Why we should all try a new hobby in 2022
If January has left you feeling a bit blue. A bit bored. A bit… blaaahhh; then it could be time for you to re-energise yourself by trying out a new hobby or two.
Now I know what you’re thinking (I really do): hobbies are surely the domain of children and retirees. I mean, how the hell would any grown-up have time to fit in a blinking hobby!? We’re busy enough trying to spin all the vital plates, you know… keeping the kids fed and watered, working long hours to pay the bills, seeing our friends once in a blue moon and attempting to fit in regular exercise. Then of course there’s the time we have to commit to keeping up our children’s hobbies; that can feel like a full-time job in itself! There is surely no time for another plate… a non-vital plate, if you will, is there?
But you might be suprised to learn that scientists believe that having a hobby actually is vital in terms of your mental health. And rather than looking at a hobby as one more thing to fit into our hectic lifestyle, we should see new hobbies as ways to enhance our wellbeing. Let’s see if I can convince you…
What do hobbies do for our mental health?
A growing body of research shows that hobbies, or ‘purposeful regular activities’ as they’re sometimes referred to in scientific journals, can reduce depression and anxiety and reduce isolation and loneliness. Different hobbies of course have different benefits, but improved memory function, increased feelings of contentment and higher self-esteem are all up for grabs if you try out a new hobby! There’s even research which indicates mentally stimulating hobbies (hello crossword club) can delay the onset of dementia and other age-related degeneration. You might want to bear that one in mind when researching new hobbies to try!
As well as these benefits, there’s the fact that hobbies help us to relax. It’s something that lots of us are guilty of putting on the backburner, but relaxation is absolutely key for both our physical and mental health. Hobbies can help us forget about work pressures or other stresses for a while, which is an absolute winner for the old blood pressure.
What about the time-poor, burned-out workaholics? How are we going to fit it in?
It’s too easy for us to write off hobbies as an extravagance that we couldn’t possibly fit in. Too busy and important aren’t we? Before you write it off, here are a few simple ways to carve out the time:
- Look honestly at how much time you’re spending each day scrolling on your phone, falling into an Instagram blackhole looking at photos of people you have never and will never meet. What about the hours of Netflix viewing you’re accumulating… could you switch off the TV and switch on your brain a couple of times per week instead? Jus’ sayin’!
- If you’ve looked at your schedule and it really is far too jammed to fit in anything else, look at ways you can fit new hobbies into existing activities. If you meet your mate for a Happy Hour cocktail every Thursday night… could you do a Zumba class together instead? You can still go for the cocktail afterwards if you’re thirsty from all the exertion. Or if you and a friend usually talk business over a meal, why not load up the electric golf trolleys and do business on the green instead?
If you fancy taking up a crafty hobby like knotting or sewing but haven’t got the funds (or the energy) to head out to a class, how about doing a quick online intro course and then you can couple the crafting with the Netflix viewing that you’re so attached to in the evenings.
- I’m a huge fan of getting up early and I always feel more productive and more creative in the morning. Why not try setting that alarm half an hour earlier, if you’re lucky you might get some quiet time before the rest of the household stirs. It’s a perfect time to read in peace or get a workout done, and those of you who fancy trying out photography will find that early morning light just dreamy.
Could your hobby turn into a side-hustle or a new career?
Yes it sure could! I write this as somebody whose hobby did indeed lead to a side hustle and a whole new arm to my career. And I’m not alone. I had written for fun for years but the lockdowns gave me time to finally start earning money from my blog and my freelance writing. The pandemic has seen the job market up-ended across the globe, and suddenly the dream of turning a hobby into a new career has become a reality for thousands of people. You only have to look at the 42% spike in Etsy sellers in 2021 to understand how many people are turning crafty hobbies into money-making enterprises.
The options for hobbies which can bring you an extra source of income are endless; gardening, card-making, clothes-making, writing, soap-making, baking or exercising… There are lots of ways to make money from doing something you truly love.
Of course there’s no need to see your hobby as an activity which is going to progress into a money-spinner or anything else. It’s good for the soul to do something purely because you love it and it brings you joy! If I’ve tempted you to try a new hobby in 2022, check out this great list of 99 hobbies you might like to try out. There’s something in there for everyone, no matter what time or funds you have available.