In case you’ve been too busy with holiday parties, drinking your fair share of eggnog, scotch, and scarfing copious amounts of chocolate, here’s what you’ve missed. We’ve been discussing stress management and resiliency. And goodness knows the holidays can be stressful. Forget all the holiday gift shopping for a moment. Just thinking about spending time with family for more than twenty minutes is enough to make me dive head first into a box of Turtles or consume a giant-sized bar of Tolberone. We’re talking about stress. More specifically, we’re talking about my top 7 strategies for both management and building resiliency. We’ve covered 1. Physical activity, 2. Meditation, 3. Journaling, and 4. Counselling. To get yourself up to speed, check out the previous articles on my website.
Today, we’re talking about strategy #5 - THE IMPORTANCE OF HOBBIES. It may seem silly to you, I recognize. “Kids have hobbies”, you say. But some of the most well-adjusted adults I know have hobbies. Here’s why:
1. MOST OF US SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON WORK. We need a break. A hobby can provide relaxation, happiness, prevent/cure stress, anxiety and depression. A hobby can take your mind of stress. When I am in my hip hop class (Yes, you read that right. A forty-one-year-old takes hip hop classes), I think of nothing else. J.Lo’s latest single is pumping through my veins, I’m focused on watching the instructor teach the choreography (mostly because if I take my eyes off him for one second, I’ll miss the move and fall on my butt), and I am elated. I feel high, which, as we’ve learned from the first strategy of physical activity, is serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and endorphins; all designed to promote feelings of calm, well-being, focus and attention.
2. SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND CONNECTIONS can be made with hobbies. Depression is a sense of disconnection and can be isolating. Social activities breed connection. Anxiety is an internal experience of negativity and discomfort. Connecting with others pulls us outside ourselves, calming our internal systems as a result.
3. REGAINING A SENSE OF CONTROL- So much in life can be out of our control, which can lead to overwhelming stress and anxiety. A hobby is yours. You have the power to choose how you spend your time, when you want to engage in your hobby, and how much time you want to spend on it.
4. PROVIDING A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT - Having a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goal gives us something to strive towards, thus stimulating the pleasure hormone, dopamine.
5. FINDING FULFILLMENT AND MEANING - When we pursue what we are really passionate about and love, we are filled with meaning. And joy. Who can argue with that?
So find a hobby that you get lost in, one that allows you to lose a sense of time because everything else will slip away. This is the place where our authenticity and happiness lives and thrives. For me, it’s dancing, singing, and running. For you, it could be yoga, tennis, knitting, drawing, sumo wrestling or cooking. Find your hobby, and carve out time each week.
You deserve it.
Your mind and body will thank you.
Lots of love!