woman painting as her hobby

Why Hobbies Are Important

Shama Yunus Joynt, Human Resources

By Shama Yunus-Joynt BA, CPHR, SHRM-SCP

When it comes to priorities, earning an income ranks very high, if not the highest on the list.  Obviously, we need to earn money in order to live.  Changes brought-on by the pandemic, have really affected how we prioritize considering we are now doing so much from home.  We can have a business meeting in our pajama bottoms while the kids are doing their homeschooling and supper is likely already planned and thawing.  The changes brought about by this lack of separation are both positive and negative, depending on how you choose to look at them and whether you’re an employee or an employer.  All that aside, it is safe to say that life is markedly different in the pandemic; some say these changes are here to stay while others predict a return to more ‘normal’ patterns.  Either way, the need for self-care is and should be at the forefront of our priorities. 

Hobbies are a form of self-care  

Basic self-care usually entails eating right, exercising and getting good quality sleep.  Next, our social connections are seen as important and then last but not least, our hobbies and interests.  For many people, having a hobby is regarded as a luxury that is afforded to those with time on their hands; working people with young children are already so busy that they find there is no time to pursue any outside hobbies or interests – the result is that downtime is likely spent watching TV or scrolling on social media.  What if some of that time could be used in the pursuit of an interest or activity that is meaningful, joyful and productive?  Rather than these activities being ‘just one more thing that has to be done’ they can actually add a dimension of well being that passive downtime cannot provide.  Research shows that there are multiple benefits to having a hobby – stress-relief, improved self-confidence and creativity, improved memory and the opportunity to be mindful by grounding in the present to name just a few.  When the interest or hobby is something that is connected to the expression of self, it can become a non-negotiable aspect of a person’s life, even though there may be no financial rewards associated with it.  

man with a woodworking hobby

Finally, when it comes to hobbies, it is really important to examine how we perceive the rewards that are associated with our behavior.  I’m going to say that we look at financial rewards as the most valuable, so anything that we do that is not related to earning income is seen as less important.  And yet, so much of what we do is important in different ways, such as parenting, caregiving, loving, and the list goes on.  The rewards of a hobby are in this intangible category as well, but here is the kicker; research has shown that people with hobbies are more successful in their careers.  It turns out that the benefits from an outside hobby or interest spills over into your work life! 

woman taking time for herself by finding her hobby on the computer

Take Time For Yourself

This long weekend, I hope you can take time to spend safely with family and I hope you can carve out time for yourself as well.  If you don’t already have a hobby, think about what brings you joy and what you would like to learn or do.  Imagine that time and money are not an object; think only of what you dream of doing or becoming.  Once you settle on something, you can create an intention.  This can be as simple as stating out loud your intention to complete a project, learn a new skill, sign up for a class and so on.  Take the steps, make the time, even if its 15 minutes that you can gain from watching less TV or less scrolling.  As with all things, it is our intentions that bring things to fruition; intentions that are brought about by conscious choice. 

Shama Yunus Joynt, Human Resources
About the Author

Shama Yunus-Joynt is an experienced Human Resources professional specializing in culture and engagement. She has a background in coaching and mental health which she combines in a very unique way towards helping companies define and execute an extraordinary people strategy. Connect with Shama on LinkedIn to learn more about her. 

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