Engaging in a fun hobby that you enjoy is a great way to make use of your free time since it can help you de-stress and tap into your creative side. But what if you don’t have time to do anything beyond work and personal responsibilities? According to a recent study, the average employee works 40 to 52 hours per week, with most working nine hours per day. Those who work also spend about 14 hours per week doing chores.

But while most of us aim to be productive, other studies show that we also use most of our free time on passive activities. The average person, for instance, will spend six years of their life on social media, and eight years and four months watching TV. The numbers indicate that while people are busier than ever, we still have some free time to use as we please. Setting aside a few hours, or even a few minutes to do something that stimulates your mind and makes you genuinely happy, can be a better and more satisfying use of your free time. Here are some easy ways to make time for your hobbies.

Schedule Time for Your Hobbies

Hobbies shouldn’t be viewed as frivolous activities since they’re more than just a way to pass the time. Rather, they’re a form of self-care since hobbies enable you to have some me time, which is beneficial for mental health. A key way to make time for your hobbies is to schedule them into your day or week, just like you would with your tasks. For instance, if you love to draw or take pictures, plan on doing so for at least an hour after work to decompress before going home. Go to a place where you’ll be inspired to make some art, such as a park, a botanical garden, or any place where there’s lots of greenery. You’ll be surprised at how much more relaxed you’ll feel right after. Moreover, it’s a good way to start your evening on a positive note.

Avoid Wasting Time

Sometimes, we unconsciously waste precious time on activities that don’t do much for our wellbeing. Scrolling through social media or watching multiple episodes of your favorite TV series may help to make you feel relaxed. But after a while, you may begin to wonder why you spent all that time doing something that doesn’t contribute to your health or happiness. Avoid wasting time as much as you can, and make a conscious decision to engage in your hobbies.

For example, if you’re tempted to go on Twitter or Instagram, you can put down your phone and catch up on your reading instead, or spend a few minutes knitting or crocheting. But don’t be too strict with yourself as you may end up resenting your hobby instead of enjoying it. If you really want to watch a TV show or listen to that new album from your favorite musical artist, go ahead and do so, then make an effort to knit, read, sculpt, or workout the next day. You can also combine a passive activity with an active pastime, such as walking or reading while listening to music, or crocheting while watching TV.

Join a Group

Joining a hobby group is another way to make time for your passions. Spending time with likeminded people may encourage you to be more engaged in your chosen activity, and it also prevents isolation and loneliness. Go on Facebook and seek out hobby groups within your area– you’ll find book clubs, running clubs, sports leagues, rock climbing groups, and everything in between. You can also make use of apps such as MeetUp, Vingle, or We3 to connect with people with the same interests.

Making time for your passions can be challenging if you’re too busy with work and chores. But with some planning, a bit of self-discipline, and by seeking people that share your interests, you can have more time for your hobbies and have a happier and healthier lifestyle.

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