Do you avoid selecting a hobby because you worry you won’t be good at it? These five categories of hobbies will help you find an avocation that appeals to you.
This year for Self-Care Sunday we’re exploring goal-setting and how setting goals in ten different domains of our lives will help us improve our self-care. January’s posts dealt with the different aspects of goal-setting. February’s posts dealt with goal-setting in the relational domain. The posts in March will explore goal-setting in the avocation domain.
In Need of a Hobby (or Hubby?)
“Hey, Siri, find Hobby Lobby,” I called out to my iPhone. My daughters and I needed to find a Hobby Lobby as quickly as possible in a strange town filled with traffic. My problem? I had set my phone to an Australian accent the day before.
“Which hubby would you like me to call?” Siri asked, and listed my husband and two other people that shared his first name.
“Mom!” Laura exclaimed. “Did you forget to tell us something?”
I may have snorted coffee and had to pull over so I wouldn’t wreck from laughter. Evidently, when a person sets their phone for a different language or accent, Siri won’t understand unless one speaks to it in that language or accent.
I changed the accent back to American English and tried again. This time, Siri kindly directed us to the nearest Hobby Lobby so we could make our last-minute purchases for Laura’s wedding.
As crazy as it seems, I had decided to do the flowers for our daughter’s wedding. I had no formal floral arranging experience, but neither did we have a lot of money. Sometimes, I make a hobby of doing seemingly impossible things.
We spent the next morning at the Los Angeles flower market, where we bought huge bundles of all the flowers that the bride loved. When we arrived back at the rental house, the whole family pitched in and made boutonnieres, bridesmaid’s bouquets, and floral arrangements for the reception tables.
We spent a lot of time laughing and admiring each other’s handiwork—an unexpected break from the stress of event-planning and quirky family members. While none of us took up floral arranging as a hobby after the wedding, we all learned something from the process.
Finding a Hobby You’ll Love Takes Experimentation
My experience with floral arranging showed me that trying something new goes better with friends. Especially if the friends have an adventurous spirit. This adorable Oscar-winning short film proves the point that friends help us through tough situations. They also open the door to discovering new avocations.
If we haven’t tried something, we won’t know whether or not we enjoy it. Trying new things seems less intimidating when we do it with a group of friends.
Pick a Hobby
1. Physical Avocations
For me, running provides a healthy, not-too-expensive avocation. I can run every morning before work, and go on long, leisurely runs on the weekend. Occasionally I’ll sign up for a race and enjoy the social benefits of running.
Running often provides inspiration for some of my biggest breakthroughs on problems I experience. I listen to a lot of podcasts and books while logging miles, and often times the combination of exercise and new information sparks a thought that turns into a solution to a problem in another area of my life.
Hobbies to try: hiking, birding, rock-climbing, gardening, line-dancing, ballroom dancing, walking, golfing, team sports, tennis, backpacking, or aerobics.
Some of these avocations pair nicely with our need to connect with others.
2. Social or Interpersonal Avocations
We all have a need for healthy interpersonal interactions. Some people get all the interaction they need at work and church, while other people crave more. If you struggle to find like-minded people to explore your avocation with, check out MeetUp https://www.meetup.com/, a website that helps people make connections to learn or experience avocations.
Hobbies to try: stamp collecting, team sports, painting class, ceramics, pottery, book discussion groups, debate societies, Twitter parties, community theatre, cooking classes, or low-cost classes at your local community college.
Some of these hobbies pair nicely with our need to never stop learning.
3. Life-Long Learning Avocations
One of my former colleagues from Nevada recently posted a photo on Facebook of her 94-year-old aunt—who had just graduated from college! My friend’s aunt proves that we can learn new things, no matter what our age.
When we learn new skills about a subject that interests us, we refresh our minds and prevent ourselves from falling into the trap of predictability. Learning new information gives us new things to bring to the table.
