I was recently completing an application for an association in which I had been inducted. One of the last questions on the application asked me to list my favorite hobbies or the things that I like to do in my free time. I responded by listing that cooking, cleaning and taking my children to their extracurricular activities were among the top of my list. When it occurred to me that this was probably not the response they were looking for, I realized that it was all I could come up with. I would love to have hobbies that include taking long walks in the park, reading non-fiction novels, and enjoying a glass of wine in front of a crackling fire – but that is not even close to my reality.
Ultimately, this led me to think about the idea of having hobbies and what I like to do in my free time. What about you? How much free time do you have and what do you do in that free time? When was the last time you took 30 or 60 minutes just for yourself to do exactly what you wanted?
Time passes faster than we can even imagine. As a child, summer vacation seemed to last for so long; now it is gone in the blink of an eye. Days, weeks, months and years pass by so quickly that we frequently ask ourselves how time went by so fast. It is not until the time has passed that we often look back and wish we would have done something, seen something, or enjoyed something that we simply were too busy to take the moment to do. Making time to enjoy the things you love will change the rest of your life.
Write down one, 30 minute time slot within a week that you can reserve for yourself. We generally do not tend to put ourselves on our list of things to do but think of it as the start of a new beginning. Perhaps this means setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier in the morning, or, rather than cramming in the grocery store list during your son’s baseball practice, you throw on your sneakers and walk the field for exercise. Make a list of three things that you really love to do or would love to be able to do. Do not think about how your activities are going to have an impact on your family, job, friends or anyone else except for yourself. It can include going for a walk, reading, hitting the gym, weeding the garden, playing catch with your son or dolls with your daughter, sitting silently on your front porch, enjoying a cup of coffee alone or with a friend, listening to your favorite musician, taking a drive, or baking your favorite cookies.
Lastly, make it happen. When that reminder on your smartphone rings, stop what you are doing and take your 30 minutes. You scheduled it; you know it is coming; don’t you dare make an excuse as to why you cannot do it!
Hobbies are personal to each of us. They take us away from the craziness of everyday life, distract our thoughts, and allow us to clear our minds. They act as an escape, a reality check, and a few moments of grounding and allowing us to connect with who we are. Depending upon your hobby of choice, it can be an amazing way to get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, change the way you feel about yourself or others, and have a clearer more stress-free approach to everything else that you do. When you take the time to engage in a hobby, your ability to focus and handle difficult situations becomes considerably easier. I realize how difficult it may be to schedule time for yourself. There are a million other important things you could be doing during that time. Personally, I have realized in the short time that I began allotting 30 minutes to myself, I feel smarter, stronger, more accomplished, and the days do not seem to slip away quite as fast. I pay better attention to my work, my family, my responsibilities and myself. Even more importantly, that little bit of me time makes me appreciate and actually enjoy the non-me time even more. This new found appreciation for all of the time in my day, week and month allows me to hold on to it all just a little bit longer, rather than wishing it all away.
Having hobbies and taking the time to enjoy them is a necessary part of life. It is not a gift or a privilege – it is a necessity. We have become so accustomed to continually being on the go that we lose sight of what is really most important; each and every one of us. Stress, anxiety, exhaustion and overwork lead to an unhealthy individual; an unhealthy individual in turn is absolutely no good to their family, business, future, success or themselves. Start today and change tomorrow. Take time to enjoy something that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel like you just gave yourself a gift. Life is too short to continue to let time pass you by!
Michelle D’Allaird is a New York State licensed aesthetician and International CIDESCO Diplomat. She is the owner of the Aesthetic Science Institute aesthetic schools in Syracuse and Latham, N.Y. She is a consultant and educator for international cosmetic companies around the world. D’Allaird is a contributing author to major industry trade magazines, as well as a host and speaker for International Congress of Esthetics & Spa conferences in Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and Long Beach. She is also a co-author of Salon Fundamentals aesthetic textbook. Her expertise lies in education and curriculum development for aesthetic, medical and laser courses.