When life gets busy, you may notice you focus less on doing the things you love and more on pressing priorities, like work or school. It can be hard to find time to pursue hobbies. However, dedicating time to doing the things that bring you joy can have a massive impact on your mental and physical well-being. Your hobby can be anything that makes you happy. No matter what you love to do, hobbies can make you a healthier, happier person.

What Counts as a Hobby?

A hobby is any activity that you frequently do for pleasure during your leisure time. Hobbies can include creative, athletic, and intellectual activities.

Health Benefits of Hobbies

Taking time to do activities that make you happy can improve your mental health, professional performance, and creative problem-solving abilities — it can even help you build better relationships and become more empathetic! A regular hobby can help:

Improve Overall Well Being: Studies show that people who participate in activities that make them happy are less likely to feel low or depressed. Hobbies can make you happier and more relaxed, leading to an increased sense of well-being.

Reduce Stress: Spending your free time engaged in activities that make you happy lowers your stress levels. Research has found that taking time to practice relaxing and engaging in enjoyable hobbies can cause a noticeable decrease in cortisol levels.

Support Mental Health: Practicing any kind of hobby can lead to improved mental health. Hobbies that involve physical activity can lead to lower blood pressure, and better focus. Meanwhile, intellectually rewarding activities, like learning a new skill, can help improve brain activity and increase confidence.

Improve Relationships: Participating in activities you enjoy with like-minded people, such as team sports or volunteering, can help enhance your communication skills and build connections with others. Doing hobbies in a group can help you overcome feelings of loneliness — which impacts your physical, and mental health.

How To Make Time for Hobbies

  • Schedule in Advance: Find gaps in your schedule where you can spend time on your hobbies. Start out by allocating, in advance, a few hours every week or month to do activities you enjoy. 
  • Take Breaks: Taking multiple short breaks during your day can improve your productivity while allowing you time to indulge in activities you enjoy, like reading a book, gardening, or listening to a podcast.
  • Limit Time Wasters: Protect your leisure hours by paying attention to how you spend your time. Try reducing your passive activities, like spending time on social media or watching tv, and use your extra time for more active pursuits you find fulfilling!

Remember that hobbies should be things you choose to spend your free time doing, not another task on your to-do list. While it’s important to make time for the things you love to do, you don’t need to dedicate countless hours of your week on something to see its benefits.

Having a hobby that makes you excited can help boost your quality of life and improve your health. If you feel you don’t have anything you’re particularly passionate about, you probably just haven’t discovered it yet! Get started by thinking about things you loved doing as a kid, something you’ve always wanted to try, or something you used to love that you’ve stopped doing. Browse the internet or your local newspaper for activities that spark your interest. And most of all, have fun!