7 reasons why a hobby is your oasis for the coming dark days

Amid the health crisis ensnaring the world today finding escape is good for the soul. Social distancing, self-isolation, and sheltered-in-place are terms representing new realities. However, we must all use our time at home constructively engaged in meaningful activities and mine is the repair and restoration of old clocks. Horology allows me to drift into a very different world and focus on something uplifting, challenging and positive.

If clocks are not your thing, insert whatever hobby you have below but bear with me as I give you seven reasons why a hobby is a great thing to have in times of high stress.

One of my more recent restorations, a Scottish tall case clock from the 1850s. Read more here.

So here are 7 reasons why a hobby (like clockmaking) gives you respite in today’s world.

  1. Build self-esteem. Developing and maintaining a hobby is important because the small successes I have from day to day are enough to sustain me while other pressures are occurring in my life and it is the one solid thing to feel good about. It also gives me renewed energy to tackle other challenges in life.
  2. Avoid boredom. I have zero scientific evidence of this but I really believe that boredom is responsible for a lot of society’s ills and destructive behaviours. How many people come home after a challenging workday to watch TV for hours on end (depressing news programs for example) when they could be doing something constructive and rewarding?
  3. Enrich your perspective. There is an old adage: “The more you know, the more you grow”.  Any opportunity to learn something new, to be challenged anew, is great for character-building by seeing the world through refreshed eyes. My hobby helps me differentiate myself from others and provides me with key examples of where I have overcome adversity or tackled a difficult situation and emerged on the other side.
  4. Keep you youthful. Establishing and maintaining a hobby is a very healthy habit to form not just now but for your later years. Hobbies are excellent for brain health and stave off cognitive decline. The older you get the more trouble you will have struggling to fill your time with meaningful activities. Beginning a hobby early in life pays dividends in the long run, not unlike an interest-bearing investment.
  5. Combine your hobby with other interests. Photography and travelling are two other interests in my life. Blog writing is another, of course. This hobby allows me to combine all of those interests and as a side benefit my wife, who is also my travel partner and clock locator, encourages me every day. Of course, lately, we have had to curtail some of our travelling because of world events.
  6. It makes me interesting. You can only talk about your occupation or your grandchild for so long before people’s eyes begin to glaze, but if I mention that I have a clock that fell off a wall during the Halifax Explosion, a clock that hung in a railway station near where I live, a rare clock I bought for next to nothing, ears perk up.
  7. A great way to relieve stress. My hobby provides stress relief simply because it is an oasis and we all need a place of refuge in trying times.
Crispi clock back from the horologist
Complete restoration of German time and strike wall clock, Junghans Crispi circa 1899

In these trying times, I find comfort in knowing that my clocks work and look great because of the time and effort I devote to my hobby. My advice is simply this; it is never too late to find a hobby and once you have found something that is engaging and takes you away from the troubles in life, you have found your own oasis.