Reasons to Get a Hobby. Hint: They are Important.

Having a hobby that we enjoy brings us joy and enriches our lives. It gives us something fun to do during our leisure time and affords us the opportunity to learn new skills. And did you know that volunteering is a hobby?

According to Psychology Today you need hobbies because:

Hobbies help you structure your time. According to Parkinson’s law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” More simply, things take as much time as you have. So, when the evening stretches out before you, unscheduled, you might find yourself laboring over that work project or answering emails into the wee hours. Chances are, if you had choir practice or a book club meeting that night, you would get those tasks done much more quickly. So, hobbies can seem to create more time by encouraging efficiency.

Hobbies promote flow. Left to our own devices, we often opt for passive leisure—TV and web surfing are at the top of most people’s lists. And, sure, we all need to veg out from time to time. But we are so much more invigorated by active leisure, the sort of thing psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow activities. If you’ve ever lost yourself in a sport, art project, or other challenging, absorbing activity, you’ve experienced flow. Time flies, self-consciousness disappears, and you are fully immersed in the activity at hand. Hobbies, especially those that stretch our skills, foster this desirable and increasingly elusive state.

Hobbies can foster new social connections. While some hobbies are solitary endeavors, many get us out in our communities, meeting people we otherwise wouldn’t, sharing our passions, and forming new bonds. Countless studies have found that social connection is a key component of happiness and a meaningful life, and hobbies have the potential to create precious new ties.

Hobbies make you interesting. Hobbies give you something to talk about at parties and around the water cooler. They add layers to your identity, richness to your selfconcept. People want to be around those with passions, with a sense of curiosity, with stories to tell. You not only feel more inspired when you have a rich and active life, but you will inspire others as well.

Hobbies help you cope with stress. Imagine a rough day at the office, where you were harshly criticized by your boss. Coming home and turning on the TV may provide a brief distraction, but it doesn’t address your damaged ego head-on. Now imagine that after work you head out to your soccer league or pottery class. These activities are more than merely distracting. They remind you that that are many facets to your self-concept. Employee, yes, but also athlete or artist. As such, a blow to one aspect of your identity is less damaging. Simply put, your eggs aren’t all in one basket.

And the benefits can spill over into other aspects of your life. If you can designate an hour a day or even a few hours a week for something you feel truly inspired and enlivened by, don’t be surprised if some of that newfound zest carries over into your work and family life!

The best way to cultivate a new hobby is to try something new. As a West Toronto Support Services volunteer, you are committed to forming a world where the elderly can live independently and with dignity for longer, feeling respected, supported and counted. Your investment of time and talent is needed and will be immensely valued, either on an occasional or a consistent basis. Get started today.


A Community News blog post

West Toronto Support Services writes articles about events and news in the community that closely align with our agencies mission of living independently and promoting your health & wellness.   Articles posted under community news don’t necessarily mean we directly endorse them – they are articles of interest that you can pursue further.   We believe a healthy community is a diverse and connected community!

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