As an introvert, I love having new information I can share in social situations. Making connections to people doesn’t come easy for me, so asking a group of people I’ve just met if any of them knows how to make crepes gives me something to talk about.
Hobbies to try: Learn a foreign language, take a class in building a website, learn Latin, earn a certificate in a skill that will enhance your career (Lynda.com has a wealth of classes), take a class in using Photoshop, learn how to identify birds.
Some of these hobbies pair nicely with our need to express our creativity.
4. Creative Avocations
I could spend (ok, I DO spend) hours watching and photographing wildlife (usually birds). Although I’ve never thought of myself as artistic, I recently realized that as created beings, we all have a creative spark within us.
Lessons help fan the spark into a flame. After taking a digital photography class, I rediscovered my passion for photography. During an outdoor school trip to Zion National Park, I remembered my desire to learn how to watercolor paint. When we exercise our creativity, we practice self-care because we tap into a part of ourselves that we often lose in the rush of everyday life.
Hobbies to try: baking, cake decorating, painting, photography, sketching, writing, blogging, poetry, sewing, crochet, knitting, origami, creating recipes, or learning to play an instrument.
Some of these hobbies pair nicely with our need to practice good mental health.
5. Mental Health and Self-Care Avocations
Have you ever thought of organization as a hobby? Me, neither. But I think it fits nicely into this category. I’ve discovered improved mental health from reducing the clutter in my life. This also elevates the drudgery of housekeeping into something more focused and enjoyable. I make a game out of organizing things and keeping them tidy.
You might also choose journaling as a mental-health avocation. Journaling helps me process events and think things through before I whine or complain to co-workers or family members. It gives me a healthier outlook on life, too.
I’ve discovered that using a planner has improved my mental health by lowering my stress levels. When I plan things out in advance, I avoid the stress of forgotten appointments, missed opportunities, and unrealized goals.
Hobbies to try: Planning systems (I love the Full-Focus Planner), journaling, support groups, Marie Kondo videos, listening to classical music, RC car racing or building, or any other avocation that helps relieve stress and flush your brain.
Just Find One!
While I never took up floral arranging as a regular hobby after the wedding, I have confidently prepared corsages and boutonnieres from grocery-story bouquets for countless students. Even if the activity you try never turns into a life-long hobby, at least you can say you’ve tried something new.Looking for a hobby? It doesn't have to be knitting. Check out these ideas for finding your avocation. #avocation #hobby #friendships Click To Tweet
Do you have a favorite (or unusual hobby)?
Inspire Me Monday
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I love how you always encourage us to try new things and think outside of the box, Anita! I’m so often stuck in a rut. I may enjoy the passions and hobbies in my life, but probably miss out on finding new interests, which would stretch me in healthy ways. I’ll be pinning and tweeting, my friend!
I tend to get stuck in a rut now and then, too, thinking I have no time for new things. But trying new things can become part of my scheduled avocation time :).
Anita Ojeda recently posted…Check Out These Two New Historical Inspirational Releases
Great post Anita!
I like how you tired it all together! And I really enjoyed hearing that a 94 year old woman graduated from College! How inspiring!
Tea With Jennifer recently posted…Mini Delights
Anita, I love your advice to find a hobby. I have several and they all bring me joy, satisfaction, and a sense of peace. When I think of hobbies, my first thought, of course, is running. I love the social aspects of the running community and the peaceful alone-time for meditation. We all need to find an activity that makes us feel good about ourselves.
Laurie recently posted…Three Things You Need To Do To Age With Confidence
Great post. I think hobbies give us a mental rest from our main work and refresh us. And sometimes a solution or great new idea occurs during our time away from our main work. My main hobbies are reading, writing, and making cards for the family.
I love how you jumped into making the flowers for your daughter’s wedding. I used to do that more when I was younger, then somehow got hung up on feeling like I needed to study something out completely before attempting it. But learning by doing is fun and stimulating, too. That’s how my blogging experience has been, and I’ve been delighted to learn new things.
