Did you set any goals or resolutions for the new year? I’ve noticed a real theme across social media of people wanting to concentrate more on self care. We all live such busy lives these days that it’s easy to just not stop, to not make time for ourselves and the things we want to do.
From making new friends to allowing you to take a break from the stresses and strains of life, taking up a new hobby (or carving out time to concentrate on an old one) is a great way to focus on yourself for a bit.
Now you might think knitting is a bit of an old fashioned hobby but it’s had something of a resurgence with knitting clubs springing up all over the place and yarn bombing gaining in popularity in recent years. I think one of the best things about knitting is how portable it is, you can knit just about anywhere, whenever you have the time – it doesn’t even matter if you leave it for a few months at a time. And of course the end result is so satisfying – being able to wear something that you’ve made, does it get better than that? I did learn to knit when I was younger but never really got to grips with it tending to stick to finger knitting long pointless chains! As a child I had an array of hand knitted cardigans that Mum had made for us and more recently she made me an enormous chunky scarf which I love to get out each winter. Whilst Mum doesn’t really knit any more, my Aunty M is still a keen knitter and recently made these gorgeous cardigans (with matching hats) for my girls and we get so many compliments on them!
2. Yoga / Pilates
A few years ago, inspired by my friend Molly I decided to take up Yoga – whilst I didn’t manage to stick at it due to being limited by by some problems with my back and a potential diastasis, I could totally see how it would be really beneficial in the long term. Every now and again I get my mat out and work through one of my favourite routines but of course the real benefits would come from doing it regularly. Along the same lines, Pilates is a low impact exercise which works to improve strength, flexibility and balance.
Dave first took up cycling after a bit of a drunken conversation with my Dad and sister one Christmas that saw him agreeing to take part in the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride. This 70 mile ride between Wetherby and Filey has become an annual thing now and I think this year will be their fifth ride in the last six years. They’re also all signed up to do Ride London this summer so the training has started in earnest for all three of them! Cycling doesn’t have to cost much once you’ve bought yourself a bike and a helmet – and even that doesn’t have to be expensive. Of course the cost ramps up once you realise that to cover longer distances, you will need to invest in padded cycling shorts, or when you want to upgrade your bike to some fancy carbon fibre road bike with super skinny wheels, change your pedals over and start using cleats or tech to track your route and progress. However, these are all one off investments, once you’ve got your kit ready you can get out on your bike as and when you want – giving yourself space to clear your head whilst getting fit at the same time!
This might seem a bit obvious but in the age of such ready access to the internet, I think we all read a lot less. In my 20s I was commuting to Leeds by train giving me around two hours a day to sit and read. I was devouring a minimum of a book a week. Fast forward a few years to being a parent and I almost never read – initially I blamed this on the kids, on not having time or the concentration span but now that my youngest is four I’ve got to admit that I could easily find the time to read more if I weren’t so distracted by Instagram . . . When I do have a book on the go, I love it. I love the escapism, I love that reading can inspire and educate. I wax lyrical about the importance of reading with your children
5. Roller Derby
My best friend took up Roller Derby some years ago having not skated since she was a child and has progressed from barely being able to skate to being a regular face on the A Team for Leeds Roller Derby. Roller Derby is a contact sport played by two teams who skate around the track with the “jammer” scoring points by lapping members of the opposing team. It’s fast-paced and exciting and my kids love to watch Aunty Custard skating (in fact they’re all keen to get on quad skates themselves)! Training several times a week as well as playing in games means that Roller Derby can be great exercise not just for the obvious cardio benefits but for the strength and balance that are involved! Why not find your local team and give it a try?
Have you got plans to take up a new hobby this year? I’d love to hear about it!
*Roller Derby Photo Credit: Kodak Kojak