-advertisement -

Get a hobby! You'll have fun and feel great, too

Calling all couch potatoes! If you ever thought about taking on a hobby, it may mean more to you than just another way to spend your free time. Hobbies can be a healthy way of challenging your body and mind.

While working as a newspaper reporter during his mid-20s, Dan Collins of Baltimore, thought fencing would make a good story. Now, 13 years later, the sport has become his hobby and a major part of his life. He began by enrolling in a fencing class at his local YMCA. After he finished that class and his newspaper story, he enrolled in another class. To this day, he remains good friends with his first instructor, and is a member of the Chesapeake Fencing Club.

"One of the reasons I continued, first and foremost, is not only because of the athletic competition, [but] the social element. It's a lot of fun for me," Collins says. When he moved to Denver, he didn't know anyone, but he made his first connection through fencing. Not only has fencing sharpened Collins' social skills, but it gives him a good cardiovascular and strength building and a mental workout. "It's a hobby for me in multiple ways," Collins says.

- advertisement -

When Sally Veillette of Seattle fell ill, she began to reevaluate her lifestyle, and found relief with alternative medicines. As part of her recovery, she chose hobbies that fueled her spirit. She realized exercising outside in nature, instead of in a gym, was more spiritually fulfilling. An outdoor enthusiast, Veillette has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa for a fund-raiser, and mountains in the Northwest.

It "helps more in a sense of feeling more connected to life. Nature provides fodder for your spirit and connects you with life's natural lessons," Veillette maintains. "Climbing Kilimanjaro I feel was absolutely the right thing to do, it was aligned with my spirit."

Choosing hobbies that you enjoy doing can be spiritually and socially rewarding. It may just keep your health in check, too.

The value of a hobby? Priceless
Experts say that hobbies keep us healthy. Patricia Farrell, a clinical psychologist, asserts that people underestimate the value of a hobby. "Anytime we hear the word hobby, we assume it's a frivolous hobby," Farrell says. "I think hobbies are a way that we protect our health."

But remember, hobbies are good in moderation. As long as you don't let an activity intrude in your life, or become obsessed with it, hobbies can be food for your body and mind. A healthy hobby is anything that you enjoy doing, and not something that someone has directed you toward, Farrell explains.

When choosing a healthy hobby Farrell says:

  • Decide on the time and money you want to spend.
  • Explore all options. Find out what you like.
  • Try it out. You may discover latent skills.

Hobbies not only work the physical side of you, but they can stimulate your mental side.

Mind candy
What can happen when you have just too much idle time on your hands? Like the plant in the "Little Shop of Horrors," your mind says "feed me" when you are bored. "People don't realize the power of our mind. When you don't feed your brain, the brain will attack you," says Alan Caruba, founder of the Boring Institute in Maplewood, N.J.

Caruba says people tend to deal with boredom in self-destructive ways because they don't know how to channel the energy, and hobbies are one of the key factors toward overcoming and avoiding boredom. "The combination of hobbies plus joining a group is virtually an insurance policy against boredom," Caruba maintains.

He began the Boring Institute as a spoof on celebrities, sports and politics. Caruba soon became flooded with responses from people all over the world who were experiencing boredom. The institute's handbook, "Beating Boredom" stresses hobbies as a vital part of overcoming it. July is designated Anti-Boredom month by the Institute.

Don't just stand there, do something! Feed your mind and body with a hobby that suits you.

-- Updated: May 1, 2003

top of page
See Also
Saving money at the gym
Add some culture to your life
Beauty pampering for a lot less
Financial advice glossary
More advice stories


30 yr fixed mtg 3.79%
48 month new car loan 3.20%
1 yr CD 0.55%

Mortgage calculator
See your FICO Score Range -- Free
How much money can you save in your 401(k) plan?
Which is better -- a rebate or special dealer financing?

Begin with personal finance fundamentals:
Auto Loans
Credit Cards
Debt Consolidation
Home Equity
Student Loans

Ask the experts  
Frugal $ense contest  
Form Letters

- advertisement -
- advertisement -