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The Importance of Hobbies

Written by: Dean

13 May 2021

Wellness

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The Importance of Hobbies

 

Our work, home, family and social lives are more entwined now than ever before. I've been in many conversations at a braai where multiple people have said: "Everything seems like it is mashed up into one, right?" Fatigue and a phenomenon known as languishing - a feeling that sits somewhere in between euphoria and depression - are plaguing us as we wade through the new normal. 

The importance of mindfulness has been thrust into the spotlight as a means of coping during this time, but there is another important mental health aid that has been neglected: hobbies. In this article, we look at 4 reasons why you should dust off your favourite hobby.

 

Mindful moments = fresh perspectives

Have you ever had to do a presentation, assignment or solve a complex problem but you just keep hitting a wall that you can't breakthrough? It sucks and can be extremely demotivating. By picking up your guitar and strumming a few chords, or going to your tennis club to play a round of tennis, you take your mind off of that problem and focus on the task at hand - playing boisterous power chords and hitting bad-ass backhands. The time away from the problem allows your brain to come back with a fresh perspective to tackle the problem.

Who knows, if Pinky and the Brain had taken a day off from trying to take over the world to play a game of chess, maybe they would have had a fresh perspective and succeeded in their quest for world domination. We will never know.

 

 

Cultivate your beginner's mindset

As creators of new digital products and experiences at Byte Orbit, we often have to solve new and complex problems. In order to fully understand a problem, it is important to validate our assumptions and remove any bias we may have. This requires us to adopt a beginner's mindset  - a Zen Buddhist philosophy that involves approaching problems as a beginner would, even if you are an expert in the field. This allows us to see possibilities that beginners would, and that experts otherwise may not.

Picking up a new hobby is the best way to cultivate your beginner's mindset. Arriving at a new martial arts gym, paddling into the ocean on a surfboard, or joining an art class for the first time can be very daunting. But there is beauty in it too. When we start something new we are forced to adopt a beginner's mindset, push our pride and ego aside and start learning something new. 

Adopting a beginner's mindset allows us to view each challenge we face with a fresh perspective, rich with opportunities to learn and grow. The first step in picking up a new hobby, or even dusting off an old one can have awesome benefits in the way we tackle challenges and new problems.

 

 

Too blessed to be stressed 

Stress is a natural part of working life, and in fact, can be beneficial (in the right dosage). Having an outlet to relieve stress is vital to be able to function under the pressures of work and life in general. Although binge-watching series does provide a level of stress relief, a hobby that requires specific focus can do wonders to take the mind off of impending deadlines and to-do lists.

 It is of course important that you find a hobby that you enjoy, with a healthy level of challenge, to keep you interested. When you make time for your hobby, you will finish feeling energised and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Finding people who share similar hobbies is also a great way to socialise and extend your friendship circle of like-minded people. 

 

Hobbies will train your brain 

Writing some killer code or creating a beautiful clickable prototype is great, but have you ever created a pig-shaped mug at pottery that looks more like a blob than a pig? The feeling is indescribable! The pig-shaped mug is just an example, but we spend so much time at work utilising certain parts of our brain, when there is so much more to be tapped into.

Not go down the rabbit hole of neuroscience, which I am clearly not qualified to do, but different activities require the functioning of different parts of the brain. Music, for example, is a great example of an activity that utilises both sides of the brain. Learning to play an instrument is a great way to exercise the brain, whilst hopefully not pissing off your neighbours. Plus, it gives you something other than your impending deadline to speak about at your next social gathering!

There are so many exciting hobbies out there for us to get involved in, and our lives can be so much richer by adding even just one hobby. Feel free to share your favourite hobbies with us so we can see what the Byte Orbit community is up to.