MavK

Art and Creativity Coaching Articles

Self-care: the importance and joy of the solo-hobby!

Joy of the solo hobby

We teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. [Tweet this!]

One of the greatest steps towards healing is self-care; in fact, nothing is going to improve unless you start to care for yourself – your health is in your hands, and there are many essential things to your health that only you can do. If you are a busy professional or a freelancer, you need to make a conscious effort to put aside time for self-care in its many forms, be they personal grooming, a healthy diet, exercise, spiritual practices or creativity. See here why I think creativity is part of the self-care spectrum!

All sorts of miraculous changes could start to happen if we made space for ourselves in our lives, and that can be scary! [Tweet this!]

In the vein of creativity, I want to highlight the humble “hobby” as part of a self-care routine. A hobby is defined as “an activity done in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” Immediately, from that definition, I see two words that could be problematic for some people: “leisure” and “pleasure”. So often I hear “I don’t have time for hobbies!” or “I have more important things to do than mess around having fun!” These are mental justifications for external pressures … say what?! This is our mind making up excuses for us to keep pleasing others so we don’t rock the boat by pleasing ourselves. All sorts of miraculous changes could start to happen if we made space for ourselves in our lives, and that can be scary!

But what does your body hear when you make these “mental justifications”? Perhaps, “I am not as important as my laundry” or “Making other people happy is more important than me being happy”; these are ways of belittling ourselves and trivialising our needs. Equally, we could say “I am too important to other people to take a break; they wouldn’t know what to do without me!”; in this case we have built up a sense of ego that is dependent on how much we think others need us. Other people may need you, but nobody needs you all the time (even babies can be handed to papa for half an hour) … the only person who needs YOU all the time, is YOU. So when are you going to practise self-care and attend to the priorities of your soul, mind and body?

By taking time to pursue a hobby, you are directly nourishing and sending all sorts of positive messages to yourself:

  • I take time because I am worth the time;

  • I do something I enjoy because enjoyment is a valuable part of living;

  • I create moments of pleasure because they recharge my batteries;

  • I am allowed to leave aside worries and negative thoughts, even if temporarily, because worry never changed anything but self-care builds me up to face life’s challenges.

I have several hobbies that are all very slow-moving such as hand embroidery, dry felting and beadwork. People are always saying to me, “You must have so much patience!” which is probably a polite way of saying, “Ugh, that looks so boring!” because for me they are calming and meditative pastimes and require no patience at all. This exemplifies the truism that not everything suits everybody. You might be drawn to slow and meditative like me, or fast and furious might be your métier. Some of you might not have a hobby at all, and that’s fine! The world is your oyster! Try to consider things that you are drawn to repeatedly, or even what your interests were as a child – could you reignite some old hobbies? Allow yourself time to dream. It’s not about achievements, gradings or how good you get; it’s about indulgent pleasure and fun. It’s about having a break, changing things up and sending some positive messages to yourself about how you are important enough to make time for and spend time with! Yes, you are spending time very consciously with yourself.

Aloneness is a practice in itself, which will bring out the best from your hobby.

Naturally some hobbies involve being with others, such as team sports, but I would challenge you to find a hobby that you do on your own. We are seldom alone in today’s crowded world. Even when we are physically alone, we are often accompanied by the voices and images of people through various media. Aloneness is a practice in itself, which will bring out the best from your hobby. It will teach you to:

  • really hear your own thoughts and feel your true feelings (no more avoidance or distraction – and yes, this can be painful or uncomfortable)

  • come back to zero; to reset your stimulation gauges which take a hefty pounding just through our day-to-day activities and duties – coming back to zero drops your stress levels and recharges your batteries

  • befriend yourself as you are, in isolation, not because of what you do for others or who you are to other people; you are more than the roles you play (mother/father, sister/brother, wife/husband, friend, colleague, boss…)

  • feel your own boundaries; being alone will sensitise you again to what you are and are not willing to accept from others. Aloneness reestablishes the boundaries of your identity which will let you know quite clearly if your boundaries are being trespassed or pushed by others.

Suggestions for alone-time hobbies:

handicrafts, writing, yoga, Qi-Gong, meditation, walking, running, cycling, DIY, art, playing a musical instrument or singing, reading, cooking, puzzles, vision boarding, stargazing, scrapbooking, luxury personal grooming (long, hot aromatherapy baths, pedicures, manicures, etc.)…

Your choices are only limited by your imagination!

Self-care: the importance and joy of the solo-hobby!

Let me know in the comments below what you do for a hobby. Who knows, your comment could inspire another person’s creative journey of self-care!

©Mav Kühn 2016

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