Adults Need Hobbies Too!
As kids, we are encouraged to “get a hobby.” Our parents wanted us kids to find something we loved and spend time doing it. We spent thousands of hours after school, on the weekends, and over the summer tumbling rocks, kicking soccer balls against walls, creating masterpieces in sketchpads, and strumming guitars. But why?
In our adolescence, we were told hobbies could help us grow as people, keep us out of trouble, and, if we worked really diligently at them, even pay our way through college.
And it’s true. According to the Child Development Institute, hobbies are healthy. In addition to their educational value, hobbies help children develop valuable skills, find their passions, and boost self esteem.
But what happens when we grow up? As adults, hobbies are often underrated. They get tossed in a drawer, shoved to the back corner of the garage, and written off as useless. We are busy mowing yards, mopping floors, and paying bills while our kids work on their hobbies. We’re so busy “adulting,” we don’t make time for the activities we used to love because they are seen as frivolous.
While the definition of a hobby says it’s “just for fun,” hobbies are anything but a waste of time. In fact, the benefits of spending time doing the things that bring you joy are just as impactful for adults as they are children.
Hobbies make us happier. For some people, just a few minutes alone with a good book does wonders for calming the mind. Allowing yourself those few minutes to relax and enjoy yourself can make you more productive at work and get you back on track for the rest of the day. So it’s not surprising that, according to the experts, enjoyment of our favorite activities helps reduce blood pressure, relieve stress, and elevate mood. Additionally, pursuing personal passions engages the brain. That’s why people who enjoy hobbies are less likely to develop mental illnesses such as dementia and depression.
Hobbies make us healthier. In addition to the psychological effects hobbies can have, your favorite pastimes provide many physiological benefits as well. Less fatigue, lower levels of stress hormones, and a healthier body mass index are found in people who spend at least 20 minutes per week engaging in pleasurable activities during their free time. That doesn’t necessarily mean 20 minutes of working out either. If running or squatting makes you happy, go for it, but the benefits aren’t specific to physical activity alone. Maybe you prefer woodworking, or gardening, or scrapbooking. Maybe you prefer the calming, meditative effects of sewing, a hobby that keeps you distracted from a smartphone and allows you to concentrate on creating something beautiful and with a purpose.
Hobbies make us better people. Don’t believe me? Google it. There is a lot of data out there to suggest hobbies can help you be more successful at your job, at relationships, even at parenting because they make you more productive, give you alone time, and help you set a good example for your children.
Bottom line, adults need hobbies too. So don’t feel guilty. Pick up that novel off the nightstand, dust of that old acoustic guitar, or head out to the garden for an afternoon of playing in the dirt. Even if it doesn’t generate income, it’s a wise investment in your own health and happiness.