BY SHELLEY WHIZIN
“Today is the life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweet through you. Live today with gusto.”
How to find a hobby? We’ve all heard that hobbies can help keep you young in body and mind. It can be quite refreshing when you allow yourself to experience something out of your routine. In this article, we will explore the many benefits of starting a hobby over 50.
All you need to find yourself a hobby is just an interest in doing whatever it is that sounds interesting to you. Our interests can vary over our lifetime, and some benefits will stay constant. It’s about exploring all the ones you feel might be of interest. How to find a hobby – or hobbies, that interest you keep your body, mind, and spirit stimulated, and the benefits go far and wide, touching every part of your being, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, enhancing and expanding the quality of your life after 50.
Over the years we may have heard that doing things we enjoy can even help delay the aging process, resulting in having positive feelings that can help us fight against certain illnesses. Of course, everyone is different, and that’s why there are hundreds of hobbies to choose from and how to find a hobby perfect for yourself.
How to Find a Hobby – What interests you?
For how to find a hobby, first, start by asking yourself what interests you. What kinds of activities do you enjoy now or have experienced as you were growing up? Think about what called to you, but that you never took the time to explore it. Maybe things that catch your eye might inspire a mild interest. Passing by a Bocce ball court and seeing the players all dressed in white may encourage a mild interest – at least a curiosity. Watching people in their activities can produce a fleeting thought of fun. Anytime is good to develop a hobby, however, now is as good of a time as any to explore and start a new hobby.
“Trying On” New Hobbies for the Fun of It
The living is like one big shopping spree. You “try on” different experiences at different times to see if they fit, to see how you feel in any particular skill, to see if you like it and if you want to continue experiencing it. Be open to something new, even if you were never particularly keen about the particular hobby. If that new hobby activity doesn’t feel as good as you thought, then keep trying new ones until you find yourself having fun with a new found one.
All experiences in life give you some emotional, mental and physical sensation. Some lessons balance out your harmful stress levels. The idea’s how to find a hobby that coincides with your natural strengths and abilities and challenges you in a fun way at the same time.
Besides actually experiencing what it is that you are interested in, the key then is to stick to it as long as it’s fun for you and provides enjoyment. Yes, FUN and enjoyment! Hobbies are supposed to be a pleasurable way to pass the time in a way that makes you feel good about what you’re doing. “An activity is done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.”
If you don’t come from a background philosophy that it’s ok to have fun, then push your comfort zone in thinking what you were doing the last time you did something just for the fun of it? I don’t know about you but growing up in my home I was the responsible one who charged with making sure the house was clean before my mother came home. As I got older, I realized that I had forgotten to play or even how to play. So, a few years ago my mentor gave me the assignment to go to the beach and build sand castles for 45 days in a row. You would think that would be the most natural thing to do. Well, it wasn’t. However, after each sandcastle done, I realized that I had fun, and that left me with a sense of well-being. I also realized that it’s almost as if we fight against enjoying ourselves. Now is the time to start how to find a hobby and discover new hobbies or ways to have fun with one or many hobbies!
What’s important to remember is when you find something you enjoy, and you lose track of time, that means YOU ARE LIVING IN THE MOMENT. What a concept! You lose yourself in what you do. Why do you suppose that is? You are enjoying yourself so much that time is not the most important barometer. It’s JOY that becomes the barometer. Increase your joy factor by exploring different hobbies, and believe me, there are hundreds of different hobbies to explore, some traditional hobbies and some very eclectic ones that I will list for you a bit further in this article.
Benefits of Having a Hobby
If you’re serious about pleasure, and you want to be, think about there many benefits of having a hobby. You might want to go on a field trip and take yourself to a hobby shop or your local community college or look into community education courses to find out what kinds of different creative hobbies there are in your area. Even your local libraries offer an array of classes and events, such as Bridge groups, knitting & crochet clubs, scrapbooking, swing dancing lessons, and others. I LOVE swing dancing and took lessons from Arthur Murray Dance Studio for fun. Now I make myself dancing at the Pasadena Ballroom, and even if I don’t dance, I love to listen to the big bands playing and watch other people dancing. It’s so much fun for me! My girlfriend took up salsa dancing when she was over 50. She connected with an entirely new community of people who love salsa, and all that dancing sure keeps her young. I met a friend of hers, whom she met dancing, a woman who was 80 and she met her husband just six years ago salsa dancing. It just goes to show that something beautiful can happen when you are doing something you love.
There are more benefits than you can imagine having a hobby or find a hobby, whether you are still working or not. I won’t be able to cover all the benefits, but here is a list that will fill you up with possibilities:
- Having a hobby gives you an opportunity of taking a break with a purpose, doing something you enjoy, while still living your busy life, whether it is working full time or not.
- Having a hobby is something to be excited about, especially when you are doing something you love doing. Some people even turn their hobby into a business and then they get to generate income by doing what they love. That’s a great recipe for living a happy, fulfilled and meaningful life.
