One of the first questions you get asked when meeting someone new is “what do you like to do?” And if you are at all like me then at one point or another you have probably thought “Well, with what little free time I have, I enjoy sleeping. But I don’t think that’s the best response.” I completely understand the stress and time pit that is working, going to school, and generally trying to be an adult. So it makes sense that a lot of people think that they don’t have time for hobbies. However, there are a lot of benefits to finding a hobby you enjoy even if you just dedicate a very small amount of time to it. A hobby can be anything you enjoy. Some people enjoy exercising, reading, playing games, making art. My personal favorite hobby at the moment is crochet.

So how do you find a hobby you enjoy? You can always get the sampler platter and just try different things until something sticks. You can walk through a Michael’s or Joann’s and see if anything stands out. Another option is seeing if your friends have ideas of things you might enjoy. You could also try out local classes or join Facebook groups centered around X hobby.

Okay, I found something I like. So what? That’s great! One way that hobbies help us is by allowing us to do something challenging but not too challenging that gives us a sense of mastery. You see this in video games or exercising. If you start at level 100 you will get discouraged just like if you start with the tutorial it’s possible it will feel too easy. There’s a sweet spot when things are just hard enough to offer a challenge that we feel we can get through. And that is an excellent feeling and where the best learning occurs, when we are challenged enough to stay interested but not so challenged we give up.

Hobbies also can use parts of our brain that aren’t usually engaged in our day to day activities. As we grow up, a lot of us end up in more sedentary jobs and lifestyles where we don’t get to be creative all the time. So picking up a hobby allows us to use those parts of our brain that we may have not used in a long time. Creativity doesn’t have to be just artwork like drawing or painting. It can be knitting, color by number, reading, or any number of other things.

Hobbies help us with mindfulness. Mindfulness is an extremely useful tool for humans. It can help us deal with mental illness like anxiety and depression as well as helping for symptoms of just general stress. Slowing down and focusing on one thing that we enjoy (i.e. a hobby) helps us practice mindfulness. The more we practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes.

Hobbies also can help us recharge ourselves. With all of the responsibilities that we face, it can be easy to put ourselves on the back burner. Or use what little time we have to just zone out or sleep. However, using hobbies can be a way that we engage in self care. We are taking a conscious effort to do something that we enjoy and focusing on it rather than zoning out.

So, now that you know some of the benefits of hobbies, I hope that you are able to try to find something you enjoy doing and start to implement it. Even if it starts as 5 minutes a day or one hour a week!