hobbies 2

It now seems that many of us are spending more time at work than ever before. We are working longer hours and most of us have fast paced lives so it’s hardly surprising that we become stressed.   Tap in the word stress on a computer and any Google search will produce many lists and ways on how we can reduce stress. It seems we are all aware that we have it but we don’t know how to reduce it.

For me, one of the most obvious ways to reduce stress is by having a hobby, something that we enjoy and that allows us to forget about the daily grind and to just be in the present moment. The list of hobbies that we can do, and that are available to us, is endless but the main purpose of a hobby is that it is something we enjoy doing and it allows us to take a break from our busy schedules.

Depending on the hobbies we choose they can prove to be challenging, especially if we are learning something new, for example learning to play a musical instrument, a game of golf or learning a new language. My regular readers will know that my main passion and hobby is horse riding and I have had one of my horses for 19 years. I love that it gets me out in all weathers and even just being around horses has a calming and relaxing effect on me. It has certainly helped me when I have been going through very difficult times, especially when my parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have recently been able to buy a younger horse to bring on so when my older horse is ready to take life a little bit easier she can enjoy a happy retirement and I can still continue with my passion. As some of you may know, learning to ride this new horse has proved to be a challenge for me, but with supportive friends and a good instructor we have improved and I have even entered us into an introductory dressage test in a few weeks’ time.  I have never had any interest in dressage before apart from watching Charlotte Dujardin’s outstanding performance during the 2012 Olympics.

The test will involve me instructing my horse to perform a list of movements around the arena, joined together by transitions of walk and trot.  I have had to learn the test and whilst I can have someone read the test out to me on the day to tell me where I have to go, it’s actually far better to learn it as well.  I’ve rather enjoyed the challenge of learning the test, which I’ve learnt on paper and in my head. The experts say it’s best not to actually ride the test too many times beforehand on your horse as it may start to anticipate what comes next and the test then won’t flow so smoothly.

When we are faced with the challenge of learning something new or anticipating something that we enjoy we still experience stress but but this is a positive kind of stress known as Eustress “good stress”. This type of stress keeps us moving forward and motivated and makes us feel fulfilled. I know that when I come to ride my test in a couple of weeks’ time I will be stressed but it will be the good stress born out of the desire to do well and to complete it successfully.

When we have hobbies, assuming it isn’t a solitary one, it puts us in touch with other like-minded people and we make new friends, some even becoming close and long-term friends. So by doing the things we love and enjoy we meet like-minded people and as such we expand our social circle.

My hobbies are mainly outdoors based and they allow me thinking time away from everything else. I am much more creative when I’m outside in nature listening to the birds sing and watching the sun come up or go down. This creativity then feeds into the other hobby that I enjoy which is creative writing.

As well as relaxing us and making us happy, our hobbies can physically tire us out so when it’s time to sleep we are ready to enter into that wonderful world of slumber where we can dream and restore our mind ready to be productive for our day ahead. Hobbies are good for our mind and our body which in turn also has physical health benefits.

I would love to hear from you and what hobbies you enjoy or inspire you, especially if you have any unusual hobbies.

Wishing all my lovely readers a week filled with love and happiness and don’t forget to make time for your hobbies.