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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

I needed to find a way to blow off some steam.

Like all of us, I know about the standard recommended stress-busters; exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep, etc. Like some of us, I actually do many of those things, but I find one component is still missing.

Just like homework, housework, and the work that keeps food on the table, those stress-busters are activities that I do because I ought to do them. What I don’t see anywhere on my schedule is an activity that I want to do – just for the pure pleasure of it.

Dale Carnegie was a pretty smart guy who came up with some good ideas. Here’s one of them; “Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Get interested in something. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.” I think I’ll take his advice.

I figured that a good hobby would be one that is affordable, convenient, and allows me to be creative. Of course, there are a lot of hobbies which meet those qualifications, so I need to narrow things a little further.

The Art of Being Realistic

Sewing, for instance, meets all of my self-imposed requirements, but I’ll have to admit that I have absolutely no interest in making clothes. I like wearing them, and I love saving money on them. However, I can usually find a cute dress at a discount store for as much money as I would have spent sewing it, so why bother?

So it appears that I should have added one more requirement to my hobby hunting paradigm; I need to find hobbies I’ll actually want to do. I guess that knocks out stamp collecting, community theater, and basket weaving. At this point, my ideas for a hobby were narrowed down to three pretty easy options; gardening, scrapbooking and playing the piano.

The Art of Discernment

The next step in the process is to consider the advantages of each of these hobbies, and pick the one that suits my purposes best.

Gardening is has been a favorite stress-busting activity for many years, and the reasons are pretty well known;

  • Fresh air and sunshine are good for both seeds and people
  • Nurturing a plant can nurture your patience
  • Pulling weeds will give you plenty of perspective

The only real drawback of gardening is that I won’t be able to do it year round.

Scrapbooking is a good year-round activity, but I probably won’t want to do it on a really nice day. That being said, this activity has several benefits for me;

  • I’ve done a little scrapbooking before, so I won’t need much instruction,
  • It will be a fun way to organize that big box of photos in my closet
  • I’ll have some great heirlooms to leave to my daughters

I would have to give up a corner of the den for a workspace, but that seems a small sacrifice for lowering my blood pressure.

Playing the Piano seems a bit complicated on the surface, and it sure seemed like that to me when I was in high school. I remember constantly scheduling everything else around lessons, practices, and recitals. Consequently, I didn’t stay with the piano for very long.

I’ve since regretted that decision.

Well, now not only am I older and wiser, but I am a happy denizen of the 21st century, so I have some more options. The other day while I was surfing the net, I found out howtolearnpianowithout dealing with the demanding schedule: I could learn to play the piano online.

  • I could schedule my lessons and practices to suit my schedule, not the instructor’s,
  • I could perform if and when I want to, and best of all;
  • My family would no longer have an excuse not to sing Christmas carols!

Maybe I was always meant to be a piano player, but I’m just a late bloomer.

The Art of Making a Decision

After seriously considering the pros and cons of each of these hobbies, I made an executive decision, and it didn’t even cause me any additional stress. I decided that I now need three hobbies. I’ll scrapbook in the winter, garden in the summer, and play the piano whenever I please.

I guess that, for me, the key to finding the right hobby is to keep my options open.

How to Find Hobbies that Suit Your Needs

If you don’t have a hobby yet, maybe this is a good time to find one. You can find hobbies online or by talking to some like-minded friends. Better yet, think of activities you might have tried when you were younger, before your life became full of too many grownup things.

You may like one or two of the hobbies I’ve discussed here, or you might go in a completely different direction. The important point, though, is that whether you decide to learnpianomusic online or climb a mountain in person, you find an activity that brings you pleasure but doesn’t cause more stress.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have a hobby you’d like to share, or are you

looking for the perfect activity? Let us know how your process turned out!

About the Author

Freelance Writer Melissa Cameron provides tips and insights to her readers about living frugally, parenting sensibly and enjoying life at home. When not spending time with her husband and daughters or researching and writing useful articles, Melissa will soon be scanning seed catalogs and collecting scrapbooking paper.

Photo provided courtesy of alancleaver_2000 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: helping parents lower stress with hobbies.