“What do you do outside of work?” One of those surprisingly daunting questions that are somehow sad and stressful at the same time. I’m a big believer in keeping your mind active in areas that may not be your field of work – the intellectual academic and the flamboyant creator in you don’t work against each other – they nurture each other. Maybe you had a passion for sketching in the woods when you were younger. Maybe you used to be a competitive athlete but now spend your days working at a desk job. It’s far too easy to say “I don’t have time for hobbies, work keeps me busy.” Here’s the thing – if we aren’t making time to invest in ourselves, what else is there to make time for? Time to rekindle some of that passion in your responsible, 9-5 adult life – here are some of my favourite tips on how to do it.
Don’t expect to be at the level you were at when you left it.
Like most things, easier said than done! Sometimes, simply the act of revisiting the activity triggers a whole load of subconscious memories that may have been pushed aside until now. Out of sheer habit, you’ll expect standards that you were capable of where you left off, but it’s all too easy to be quickly disappointed when you find that you’re a little rusty and aren’t quite there anymore. It hits hard – I know. Be prepared for this and accept it with open arms, and you’ll make the experience a lot more enjoyable for yourself – perhaps in ways you’d never appreciated before.
Know why you’re doing it.
Know the main driving force of your motivation. It could be anything – missing the self-sufficiency it gives you, wanting to invest in your hobbies as part of a New Year’s resolution, or simply wanting to fill your time with something you enjoy. Whatever it is, be 100% convinced on it – this will keep you going when you run into challenges or feel tempted to give up.
Set yourself goals.
Write down a few short-term and long-term ones. Start small with achievable things, like getting to the next lamp post during your next run without stopping. Ticking these off consistently builds your confidence slowly but surely – the kind of confidence that’s here to stay. Keep your sense of perspective with a few broader, overarching goals that you can come back to every so often and feel inspired by.
Little and often.
It’s tempting to go hard all at once, hitting the gym every day and pushing yourself to the max every time. This also means that you’ll burn out much faster. Start slow, and keep this going regularly – consistency is your best friend. When you’re back into the groove of things, build it up gradually and keep at it. This also stops you from falling into that pit of despair when you’re just exhausted and actually doing yourself more harm than good.
Look after yourself every step of the way. Now is a great time for self-reflection – ask yourself what you’ve done well, and what you want to improve on. Add those things to your list of goals and keep chipping away at them. Reward yourself when you tick those goals off the list – if it feels half as satisfying as ticking things off my “to-do” list, you’re already a winner.
If anyone’s been taking up any new hobbies or revisited an old one recently, I’d love to hear your stories and how you did it – I do love a good chat. Until next time – you go girl.