Valerie Takahashi
Courtesy: Ho‘okele Healthy Living

Hobbies are often viewed as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. But people with full, busy schedules and stressful lives may need hobbies even more than the average person and will benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives. Hobbies come with many benefits that usually make them worth more than the time they require.

Take a Break
Hobbies and leisure activities provide some work-free and responsibility-free time in your schedule. This can be especially beneficial to people who feel overwhelmed by all they have to do and need to recharge their batteries by doing something they enjoy. For those who feel overwhelmed with responsibility, it may be difficult to find the time, or even give themselves permission, to take a break from a busy schedule. But engaging in a hobby can serve as a break with a purpose and can help people feel like they’re not just “sitting around,” but rather are using their down time for something productive. Here are a few hobbies or activities to consider undertaking: a morning walk, arts and crafts, restoration and fix-it projects.

For those who are not overly stressed and may actually be under-stimulated, hobbies and leisure activities provide a nice source of eustress, a healthy kind of stress to keep us feeling excited about life. If your life is somewhat dull or uninspiring, hobbies can add meaning and fun to your life and can break up a boring schedule without making you feel like it is work. In other words, hobbies and leisure activities can provide just the right amount of challenge. Consider these hobbies and activities: continuing education, photography, teaching and coaching.

Social Outlet
Many hobbies lend themselves to group activities — ‘ukulele groups, golfing, a Mahjong club and ballroom dancing are good examples. Hobbies that connect you with others may also provide the added benefit of social support, which can add meaning to life in a fun way. The friends you have fun with can develop into some of your best friends, so hobbies that bring you closer to others are well worth your time. You might want to consider these hobbies and activities: volunteerism, social/hobby clubs and recreational teams.

Activities that make life fun can be wonderful for relaxation and enjoyment of the moment. Pleasures can lift your mood and spirit. Because hobbies generally incorporate pleasures into your life, keeping up with your hobbies can be good for your overall health and sense of joy in life. Here are a few hobbies and activities to consider: performing arts, travel, swimming, dancing and watercolor painting.

Gratification presents the kind of challenge that calls on us to use some of our best personal skills and engage us in a sense of flow. It can help reduce stress and instead instill in us a sense of well being. Hobbies are generally experienced as gratification. If you want more happiness and less stress in your life, hobbies provide a direct route to gratification that can lead to this. Here are a few hobbies and activities to consider: creative writing, woodworking, gardening and cooking.

Hobbies and Leisure Activities Improve Quality of Life
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people aged 65 or older will more than double by 2030, so improving the quality of life for those living longer will mean increasing your level of activity.
Hobbies and leisure activities can be a fun and relaxing way to stay physically and mentally fit. Take a break from your busy schedule and engage in a hobby that you want to do because you love to do it. When you are engaged in a hobby you enjoy, your mind is anchored in the moment and it allows you to focus on what brings you happiness. Make your hobby a priority. You will thank yourself for it, and so will your family and colleagues.

Valerie Takahashi is director of business development for Ho‘okele Care at Home.


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