The Importance of Having a Creative Hobby
As we get deeper and deeper into 2020 (I still love typing that!), some of us may have taken a moment to assess how well we’ve managed to stick to our new year’s resolutions or #2020goals. Gotten into shape a bit? Saved some money? How about looking after yourself more and becoming a happier person?
One of the best things you can do for yourself in more ways than one is having a hobby, better yet, a creative one! In my one-year freelance journey so far, I’ve experienced lots of emotional ups and downs. Singing has been a personal passion of mine since I was 11 years old, whether that’s just singing with friends, in the shower, in choir or on YouTube. Having hobbies like this is what helps me establish a routine, socialise with like-minded people, and completely shut off: shut off my brain, shut off my phone, shut off my worries – albeit just for a magical hour here and there.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘hobby’ as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” Of course, it’s great to love your work, but still differentiate between that and your leisure time. Let’s have a look at 3 reasons why having a creative hobby is good for us and improving our life as a whole:
1. Experience creative flow
Having hobbies not only provides a mental escape for whatever we’re going through, it lets us break away from monotonous everyday life, i.e. work and other daily duties such as household chores. According to Kettering University, it also has some medical benefits: Doing an activity you enjoy can “increase both your heart rate and brain function”. Ah, doesn’t that sound like a work-related benefit as well? Indeed, hobbies have the power to let us gather new energy for other areas of our lives. A very relatable moment: You’re sitting at your desk in front of your computer, working on yet another Excel spreadsheet. Hours go by, you feel your neck tense up and suddenly the thought “Am I a machine?” creeps into your mind. Moments like these are easy to come by in most work environments. Even as a freelance translator, I sometimes find myself just “functioning”, typing away, and searching my brain for the right words. So how can having a creative hobby help us here? Glad you asked! Our brains long for balance. Any creative activity will help achieve this – the less brain-focused, the better. You might notice when you return to work after having practised a creative hobby, your mind will feel free and ready to tackle more heavy-duty tasks.
2. Have something exciting to talk about
“So what do you do for a living?” Sound familiar? Somehow our entire being seems to unfairly get reduced to how we secure our livelihood. What if we lived in a world where questions like that were not the go-to conversation starters? Even for people who are “bad at small talk” – you can do better, I promise. Just think about it: While it’s great that there are those who absolutely adore what they do for a job, it’s not what you want to be talking about non-stop outside of work, is it? Why not put yourself and your conversation partner in a much more colourful, interesting light by discussing what you do for fun? Suddenly, you will get to see genuine smiles instead of just polite grins. People enjoy talking about things they enjoy – it’s as simple as that. Plus, it shows that life is more than just work, that there is still enough time in our schedules and space in our brains to devote to doing something we actually want to do. How’s that for work-life-balance?
3. Learn a skill
Hobbies tend to give us a sense of control and being good at something. No one just picks up a guitar and sounds like Jimi Hendrix or Les Paul on the first try, but after consistent
practice in a nurturing, yet loose environment, those initially off sounds might just turn into
fabulous cords that brighten up the greyest of days. I once signed up for a 3-month Zumba class with friends when I was studying in Germany, and even though it was purely meant to be a workout, I noticed that just a couple weeks in, it became increasingly easy for me to keep pace and copy the choreography, all whilst having a good sweat and a few giggles! Combining something healthy with something creative is an ideal way to kill two birds with one stone (poor birds...). Watch yourself grow your skill and become proud of what you never thought you could do!
Imagine how much more exciting life would be if you danced yourself out of bed in the morning, listening to your favourite radio station rather than hitting the snooze button for the fifth time. How about getting out some paper and paint after a long day at work and experience some joy à la Bob Ross? Or just watching a good movie, paying close attention to the plot and discussing it with friends rather than just mindlessly scrolling through fake news, missing the on-screen magic. Have a look at some hobby categories I jotted down and get your creative juices flowing!
Smiles all around,