Barbara Harper recently posted…What More Can He Say?
I guess my hobbies are writing, gardening, and teaching–things I”ve done in smaller quantities most of my adult life, but am trying to make more room for now as my nest empties. Somehow I pictured myself learning to play the piano and taking on all kinds of “new” interests as the kids grew up. It’s interesting to me that I’ve just stayed with what I know, and I’m wondering what that says about me.
Love how you broke the hobbies down into different types. There is something for everyone. Some people say they are not creative and therefore have no hobbies, but that is no excuse after your article. Some hobbies we like to do together with others and some by our self. I have some hobbies I enjoy with and without people. Like walking, making necklaces, or cooking. I also consider going to plays, volunteering, and eating out with friends some of my hobbies. My problem is I have more hobbies than time.
Theresa Boedeker recently posted…12 Ways That Misinterpreting Events Causes Shame
I think I need to take on the hobby of organization. I so want to get rid of the clutter and every time I start I end up losing interest. Then I get frustrated because of the clutter. Thanks for the inspiration, Anita. Blessings to you!
Hobbies can be so fun. But I found I lost track of them when I had my kids. I love the encouragement to discover the things that make me happy!
Rebecca Hastings recently posted…Run Your Race
What a great story, Anita! We did our own flowers for my youngest daughter’s wedding too. Well, not “we” as in “me.” 🙂 But my oldest daughter did them. It did save a lot of money! That won’t be the hobby for me, but I’m glad it was for her.
I so enjoyed this post, Anita! While I’m not a stellar organizer, I’m a fantastic de-clutterer…and I probably SHOULD think of that as a hobby, given how much attention it gets from me! So darn satisfying 🙂 Contra dancing had been on my list for eons, so I gave it a try with friends last month. We had hours of fun–and quite a workout! While I feel like I don’t necessarily need another hobby (it’s possible I have TOO many), I do keep encouraging myself to try new things. That energizes me in a way long-term hobbies don’t, necessarily, and that always feels GOOD.
Carolyn Seymour Thomas recently posted…Getting Unstuck.
This was really timely for me. Writing used to be my hobby. Now it’s ministry, not an outlet, and I’ve struggled to find a replacement–even though I know I need to. The way you broke these down was really helpful. It dovetailed well with my desire to find something to be a beginner at, as well. Thanks for that.
Let me know what you try! I’m always up for learning something new!
The thing I love best about hobbies is the fellowship!
You must love hobbies that involve groups ;). Most of my hobbies are solitary endeavors, since I get recharged by solitude.
Anita, this is a great post. I love your suggestions for each avocation. Hobbies are so good. Sometimes we need to put our minds and efforts into something unrelated to that which we spend most of our time doing.
I enjoy photography. Snapping photos of the beauty around me, and capturing an occasional amazing snap of one of my boys enlarges my heart. I also enjoy scrapbooking and stamping cards. I still do it the old-fashioned way with papers, inks, and stamps. Now to find more time to indulge these hobbies. 😉
Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Settle: 4 Thoughts for When We Want More
You take some amazing photos, Jeanne! I love scrapbooking, too :). I’ll be talking about the time for hobbies in two weeks ;).
I think having things we enjoy doing are very important. For me it would be writing, scrapbooking and photography. They are creative outlets and while I write everyday, the last 2 are things I can do as little as much as time allows.
Donna Reidland recently posted…“How Does God Guide His People?” March 10
It sounds like we have some hobbies in common! I kind of go in phases, where I will spend more time scrapbooking and less time birding, or more time photographing things and less time sewing.
Ahh, I’ve always wanted to start singing in a group again. I used to be sing in my high school choir, but haven’t joined any since. Maybe community theater would be a good option. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing this encouraging post.
I found the gardening, it relaxes me a lot and I spend a lot of time outside. Now I am growing my own vegetables, learning day by day.
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