JC Chats: The importance of having an offline hobby

February 1, 2017

In the whole loadsa time off on holiday thing that I’ve had lately – it gave me some good time to reflect on what I spend my time on. It’s all too likely that from waking up and checking my phone, to working all day on my laptop to coming home and tapping away blogging – I spend a whole lot of time on a screen. And I’m not the first to admit that in this world of social media, it’s not only becoming harder to switch off but it’s becoming harder to focus – it’s very rare for me to actually sit and watch something on TV or to even read a book without having a need to get back online, to start scrolling.

This has led me to two thoughts and plans for 2017, the first and most important – it’s so important to keep up my offline hobbies. Despite all the time I spend on my blog and online, I’ve always had an interest in craft and creating things. From knitting, to crochet, to cross stitch – I love making something physical, something you can see growing in front of you. It’s all too common for me to feel the need to put these things aside in order to go online.

But the more I put them aside, the more evident it becomes in the fact that I find it harder and harder to switch off. There’s something quite therapeutic about putting everything aside to pick up something physical and methodical to start working through. I think especially nowadays, most of my job is creating things online, on the computer and never actually creating something which you can physically feel and touch. It must be some deep human instinct to want to create actual things which can be shown and shared. By creating something, it gives you a sense of satisfaction which you don’t get online.

It’s not only the creative satisfaction an offline hobby can give, it also really offers me a chance to switch off. Like I said, it’s hard for me to not want to be doing 10 things at once. Despite my efforts are mindfulness and meditation, there’s something very mindful about sitting and focusing on the thing in front of you. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting down and making something even if it is in front of the TV or whilst listening to something new. I recently took an afternoon which I had planned to blog in to catch up on some Christmas TV and sit and try my hand at needle felting. I’ve never needle felted before but it was so satisfying to sit and learn, trying different things, and by the time Jonathan Creek had come to a close, a real whole needle felted robin! Looking at the wool before hand, I would never have guessed that I could have made that in a couple of hours.

Linking into the above is my second point which is to really try and embrace reading again. I definitely find it harder to sit and read a book – it can sometimes feel like I’m missing out on all the exciting things which are happening (except not so exciting as it’s just social media). A book really gives you the opportunity to switch off and dive into another world – give the thinking mind a rest and get engrossed.

So I am determined to read more this year and spend less time mindlessly scrolling in a social media loop. At the end of the day, I believe that you are what you consume – and if I continue to consume a whole load of social media then it’s just not doing me any good. To get engrossed in some great non fiction and epic fiction will hopefully really help me feel a bit more space and slow down my mind this year.

Here we have my two realisations and aims for the year ahead – a bit more time spent offline, and hopefully reaping the benefits in other parts of my life.

Tell me, do you have an offline hobby? How much do you value it? Does it help you switch off from the day to day manic?

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