Can having a hobby, make us happier humans ?

I remember the day I came to the realisation I didn’t have any actual hobbies. It was during a disagreement with an ex around the subject of time together on a Saturday.  Every Saturday he would spend it playing football, watching football, learning to play his guitar, or playing badminton. I brought up the subject of how maybe some Saturdays he could spend them not doing these things. This is when I was told  “I wouldn’t understand because I didn’t have any Hobbies.”

Taken aback I replied of course with…” Errrr,.. yes I do, I have plenty.” (  Shopping for an outfit and going out drinking was a hobby right ?! )  Which furiously took me to my phone to tell the girls, and seek reassurance from them by asking what their hobbies were.

A hobby Is a pretty broad term, people define it differently, but I suppose to me a hobby should be an activity that we enjoy, that you do for leisure, in your spare time.  And something you can learn and grow from.  I suppose then I didn’t have any real hobbies. I mean finding the perfect outfit for the weekend, then drinking till 2 am took some serious skill, but I wasn’t learning or growing from it.

So fast forward three years and I would definitely say I have more of a range of hobbies. Writing and starting this blog a few months ago being one. But maybe I still don’t have many, considering all of the amazing things we now have around us ready to learn and try out, ( rather than just absorbing into Netflix). Don’t get me wrong, watching a TV series on Netflix is a hobby in it’s own right, and one of my favourite past times, but it’s not one we would put on a CV.

I remember always thinking my ex was a pretty happy go lucky person, he enjoyed his Saturdays learning new chords on the guitar, and passionately shouting at the football.  His hobbies seemed to make him happy. Which led me on to think maybe having a hobby can make you a happier person, and here are some reasons why.

cbb078cd55cd05e76bd0b278518a5e45


1) They de- stress you

Us humans work/study hard, some of us putting in a hefty 52 hours a week. To have something we do regularly, to take our mind off of the things we ‘have to do,’  is the ideal release from working life.   People don’t tend to choose hobbies that make them angry. Painting, writing, swimming, are all activities that relax the mind. Hobbies are like mediation they keep you present and both things lead to a more content mind.


2) They give you a sense of achievement

Learning a new language, playing a new song on a musical instrument, or completing your first painting, must give you a real glow inside. They give you a sense of reward, help you grow, and therefore boost your confidence which can only lead to feeling happier.


3) You meet new people or connect with like minded friends

My friend told me that his biggest reason for enjoying golf ,is it facilitates him getting together with other people who also share a love for the sport. The social aspect of playing a sport and having fun with others, always leaves you with a feel good feeling after.


4) You get to show case your talents

If your hobby includes something you excel at, i.e drawing, singing, cooking, playing a sport, it’s a chance to show case your talents.  Either through social media, during a game, performing for loved ones or just impressing yourself.   It feels good to practice and excel at something.


5) It can help your mental health

Dopamine and Oxytocin are just two hormones that are released  when we are doing an activity we like, which are associated with reward and satisfaction.  Having a creative outlet can give you some joy and the more time spent away from thinking about work, or doing work at home the better ( common sense. )  When your alarm goes off to get up for work the majority of us want to press snooze, if it went off to start a hobby we love, I’m sure we would not feel the same.  Immersing yourself in a hobby is a great path back to happiness.


So there you have it, I think having a hobby or two could make us all feel that little bit less stressed and happier.  So try and find something you enjoy, dig out an old hobby or start a new one. I’m off to try my hand at some painting with water colours ( and pretend I know what I’m doing )  ……….wish me luck.

Happy Hobby-ing  XOXO

flower new

 

Happy LOVE ( yourself ) DAY

Roses are red, violets are blue, try loving yourself, before asking someone else to.

Ok, ok, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s the day of love. So, with love in the air today and being someone who blogs about wellness and recovery, self-love is something I wanted to delve into a little more.

