The Life-Changing Power of Having a Hobby

March 29, 2021
By Jaimie-Lee Elvery
One of our wonderful members, Irene, wrote a thought-provoking article in our community about the fact that many of us have “lost the art of having hobbies”. The article sparked lots of discussion among the ladies in our community, and many agreed that they couldn’t remember the last time they did something fun. Something purely for themselves. 

In the comments that followed, the ladies challenged one another to take a bold step out of their comfort zone and routines, to try their hand at new hobbies this year. From playing the ukulele and sewing dresses, through to practising meditation and learning photography, each of the ladies vowed to try a new activity - something to bring them a renewed sense of joy, peace and fulfilment.

Inspired by Irene’s article, we spoke to three members who decided to broaden their horizons and try their hand at a new hobby. In the stories that follow, Miryam and Monica share about the impact their hobbies have had on their happiness, confidence and overall health and wellbeing. Perhaps these stories will inspire you to follow suit - to take a bold step out of your comfort zone, embrace opportunities, and to try something new! 

Miryam’s story

Miryam is half Italian and half Spanish, and works in the field of International marketing and graphic design. Miryam has developed a passion for meditation and yoga, which have become part of her daily lifestyle and have helped her gain perspective and ultimately, changed her life.

“I have practised meditation for some years now and this hobby has definitely changed my life. In the beginning, I just started reading books about the benefits of meditation, and downloaded some mobile apps to help me practice it. 

However, in the early stages, I struggled a bit because I couldn't find a routine. I felt like I didn't have a method to follow, and often the quality of my practice depended on the voice of the person who was guiding them. Eventually, I came across a free meditation course and I decided to join it. This course gave me the guidelines and a real method to use in all my practices. 

Now, I can confidently say that meditation has changed a lot for me, including: 

  • my way of understanding things that happen in life
  • how to overcome my bad feelings when they come 
  • how to face stress in general. 

"It’s not that I consider myself a meditation guru (not at all, because I still struggle with them just like anybody else!), but I think meditation has given me a fresh perspective and the capability to change or overcome my feelings at any given moment. At the very least, it has helped me to recognise and accept my feelings as they come, and given me the wisdom to understand that they do not control me - that I am not my thoughts and feelings, they are separate to me. Meditation has definitely changed my life.”

Miryam also enjoys the practice of yoga, and quite often discusses these two hobbies with other members who share her passion for health and wellbeing. In fact, throughout the lockdown period in 2020, Miryam inspired many ladies in our community to join her in a 2-week online fitness routine to “challenge and motivate each other throughout lockdown!” 

Several members joined Miryam in the challenge, and one commented: “Wow, Miryam! This sounds fun and intense! I love that you are inspiring us ladies to do new things.”

Monica’s story

What started as an activity to entertain herself throughout COVID-19 isolation, ended up helping Monica to express her creativity in a fresh way, increasing her self-esteem, and alleviating her stress and anxiety.

“I am a very active and curious person. I have had so many different hobbies in my life. Before the lockdown, I exercised regularly every week including spinning, gym, swimming, and occasionally nordic walking, golf and tennis. I also played cards one evening every week with my friends. It was exciting to meet so many people and to share our free time. 

Due to the lockdown, I had to suspend all these activities. I quickly became anxious, insecure and depressed. Worries and anxieties had become inseparable companions. I knew that this stress was bound to increase if I couldn’t find valid strategies to manage it. I realised I needed to start an activity that could help me to clear my mind and relax. 

During the lockdown, my assistant’s son was born, and I thought about making a cotton sweater for him. So, I started to knit. And as they say, the rest is history!

This hobby helps me to distance myself from everything that causes me tension, and helps to "lighten" my mind a little. When I am knitting, I experience feelings of calm and happiness, and my self-esteem has increased too! 

If you look at the wonderful creations that arise from this hobby, as our wise grandmothers have often shown and taught us, we understand how good it is for our psyche! As a doctor, I know that when we are creative, our brains release dopamine, which is a natural antidepressant. Creativity usually requires great concentration and can lead to the feeling of natural well-being. Many scientists believe that there is a link between creative activities and the ability to reduce cognitive impairment associated with ageing. Participating in creative activities can help alleviate depression. So... Cheers to knitting!”

So ladies, it’s your turn! Do you have any hobbies? If so, what impact have they had on your life? And if not, is there something you have always wanted to do but never committed to? What would you like to try your hand at this year? Tell us all about it in the comments - let’s commit to rediscovering the art of hobbies, together!

As our incredible Big Sister Tamy said, “Try new things. Don’t get so caught up in your routine that you forget to try things that you have never experienced. New experiences can enhance your life in ways that you may not have considered. Indulge in your hobbies and develop new ones. Try out a new kind of food or take dancing classes if you’ve always wanted to learn.”
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