Why Having A Hobby Is Important For Parents | #CP

If there’s one thing that lockdown conditions have shown us, it's the importance of aiming for balance in life. While the line for parents juggling a career or running their own business with childcare, family responsibilities and other activities has always been fine, the imposition of quarantine conditions sent it all tumbling down like a house of cards. It's shown us just how valuable that fabled work-life balance really is, for our mental and physical wellbeing. We need time and space to pursue things that relax and interest us - which is where the idea of a hobby really comes into its own. In fact, there’s a well known saying that you need three hobbies in life - one that keeps you fit, one that lets you unleash your creativity and one that makes you money. And while having time for three hobbies might be a laughable concept to working parents, it is crucial to try and carve out some time for you and your own interests.

The Big Energy Drain
Having children is wonderful and life-changing, but it's also a huge drain on our mental resources. The time and energy you pour into raising children is immense. Couple that with running a business or trying to scale the corporate ladder and it’s little wonder there just doesn’t feel like there’s anything left for you! But once you recognise the importance of a little time for you as a person, then you can begin to find ways to make space for it. Like most things with parenting, it's all about priorities. So often, we don’t make ourselves a priority because there is always so much more other pressing stuff that needs taking care of. However, it's important to recognise the importance of what you are doing. The word ‘self-care’ has been co-opted to mean massages and long baths, but although there is nothing wrong with that, it can also mean so much more. Giving yourself time and headspace is crucial. You can’t care for others to the best of your ability if you aren’t caring for yourself, and making time for your relaxation and development as a person is a big part of that.
Encouraging Creativity
Creativity is an underrated superpower. Having the ability to think creatively is important in so many areas of our life - it can make us better problem solvers and give us skills that translate into our working lives as well. Being creative or able to think laterally is often what sets us apart from the competition in life. So a hobby that encourages this, like painting or learning to play guitar, can give us a lot of holistic benefits. And if our kids see us being creative? All the better.
Keeping Active
The battle against a sedentary, tech-focused lifestyle is something we need to be mindful of. After all, who hasn’t had a running battle with their kids about too much time on the tablet, while also realising the irony when we’re constantly scrolling on our smartphones? Hobbies that involve getting active can add so much to our mental and physical health. Even if you think you aren’t naturally sporty, it's generally a case of finding something that you do enjoy.Who knows, you could turn out to be a Peloton addict or find yourself browsing Equi Supermarket to fulfill your horse riding addiction! There’s bound to be something that you enjoy doing if you explore the options a bit. Another option that works for a lot of people is to develop an active habit with your children. Getting into going for family bike rides or playing tennis together can be a way of spending time together and bonding, as well as getting in an almost-effortless exercise fix.

Reducing Stress Levels

We’re all under huge amounts of stress at the moment, and our hobbies can provide a much-needed outlet. When we get really absorbed into something we enjoy doing, it's called being in a ‘flow state’ and this is enormously calming to the body’s nervous system. Hobbies work well as a stress relief because they force us to focus on something outside of our own thoughts. And if you have a physically active hobby that will also create chemical changes in your body that help to reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol. It’s a win-win situation that allows you to rejuvenate your mind and better prepares you to face whatever challenges are thrown at you in life, work and parenting.

Karl Young

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/karl-young/

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