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)?