We’ve all been there – you’re rattling off to your friends about your latest relationship or office drama, the ‘he said, she said’, while they roll their eyes and discern that you probably have too much time on your hands to worry about the petty things in life. ‘You need a hobby!’ they may say, concluding that occupying your time and energy with something more constructive would be the best thing for you. And the truth is, they’re right.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to become obsessed with your smartphone or your crush’s most recent Instagram post, rather than put some quality time into a good ol’ hobby. But, studies have consistently found that pastimes are good for your overall wellbeing. Whether it’s painting, cooking for friends, birdwatching, surfing or even knitting, hobbies are a great way to reduce stress, give you a sense of accomplishment, connect with likeminded individuals and, in some cases, get fit and healthy, or even earn you extra money.
Finding a Pastime that Suits You
Understandably, hobbies can sometimes be limited to the place you live in. For example, if you love surfing, but the nearest beach is 100kms away, you’d be forgiven for holding off on waxing your board. Of course, one could argue that skateboarding is a decent enough alternative. With a little luck and a bit of imagination, you could well find a whole new hobby that you had not tried before, and even make some friends along the way.
There are a couple of other factors that need to be considered, of course, like time. Someone with a busy schedule may not always have the opportunity to whip out the watercolours and paint a portrait, but it is actually of vital importance to make the time to do something that brings you joy, whether alone or with friends. You needn’t share interests with loads of other people, either, in order to crank up the social aspect of having a hobby. For example, if you enjoy a spot of fishing while your significant other likes bird-watching, a little Sunday drive to the nearest nature reserve could do wonders for the both of you. As with countless activities, the endorphins that are released when performing a hobby you enjoy can have a positive effect on the mind, body and soul.
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Making Money, Made Fun
An old adage tells us that, just because you enjoy doing something, doesn’t mean you should – or even could – make a career of it. Of course, some pastime activities could well be a means of earning some extra income. If you love spending time with dogs, but can’t have one of your own in your apartment, you could easily find someone who is happy to pay you to walk their pooches every other day. It’s a win-win! You get the benefit of spending some time with furry friends while getting some extra exercise, and get paid for it!
A quick glance in the classifieds – or some creativity of your own – will open up countless other opportunities to get paid for doing what you enjoy. Art fanatics could soak up some masterpieces while working a weekend job as a curator for a gallery, while those who love languages and meeting people from around the world could do well as tour guides on sightseeing busses. Of course, it is often the case that the moment a hobby becomes a job, it’s no longer quite as fun – but this isn’t set in stone.
Just do Something
At the end of the day, whatever kind of activity you enjoy – and whether you’re paying to do it, or getting paid to do it – it’s important to have at least one hobby that brings you joy. Whether it’s as intense as cycling up a mountain, or as low-key as collecting stamps, the benefits are the same all around: lower stress, more happiness. If you have no idea what you might enjoy, get online and start looking. You may just make some new friends – and some money – along the way! At the end of the day, anything is better than nothing.