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Too busy for a hobby? 5 tips to find the time

Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Does that sound a little too familiar?  

For many of us, overly busy schedules are a reality. But mental health experts agree: One way to greater well-being means making room for another to-do — time for a hobby you truly enjoy.

Let’s make this happen!

Pleasurable pastimes offer breathers amid the busyness. They may even make us more productive by protecting us from burnout. But of course, finding free moments isn’t always easy. Here are five tips that can help:

1. Don’t wait to find time — make time

Build me-time into your day. Can you wake up 20 minutes earlier to write in your journal? Snap photos in the park during your lunch break?

Here’s another idea: Keep track of how you spend your time for a week — and find hidden openings. Maybe you could trade that hour of TV time after dinner for working on your craft project.

2. Pencil Pen yourself in

Treat your hobby time like you would a work meeting or a doctor visit. Want to try that weekend yoga class? The neighborhood book club on Tuesday evening? Put it on your calendar — and you’ll be more likely to commit.

3. Ditch your device for a while

Constant texts, calls and emails can cut into what downtime you do have. You might be surprised at what you’re able to accomplish — and enjoy — by going screen-free when possible for just an hour or two.

4. Practice a polite ‘Thanks, but I need to pass’

Doing for others can certainly boost our well-being. But if you tend to give away much of your free time, consider taking back some for yourself.  

Maybe you could skip making cookies for this month’s bake sale. Or send regrets for an invite where your attendance isn’t crucial.

Don’t think of me-time as selfish — it’s part of having a full life. That said, many people find hobbies they love that also help others, such as working in a community garden or knitting caps for newborn babies. For more ideas, see “Find your bliss.”

5. Lighten your household load

Everyday chores can be a big time drain. So look for ways to trim your task list. Maybe you can pay a neighborhood teen to tackle that weekend yard work — or ask a family member to help out.

Or perhaps you can save something nonessential for later. Washing the windows or cleaning out the garage can wait! 

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