Now that we’re well into 2017, it‘s a great time to consider picking up a new hobby. When it comes to picking something that will bring you joy, it’s important to note that there are many different types of hobbies that will not interfere with your MS. My advice: choose one hobby for the active days and one for the less active days.
Although it may take you a while to nail down what you are truly passionate about, the benefits of having a hobby make it worth the effort. Not only does finding the right hobby give us happiness and joy, it can also bring along some unexpected health benefits. Hobbies promote staying in the present because we have to focus intensely on what we are doing, instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. It makes us feel productive because we are doing something while we are still having fun, and it also gives us a sense of purpose and achievement. Hobbies can help alleviate some of our stress, take our minds off work and personal problems and promote eustress - the good stress that motivates us to continue working and makes us feel excited about what we’re doing and about our lives. Hobbies connect us with other people who have similar interests and can sometimes even lead to lifelong friendships.
When it comes to picking the right hobby for you, it is important to note all of the different kinds that you can choose from. For art lovers, hobbies that involve creating art like painting, sketching, or playing a musical instrument are wonderful, but there are also plenty of options for those that want to experience art. Why not head to the nearest art exhibition or museum for the afternoon? My husband and I recently took up 3D printing as a hobby – he prints the objects and I paint them. It’s great fun doing it together and has also had some great benefits on our relationship!
Apart from really enjoying hobbies like painting, embroidering and sewing, I have actually benefitted physically from them as well. Prior to taking these up, I had problems with my hand eye coordination, grip and fine motor skills. Once I decided to enrol in embroidery classes, and I made a point of working with both hands which really challenged my brain into working and finding new ways to deal with my hand issues. Although it was rather difficult at first, I found that in time that my hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and grip greatly improved. I believe the same principle applies for my painting and sewing or any other hobby that involves working with one’s hands. Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction when looking at one’s own finished “Masterpiece”!
For those sports fans reading along, sport hobbies in this case could include any sport that a person does for their own pleasure. Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk or gardening, light activities are a great way of getting fit while enjoying the outdoors. I think that playing with my grandchildren should also be classified as a sport hobby – it surely gives me great joy while also being an unexpected physical workout!
Science-based hobbies cover an extensive variety of options that include biology, chemistry, electronics, astronomy and astrology. I’ve even heard that wine tasting falls into a “scientific” hobby – I think I will definitely consider that one in the future! Whether you’re testing a scientific theory or staring up at the stars, taking on a science hobby is great for the mind and the body.
Animal hobbies include anything related to interacting with or watching animals. For example, raising/training or breeding dogs or birds, bird watching, falconry, horse riding, beekeeping, just to mention a few! I have actually never considered training Polly-Boy my African Grey parrot or feeding my wild guinea fowl as hobbies until now, but I suppose they do bring me great joy! Training Polly – Boy to say new phrases, to whistle or sing a new song is really a challenge, and it has definitely taught me patience and perseverance - a skill that comes in handy when dealing with the ups and downs of MS.
Collecting things such as antiques, books, paintings, stamps, coins, wine, knives and even stuffed animals is a great hobby to pick up at any point in life. I started to collect Venetian glass several years ago and every time I have the pleasure of visiting Venice and Murano I bring back something for my collection. I also have a collection of frogs – all shapes and sizes which started many, many years ago when my brother returned from a trip to England and brought 2 beautiful pink porcelain frogs back. Which of course made giving me presents very easy for my family and friends – just give me another frog!!!
Intellectually Stimulating Hobbies
The Intellectuals; Learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles or sudoku are fantastic hobbies to keep mentally sharp, especially when you are living with MS.
At the end of the day, hobbies generate positive feelings and boost creativity, both of which increase happiness, reduce stress and enhance mental and physical performance. And it’s possible to have more than one hobby, thus gaining even more fun and benefits! And Polly-Boy sitting in his cage next to me says “Bye Polly Bye”.