Are Hobbies Helpful?

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a man baking MANN uP is committed to helping you to unlock your personal potential to live your best possible life through proactive support to advance your psychological (mental and emotional) wellbeing to enable you to unlock your own personal potential.

MANN uP’s philosophy is that your levels of psychological wellbeing will be closely interrelated to your functioning and wellbeing in other parts of your life.

Your mental and emotional strength, stamina and resilience can be aided or hindered by how things are going for you in terms of your work, your relationships, your physical health, and how you invest in your recreational life.

Check out the section of this website that helps you consider the balance in your life

Time and time again in programme work, clients are striving as hard as they can to work at their employment, relationship and physical functionality, but the area that is nearly always neglected, or that comes last in the list, is investing in their recreational wellbeing

Recreational wellbeing can be thought of as your engaging in and/or pursuing either alone and/or with others, in passions, hobbies, interests, pastimes and activities that entertain, stimulate and relax you, and bring a sense of fun and joy into your life.

Often times the reason for this part of life being neglected by clients is down to them diligently trying to be responsible adults. Dedicating their time and energies towards fulfilling their commitments and living up to their responsibilities. For many in that situation, investing in the recreational aspect of their life can be perceived as selfish, frivolous, or even childish.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Having activities or interests in your life that take you away from the stresses of adult life for a bit, and bring you an element of satisfaction, helps you to rest and recharge both mentally and physically, which in turn will help make you more able to be productive.

Investing in your recreational wellbeing can also help develop your levels of mental and emotional resilience. Firstly by giving a proactive counter-balance to the level of responsibility and commitment in your life (the harder you work, the harder you should play). Psychologically it can also bring some sense of happiness and personal satisfaction into a challenging and stressful life.

Recreational activities can also open up the potential for enrichment in your life. Connecting you to others (or yourself), and new experiences in a way that expands your horizons, and creates enjoyable experiences and memories that can help you feel you are living a fuller life.

Males and Recreational Wellbeing

An article on the Forbes website indicates that although in general terms males spend more of their time in pursuit of leisure activities than females, females seem to get more enjoyment from leisure pursuits. A report on the ONS website supports this by showing males in the UK have nearly 5 hours more per week leisure time than women. So time to invest in recreational wellbeing does not seem to be the challenge for males, yet they are not enjoying that time as much as their female counterparts.

Could the problem there be more about quality rather than quantity of free time activities?

The ONS website also shows that 30% of males spend nearly a third of their leisure time on their own. Does sharing your hobby, interest or passion with others bring greater levels of enjoyment? The ONS website also shows that males spend most of their leisure time playing sports, gaming and computing, or consuming mass media, whilst females used more of their free time for socialising.

The Benefits of Investing in Your Recreational Wellbeing

Making time to play and have fun in your life is not selfish or childish, it is actually a wise and mature thing to do that will bring you many benefits, such as:

Connectivity: Pursuing a hobby, interest, or passion can bring you into contact with others and enhance your social connectivity. Bringing people into your life with whom you have something in common is a great starting point to build the level and quality of relationships in your life.

Escapism: We all from time to time need to escape for a while from the responsibilities and commitments in our lives. Hobbies can help to give a break from real world pressures, and can exercise other parts of your mind such as your capacity for fantasy and creativity.

Relaxation: Some hobbies, interests, and passions require you to be physically still and settled, which can give your body much needed relaxation. Others are also absorbing enough to hold your mental attention, yet not so demanding as to require huge amounts of mental effort, making them brilliantly mindful. This helps to give the parts of your brain involved in handling pressures and challenges in your life the opportunity to switch off for a while and rest.

Enrichment: Certain pastimes can also enrich your life by expanding your experiencing. The likes of travel, reading, or even visiting a museum can expand your mind and create unforgettable positive memories and new ways of looking at life.

Enjoyment: Most of all, investing in your recreational wellbeing can bring fun into your life. We all deserve to have fun. Life for all will bring many tough days, unhappy experiences, and challenges, so what better investment of your efforts could there be than proactively injecting enjoyment into your life too.

Potential Pitfalls With Recreational Wellbeing

A slight word of caution here. Although there can be no doubt that investing in your recreational wellbeing can be good for you, attending to the overall balance in your life, in terms of the investment and impact of those hobbies, can help ensure you get all of the benefits without any detriment.

Keep an eye on your pursuit of recreational wellbeing to ensure it is working for you by occasionally asking yourself the ‘4D’ questions.

  1. Deviance: Is the amount of time, effort, energy, or money you are investing in your hobby considerably more than others would?
  2. Dysfunction: Is your hobby getting in the way of your ability to function well in other parts of your life?
  3. Distress: Is participation in your hobby causing you or someone that you care about upset and distress?
  4. Danger: Is pursuit of your hobby putting you in a position where you are at serious risk of damaging yourself and your wellbeing in some way?

Pastimes that involve say the likes of gambling, internet use, or socialising with alcohol, can start to become detrimental to you if the balance in your life is not right.

An Action Plan for Investing in Your Recreational Wellbeing

The Cambridge Dictionary describes a hobby as: “An activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working” and a pastime as: “An activity that is done for enjoyment.”

The two key words when looking for a new hobby or pastime to enhance your recreational wellbeing are pleasure and enjoyment.

These can be different for everyone and there are no rules here. It is about what is pleasurable and enjoyable for you. If you do not enjoy sport, then don’t do it for fun (although you may want to do a bit of physical activity to look after your physical wellbeing).

However keep an open mind, and don’t fall into the trap of only considering what others would perceive as ‘appropriate male pastimes’. It is not about anyone else here, it is about finding something that is right for you.

Going on a journey to invest in your relational wellbeing presents a great opportunity to get to know yourself better. Why not:

  • Reflect on what you did for fun when you were a child.
  • Consider what does or could give you pleasure now.
  • Work out what you will definitely not enjoy.
  • Decide if you want to spend your leisure time alone, with others, or a mix of both.
  • Work out when you could carve out some regular time to pursue your recreational wellbeing.
  • Think about the things you have always wanted to try out.
  • Research what others do with their spare time.
  • Get to know more about how to take up potential new hobbies and interests that appeal to you.
  • Try out some new stuff to see if you like it.

Explore Some Options

The following sites may give you ideas on some potential new forms of recreational wellbeing to try out in your life.

The Adult Man website has a list of hobbies for men of all ages you may want to check out.

The Trend Spotter website has a list of hobbies that men can take up at home.

The Bald Brothers website has a diverse list of ways men can make use of their leisure time.

The In Home Care website lists hobbies that may be well suited for older men