For a lot of us, spending time on a hobby feels like an indulgence or a slightly guilty pleasure. Something to be sneaked in, only once the Mountain of Everything Else has been successfully scaled. Often, when life gets too busy and frenetic, the hobby is the first casualty; craft gets packed away, the garden gets neglected and the hobby-related connections get shelved ‘for now’. Leap forward several months, years, even decades and we catch ourselves saying things like, “Oh yes, I used to love photography (insert your own hobby here) when I was younger. I was part of a club and we had such great times”.
Mothballing a hobby is often a source of regret and its loss can have implications for our wellbeing too. After all, a hobby is a marvelous way to unwind from the rigours of our daily routine. Our lives feel so busy – the urgent things have strident voices and refuse to get in an orderly queue! The trouble with hobbies is that they are too well mannered and quietly spoken for their own good, accepting of the neglect. But it’s not just the hobby that gets neglected – we suffer too. Spending time on activities that we enjoy can help improve our mental health and wellbeing. This is really important when we consider that anxiety and stress are two of the most common mental health problems of the modern world; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America cites that 18% of adults in the US experience anxiety disorders each year!