Hobbying for the Sake of Hobbying

The past several years have been a renaissance of sorts for the side hustle. Hustle culture, and within it the subculture of the side hustle, has been growing exponentially in our society, which in many respects, is fantastic. If you have a dream, you should absolutely follow it and be encouraged to grow yourself and your business. On the dark side of this culture, however, is the new expectation that all hobbies should turn into a side hustle.

Something that many of us today struggle with is drawing that line between hustle and fun. Not every hobby, regardless of how good you are at it, needs to be monetized. What does this struggle look like?

Imagine this: you make a baby quilt for a friend and present it to her at her baby shower. Several of the attendants of this baby shower come up to you after gift opening and complement your skill, ending with the comment, “You should sell these! I can definitely see these getting good money on Etsy!” While well-intentioned, this sows seeds of doubt into your brain. Why aren’t you selling them? Are you de-valuing yourself by only making quilts to give as gifts? How much money are you leaving on the table by not selling them?

So you start to sell your baby quilts online. Maybe it takes off, and you’re making several a month to sell. Except now, you find you are finding less joy in making your quilts because you’ve turned it into a second job. You go to work, then come home, and instead of unwinding with a joyful hobby, you are stressing to finish as many quilts as you can to meet the demand. You’ve effectively turned your fun hobby into another layer of stress in your life.

You begin to think: what was so wrong with just making the quilts for fun? Can I back out of this now, or would that be too embarrassing and admitting defeat?  This obviously doesn’t apply to everybody, but for many people, the stress of running a side hustle can destroy the joy that is found within the original hobby.

Having a hobby can be a huge part of a person’s self-care routine. Doing something simply for the joy of doing something can be so beneficial for a person’s health, it’s one of the first things brought up when discussing stress management. Hobbies can be different for different people: one person can enjoy quilting, while another can find their joy in acrylic painting.

Because their sole purpose is to bring us pleasure, practicing a hobby has health benefits. Some of these health benefits include lowered blood pressure, lowered rates of depression, and they can even decrease the risk of dementia, according to some psychologists. One can argue that even the hobby of reading a magazine can reduce your stress levels. Reading a novel can take your subconscious to a place of relaxation where you forget your worries. Likewise, escaping into a painting will help you forget your everyday stresses and simply enjoy what you are doing at that very moment.

By feeling forced to turn our hobbies into money-making activities, we run the risk of turning these stress-reducing past times into jobs – which in turn become an added level of stress. If you absolutely have the passion to turn your bow-making hobby into your job and you are willing to take that level of commitment on – absolutely do it, and we will cheer you on! But if you decide to keep your jewelry making to a personal level, know that that is okay, too.


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