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It's Not “Just” a Hobby: Why Recreation is Imperative

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The word "hobby" comes with so many connotations and innuendoes, both positive and negative. It's fun~ it's a diversion.... it takes up some of your free time - however, it's not serious, it's not your "career" it doesn't, therefore, add up to much.

Yet hobbies, or recreational activities, are part of what keep us human, keep us thriving, striving, dreaming, growing and dreaming. When we work around the clock, taking care of business, taking care of our families, taking care of our homes, we can begin to feel we are automatons, robotic, on autopilot and even experience exhaustion and depression as a result. Getting out and riding a bike along the water, hiking, painting with watercolors, writing a short story or poetry - all the things we may think we don't have time for which are just "hobbies" can bring us back to a sense of wonder about ourselves and our lives which renews our faith, our mood and our enjoyment of life.

Recreational activities are as important in our lives as food, exercise, water and shelter. In fact, the more "socially responsible" the workplace or business is, the more you will find a "work/life" balance where workers are encouraged to have more in their lives than just their jobs. Imagine that.

In childhood, our interests create us. We define ourselves so much and identify so strongly with what we do, and what we do not like or like to do. In fact, some of us have created our professions and our lives around our early childhood interests and hobbies. Life coaches and guidance counselors will poke and prod to find out what you really enjoy doing, what your true interests and strengths are, and figure out a career or life trajectory based on this information. So if you're spending all of your time taking care of things, how will you even remember what it is you like to do?

In the book "Flow" by Csikszentmihalyi, the concept that engaging in activities that are neither too challenging nor too boring will bring you into a "flow" state of optimal experience is explored and promoted.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.