The last few months have been challenging
for everyone, as social distancing and isolation make the world a smaller and less friendly place. While keeping people apart is designed to bring us together in the long-run, it also gives us time and space for introspection and self-discovery. Lots of people around the world are discovering new hobbies during this time, with others exploring old hobbies or turning personal interests into small business opportunities.
Whether you're in full-scale lockdown or
just trying to get out less than usual, personal hobbies can be a great way to
enjoy your time at home. From cooking and fitness routines to writing,
painting, and artistic pursuits, there are lots of great ways to make the most
of isolation. If you're not used to spending time alone, or would like some
inspiration from those around you, family members and social media communities
can become an important part of your journey.
According to a survey by The Healthy Work
Company, a workplace mental health consultancy, 22% of respondents had taken up
a new hobby in lockdown, and 35% of people had rediscovered an old one. While
rediscovering an old pastime can be great, trying out new things seemed to have
a more beneficial effect of mental health outcomes. According to the study, 41%
of people taking up a new activity reported a positive impact on their mental
health, compared to 30% for old hobbies.
Enjoying a new hobby or rediscovering an
old pastime can be beneficial in many ways. Not only does it take your mind
away from the troubles of the world, it gives you something positive and
practical to look forward to on a day-to-day basis. According to Olivia James,
a confidence coach and trauma therapist, “Learning a new skill shifts the focus
away from any anxiety you might have... When you’re enjoying taking part in a
hobby, it’s easier to be curious, investigative and playful, and you’re less
likely to feel stressed or snappy.”
According to Dr Daisy Fancourt, associate
professor of psychobiology and epidemiology at University College London,
personal hobbies offer three primary benefits: “Creative hobbies and learning
new skills can help by distracting people from their worries; it can help them
come to terms with or reappraise things and get a new perspective; plus it can
really boost confidence and self-esteem.” Learning to love your spare time is a
great way to put things into perspective, with some people managing to change
their entire life by transforming a hobby into a business.
If you're looking for great ways to spend
your time, you can explore existing interests or look for new inspiration
outside your comfort zone. Social media is full of people showing off their
creative hobbies at the moment, with some activities becoming viral as the
world learns together through stories of success and failure. Sourdough bread
making is perhaps the most obvious example, with people also digging vegetable
patches, making skincare products, and designing clothes. During a time of
worry and isolation, it's more important than ever to be mindful about how we
spend our time.