- Hobbies challenge you in the way in which you perceive the world, offering you a different perspective. I’m all for changing your perspective on what you do in life, especially if it adds a dimension you didn’t have. It makes all the difference in the attitude you carry throughout your everyday experiences.
- Hobbies connect you with others who are enjoying the same things. It’s nice to find like-minded people that share your interests and passions. It builds new friendships with a sense of belonging, and we all need that. Think of it as social support.
- Having a hobby also builds confidence, especially when you are good at something and can adapt your skills at learning something new. It can be gratifying.
- When you engage in a hobby that requires some physical activity, you are creating a positive chemical change in your body, reducing stress and creating a sense of self-satisfaction. Participants from four different studies completed a self-assessment and found their blood pressure, cortisol levels, and body mass index lowered, while their health and well-being increased psychologically and physically. Even low-movement hobbies like knitting, crafting and playing the guitar were related to better health. Who wouldn’t want that? How many people do you know to walk around totally stressed out most of the time? Encourage them to find a new hobby! Be a Hobby Advocate! Think of cooking or baking, gardening, taking a walk, singing, reading, or playing a musical instrument. I know for me, cooking is very meditative. I can cook all day and then serve the food to people I love. It’s a win-win!
- Hobbies are great diversions, enabling you to focus on non-work-related tasks that give you something else to focus on, other than work, which also reduces stress and helps you perform better at work. A study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, was conducted with 400 employees, finding a huge difference in employees that were engaged in creative hobbies and those who were not. They found that employees recovered faster and easier when they had an outside creative activity.
- Hobbies help you get into and stay in the flow of what you are doing, losing yourself in your activity, and it appears that whatever worries you may have had seemed to disappear, calming your nerves, and creating a sense of well-being.
- Hobbies stimulate creativity, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg agrees with. He instructed his recruiters to specifically ask candidates if they had an outside hobby because it not only boosted their chance of landing a job with Facebook, having an outdoor hobby was associated with positive work-related traits, being more creative on projects with a better attitude on the job. Having a hobby also helped to lower burn out.
More information about Benefits of Hobbies
- Hobbies are FUN! We already covered that, but we can’t say this too much. People that engage in a hobby are happier and experience lower levels of depression and negative feelings. These benefits carry through day after day, showing how leisure time does help improve health.
- Hobbies help you learn new skills through “positive stress” or “eustress”, a term coined by the Hungarian Endocrinologist Hans Selye, which means stress can have a positive effect on us. He said everyone experiences stress. It’s what we do with it that matters. Negative stress, which he called “distress” increases cortisol levels, and decreases the immune system, while “eustress” increases a sense of well-being, enhancing the immune system.
- Hobbies are satisfying, especially when you have seen a project you were working on through to its completion. Maybe you refinished a piece of furniture or decorated a room in your house, all providing you with a great sense of accomplishment.
- Hobbies that are physical improve your physical quality of life. Exercising, doing yoga, chi gong, riding a bicycle or even walking enhances your immune system, preventing some chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetic arthritis and even some types of cancer.
- Physical hobbies also release endorphins, boost your mood and mental faculties, helping you sleep better, getting more of a restful night’s sleep.
- Mental hobbies keep your brain sharp. Engaging in a hobby that stimulates and challenges your mental abilities helps your brain function better by exercising the brain as a “muscle.” Think of Sudoku, word games, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, brain teasers, card games, solitaire, canasta, gin rummy, bridge; learning to draw or paint, playing chess, learning to play an instrument, mastering a new language, or participate in trivia contests, to name a few.
- Hobbies such as meditation, yoga, and walking give you time to relax, creating a sense of stillness and calm within, another way to reduce stress and increase your sense of well-being.
- Having a group hobby is a way to connect to your interests, while energizing, inspiring and connecting to others, preventing isolation and loneliness, giving meaning to your life, improving your social life and sense of achievement.
- Hobbies are exciting, especially when you are learning and experiencing new things you never did before, improving your skills.
- Having a hobby or find a hobby, improves your self-esteem and problem-solving abilities because it increases your creative spark and when you creatively stimulated, your mind is more active and likely to be more creatively productive. Think of MacGyver in his TV show.
- Having a hobby is a way of giving yourself something to look forward to, out of your daily routine, preventing boredom and depression.
As you can see, we could go on and on with a multitude of benefits you derive from having a hobby. Now that you know there are many reasons to start a hobby at any age, there is no reason in the whole world not to have a hobby. When you stop and look around to find a hobby most likely, you will find one, or even two!
How to Find a Hobby
A hobby that is fun and enjoyable can balance your life in different ways by the variety of pleasures it can bring you. However, it’s wise to take into consideration your physical limitations and always honor what you are physically capable of doing. Having a hobby can be challenging, but if the hobby you choose makes you feel bad because you are not up to it physically, then pick another hobby. Don’t dwell that you “can’t” do it. Pick something you can do and remember that hobbies are for your benefit, not to your detriment. If you get tired quickly, you may need a couple of different hobbies, where you can rest your eyes or shift positions or do something different. Also, remember that hobbies can be seasonal. If you enjoy bird watching and it’s winter, it’s harder to be outside when it’s snowing to watch the birds. Maybe in winter, you will pick an indoor hobby.
