How to start a hobby and why it’s good for you

The word ‘hobby’ might sound a bit out-dated, but it’s right on trend: Beyonce makes honey as a relaxing pastime, Kendall Jenner enjoys bird calling and Brad Pitt has taken up fencing. While we are on the topic of fencing, Olympian, Miles Chamley-Watson, collects watches when he is not training and was recently interviewed by renowned auction house Sotheby’s for their Why I Collect series: “I have a passion for it, I love it... I would say I am a collector.”

The number 1 reason people don’t pursue hobbies is lack of time. School or university is all-consuming; this coupled with any extra-curricular activities like sports or music -- and there’s no time left for a hobby.

Yet research shows hobbies are good for us. Ideally, a favourite pastime ‘creates a diversion from daily life’ (that we genuinely look forward to) and gives us a sense of purpose outside of our routines and responsibilities.

What sets a hobby aside from just simple leisure time (spent watching Netflix or surfing the net for example), is that it requires us ‘to actively do something’ making us active rather than passive participants. Being active participants means we learn new skills: doing is learning.

Hobbies can also make us feel good, by ‘redirecting the mind away from the day’s schoolwork’, which helps to relieve stress. This improves our mood and how well we get on with others.

Through our hobbies, we can make new friends which is another bonus and importantly, we can form an identitythat’s really our own, not one that we have learned from our parents or teachers. From skateboarding to joining a band, from baking to mountain-biking, we can find an interest we have a passion for, which both defines us, and which we find fun.

Aside from lack of time, sometimes it’s hard to find a hobby because we can’t think what to do or who to do it with. When we reach teenage years, our interests may take different paths to those of our childhood friends.

First and foremost, to kickstart a hobby, look for something that is fun; enjoyment should be a primary consideration. It shouldn’t be an activity you choose because it boosts your exam grades or anything else so obviously productive. It should simply be done for enjoyment’s sake.

Next, decide if you want it to be a sport or something more sedate. Think about whether you’d like to collect (sneakers, coins or football memorabilia for example) or create (photographs, jewellery or candles, let’s say). If volunteering is your thing, there are plenty of opportunities out there - you could start by contacting a local charity.

Should you not be able to think of anything, search on the web or get yourself some hobby magazines for inspiration and aim to learn a completely new skill. Taekwondo, samba or circus tricks for instance; take you pick, because ‘embracing a new activity forces you to think and learn’ which has the added benefit of improving your brain function.

Most importantly, don’t make excuses: try something.

Recommended links:

Why Hobbies Are Important? (

How to Find a Hobby - Smarter Living Guides - The New York Times (

The Focused Student: The advantage of having hobbies - Los Angeles Times (

Hobbies and interests: Should I include them in my CV? |

20 Celebrities With Weird And Interesting Hobbies | ELLE Australia

Train your brain - Harvard Health