“Netflix and Hobby”
Transform mindless nights to thoughtful ones (with a little television along the way)
Far too many nights, our butts sit in the same spot. We turn on the bright rectangle sitting in front of us, and we let our brains relax. We fall into other worlds, we make new “friends”, we become totally entrenched in the lives of fake people and fake storylines. Netflix in the evenings is the normal way to spend most weeknights. It’s an escape from our world.
But what would happen if we spent that time honing a hobby? What if we knitted, cross-stiched, wrote a story, colored in a book, read a book, learned a new language, wood burned, played an instrument, baked a cake. How would we feel?
The two don’t even have to be separate. We can simultaneously knit a scarf and watch Parks & Recreation. We can write a blog post and watch Gilmore Girls (as evidenced by my reality right now). We can even play a game of chess with our partner while Vikings plays in the background. In fact the battle scenes could inspire riskier strategies.
Either way, when we partake in hobbies outside of watching movies and television, our brains expand. New pathways are created. New synapses snap. We connect with the people around us and we create. We can unwind and find relaxation in these tasks that also engage our souls and our minds.
So what’s the big deal with a hobby, anyway?
Well, minus the positive health effects (lower blood pressure, lower levels of depression, weight loss and memory gain) of engaging in something we deeply love, we’ll gain a world of skills we can utilize in work and play.
When we practice a hobby, we’ll face new challenges and teach ourselves to overcome. With any hobby, there’s a learning curve, new oppositions that occur and difficulties we’ll face. By learning to address these in the world of something we love, we’ll be able to learn in a more positive atmosphere and implement this newly gained knowledge when the stresses of work and life rear their heads.
We’ll also learn to remain present. Life is full of distractions. We are constantly bombarded with stimuli. As I sit here, I have a phone chiming next to me, a husband coughing in the back room, Luke ranting on the television and Tolstoy beckoning me to read his words about Anna. However, because I love this thing I’m doing right here, this writing thing, I’m able to be in the moment, to focus on this message I’m trying to creatively express and be present in the here and now. Just like me, when we learn these skills through a hobby, we’re able to transform them into useful tactics at work and in our every day attempt to remain present in our work and our connections with those around us (more to come on this Monday).
Hobbies also have the potential to connect us with other people. Whether we go to our first yoga class after practicing in our apartments for years or we meet a knew friend who shares our love for knitting, hobbies connect us to someone else who shares similar interests. Television show conversations can only go so far, and they consist of exchanging words about fake people. The conversation is not connected to us except for our shared interest in quick talking ladies or zombie killers or the intrigues of Chuck and Blair. Yes, these are great things to talk about. However, when we engage in conversations about something tangible we both love, our connection is more likely to grow from acquaintance to friend.
Join me in a challenge?
The benefits are endless when we have a hobby and allows us to practice something that creates routine and relaxation in our lives. Let’s all try to practice our hobby one night in the next seven instead of watching our favorite shows. When we look back on our life, will we regret not watching the final season of Sex and the City or never being able to play a song on that guitar we purchased so many years ago? I think I know which one I’d regret more.
What are some of your favorite hobbies? What combo hobby/show do you plan on participating in this week? In the next seven days, I’ll be writing, cross-stitching and wood burning while watching Gilmore Girls and/or New Girl.
Not have a hobby? That’s ok! Throw away your excuses this week, and take some time to try something new, something you’ve always wanted to explore. I promise you won’t regret it. I can’t wait to hear your story!
Featured Image Credit: Guilia Bertelli