Now we have all heard the saying, ‘’ If you can’t love yourself, you can’t truly love another.’’ I used to think this was just some cliché statement adults used, when they didn’t like your boyfriend choices. But as I have grown and matured, I now realise just how true this statement is.  Like so many of us growing up, I would say my self-esteem was low, maybe this is pretty common for any teen/early twenty something trying to find their place in the world.  But I found my low self-esteem opened me up to fake friendships, jobs I could do better than, and settling for toxic relationships.  I wouldn’t attend job interviews I wanted as I was sure I wouldn’t be able to do the job.  I would waste time in unhealthy and unhappy relationships as I was to scared to be alone.  And I spent time with people who just drained the life from me.  I had no idea at the time, that this all stemmed from a place of,  ‘lack of self-love’.

Self-love impacts so many areas of our life, our relationships, our careers, the friendships we maintain and social situations we surround ourselves in. So of course the statement of loving yourself first, is vital to an all rounded happier life. After a lot of realisation, growth, confidence building and of course maturing, I find myself in a place where I like (love) my imperfect self. And I know both my faults and pros and I’m ok with them.

flower new


Here are a few tips I found were vital in my own self-esteem and growth journey.

1) Cut out (down) time spent around negative people.

Ok don’t ditch your pal Sally who’s going through a bad break up, but I mean cut down on time with those people who are always negative or seem to find the joy in finding the worst in everything. Negativity is contagious, and it spreads like wild fire, emotionally, mentally and physically.  You may find yourself surprisingly happier when you cut down on time spent on these kinds of friendships.


2) Remind yourself daily of what you did that was great today.

Some days I can go to bed with a smile on my face knowing I have made a small difference, I work with young people from troubled backgrounds and knowing iv had a small breakthrough that day, can make me feel proud for perseverance. Other days I got out of bed, I washed my hair, and turned up when I really didn’t want to.  Not as impressive, but you know what, you achieved something – So remind yourself daily how well you are doing. Tell yourself something great you did today.


3) Leave unhealthy/unhappy relationships

Ok that’s a big one, you may not feel ready to leave, but I mean, if you have really tried everything possible, communicated with this person how you feel, if there’s no change, don’t waste precious years of your life with toxic people who do not value you. Let go of people who do not add substance to your life. You don’t need a relationship to define yourself or your identity and you defiantly don’t need one that does not show you love, respect and value your worth.


4) Stand up for yourself. Be assertive

Is there someone in your life who you feel, talks to you in a way that really de values you. Whether it’s a boss/colleague at work, a partner or a friend, if you don’t like the way someone is treating you, communicate this today. Letting someone speak down to you, no matter their position, while you sit in silence is a confidence destroyer. In time being spoken to disrespectfully will dig away at your self-esteem. Now I’m not saying go into work today all guns blazing, but when I feel I am treated unfairly now, I will calmly let that person know its not ok with me, set your boundaries and value yourself. Confidence stays intact.


5) Try something new – Anything-

I can be a real creature of comfort, change used to petrify me.  But I found getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, gives your inner self a little boost, and a sense of proudness that doing the same safe thing over and over can’t always do. Now I am forever wanting to try new things. Those things you usually hand over to others because you can’t do it. Try it. That exercise class you’d love to join but your to nervous to go alone, Join it. That job you want but you’re to scared to be interviewed for. Go for it.  You may not succeed first time but your inner self will thank you when you do.


6) Stop comparing yourself 

I spoke in a previous post about how comparing your recovery journey to others, can rob any joy you have. How comparing will steal your joy . This is relevant also when discussing building your own self esteem.

Do not compare your situation today to Sue and Pete and their perfect valentines pictures all over Facebook.  Social media is not a true reflection of what is going on in peoples life’s. Be so focused on yourself and making yourself happy ( and those you love ) that a picture of Sue and Pete only makes you feel happy for them, not compare yourself.  Focus on yourself, how far you have come, and your own results, this will both motivate you and boost yourself esteem.


7) Stay in the now

We often visualise loving ourselves once we get the man we want, once we are in the ideal career, or when we at the weight we desire.  Although having goals are great, start working on liking yourself as you are ! Right now! Today! And the rest will follow. 


It took me a few wrong relationships and a lot of self-improvement to find a romantic love I am happy with. But more importantly I am happy with the relationship I have built with myself.

So rather than just telling someone else today how brilliant, loved and amazing they are. Tell yourself to. How great you are. How fab you are doing.
Its not selfish, self indulgent or stupid. It’s vital.

” The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone else to love the you, YOU love, well…………..

That’s just fabulous.”

flower