Here are some hobbies ideas that you can do either by yourself or with a group. You choose. When you learn a new skill, you will learn from someone who already has that skill, so you will automatically be with others. It may be in a class setting or a one on one, whichever it is, enjoy the experience.
There are many indoor activities from which to choose. I’m going to give you several examples of mentally active hobbies and physically active hobbies, both indoors and outdoors. If you are inside, you can find a variety of things to do to challenge and stimulate your mind.
Mentally Active Indoor Solo/Group Hobbies:
- Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, Rubik’s Cube, Video Games, Memory Games, Reading, Being a Mentor, Tutor, Activist, Saving the Environment, Organizing Neighborhood Clean-up, Coupon Cutting
- Learning a new Language, Learning Online Courses, Journaling, Graphic Design
- Blogging, Vlogging
- Spiritual Activities, like Meditating
- Reading to Children
- Playing Chess, Checkers, Backgammon
- Researching Genealogy
- Participating in Fantasy Sports Leagues
Physically Light Active Indoor Solo Hobbies Include:
- Sewing, Knitting, Cooking, Baking, Embroidery, Cross-stitch, Needlepoint, Scrapbooking, Calligraphy, Flower Arranging,
- Making Jewelry, Pottery, Candles, Soaps, Dolls, Leather Goods & Stained Glass, Cake Decorating, Crafting to Sell at Fairs
- Entertaining, Decorating, Interior Design, Thrift Shopping
- Learning to play Guitar, Piano, Clarinet, Flute, Harmonica, Drums, Ukulele, etc.
- Learning to read music, Teaching music, piano, music history
- Producing music, Promoting Bands,
- Singing, Choir, Dancing, Writing,
- Watching Sports, YouTube Videos, DIY Beauty Shows, DIY Remodeling House Shows
- Going to Concerts
- Starting an Aquarium
- Collecting: Americana Memorabilia, Beer Cans, Coins, Stamps, Pins, Toys, Cars, Art, Spoons, Sports Cards, Autographs, Antiques, Rocks & Gems, Records, Gadgets
Physically Light Active Indoor Group Hobbies Include:
- Book Clubs
- Acting, Improv, Theatre
- Going to the Movies, Theatre, Concerts, Museums
- Wine & Beer Tasting
- Building Model Cars, Airplanes, Boats
- Playing Pool/Billiards, Darts, Ping-Pong
- Visiting different Escape Rooms
- Volunteering at Senior Citizen Homes, Hospitals, Animal Shelters, Homeless Shelters, Youth Organizations, Historical Sites, Libraries, Schools
Physically Active Indoor Solo Hobbies:
- Cross-fit, Exercise, Bowling, Yoga,
- Home Brewing
Find a Hobby in Outdoor Hobbies
It’s always helpful to commune with nature. Many people prefer to be outside. Those who can have a wide variety of choices.
Find a Hobby in Physically Light Active Outdoor Solo Hobbies
- Antiquing, Window Shopping
- Learning about Astronomy
- Classic Car Restoration
- Training Dogs
- Bee Keeping
Physically Active Outdoor Group Hobbies:
- Traveling Across the U.S. in an RV, Camping,
- Going to other Countries, Seeing the 8 Wonders of the World, Visiting the Crystal Caves in Arkansas and Mexico, River Cruising, Boating, Hot Air Ballooning, Home & Garden Shows, Visiting Ghost Towns, Haunted Houses & Hotels, Taking Organized Bike Tours
- Whale & Dolphin Watching
- Tasting unique foods from all over the world
- Exploring your local city, Parks, Libraries, Museums, Beaches, Building Sand Castles, Going on Scavenger Hunts, Urban Adventures
- Walking, Hiking in nature, Fishing, Tai Chi, Golf, Sailing, Horseback Riding, Water Aerobics, Refereeing, Sport’s Coaching
- Perusing Flea markets & Garage Sales, Flipping Items
- Participating in Team sports: Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Rowing, Volleyball
CONCLUSION – How to Find a Hobby
You are never too old to learn something new. As you can see, there are many hobbies from which to choose, depending on your interests and physical capabilities. The list is endless. You can be of service to others, by volunteering in your favorite organization, whether it be at your local hospital, library or community center and you can take up that suit your personality and personal preferences. You can do a hobby alone or with a group, indoors or outdoors. Whatever you choose is beneficial for all concerned.
We have explored a multitude of benefits in starting and maintaining a hobby over 50. You have learned that hobbies keep you young in body and mind and can be quite refreshing, especially when you allow yourself to experience something out of your routine. Hobbies have significant benefits that stimulate your mind and fill your heart with joy, impacting every part of your being, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, enhancing and expanding the quality of your life to the very end.
I can’t think of any reason why you would not choose to have a hobby that sings to your heart, opens your mind and expands your life experiences.
It’s your life. Enjoy the journey. And remember to bring love into everything you do.