Often work-related mental ill-health can start when work starts taking over every aspect of your life. You might already have hobbies and interests that help you to stay balanced and that are important for your wellbeing. Sometimes if you go through a busy period, your hobbies might fall by the wayside. For example you might start a new job and feel exhausted by the amount of new information you have to take in, and decide to skip going to the gym or to the yoga class that helps you to stay in balance. Then the weeks can turn into months and before you know it, you’re feeling overwhelmed because you’re not doing the things that keep you sane anymore. It’s so easy to let work take over, creep into evenings and weekends and before you know it your life becomes all about work. Some people thrive on working all the time, but most of us need a balance to stay happy and healthy (see the work/life balance section for more information).
Many people find that they stop doing certain hobbies that made them happy, often when they go to university or go into the workplace, or feel like they’ve outgrown the things that they enjoyed when they were younger. But often playing that musical instrument or being involved in a social group was one of the things that was making your life balanced. It’s never too late to restart an old interest or activity. You can go and do classes if you feel rusty (get your confidence back with the language you were good at at school, or brush up on your artistic skills). This can often improve your mood and help you feel more in balance and able to cope with work-related issues.
If you feel like you’ve become a workaholic and it’s not making you happy, and you don’t have any specific hobbies and interests, then why not take up a new hobby! It’s never too late to try something new! You could try:
*Art classes (drawing, pottery, painting, crafts, sewing)
*Language classes (Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, wherever you’re going on holiday next)
*Exercise (join a gym, start running, swimming, tennis, a fitness class, yoga, walking, cycling)
*Team sports (football, netball, volleyball, hockey)
*Learn a musical instrument (if you used to play there are bands and orchestras for people who are rusty)
*Performance arts (acting, singing, dancing, burlesque classes)
*Cooking (challenge yourself to try a new recipe each week, or take classes)
*Technology (website design, app design, video gaming)
*Writing (creative writing, poetry, short stories, blogging, flash fiction, write that novel or memoir)
If you need more inspiration, here’s a list of hobbies on Wikipedia!