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How many times do we make excuses to put yourself last on that list of daily tasks? How many times do you fall in to bed at night thinking about how non-stop your day was doing ‘stuff’ for everyone else and there was no FUN in your day.

After reading the results of a survey by the fabulous Kelly Exeter over at ‘A Life Less Frantic‘ on ‘overwhelm’, I was surprised by how many people are feeling OVERWHELMED! Check out the results of Kelly’s 2015 Survey on Overwhelm here.

Kelly sums it up beautifully. One of the BIG  questions was ‘Finish this sentence: when I’m not feeling stressed out and overwhelmed I have more time for …’. Over 1700 people responded with

I’d have more time for …

  • My family
  • Hobbies/creativity
  • Myself

Now I know I can feel overwhelm and I know many others that do too, so I don’t know why I was so surprised by the results. But I was. Overwhelmed by the number of people that feel overwhelmed EVERY day! Hence this post.

How can I help YOU reduce the overwhelm in your life?

A surprisingly simple way to reduce overwhelm is to start a hobby, a new one or one you started and then found excuses not to do. You can read about how engaging in a hobby can expand your mind here.

The definition of a hobby is ‘An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.’

One reader from my last post commented ‘But how do you choose WHICH hobby to take on?’. If you are lucky enough to have a long list of hobbies you might like to try this.

  1. Write down all the hobbies you want to do, listing them from 1-10 (no more than 10, even if you have a longer list and if you don’t have 10, it’s ok).
  2. Narrow it down again and pick your top 3. Yep, just 3.
  3. Close your eyes take a deep breath in and a deep breath out and think about how these hobbies will make you feel.
  4. Pick your favourite feeling.
  5. Start with that hobby

Woohoo! You now have a hobby to start. How do you get started? Your new hobby won’t just magic it’s way into you life.

Like everything else you have to make it happen. You CAN do it. And doing it will make you feel like magic.

Be realistic. How many times a week can you manage (realistically) at the moment? Check out your weekly schedule and if you don’t have one you need to have one! Lock it in and treat it as if it’s a job. I don’t mean something that’s mundane, I mean something that you won’t say no to. How many times do you create white space in your schedule and fill it with something you have said ‘yes’ to when you really meant no.

For me, mountain biking is a hobby. It’s also my regular exercise but the amount of time I spend doing can go beyond what is a ‘normal’ amount of exercise. I also share the running of regular ladies mountain bike skills sessions. Up until about a year ago I used to put everything else first. If I was going on holiday, my mountain biking would take a back seat in the lead up to going away. I was saying ‘yes’ to too many other things and not making time for my mountain biking, ‘an activity engaged in primarily for pleasure’.

Since I have made mountain biking a priority in my life, it’s easier to say no to the stuff I don’t want to do and the rewards are many!

Sometimes I don’t feel like it. I might have had a late night or a busy day ahead. Then I think about how time spent doing my hobby will make me feel. I get started. I figure if I do it for 5 minutes and don’t feel like it, I can stop at any time. Guess what? That has happened, but only 2 times in 4 years. And even then I was happy that I started.

If your new hobby is walking every day, just start with the aim of taking a few minutes to get ready and walk out the door. No commitment to walking, just to getting out the door. Thanks for this tip, James Clear. If it’s painting, get all your stuff together ready to start. Just start!

By engaging in a hobby you are expanding your mind. You are making time to ENJOY yourself on a regular basis. Make it a priority to make it a habit. Don’t wait until tomorrow or the next day! If you need help to get you started you’ll find a list of some hobby ideas (they don’t have to take up copious amounts of time) at the end of the post on ‘Engaging in a Hobby’ here.

Reduce the overwhelm in your life by making time for yourself. Schedule it in your diary and make it happen.

In Kelly’s words at ‘A Life Less Frantic‘, ‘Imagine a world full of people who have the time and space each day to be their best selves’.

I’d love to hear what hobby you are going to start or re-start. You can post in the comments below.