Writer Anna Quindlen sums it up nicely: “You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are. " Most working moms I know want a life-a life that includes work but is not completely dominated by it. We want to be fully engaged in, and feel passionate about, all aspects of our lives. Yet we often find it difficult to give ourselves permission to pursue our interests -activities or hobbies- outside of work and family obligations. Perhaps we think engaging in our hobbies is too self-indulgent or not important and we fail to create adequate space and time for them.
But when you take up a hobby, whether it's training for your first 10K run, singing in a choir or creating funky jewelry in your spare time, you reap the benefits of inspirational self-nurturing. By helping you to find a better balance and more meaning in your life, hobbies make you feel good. Here are five great reasons to stop procrastinating and start that hobby you've been contemplating.
1. To play and feel lighter Playing means enjoying yourself for more than a minute or two, for the sole purpose of finding pleasure. It's something you do just for you and it makes you feel good physically. Just look at your children to remind yourself of the magical powers of play. When kids play you can see, hear and feel their happiness and contentment. . . it practically vibrates off them. As we grow older, we often lose our playtime to the responsibilities of adulthood. . . working hard and being productive, striving to make a difference and tending to others. Yet, when you make playing a priority in the form of a hobby, you can face life and work with more enthusiasm and lightness.
2. To become more interesting and interested Expanding your interests allows you to focus on things outside of your normal routine. Hobbies beat out boredom. There is excitement and challenge in learning how to paint, write short stories or sail. Committing to a hobby, whether it's adventure traveling or joining a book club, will give you something to look forward to and spur you on to achieve greater goals. When you participate in an activity that is engaging, your passion and enthusiasm becomes contagious and makes you more interesting to others.
3. To enhance self-esteem Many hobbies allow you the opportunity to gain new skills, giving you a sense of accomplishment and confidence that makes you feel better about yourself. Hobbies that involve physical activity such as hiking, gardening and mountain biking strengthen your body and coordination. And getting in better shape can also make you feel good. Creative hobbies like pottery, quilting and writing poetry fuel your imagination and rid you of that “something is missing" feeling. . . and that makes you feel great.
Next time you are wondering whether taking up a hobby is a good use of your time, think about all the benefits that come from branching out, exploring something new and nurturing yourself. Give yourself permission to pursue an interest or an activity that is just for you. And see what happens when you dedicate a little time for your own personal growth.
© Copyright 2006. Lisa Martin. All rights reserved.
Lisa Martin is a certified coach who inspires working mothers to achieve success that’s balanced. Author of Briefcase Moms: 10 Proven Practices to Balance Working Mothers’ Lives, Lisa is a sought-after expert and speaker on work-life balance issues. Known for her very personal and practical approach, Lisa coaches working mothers to know what they want and get what they want.
With 20 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience, Lisa is also the founder and president of The Briefcase Moms Group – a work-life coaching and training company that helps organizations attract, engage and retain working mothers. A mother herself, Lisa’s powerful presentations and programs have helped thousands of women define success and balance on their own terms. http://www.briefcasemoms.com