A hobby is an activity that you do just because you want to. And in a world where everyone’s busier and more stressed than ever, doing what you want isn’t just special, it’s necessary for your survival.

Eg., drinking booze isn’t a hobby, but making your own craft beer could be. Watching TV isn’t a hobby, writing a blog about anime films might be. Eating greasy burgers isn’t a hobby, but cooking is.

So here’s why you should get a hobby or spend more time on the hobbies that you already have.

1. Hobbies help you cope with life.

When you work at something for a long time, whether it’s writing a blog, taking photos or practising a martial art, you eventually get better at it. This feels good. And when other aspects of your life become challenging/downright horrible, you can fall back on your hobby and use it as a coping mechanism.

2. They help you make friends and build community.

Some hobbies are super social – like playing a team sport, playing music or playing chess. In these examples, you’re bound to meet people and make some friends along the way. But even if your hobby is quite a solitary activity, like jogging, knitting or drawing, you have access to a whole community of people who share your common interest. If you go online, chances are, you’ll find some like-minded hobbyists sharing their wisdom and friendship.

3. They make you interesting.

Even if your hobby is super nerdy, it’s cool that you know more about that particular subject than most people. Personally, I’d much prefer to meet someone who has a really weird hobby and a lot of knowledge to support that hobby than someone who has no hobby at all. Your passion is what makes you unique and interesting.

4. Hobbies can help you with other aspects of your life.

Challenges at work, school, in your relationships and in maintaining your physical health can all be helped by a solid hobby. Say you’ve been surfing for 7 years, you’ll have gained a lot of resilience through those years of dedication to the hobby. This is kind of thing that helps you get back up and try again.

5. Hobbies help you make the most of your time.

If you’ve allotted a time for pottery class, footy training or yoga, then you’re going to make sure you get there. Whereas, if you don’t have a hobby which you’ve made time for, then you’re more likely to spend your time replying to a work email, watching TV or doing something that’s not particularly rewarding or productive. Essentially, when you make time for your hobby, you still get the other stuff done.