Did capitalism steal our hobbies?
Updated: May 27, 2022
How to start a new hobby
If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I love my hobbies. I am into anything arty and crafty but also I love travelling, reading books, and going for long walks. And this is a topic that comes up often during coaching conversations I have with my clients. I find hobbies can be quite a controversial topic for some people. There is so much conditioning that surrounds it and it is very easy to lose the joy of simply doing something for ourselves.
My relationships with hobbies
What do I see as a hobby? Really any activities that bring me joy, for me tend to be something creative and something that I spend doing in my free time. I have always been a hobby person - since I can remember myself. I always painted, sawn, and created things. As a child, I could spend hours sitting by myself crafting or making something. In my twenties, I completely stopped spending time on my hobbies. I was mostly focusing on trying to find myself through constant partying and meeting people. The irony is that what I was actually looking for, was what used to bring me joy when I was a kid. I still remember when I was 24, I took an art course at Aberdeen college, as it’s where I lived at the time. It was a watercolour art course for beginners. And it was the first time when I felt like myself in a long time. The act of painting and being creative opened something in me that I forgot a long time ago. It genuinely allowed me to come back to myself. Since then I always have crafts and art materials in my home, whenever I live.
Why hobbies are important
Everyone can benefit from spending time on a hobby. It helps with mental health - often people are deeply unhappy as they lack meaning in life or feel like their life is wasted; hobbies can bring the feeling of fulfilment, which helps with mental health. Some of the activities can help process feelings and emotions, as by doing something active or creating, we are releasing and working through our issues and feelings. Spending time on a hobby can be an act of self-nurturance and self-care, it is healthy to do something just for us.
When are hobbies going wrong?
Under capitalism and all of us are currently living in it, there is so much pressure on turning everything into paid activity. We are conditioned to think of ourselves as productive machines, where our value correlates with what we can produce and achieve. I refuse to believe, that we were brought into this world to work very hard and one day stop. We are here to enjoy the world around us, to create and make it a better place for ourselves and others. We are allowed to do things just for pleasure, just because. We feel that hobbies should be something useful, why spend time knitting when you can do dishes instead.
Often, perfectionism kicks in - we feel that we can’t just do something to an average level, it’s either perfect or there is no point trying. If you feel that way, I welcome you to explore why you feel this way and what might be hiding behind it.
What helps me?
The biggest shift happened when I allowed myself to just be, when I remembered what I liked to do as a child, to simply play. Remind yourself, that you are allowed to do things just for you, not for sharing or selling. Just because they bring you joy.
If you struggle with where to start, I personally love to use Pinterest for inspiration. You can follow me here, I have boards dedicated to crafts and sewing. Maybe you can set yourself a small challenge of trying one new thing every month (don’t need to spend money) to find what you like.
And it is ok not to finish things and come back to them later. Or not. Try new things, just for you. Sign up for different courses, go to different workshops, and follow different people.
If you want to learn more i have recorded a podcast episode about this topic, listen here.