to improving feelings of well-being, having hobbies can actually help you be more efficient and productive. “Things take as much time as you have. So, when the evening stretches out before you, unscheduled, you might find yourself labouring over that work project or answering emails into the wee hours. Chances are, if you had choir practice or a book-club meeting that night, you would get those tasks done much more quickly. So, hobbies can seem to create more time by encouraging efficiency.” If the benefit to your time management is not enough, Thembi says personal interests and hobbies have numerous other benefits. These include:
How many of us are defined by work or the roles we play in our families? How many of us never get to know our true selves? Thembi says with hobbies, we are able to discover our likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. This helps get you to know yourself better. It can also help make you a more interesting person because you have varying interests outside of just work or home.
Hobbies may point you in the right direction as far as your career choices are concerned. Some people have even made professions out of what started off as a hobby, e.g. interior design, sports coaching, fashion and beauty, among others.
FINDING COMMUNITY AND COMPANIONSHIP
While you need not do your hobbies with other people, sometimes the social element of personal interests is inevitable. “Through meeting like-minded people who enjoy the same things as we do, we get to make meaningful connections and at times, even lifelong friendships and romance,” Thembi says.
Some hobbies can benefit your mind and body, too. These include yoga or sport activities while some provide food for the soul, such as reading a book or a hobby that is related to music. However, many people don’t usually make the time for their hobbies. And, it’s true that we are all immensely busy and stressed. But, Dr Jaime says if you can designate an hour a day or a few per week for something you feel truly inspired and enlivened by, don’t be surprised if some of that new-found zest carries over into your work and family life. So your hobbies can be good for you and everyone around you.