If you read my last post, or watched the saga unfold via Instagram, you’ll know I spent a large chunk of the summer playing nurse. Jesse tested positive for COVID in July and Carl and Izzy quickly followed suit. It was an intense, exhausting time and definitely not how I imagined spending my favourite time of year.

By mid-August, I felt burnt out in a way I never have before. It’s hardly surprising. In 2021, we’re piling stress on top of stress. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my nervous system hasn’t had a day off in 18 months.

What Do I Need Right Now?

In an attempt to reduce the overwhelm, I took a short break from social media. This, coupled with two weeks off work at the end of August, gave me plenty of time to think about what I need right now, both personally and professionally. As we head into the darker, colder months of the year {and my mental health takes its annual nosedive} I know I need a solid self-care plan to see me through. Part of this plan involves picking up a new hobby. Let me explain.

Over the summer, I came across four pieces of content that had a huge impact on me. In short, they helped me see what’s been missing.

What Do You Do For Fun?

Aside from reading, I haven’t had a proper hobby in years. Things I originally did for fun like writing, blogging and photography have been reframed and repurposed as work. Other pastimes such as baking and cooking started to feel like work when the pandemic hit. I guess preparing three meals a day, every day throughout lockdown, will do that to you.

Living with a chronic illness also limits my options. As much as I’d like to move my body more, things like running and rock climbing are out of the question. Equally, activities I can manage when I’m ill, such as watching TV {a perfectly legitimate hobby IMO} don’t give me what I need.

Not knowing what to do means I’ve been doing nothing. Or none of the right things, anyway. I’ve been filling my free time with activities that fail to light me up. {Yes, endless doom scrolling, I’m talking to you.}

Meanwhile, the rest of my family has an abundance of hobbies. From gaming and Tae Kwon Do, to painting, drawing and numerous other crafts. Watching them absorbed in their pastimes, pursuing their individual passions, made me realise how much I missed that feeling. The feeling you get when you do something just for fun.

Some Thoughts on the Word ‘Hobby’

My husband hates the word ‘hobby’. He pulls a face every time I use it. When I mentioned this on Instagram recently, a few people seemed to share his dislike for the term.

For some, the word feels a bit childish. For others, it implies you’re an amateur, that you’re not good enough to do something professionally. A couple of people admitted the word ‘hobby’ made them feel guilty. Switching off from work or using their free time in an unproductive way {i.e. doing something just for fun} seemed to bring up a lot of stuff.

Personally, I’m happy to embrace the word. Because a pastime that feels childish, amateurish and completely unrelated to work is exactly what I need.

Getting Scrappy

Eventually, the pull to do something creative, to learn new skills and actually make something with my hands became too strong to ignore. After extensive research, numerous conversations with accomplished hobbyists, and a couple of trips to Hobbycraft, I’ve decided to have a go at scrapbooking. I have no desire to turn my new hobby into content, but I’ll let you know how I get on.

I want to end this post with some wise words courtesy of my friend Katie:

‘If you’re looking for a hobby because you think you SHOULD have a hobby, that’s maybe not a great place to start. But if you find something you enjoy that you want to do more of, then that’s worth doing again.’

Here’s to figuring out the things we enjoy doing just for fun, and doing them over and over again.

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. A version of this post originally appeared in Letters From Love Audrey, my monthly newsletter filled with creative inspiration for you and your business. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like more of the same in your inbox, you can sign-up here.

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