Winter Self-Care Guide: Hobbies  

It’s easy for us to get lost in the daily grind – jumping from one activity to the next and putting our own needs last. All of that pressure and stress can leave us feeling depleted and overworked; often causing feelings of dissatisfaction and burnout.  

That’s why this week in our self-care journey on A Healthier Michigan we’re focusing on hobbies. Building on skills like setting boundaries and time management, taking time to engage in an activity that brings you joy – like a hobby – can be an incredible act of self-care.  

Here are three science-backed reasons to have a hobby:  

  1. Improved mental health. Researchers have found that those who engaged in hobbies more frequently reported feeling happier and had lower levels of depression and negative emotions. 
  2. Better physical health. A deep look at four different studies found that the more frequently participants engaged in enjoyable activities outside of work, the lower their blood pressure, stress hormone levels, Body Mass Index and waist circumference. 
  3. Improved work performance. A study found that professionals who frequently participated in hobbies outside of work experience less burnout and anxiety. Additionally, these same people had higher work satisfaction and self-esteem. 

Hobbies are activities outside of your day-to-day life that bring you enjoyment. Some hobbies can just benefit you – or some can benefit others around you. Some hobbies are creative endeavors; others are practical.  

Here are some examples of hobbies:  

  • Adopting or fostering a pet  
  • Baking  
  • Cooking  
  • Crafting  
  • Drawing 
  • Exercise  
  • Fishing 
  • Gardening
  • Genealogy  
  • Joining a club or group  
  • Journaling  
  • Local history 
  • Meditating
  • Painting  
  • Rock hunting 
  • Scrapbooking 
  • Taking a class  
  • Volunteering
  • Woodworking  

Often, hobbies provide an opportunity for us to get into a meditative “flow”-like state. These creative moments can give your body a creak from anxiety and stress and offer the ability for you to express feelings without words.  

Hobbies can also give us a chance to engage socially with others who also enjoy our same hobby. This can be especially important for older adults, who are the least likely to get enough social engagement.  

In today’s day and age, connecting socially can mean more than gathering in person. There are many online support groups for hobbyists on social media that can provide positive benefits of connectivity.  

If you feel you don’t have the time in your day to pursue your hobbies, consider taking a moment to evaluate how you’re using your time. Find more time management tips here. 

Each week during January and February 2022, we’ll be featuring a self-care technique to encourage you to try something new and make time for yourself this winter. Follow along on AHealthierMichigan.org. 

Winter Self-Care Guide Archive  

Photo credit: Getty Images

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