Hobbies can reduce stress, increase happiness and allow you to meet new people says Julie Perrine
“What do you like to do in your spare time?”
It’s a question that’s asked in nearly every job interview, networking event, and social setting. And it’s also a question that many of us stumble on.
Spare time? That’s difficult to come by as an admin. Between our families and our careers, carving out a chunk of time just for us can seem nearly impossible. When we do wind up with a moment or two for ourselves, it’s tempting to spend it mindlessly browsing social media or catching up on our favorite Netflix shows instead of engaging in meaningful, enjoyable activities.
Hobbies can have a positive effect on your career. One San Francisco State University study found that people who engage in creative hobbies perform between 15 and 30 percent better at work. You’ll develop interpersonal skills like collaboration, flexibility, motivation, and patience. You’ll learn better time management and problem-solving skills. And the more you flex these new “muscles,” the stronger they’ll be in every area of your life – including your career. Hobbies can even help rewire your brain!
Try, Try, and Try Again
Think back to when you were a child. Most of us can remember at least one instance where we begged our parents to let us go out for an activity – horseback riding, ballet, hockey, etc. – only to finally get our wish…and absolutely hate it.
Adults face the same problem. That’s okay. It’s fine to start something, realize it’s not for you, and quit.
What’s not okay, however, is to give up on something you enjoy because you’re not “good” at it. Self-limiting doubts have a way of holding us back from engaging in hobbies that we’d otherwise excel in.
I’ve always loved to sew. As a child, I was told how difficult it was to match plaids or put zippers in – so my mom never taught me. It wasn’t until a home economics class in college that I realized it wasn’t difficult for me at all! I was programmed that it was too hard, and it turned out that wasn’t the case in the slightest!
Because of this, I make it a point to expose my nieces and nephews to as many things as they’re interested in as early as I possibly can – no matter how messy the project. There is magic in the messes! And the more messes we make, the more we learn, bond, and figure out what will (and won’t) work – no matter how old we are!
Nix the Excuses
I firmly believe that everyone should have at least one hobby that they engage with on a regular basis. But I also know just how easy it is to come up with reasons why that’s not possible.
“I’m too busy.”
“It’s too expensive.”
“I don’t have a babysitter.”
The list goes on and on, but the fact remains: If a hobby is important to you, you’ll find a way to prioritize it.
It may mean working an hour late on Tuesday so you can get off an hour earlier on Wednesday to make it to your book club meeting.
Maybe you need to trade babysitting with a friend or neighbor. Better yet, bring your child along with you and expose them to your hobby. You might instill a lifelong love of something you can do together!
Don’t let excuses keep you from your hobby. There is always a workaround!
Hobbies Enrich Every Area of Your Life
The human brain craves stimulation, and hobbies fulfill that craving. They help you to become more innovative in every area of your life, as the lessons learned while engaging in your personal hobby carry over into your career, making you a better assistant in the process.
Research from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine has even found that engaging in a hobby for an hour or more each day could reduce your risk of dementia later in life! What more motivation do you need?
I challenge you to re-engage with a hobby you haven’t had time for lately, or try something you’ve always wanted to do, whatever that may be. Being willing to try, fail, learn, and grow are some of the very best life lessons you can teach yourself and those around you.