Hobbies and their benefits to mental health

Hobbies help make up who we are as individuals and they also help to separate us from one another. They can also be a great way of managing our headspace whenever we feel we need it. Here are three ways how hobbies can benefit us mentally and why you should make time for your hobbies!

A hand turning the page of a book of music in front of a piano.

Identity

Hobbies make up part of who we are so are important in many different ways. One of the main ways is the sense of identity they give us. They can give us the opportunities to meet people who are similar to ourselves, boost confidence and help with our mental health. Hobbies offer us an avenue outside of work to express ourselves and act as a sense of relief from other stresses. Even something as normal as cooking a basic meal can be a hobby, something you focus on which calms you and brings you comfort. Another great thing about them is that they are so wide-ranging – if you look hard enough there will be something out there you enjoy! The importance has been noted in historical articles – in times where people have been experiencing hardship, hobbies have been presented a way to relax. Giving yourself permission to take the time to focus on something you enjoy can feel hard but it could be something which is an extremely positive decision.

Hobbies shouldn’t be neglected. They can be something you use to help allow yourself the time to rewind and refresh.

Someone playing football from the knee down. There is a football on a green field. Their foot is blurry indicating they are kicking the ball.

Escapism

Hobbies are something we do in our spare time for fun, to escape to. They cater to every personality type, whether you’re quiet and reserved or an extroverted person, they provide an enjoyable way to unwind. They are therefore a great way to take a break and spend time doing something you truly enjoy. They can often allow for separation from the stresses of work (or other things) and add variation to your routine. This is especially important when going through periods where you are extremely busy or feeling burnt out. They are a way we can recharge and have a fun time doing it.

Sometimes, not everybody has an accessible hobby, especially at uni – some hobbies may be difficult to keep up, for example, something like fishing. In this case, you could try and start something new you never thought of before! The Students Union has many different societies which could help you begin a new hobby. It’s nice to have an avenue to turn to when you need to relax, be yourself and forget the other things you may be worried or stressed about and hobbies are perfect in all of these cases.

Two pairs of hands holding Playstation remotes. In the background there is a TV out-of-focus with a football game displayed.

Conversation

Talking about something you enjoy with people who are willing to listen can feel great. It can fill you with confidence when friends or family pay attention to what you like doing, and introducing them to it can be very rewarding. Doing the thing you love with somebody else can add to the enjoyment as you can help them along as they learn with you. The support can help you feel an increased excitement, especially when you might not be feeling too motivated. Having a trusted friend to participate in the activity with can make a big difference. Often we gravitate towards people with similar interests anyway, so bringing up your hobby to a friend might result in them also enjoying it and bring you closer. It’s important to talk about the things that make us happy, and oftentimes people are willing to listen.

Two people surrounding by bookshelves both holding and looking at the same book. They both wear glasses on one is taller than the other.

Hobbies shouldn’t be neglected, they can be something you use to help allow yourself the time to rewind and refresh. Allowing yourself to engage in your interests can be greatly beneficial to your wellbeing!