Have you ever thought about pursuing a hobby? As our lives get busier, our days can easily succumb to monotonous routine: work (or take care of kids, or both!), eat, sleep, pay bills, run errands and do chores, repeat. You spend all of your time and energy taking care of others that you neglect to spend time on yourself. It’s so easy to spend our evenings plopped on the couch watching Netflix as a way to unwind from the day.

On Autopilot

I sense some danger in unconsciously living our lives on autopilot. It can rob us of joy and of personal growth. While we need to be productive, we also should carve out time to just BE and do the things that make us happy. Because in order for your children to be happy, YOU need to be happy.

Everyone goes through seasons, and it’s very common to get lost in motherhood. But you’ll soon realize that you are so much more than just a mom. 

Reflecting on my Childhood Hobbies

When I was a kid, I used to love to read, write/journal, and listen to music. Most of my free time was spent curled up on my bed reading a book. I enjoyed expressing myself through words and fondly remember having numerous pen pals and communicating with my close friends through an online platform called LiveJournal. I also loved exploring new music. While I was drawn to catchy rhythms and hooks, I focused on the lyrics and appreciated the ones I could relate to in my teenage angst.

In college I devoted most of my time and attention to studying, work, and extracurricular activities. I had this false mindset that my life had to revolve around productivity. But I also distinctly remember thinking that I felt inadequate, that I was a boring person. My childhood passions didn’t seem “enough” to me. Because anyone can read, write, and listen to music. Right? I longed for “cooler” hobbies, something that would make me stand out. Juggling or scuba diving, perhaps? I’m not sure what I was thinking. 

Since then, I’ve shifted my mindset. Every person has his/her unique set of gifts, talents, and interests. You should acknowledge and use them instead of discrediting them. Remember to be uniquely you.

My Current Hobbies

Earlier this year, I wrote about my year of growth and incorporating healthy habits. While I was stuck at home during the pandemic, I dedicated time to improve my overall well-being. 

As a result, I now have hobbies:

  • I try to squeeze in at least 15 minutes of Pilates a day, in addition to going on walks with my family or a friend. 
  • I joined the team of writers at Ventura County Mom Collective and have committed to writing at least one story a month. 
  • For a period of time, I loved reading memoirs such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming or David Chang’s Eat a Peach. I’m currently engrossed in Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. 
  • While performing mundane household chores, I now blast upbeat music to elevate my mood. While driving, I often tune in to the positive, encouraging music of K-LOVE, a Christian radio station.
  • Recently I’ve strayed outside of my comfort zone and created a cute greeting card using a Paper Pumpkin crafting kit. I’ve never considered myself an artsy, crafty person, but the kit provides all the necessary materials and makes it easy for anyone to do.
  • I’ve enjoyed something as trivial as doing my nails. But not painting them with nail polish. I’ve discovered the increasingly popular Color Street nail strips. They make me feel put together as a mom and give me another creative outlet.

 How Pursuing a Hobby Can Improve Your Quality of Life

  1. In the form of exercise, it can help reduce stress and improve your physical health. It can increase your energy, strengthen your muscles, and help you lose weight. If you’re involved with a group sport or activity, it also helps you socially connect with other people and can lead to great friendships.
  2. It can make you a more interesting person. You have stories to share and will be inspiring to others. A friend recently asked me in a somewhat surprised and awestruck tone, “So you’re a writer now??” What I once thought was perceived as a “boring” hobby now makes me stand out.
  3. It can be a source of relaxation and a mental escape. If you find something fun to do, your life will feel less like a daily grind. 
  4. If you keep practicing it, you’ll improve your skills and your confidence.
  5. Sometimes it can be a way to show kindness to others. You can volunteer, create a birthday card and send it to a friend, or bake yummy treats and share it with others.
  6. It can create a shared interest and help you form bonds with others. With technology these days, it’s easy to snap a photo of something you created and solicit feedback from friends. This can bring a sense of community. Or if you meet someone new and start conversing, a shared interest often elicits an instant connection. 
  7. I personally think it can improve your marriage. Spending quality time with your spouse is important, but it’s also beneficial to spend time apart. You need to grow as individuals to help your relationship flourish. As the popular saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Let’s Pursue a Hobby

If you don’t currently pursue a hobby, I highly encourage you to make the time for one. You can rekindle a lost passion you had as a child, or you can be adventurous and try something new. It may be time to step off that hamster wheel and do something just for fun.

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Miriam was raised in Oxnard, CA. She attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia and graduated with a degree in Sociology. She moved back home and eventually pursued a career in affiliate marketing. After working in that industry for 10 years, she decided to prioritize her health and her family and became a stay-at-home mom. Throughout the years, she and her husband have lived in various parts of Ventura County – Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and now Camarillo – and are currently raising a 4-year-old boy named Benji. She has always loved writing as a child and is excited to be a part of Ventura County Mom Collective. Reading nonfiction books, doing Pilates, exploring new restaurants, and hiking with her family are some of her favorite hobbies. After experiencing years of postpartum depression, she considers herself to be an advocate of women’s mental health (especially moms!) and loves to encourage and uplift others. She tries to live by the motto “Grace over Guilt.”

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