Winston Churchill’s favorite pastimes were landscaping, painting, reading, and playing polo. He once said, “To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real. It is no use starting late in life to say: ‘I will take an interest in this or that.’”
Activities purely for enjoyment’s sake are essential to personal growth. Plus, offline recreation helps prevent technology addiction and its key symptoms of restlessness and distractibility. Replacing some social media time with unplugged leisure will pay dividends in health benefits.
Minimalists are uniquely equipped to pursue hobbies. Minimalism rejects the clutter, distractions, and skewed priorities that steal attention in consumerist society. Minimalist lifestyles free up time and energy for high-quality leisure activities that are vital to our mental and physical health. Hobbies are especially important because the creative, intellectual, and physical skills we strengthen during recreation carry over to improve our personal and professional lives.
Our chosen pastimes don’t need to burden us with clutter or deplete our bank accounts and environmental resources. Here are six strategies for approaching hobbies with an eco-minimalist mindset:
1. Choose leisure activities wisely
Prevent clutter from abandoned hobbies by picking the right activities for you. Explore interests that provide a sense of flow. The flow concept was introduced by psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihalyi as a highly focused mental state. Activities we can fully immerse ourselves in allow us to separate from our stressors.
Follow Churchill’s advice and seek multiple hobbies, perhaps a combination of solitary and social activities that will develop a range of cognitive, creative, and physical skills. Churchill also cautioned against pressuring ourselves to be interested in areas that don’t really appeal to us. It’s okay to be the only one in the office who isn’t into golf or CrossFit.
2. Aim for attainable accomplishments
Set specific intentions for your leisure activities. Whether your goal is mastering the guitar solo from “Let it Be” or the science of chocolate soufflés, meaningful objectives are motivating. We’re more likely to stick with a hobby when the results are personally satisfying.
3. Add recreation to your calendar
Scheduled leisure time can brighten an entire day. Mundane chores and errands become more bearable when a poker night, yoga class, or art journaling session is next on the agenda. If you need a quiet hour for solo recreation arrange it in advance with anyone affected.
Written by Leslie Watson