Lifestyle content tells us non-stop to enrich our lives with hobbies. But let’s be honest, how seriously do we actually take them? Does part of us assume a consistent commitment to hobbies is just for privileged part-timers who aren’t particularly career-driven? Even the word itself sounds a tad ridiculous (frivolous at the least)…
Well, this attitude can’t continue. Because in the busy, work-based universe we’ve built, making time for yourself and your own passions is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The days of hobbies being the first thing knocked off the priority list need to end and I’m here to tell you why.
It will help you build a sense of identity away from work
We’re living through a strange moment work-wise. Without waxing lyrical about socioeconomic structures or capitalist psychology, our tireless commitment to our jobs is a double-edged sword to say the least. Whilst individual financial freedom is a wonderful thing, the one track vision many of us find ourselves developing when it comes to our careers can have unwanted effects on our personal lives.
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We are encouraged to devote so much of ourselves to work that many of us find our sense of identity and even self-esteem inextricably tied to our professional lives, leaving little room for anything else. But developing hobbies can help us construct identities outside our jobs. Embracing skills and talents that have nothing whatsoever to do with how we make a living can be incredibly liberating. Plus, it offers us that coveted gift too often denied to us at work; the freedom to fail.
Antidote to monotony
It happens. Life gets repetitive, even if we’re in jobs we love. Repetition doesn’t necessarily signal unhappiness or dissatisfaction, but the feeling that we’re experiencing the same limited scope of experiences day in, day out can leave the best of us feeling a little flat at times.
It’s pretty clear that the answer is to introduce a little variety into your routine. Even if this just means scheduling an hour per week to play badminton on a friday, the anticipation of changing up your surroundings and flexing a muscle you haven’t used before (literally and figuratively) will sprinkle some excitement into your day which, chances are, is much-needed.
It allows you to build new skills
Taking up a new hobby can help you build skills that will sometimes surprise you. Let’s say you’re trying out watercolour painting. In addition to learning how to paint, you’re developing patience, an enhanced ability to observe and notice, and problem solving skills (because yes, how to render a tree in watercolours counts as a problem and putting paint to paper counts as solving it – it’s all about creativity and perseverance).
NB: what I’m NOT talking about here are specifically professional skills. In fact, I’m going to get a little controversial here and say that hobbies you take up for the sole purpose of getting better at your job do not count as hobbies. Deciding how you spend your free time is an opportunity for you to assume agency and build your sense of self. Don’t waste it by convincing yourself that Linkedin courses constitute a genuine interest.
It’s an opportunity to be social
Old friends, family, colleagues – we love them dearly. But sometimes the same network of people can become a little stale. Mix it up a bit by starting a hobby that allows you to meet new people. It might be a sport, evening classes or amateur dramatics. We all know how difficult it can be to make new friends as adults but bonding over a shared interest can do wonders to break the ice and make socialising that bit more accessible.
Even if your chosen hobby isn’t social in itself, there are still ways of building a community around it, namely online. Whether reddit, instagram or tiktok is your platform of choice, chatting to others who enjoy the same thing as you is sure to spur you on in your new hobby and give you fresh ideas and motivation.
You never know where a new hobby will lead you
Though, as mentioned before, I don’t condone hobbies for the exclusive sake of career advancement, mastering a new skill can lead to a shift in attitude that may well turn out to be life-changing. A bit of much-needed time away from the laptop doing something they’ve found they love can lead people to rethink how they’re using their talents.
A hobby might be something you dip into that helps you come back to work fresher and more productive the next day. Or it might lead to the aha moment that makes you think ‘screw the grind – I want to do a job that inspires me in the same way this new passion does’. Be open to the revelations that may come; they could end up transforming your day-to-day.
By the content team at Tutor House