I Used to Have Hobbies
I used to be so interesting. For. Realz. I spent a lot of time in college working on unique art projects, coordinating midnight soccer pick-up games, discovering cool new bands, traveling, writing songs, you name it! I had a wide range of hobbies and loved indulging any and all of them whenever opportunities arose.
After I graduated, my job seemed to eat up a lot more of my time and energy, and my list of interests grew smaller and more homemaker-y – cooking, baking, gardening, home projects – never more than one to two hobbies at one time.
Even Busy People Deserve (and Need!) Hobbies
Add a kid to the mix and fuhgeddaboudit! When my daughter was first born, my “hobbies” quickly became going grocery shopping alone and eating a meal without interruptions. As I lost the interests that really made me, me, I also began to lose my sense of identity.
There’s this prevailing notion, perpetuated even by some of my closest friends and family, that good mothers center their lives and identities around their kids. That topic deserves its own post (and got one – Why Being a Selfish Mom is Good For You and Your Family), but suffice it to say that I am personally a better mother when I know who I am as an individual. In fact, the science behind pursuing your own interests is pretty darn compelling: hobbies lower blood pressure, improve psychological state, provide an outlet from daily stressors, and often engage us socially.
So what do you do when your list of “interests” starts and ends at taking naps? It’s time to dig a little deeper, my friend!
Step one: Remember What Interests You
The first step is to remember who you are and what interests you personally, by asking yourself some questions like:
- How do you spend your free time?
- What would you do (besides catching up on an obligatory to-do list) if you had an entire week to yourself?
- Is there a trend in what you tend to watch, read, or follow?
- Is there an aspect of your job that you enjoy?
Some people are born with very strong and clear interests that they carry throughout their lives, which makes this exercise much easier for those jerks. My husband’s answer to every single question a few years ago would have been building and customizing guns. He’s spent the last several years developing and perfecting those skills and has recently even launched his own business, Risen Gunworks. But my answers were a little less black-and-white:
- How do you spend your free time? Surfing social media, restacking the dishwasher after my husband, and exercising – not because I enjoy the exercise, but because I know I should.
- What would you do (besides catching up on an obligatory to-do list) if you had an entire week to yourself? Why can’t I work on my to-do list? Getting stuff done makes me happy.
- Is there a trend in what you tend to watch, read, or follow? Useless fluff. Social media drama in comment sections. Are those trends?
- Is there an aspect of your job that you enjoy? YES! Writing and editing material and guidelines for the quality team, plus sharing my experience with others to help make their jobs a little easier.
Step Two: Brainstorm How to Turn Interests Into Hobbies
Bingo! I had an interest. The second step is to brainstorm how to turn your interest into an enjoyable hobby. I had just completed my last grad school writing assignment and my rotation on the quality team at work was coming to a close, so I started to brainstorm some new ways to flex my writing skills.
A long list of possibilities was scribbled down, some very reasonable, but most really stupid. I knew some of them were stupid even as I was writing them, but I wrote them down anyway. You never know how one stupid idea could lead you to another thought, to another, and land you at an aha moment.
After some thoughtful consideration of my list, I decided that starting a blog would best meet my needs. If it only provided a creative outlet for me, then it would accomplish its purpose. If it could encourage or entertain even one other person, then that would be a cool bonus.
Step Three: Research Your Hobbies
This led me to the third step: research. I didn’t know the first thing about blogging. Luckily, thanks to Al Gore inventing the internet, you can now learn nearly anything in the world, from nearly anywhere in the world, with a good wifi connection.
I spent several days exploring existing blogs on all different topics. I found and compared countless getting-started and how-to blogging guidelines, many of them free, some at a price, my favorite being Elite Blog Academy. If your hobby involves working with your hands, you’ll probably take the route my husband did in piecing together YouTube channels, specialty sites, and social media inspiration to hone your craft.
Connect with Others Through Hobbies
You can also utilize the internet to find others that share your interests. Many community centers, libraries, and churches offer hobby clubs ranging from reading to hiking to photography and more. If your schedule is already pretty packed, then consider searching for one-time events, like marathons, talent shows, and sports tournaments.
My husband was having a difficult time finding a local contact for the type of gunsmithing skills that he wanted to learn, so he took to an Instagram search and started following those whose work he really admired. Many of those follows have turned into DMs, tip exchanges, work exchanges, and genuine friendships.
Wrap It Up
Fact: You are still a very interesting person. You have unique, God-given interests and talents that are just itching for you to pull the trigger and get started. Take some time today to get to know yourself all over again, and to start brainstorming, researching, and pursuing the things that consume your thoughts, that get you excited.
Best case scenario: You become wildly successful pursuing your hobbies. Worst case scenario: You enjoy the psychological, social, and physical benefits that come from engaging your mind and interests outside of the daily grind. What do you have to lose?
P.S. Are the things you have to do keeping you from the hobbies you want to pursue? Then sign up for our newsletter and receive a free “Tame the Overwhelm!” worksheet. This incredible tool will help you to trim down your to-do list to only the essentials, and then prioritize and schedule the rest. Sign up here today!
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