I remember the distinct moment when the thought first crossed my mind that a hobby of mine was a waste of time.
When I was younger, I loved my drawing and painting classes at school. Not to say I was every that great at it. But I found it relaxing, I liked to observe and recreate what I viewed with my eyes, and I loved color.
But once I stopped taking art classes, I only occasionally pursued it at home. Every now and again I’d draw something. And the older I got, the more I remember how I’d start to draw, and then quickly tell myself that this hobby was a waste of time. I remember feeling almost guilty for doing it.
Drawing wasn’t going to be my career, it wasn’t a skill that would be well recognized or valued. My time was better spent doing something else — improving a skill that better translated to what I felt would be an “acceptable” strength.
While I’ve since come around to believe that as long as you enjoy doing something, it’s not a waste of time, I want to take it a step further to stress just how much value there is in regularly pursuing different types of hobbies outside of what you primarily work on day to day.
That while certain hobbies might not seem like great uses of time, they actually help you grow in ways you can’t immediately recognize.
A little while back, I came across this idea of having different ‘categories’ of hobbies. Each helps build different sides of yourself that are all important in different ways. It helps you become well rounded, and helps avoid limiting your identity to a single passion or pursuit, which is valuable because were anything to happen to prevent you from pursuing that passion again, your sense of identity would shatter.
A few of these categories I’m sure we all do regularly, but others, we let slip through the cracks because, like my younger self, we “don’t have time” for such hobbies or we don’t recognize how they help strengthen us in the hobbies we do see as valid. Here are 5 categories of hobbies that I think everyone can benefit from.
You need 5 hobbies…
1. One to make you money:
Okay, this one is a fancy way to say ‘a job.’ You might not think of it as a hobby, but I like the idea of phrasing it as a ‘hobby’ because ideally it should be something that interests you. (If your passion is already your job, great!)
It does take up a good deal of our time after all.
And often we spend time on related hobbies outside our job to help us improve our performance.
We all need to make money — so picking a hobby (or hobbies) to help us do so is a no brainer.
2. One to build knowledge:
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know I’m a believer in becoming a lifelong learner. Just because we stop going to school doesn’t mean we should stop learning. If anything, we may find our journey with learning greatly improves once we’re out of school and its all in our own hands.
A hobby to build knowledge helps accomplish this. But it does more than just that. If becoming a lifelong learner is not a strong enough motivator to you, it’s also beneficial for your mental health and overall fulfillment in life. The reason being that an idle mind can cause a lot of issues within us. Boredom or passive activities can actually do us more mental and physical harm than we might think.
Dutch inspirational writer and speaker Alexander den Heijer puts it best: “You often feel tired, not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
Whatever it is that sparks a light in you, it usually results in feeling mentally stimulated. It could be from reading about or listening to topics you’re passionate about, but it also could be through interaction with others – sharing ideas through conversation and so on.
You might also like: 4 Keys To Becoming A Lifelong Learner
3. One to keep you in shape:
Keeping in good shape through diet and exercise is instrumental in making us feel good about ourselves and our life. Without our health, we can’t accomplish much. We don’t feel energized to do what we love, among other things.
The best way to make this a priority is to find a hobby that you can fall in love with. So whatever this looks like for you — walking, running, yoga, lifting, playing a sport, hiking & exploring nature, you name it.
Find something that works for you, that you can fit into your schedule, that feels enjoyable to prioritize regularly.
You might also like: My Top 3 Fitness Lessons Learned
4. One to keep you creative:
I truly believe humans have a strong urge to create things in life. To use our imaginations, to use our ideas to produce something valuable. The very process energizes us and feels very rewarding. And our creativity can feed into all sorts of other domains.
Creativity is an underrated skill that is valuable in any industry.
Plus a creative outlet is a change of pace that can relieve stress, bring you inner peace, and aid you with your personal development.
Creative hobbies also make you a more interesting person.
You might also like: Why A Side Project Helps You Live More Fully In Other Areas Of Life
5. One to evolve your mindset:
Mindset, like anything else in life, require continuous attention and work.
Just because you’ve had a strong mindset at a certain point in your life does not mean it will be guaranteed to stay strong
Think of your mindset as a muscle. You can train it to be stronger. But conversely, if you don’t practice awareness and don’t look to continuously improve, it can become weak.
You might also like: What Is A Fixed vs. A Growth Mindset?
If there’s anything that this year has given us, it’s the potential to rediscover the value of hobbies. With more limited options for social outings, hobbies have been a hidden positive this year. And if you haven’t done so, it’s never too late to begin.
What hobbies would you pick for each of the 5 categories?