Just be yourself, everyone else is taken. Oscar Wilde
A personal life. Remember what that used to feel like? A hobby, something beyond work and home that was yours and you could invest time and money in to doing? For me, I used to love going to the football, playing football and seeing friends often.
I’d cook and experiment a bit with food and dabble in photography whilst finding time to read and educate myself in rock n roll stories, bands and a bit of local history.
But when kids came and work got busy, all the changed.
I would feel guilty going out and feel like a failure if I wasn’t either working or trying my best to help out at home. Friends would drift, the season ticket at the football stopped and my reading hit the way side as I simply just didn’t have time.
I was head down and doing and this risks really catching us up.
Let’s take a look at what happens and some ideas to help improve and reconnect with who we used to be!
WHAT IS STOPPING DADS FROM HAVING HOBBIES?
Dad life is a busy ride. We all know that it’s all too easy to put work, money and family before your interests and personal needs. However, to live in balance it’s important to have your own stuff going on.
The time and energy you sacrifice as a dad might leave you wondering what life was like before. Allowing yourself space for hobbies should help towards being a happier, healthier person. Your time is just as important as anyone else’s! So, what’s stopping dads from having hobbies?
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING ‘DAD GUILT’?
The concept of ‘dad guilt’ is formed around dads feeling ashamed or guilty for spending time away from their families. In this situation there might be parental guilt around having a hobby and spending time away from your kids. It isn’t unusual to feel this way, although it is misplaced, because you are human and deserve to kick back and relax. If you’re overworked and not listening to your own needs, your wellbeing could suffer.
To find work to life balance and do things you enjoy beyond your work and family is a necessity. Practice breaking away from guilt, there’s no shame in having a life beyond being a parent and generating money.
THE CORRELATION BETWEEN HOBBIES AND PRODUCTIVENESS
Finding a hobby that you enjoy boosts productiveness in many ways. Having that ‘me time’ helps you build your inner relationship with yourself. Discovering a new skill or pass time builds confidence that will feed back into all areas of your life.
Your hobbies can be productive in themselves. A prime example is cooking – finding a passion to discover new dishes and experiment in the kitchen will help with self-fulfilment – mentally and physically! There’s a whole world of productive hobbies – joining a class, group or workshop also creates opportunities to meet new people and get yourself out into the world. It’s all out there for you to grasp. Creating time for hobbies breaks up your working week. Allowing yourself to have fun and relax sooths stress and anxiety. Even better, when you find the hobbies that you thoroughly enjoy, you’ll have things to look forward to between work and family time
HOW TO FIND A NEW HOBBY
Step one: TRY THINGS OUT! If you feel that your life is missing something, do some research and see what is out there.
Links to hobby ideas:
MYDOMAIN: ‘100 Hobby Ideas for Every Interest’:
https://www.mydomaine.com/hobby-ideas Work out when you can commit to your hobby and make it a part of your routine. Ask yourself whether it is something you want to do in the comfort of your home, in a group with others or outdoors in nature? Do you want to try something active to benefit your health?
Trying things that don’t work out is okay, you’re still trying! When you find a hobby that you enjoy, your brain works as a reward system, releasing neurotransmitter such as dopamine – one of the happy chemicals. This has the benefits of stress relief, making you feel fulfilled and motivating you to do the hobby again.
INTEGRATING HOBBIES INTO DAD LIFE
It is understandable if you feel you have neither the time nor the energy to be thinking about hobbies. However, if there are evenings where you find yourself binging Netflix or scrolling on your phone, this is prime time to integrate a hobby.
Spending excessive time in the evenings watching TV to unwind might actually be doing the opposite, keeping your mind awake when you lie down in bed due to blue light emitted from your screens. Watching telly gives you an instant dopamine fix rather than earning it through a reward system. This can leave you feeling unfulfilled and depressed when hours are lost to screens.
Using some of this time to discover new hobbies will stimulate your brain and boost your confidence as you learn new skills and broaden your personality. The good feelings are even better because you’re growing as a person – your personality is not limited to being a dad!
That said! Taking up a hobby with a friend, partner or your children can combine character building with strengthening connections with your loved ones.
HOBBIES VS HABITS
Make your new hobby a habit.
Habitual behaviour creates cognitive change.
- Acknowledge that hobbies are genuinely important
- Make time for your hobby, but don’t be harsh on yourself
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Have fun and let go of stress!
See if you can replace unhealthy habits with new hobbies and remind yourself that dads deserve to have fun!
How do hobbies show up for me?
It’s important to me to test myself outside of work and engage my brain in something that will challenge me but also interest me. I find time to read (or listen on Audible) to books around topics that interest me; music, biography, business development for example.
I try where possible to walk 10,000 steps a day and get to the gym once or twice a week. My Spanish classes are at a nice local cafe and it gives me a deliberate hour a week to meet with new people and learn something new! I also enjoy football on a Wednesday night and it creates a fantastic point in the week to look forward to. This doesn’t detract from home time or family time but instead helps me feel more like myself and therefore take a better version of me back home.
What do hobbies look like for you?
and who can help you reconnect with yourself again?