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Use Your Hobbies to Give Back

Hobbies can have a greater purpose.

Do you have some hobbies you’ve let fall by the wayside? Is there yarn in the back of your closet in ‘80’s baby pink & mint green that was meant for a sweater for your mom? Is that sewing machine so buried in dust you’re not sure it’ll even work anymore?

It’s not clear why we disengage from our hobbies, sometimes for years, but it could have something to do with the time constraints of daily life and fitting it all in. You don’t always take time to spend on the things you enjoy doing and don’t always have the energy for them, either. There’s a lack of motivation to spend precious time and energy doing something “frivolous” when there are so many things that actually have to get done. What if your hobby endeavor wasn’t frivolous, though?

What if it benefited another person or organization? This coming year, why not make a New Year’s resolution to not only spend more time on your creative hobbies, but to create things that will benefit someone else!

For example, each year the cat shelter at which I’ve volunteered has a holiday craft fair that they hold to raise money. They ask for crafters to create and donate things that they can sell at the fair, including ornaments, wreaths, artwork, photography, ceramics, textiles, and baked goods. I usually scramble around at the last minute to throw a few things together that they can sell and the frantic fumbling takes a bit of the enjoyment out of it.

But, what if I (YOU!) put two things together in order to create some motivation? Schedule in some regular hobby time for yourself all year, even just one evening a week, with the motivation being to have plenty of things ready to go whenever there’s a need.

To up the likelihood that you’ll actually stick to this plan, start with something you know is easy for you. My mom enjoys crocheting in the evenings while she watches TV. The blankets that she makes are donated to a local women’s shelter. How great would it be to receive a warm, handmade blanket when you have nothing?

Can’t think of what you might do? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s something you enjoyed doing as a kid?
  • What projects do you have on hand that you meant to start, or started and never finished?
  • What’s something new you’ve always wanted to try?
  • What would an organization you’re familiar with need?
  • What could be sold? What would people buy? (research trends online)

It doesn’t even have to be something you make, but something you assemble, such as craft kits or baking mixes.

Once you’ve decided what you’d like to make, how is it going to help someone else?  Here are some suggestions if you’re stuck:

  • Make ornaments, art or decorative items for an animal shelter’s annual holiday fair
  • Knit or crochet blankets for a homeless shelter
  • Sew fleece hats and mittens to donate to a coat drive
  • Make wreaths to adorn the doors of a nursing home
  • Sew dog beds for your local animal shelter
  • Assemble scone or cookie mixes for a school bake sale

If you’re working on a hobby just for the sake of doing it, it may not be enough motivation to get you going when you’re tired and your latest Netflix binge is calling. But if you choose something you’re excited about and you have an ulterior altruistic motive for doing it, you’ll be engaging your hands and mind in something you enjoy while giving back to the world at the same time. #winwin

Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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