Hobbies Are Good For You by The Ruby Doodles
There's something a bit cringey about the word 'hobbies' isn't there? I don't know what it is, maybe it's because we associate hobbies with children. But why shouldn't we have hobbies as adults? And to be honest, I think most of us do, even if we don't realise it. I guess traditionally for something to qualify as a 'hobby', it has to be an activity you commit to regularly, but I believe hobbies can be low key too - things we know we enjoy, but that we don't necessarily commit to all the time.
However, I re-read the following article recently by Ruby of @thrubydoodles (which was originally published in the Health & Wellbeing issue of the Procrastination Paper) and I found myself realising that it would probably do me a lot of good to develop some 'proper' hobbies that I do regularly. Because taking time out to do things that interest you and make you feel good can't be a bad thing can it? Over to Ruby...
HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOU by The Ruby Doodles
I've always had low-level anxiety, but it really surfaced during my teenage years. I began to worry about everything - what my friends thought of me, things I'd said five years ago and many other intrusive thoughts...
Many years after my anxiety properly began, I ended up in hospital for a completely different reason and on my release suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands whilst I recovered from an acute infection. During this time I really enjoyed looking at people like @emilycoxhead on Instagram and was inspired to get out my pencils and pens. I instantly fell in love. Having a hobby that meant something to me really helped ease my mind and gave me something else to focus on. I now find myself sitting down and drawing for hours, just letting go and not thinking about the things I used to worry about.
Subsequently, after getting into art and creating @therubydoodles on Instagram to share my art, I found my anxiety dying down a bit. I'd be lying if I said it's completely gone, but it's nowhere near as bad as it was. Having a hobby and taking part in an activity as simple as art has completely transformed my life.
Art is the way I express myself and I love the fact that Instagram allows me to instantly share my work with other people. I am a strong believer in art as a form of therapy, even though it's not something that's usually offered to people who are experiencing anxiety. People tend to be offered medication or talking therapy, but rarely art therapy. Perhaps this is because it only works for some people. But I think that taking up any sort of hobby can really help your mental state.
Swimming and dancing also help me clear my head and just forget my anxieties for a while. It's simple really - I find learning dance routines difficult and if I want to do the dance well I have to focus my full attention towards it, subsequently dissolving the anxiety I had been feeling. This always has a positive effect on my mental wellbeing.
I think we can all agree that life can be quite stressful at times and we can all forget to take a bit of time out to have a little moment just for us. I've realised this year how important a hobby can be and just how much it can help us maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports our mental wellness and health.
It doesn't have to be drawing or dancing - simple activities like journaling, reading and writing can be really beneficial for your mind and give you some time to focus on yourself for a change.
Try introducing 30 minutes a day to do something you know makes you feel good and stick to it - dedicating time to drawing each day has really helped me.