"It seems sometimes that there aren't enough hours in the day." Have you said or heard a statement like this? We can feel that life has become too busy to include the downtime that we need to recharge. However, that downtime is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. For instance, research has demonstrated that the benefits of participating in mentally engaging leisure activities include mood improvement, opens a new window and reductions in stress and heart rate. Other research has found that enjoyable leisure activities are linked to lower blood pressure, opens a new window and improved sleep. Creative leisure activities are associated with improved work performance, opens a new window. Playing a musical instrument is associated with faster response times, and gardening is associated with a reduction in risk, opens a new window for both heart attacks and strokes. Clearly, engaging in favorite activities during our downtime is time well spent!
Certainly, in order to benefit from hobbies and leisure activities, you must have the time to devote to them. This perhaps explains why hobbies emerged and grew in popularity only after the middle of the 18th century when leisure time became more common (Gelber, 1999). That said, as mentioned above, the fact that leisure time exists doesn't mean that we feel like we have an abundance of it. So how do you fit a hobby into a busy life? Luckily, there are things you can do to make that happen.
- Identify the hobbies and leisure activities that interest you, and prioritize, opens a new window them. It's easy to feel immobilized when your list of hobbies is overly long and unmanageable as a whole.
- Engage in your chosen hobbies in small, opens a new window chunks of time when you might be idle or killing time (social media scrolling on autopilot, perhaps).
- Schedule time to devote to your hobbies. If we can make time for other self-care activities, why not recognize hobbies as just another worthwhile form of that?
As you are considering which hobbies appeal to you, give special attention to hobbies that offer some level of challenge, opens a new window. Such hobbies engage the mind, and when you get good at them, that sense of accomplishment can help boost your confidence and self-esteem, opens a new window. At the same time, keep in mind that trying your hand at something that challenges you requires patience, opens a new window. It's okay if you're not great at it right out of the gate; just know that as you continue to practice your hobby, you're likely to see improvement. You can find beginner activities for many hobbies. They're a great way to introduce yourself to something new.
The St. Tammany Parish Library collection includes materials on lots of different hobbies. See the list below for a sampling of what we have to offer!
Gelber, S. (1999). Hobbies: Leisure and the culture of work in America. New York: Columbia University Press.
Looking for a new hobby? Ready to jump back into an old one? The St. Tammany Parish Library has lots of resources that can inspire your interests and guide your practice! This list includes just some of the materials we have to offer. Please Note: In order to bring you new and interesting titles, Hoopla content is updated monthly, and these titles may not be available in the future. To find the latest titles, please visit www.hoopladigital.com.