Pastimes, Passions, and Productivity

Think about it for a minute…when was the last time you did something just because you wanted to? Not because your friend wanted to do it, or because it was part of your side hustle. Many of us had hobbies as kids, like collecting rocks or taking dance classes. We would spend hours taking delight in our activity, whatever that may be. But at some point, we lost it. Before the pandemic, free time was scarce. Between commuting, working (in an actual office), and other commitments, carving out enough meaningful time to develop or work on a skill was tough. Now, reports state that employees are working more hours than ever before, even from their home office.

Self-care is a buzz word that gets thrown around a lot. In our Instagram-friendly world, this usually centers around luxurious baths, face masks, and a fancy drink. And, that can certainly be self-care. However, the message that tends to get lost in these conversations is that self-care means anything that makes you feel good and reduces stress. For some people, that means making sure your bills are on autopay, or folding every piece of laundry before bed. Really, it’s about taking time for yourself and prioritizing what makes you feel good.

As we continue to survive and thrive in what has become our new normal, setting aside valuable “Me time” is more important than ever. One of the best ways to do this is by developing a hobby. Hobbies have a ton of health benefits. According to an article from the New York Times, taking time for pastimes can lead to more sleep, better physical health, and increased happiness. Plus, they can help you develop creative problem-solving skills can translate to your work, increasing your productivity and job performance.

Here are our tips on how to get started:

  • Dedicating time for yourself is key. Just start small. Try for at least 30 minutes to one hour to paint, read, or research baseball cards. Make the most of this time by turning your phone on Do Not Disturb, or better yet, turn it off. Resist the urge to check your email and Facebook that one last time.

  • It may be incredibly corny, but it’s about the journey, not the destination. Hobbies are meant to be fun, not stressful, and worrying too much about the finished product turns it into an anxiety-inducing hobby. Enjoy being able to express yourself creatively, instead of trying to make a painting that matches your home aesthetics.

  • Try new things! It’s okay to start something and realize it’s not for you. If you think you want to try roller-skating, try checking local Buy Nothing groups for gear and supplies you might need. This way you can avoid spending money on a hobby you might not like and offer you the chance to get to know other people in your community too. And, if it turns out that you love roller skating, then great! You have a pair of skates to practice in before deciding to invest in a better pair of wheels. If skating is not for you, pay if forward by donating the skates or re-listing them in a Buy Nothing group.

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