While technology has brought a lot of good into the world over the past 20 or 30 years, there have been some drawbacks, as well. Sharing culture, learning via online videos and college courses, and making a living online have all been major positives of the online world. Being able to find information once contained only in paper records is another important benefit. However, all that video watching and on-demand entertainment have led to more anxiety, stress, a drop in healthy habits like outdoor activity and hobbies, and reduced person-to-person interaction.
At least that’s what it seems like, but does reality meet perception here? Just how different are modern lives from what they were like a century ago, and what implications does this have? An article from The Guardian featured a study that states what many people have already noticed: kids spend 50 percent less time outside than their parents did when they were young.1
This not only leads to more unhealthy habits that come with increased screen time, but can lead to shorter attention spans, stress and anxiety, and a range of other health issues. Finding ways to remedy this increased screen time and reduced activity time can remedy some of these issues.
However, that’s easy to say, finding hobbies and interests you or your kids truly enjoy can be much more challenging. If you haven’t had one in a while, this can be doubly true. The good news is that there are several things you can do to help make sure you find a hobby that is not only relaxing but also enjoyable. Some questions to ask yourself in order to find the perfect relaxing hobby for you are highlighted below.
What Do You Truly Value?
One of the first steps in separating the hobbies and interests you’ll enjoy versus those you might not is to sit down and start thinking about what you value when it comes to your free time. Are you a fan of stand up comedy and comedy specials? Do you love the great outdoors? Are you creative by nature or is there a skill you wish you had but never made an attempt to pick up?
These are just a few of the questions you can brainstorm to get your mind racing on the right track. The first step is not to censor yourself. Don’t immediately decide a hobby, interest, or even potential passion not right for you. You can go over the list and decide that later.
Try to challenge yourself to think broadly and write down an extensive list of potential hobbies. Let it sit for a while before coming back to the list. You may find a list of four or five things to be ridiculous or not right for you individually, but they might all be related to a particular skill or interest you didn’t know was bouncing around the back of your head.
Having the full list will make it much easier to see what your options are and figure out the patterns that might tell you what you really value most versus what you think you do.
What Gets Your Attention?
The wide variety of different hobbies out there means that there are also a large variety of potential benefits depending on which one you eventually settle on. Put simply, picking up a hobby or two that you’re interested in is often good for your mind and your health and sometimes even your social life.2
With your full list in front of you, put little marks by the ones that pique your interest, then cross off the others and don’t give those a second thought. Then, take ten or fifteen minutes away from your list. This will allow things to re-settle in your head, and with your new reduced list, you can sit down again and really look to see what jumps out at you.
Whether it’s in a good way that really captures your imagination or a clear “meh” response that lets you toss it onto the “no” pile, either response is good because it helps you narrow down the list to help find something better.
The main series of interests that get your attention should be what you focus on. One way many people like to start this process is by making basic categories to put hobbies under. This could include a list of hobbies to challenge you mentally or intellectually, a list that involves physical activity, or a list that include special interests or skills.3
What About Exercise Related Interests?
Sometimes, you can come up with an amazing hobby that involves physical activity, takes you outdoors, and can boost your health. Hiking is a great example of this. Hiking nearby parks or trails is not only a great hobby that many people love but it can be combined with photography, art, or other activities.
Physical hobbies have the advantage of offering great health benefits and all the positive mental benefits that come from exercise.4 However, don’t force yourself into an active hobby if you can’t think of one that really gets your interest. Feel purpose and passion with MONQ’s Active blend.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
At the end of the day, you need to find a hobby that matches up with your specific skills or interests but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to other resources for help. After all, if finding all your favorite activities in life was so easy, everyone would have already found a hobby.
Think about lists of outdoor activities, indoor activities, social activities, physical activities, special skills, special technical hobbies, and just list away. Don’t be afraid to look around online to see what others have found. One of the other benefits of having the internet available is that there are many interest-based communities online who are friendly to beginners and love welcoming new members in.
These can be great tools for people who love to socialize or who want to get better at it and sometimes it’s a lot easier to get started on something new when you can find locals willing to help support and guide you through it.
If you’re following the advice so far, then you’re definitely on the right track. While narrowing down a list is fun, it can also become really challenging towards the end. Many people with a lot of interests would love to have 10 to 12 hobbies, but there’s only so many hours in the day.5
The good news is that once the list gets short enough, then you can really dive into the details to get down to a few final chooses. Some other questions to ask to narrow things down include:
- What’s your budget or how much does the hobby cost?
- How can you start in a small way today?
- Are you stressed at the thought of this hobby or excited?
- Is there a local community that you could join or that could support you?
- Is there any interest, skill, or hobby you’ve put off for years?
- What were childhood passions you let fade away?
- What excites you now?
Don’t feel like you need to master your new hobby right away. One of the best things about pursuing new hobbies and interests is that you can spend time trying out several and seeing which ones you enjoy most. Start small, ease yourself in, and figure out what you really enjoy and what is worth following up on.
No one masters a new skill overnight. By knowing you can start small and move forward, you will be able to enjoy your new experiences and decide on how to move forward with your new interests. There are so many options out there, so don’t despair if it takes time to really nail down the hobbies or activities that really speak to you. Follow these steps, enjoy the new experiences, and expand your horizons with a few new great activities.
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