I didn’t have to be a working mom very long to realize that I desperately need the occasional mini-vacation from both work and mom stuff. I have also realized that, while empty calories and reality TV can provide some moments of pleasure, these aren’t effective or healthy approaches to lowering our stress levels.
The best way to de-stress is to engage my brain and my body in something that I enjoy; and something that doesn’t involve deadlines or meeting someone else’s standards. In other words, I need a hobby.
Narrowing the List of Hobbies
Of course, with thousands of hobby ideas floating around the internet and my own social circle, I first needed to make a list of hobbies that would meet my priorities. For instance;
- I’m looking for an activity I could set aside as a moment’s notice and then leave for a day or two. Obviously, painting or sculpting is out.
- Benjamin Franklin offered a good piece of advice when he said, “Beware the hobby that eats.” A pet is not a hobby; it’s another responsibility, so I guess I won’t be breeding llamas anytime soon, either.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my new hobby will need to be affordable. If it isn’t, I promise you that hobby will cause me much more stress than it could ever get rid of.
Having looked at these self-imposed guidelines, and shuffled through a few dozen options, I have narrowed my hobby ideas down to three; gardening, scrapbooking and playing the piano. Now I just need to consider the pros and cons of each of these pastimes.
Three Hobby Ideas; The Evaluation Process
Well, now I have three hobbies that I am interested in, that will be affordable, and that don’t eat. Each of these hobbies can also be ignored for a week at a time without anything spoiling or dying. Now I need to really consider the stress-busting properties of each and balance them against the time and expense involved.
Gardening; Flowers Are (Nearly) Free
I’ve never had a flower garden, but I’ve done plenty of yard work, so I am used to the weekly pattern of watering and weeding. Flowers, of course, look much prettier than a plain lawn, and they don’t represent much extra work.
Seed packets are remarkably cheap, and because of the long growing season and good soil in my region of central Texas, I won’t have to work too hard to coax the flowers out of the ground, particularly if I choose plans that already thrive in our area.
Even live plants aren’t too expensive if you buy them small, and they require even less time before they produce blooms or vegetables. Another advantage to buying live plants is that I get an excuse to go on a fun and affordable shopping trip.
Scrapbooking; The Art of Story-Keeping
I’ve had some experience with scrapbooking, and I even have a few family books that I’ve managed to put together, so picking this hobby up again won’t be a challenge. I already know that it will allow me to be creative, which is important, and it will also fill a practical need.
You see, since I’ve quit scrapbooking, I’ve managed to amass a large box of unorganized photos in my closet. A set of scrapbooks would be just the thing to organize these photos, and maybe even bring them out of the closet so my family can enjoy looking at them occasionally.
Scrapbooking also has the advantage of being very inexpensive. Yes, I could spend an insane amount of money on fancy papers and embellishments. However, I know from experience that I can be pretty creative on a shoestring, particularly when shoestrings are all I have to work with.
Playing the Piano; A Party at My Fingertips
I played the piano for just a little while in high school. I remember that it was fun, being able to make music with my own hands. Unfortunately, I also remember why I quit playing after a while. The lessons were time consuming, and always seemed to be scheduled at a time when I wanted to do something else. My teacher was a very patient person, but still kept pushing me to be ready for the next recital, which was also scheduled at an inconvenient time.
With this kind of baggage, one must wonder why I would want to learn the piano all over again. Well, if you’re wondering, that baggage happens to be gone now. After several years spent mining the internet for nuggets of wisdom, I have stumbled upon the fact that I can now learn piano music online.
Of course, I could also just learn piano chords this time, and learn to use “fills” and “runs” which will basically allow me to play by ear. It’s not necessarily a better way to learn piano than the traditional system of drills and memorization, but I’ll be also be play a song much quicker that way.
Most importantly, though, any course I choose can be studied at the pace that works for me, not my instructor. Maybe if I had this option in high school, I could be an accomplished piano player already!
Having analyzed my three hobby ideas, I am now in an uncomfortable spot. I want to do them all.
Okay, that’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. I mean, there will be days in midwinter when gardening just isn’t an option, and there will be beautiful summer days when I won’t want to be stuck inside scrapbooking. Once I actually learn to play the piano, I probably won’t be doing it every day, or even every week. I’ll just whip out my new skill whenever I want some music in the house or I have some people to entertain.
There’s plenty of room in my life for all three hobbies.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a hobby you’d like to share with our readers, or an interesting way you came across your current hobby? I’d love to hear your story.
Photo by gardeningguides