We don’t know about you, but about this time each year, we start getting antsy. The winter weather gets old. Our routine is stale, no stimulation. Wake up, go to work, come home, veg. The weather isn’t cooperating, so our motivation to do anything else is non-existent. This is okay every once in awhile, but when it happens on a regular basis, it begins to affect the psyche, allowing seasonal depression to set in. There is no shame in seasonal depression, it happens to all of us. We have found that one of our favorite anecdotes to this temporary depression is to find a new hobby. Looking for some tips on how to begin….listen up:
Listen to your Heart
This sounds super cheesy but hear us out. What we really mean is to take notice of the little voice inside of you that says, “Oh, that’s interesting”. This little voice is smarter than you may think. It notices things that your brain may not. It notices your true desires that your brain doesn’t recognize as a possibility. Whenever you hear that little voice, write down what it’s telling you. Spend a week allowing it to speak up, give yourself permission to listen without judgment. When the week is over take a look at your list.
Did anything repeat, or are there two or more similar items? It’s time to take notice. Maybe as you were scrolling through social media you stopped to watch a makeup tutorial, maybe this happened more than once. If there is a pattern to what catches your attention, start there. If it seems as though your list is all over the place, read through it and take notice of your emotions. Maybe you rolled your eyes at the note about becoming a body builder, if that is your reaction, cross it off. Keep reading, if your note about throwing ceramics gives your heart a little flutter, circle it. Continue this pattern for the whole list. Narrow it down to just three activities, no more than that to start.
The first step to really starting a new hobby is not running to the nearest store and buying supplies, although that’s tempting. The first step is research. It’s why new things are awesome in the winter, the weather doesn’t prevent us from researching. Adding the research phase allows for us to choose gardening or learning to sail a boat, even when the lake is still frozen over. The internet is a treasure trove of information. From articles to videos to online courses and entire books, you can learn everything you need to know about your new (potential) hobby. This process doesn’t only prepare you for taking on the new hobby, but it also helps determine if you even want to take it that far. Say you get a week into your research and the fire that was there when you started is dying out, go ahead and let it go. Don’t continue your research, don’t pass go, don’t collect two hundred dollars, drop it. You have only invested a minimal amount of time into this, and it was time you weren’t really doing anything else with anyways, so you aren’t out anything. You have actually gained knowledge of what you don’t want to do so now your attention can move on without wondering “What If?”
Pick the next item on your list and start again. If you thought that was the one, go back to listening to that little voice, something will pique your interest again. Maybe you got luck and your research boosted your interest, you enjoyed every second of it. What do you do? Learn everything you can about your new hobby, from the history, to the people making a living doing it, to the different styles. Learn all the angles, all the steps, all the roadblocks. This is when you know that you are ready for the next step.
Sometimes, this is the hardest part! We are planners by nature, so learning is the easiest part, there is no pain point, it’s fun and safe. Admitting you don’t know how to do something, which is usually where we all start, is the hard part. Do you need to take a class? Find a beginner’s kit? Go to school? Whatever it is, get started. If macramé is your interest, pop on over to your local craft store and pick up some cord and maybe a book. If you want to learn how to make a cedar strip canoe or throwing axes, sign up for a class at a folk school. Just do it. Whatever it is, slot it into your schedule and give it a try. There is nothing like getting out there and experiencing it first-hand. You might even find you’re good at it.
When you begin to do something new your brain may begin to panic. That little voice that tells you “You don’t have time for this”, “You want to do what?” “You’re not good enough.” That little voice is a liar, don’t listen – it’s just your ego trying to protect itself. This is a normal reaction, you are stepping out of your comfort zone. If you have time to look through social media, you have time for a new hobby. You can learn something for the pure joy of learning something new, not because it will help you excel in your professional life. When you do what your little voice is hinting at, that is when unadulterated happiness arrives. Think “happy spouse, happy house” or as we prefer it “happy home, happy zone.” This is an act of self-love and you deserve it.