A poet once wrote, “Variety is the spice of life,” and even though that phrase has become a bit cliche today, the meaning still holds true. From kids to adults to those in their golden years, few things make life feel more imprisoning than living a life where every day is just like the one before it. If you feel stagnant in your day-to-day life, you’re likely not being challenged mentally or physically — that’s where working on a new hobby comes in.
There are many benefits to having hobbies — it’s a natural part of the human condition. You probably have a few right now that you don’t even realize are hobbies because they occur so organically in your life. But then the workday starts growing longer, your kids need more attention, or other responsibilities start to pile up, and the first thing to go is your hobby. It’s unfortunate, as hobbies help with mental and physical health. Here are a few reasons why hobbies are crucial to a happy, healthy life, and a few tips for activities you can try out right away without causing problems with your wallet.
Hobbies Provide New and Different Challenges
Hobbies give you a break from business as usual and challenge your mind and body in new ways. Take learning a new instrument, for example. Music provides an excellent outlet for low-stress challenges to the mind and body. Your brain learns a new language — reading sheet music — while your body develops deeper hand-eye coordination. Both of these are true whether you learn a string instrument or a percussion instrument. The guitar is a great beginner musical instrument, easing your mind into the complexities of music theory, while also encouraging finger dexterity and proper posture. Instruments are often pricey hobbies starting out, but you don’t have to make too big of a dent in your savings. Consider purchasing a used one, taking advantage of online promo codes, or borrowing one from a friend.
Hobbies Get Your Muscles Moving
Taking on a new hobby opens the doors to a community of other people who enjoy the same practice. This is especially true with physical activities that are competitive or team-based. For instance, learning golf can be a great solo hobby — a relaxing escape from job stress or projects piling up at home. However, you can also play the game with a good friend, a co-worker, or a client. The point, of course, is to have fun.
Walking is another example of a solo hobby that you can enjoy sharing with someone else. While most people think of walking as exercise and not necessarily a hobby, how and where you walk are ways to turn a stroll down the street into something mentally and physically stimulating. Be sure to get the right shoes and any equipment you need for golf, swimming, tennis or other physical hobbies. Before you get intimidated about the costs associated with new shoes, golf clubs or other equipment, search for online sales from retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, and take note of their 1.5 percent cashback opportunities.
Hobbies Keep You in the Present Moment
Stress is often caused by ruminating on things we cannot change or fixating on future events we cannot control. Hobbies help you shake off that stress by keeping you focused on the present moment. Hobbies that require lots of concentration, such as playing chess, knitting, or painting, can keep you in the zone and let everything else melt away, including negative thoughts about yourself or others. In addition to cultivating mindfulness, watching your progress with a new hobby can also help build your confidence, self-esteem, and willpower. It’s easy — and budget-friendly — to learn the rules of chess or how to knit by using free online videos and searching for coupon codes or sales prior to making a purchase.
Learning a new hobby is a way to jumpstart your life with novelty and fun. If you feel burdened by emotional muck or are lethargic in mind and body, a new hobby is a fantastic and inexpensive way to pull yourself up out of the doldrums.