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Why is it important to have a hobby?

Knitting, running, gaming? How do you like to spend your free time?

It turns out a recent survey found the most popular hobbies during the pandemic are watching TV and movies, reading and working out. In fact, having a hobby… any hobby is good for you and may actually ignite parts of the brain that help create new neural pathways and stave off dementia.

Having a hobby may be more important than you realize.

EB Fisher, CEO, Eden Software & Solutions, encourages having hobbies, “A hobby is something that you want to do to get away from your daytime job.”

Bringing meaning to leisure time and not continuously scrolling through Netflix or social media improves our mental health and strengthens our sense of connection, identity, and autonomy. Not having time for hobbies is a common excuse but it isn’t valid. Hobbies can actually structure your time since you’re more likely to finish all your work if you have something you find joy in doing afterwards.

Fisher, adds, “You want that hobby to be something that’s completely separate.”

And what about turning your hobby into a side job? You wouldn’t be alone in this idea as 55 percent of adults want to turn their hobbies into a job, but is it beneficial mentally? Hustle culture often causes major burnout, and the need to monetize everything we do makes every moment feel like work.

Fisher, doesn’t recommend this, “Turning a hobby into your work could take away the joy of your hobby.”

A team of academics from universities in Kansas, Pittsburgh and Texas also discovered hobbies were associated with lowering blood pressure, body mass index and stress hormones.

According to one study published in March 2020, hobbies are linked with decreased symptoms of depression and 30 percent lower odds of experiencing depression.

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