The Healing Power of Hobbies
The Healing Power of Hobbies – Blog Post #6
Published on Wednesday 10th January 2023 by Charity Green
A hobby is something that we do regularly for fun, usually in our leisure time. It could be a lifelong passion that leads to considerable expertise, or it could be an activity you dip in and out of as and when you have the time or inclination. Some people never settle on one hobby that they stick to, and enjoy trying new things.
Possibly because of the association with leisure time and ‘fun’, hobbies aren’t always taken seriously. However, for some people, a hobby can be a mental health life-line.
Take for example, the Hobby Hub in Yaxley and Farcet. Set up by How Are You Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s very own Ollie Ayres, this is a space where people can enjoy their hobbies, share skills and form friendships. Ollie has lived experience of mental health challenges and his favourite hobby – model making – is what kept him busy and got him through the tough times. Ollie says “For me, practising my hobby works as a great form of mindfulness and escapism, I also enjoy sharing the mood boosting benefits of hobbies and the joy they can bring to others”. Making and doing, especially with others, can make a huge difference to a difficult week. Learning new skills is also proven ‘way to wellbeing’ – so having a go at someone else’s hobby or trying out some of the equipment at the Hobby Hub is also great for mental wellbeing.
Bar Hill’s Knit and Natter group is where women can get together and support each other, one stitch at a time. Making hats, mittens and blankets – for babies in Neonatal Intensive Care or for homeless people – brings people back week after week, some travelling from other villages because they value this weekly highlight so much. The beauty of having a task is that even if you aren’t feeling chatty, you can still be around others, get out of the house and have tea and biscuits in a warm, safe and supportive environment. Seated exercises and a motivational reading are also on offer to get mind and body in gear, whilst knitting fingers fly.
These are just two examples of small, supportive communities that have flourished around a shared interest. On the HAY websites, there are dozens of other examples too. Why not take a look and have a go? Or if you have a hobby that you enjoy on your own but you’d love to share with others, you can contact the Communities Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and they can help you find funding, set things up and get your idea off the ground.