You work probably 40 hours a week or more. You shuffle kids off to school and practices. You shop for groceries, make dinner and clean the house. Even when the entire family works as a team, it’s difficult to find even a single minute of free time to pursue your passions. Then if your passions are generally solitary activities, like boating or golfing, you might get flack from your spouse for not spending enough time with the family on the occasion you find spare time. Learn how to balance your hobbies and family, and you’ll feel happier and more relaxed.
Show That Your Hobby Is Worthwhile
There’s nothing wrong with loving something that rewards only you, but it’s easier than you might think to show that your hobby rewards others, too. For example, if you’re a boater, buy a used or refurbished boat from an organization that donates the proceeds to charity. If you’re a writer, volunteer to lead a writing workshop at a school or library.
Live by example and talk to your kids about finding a way to turn a passion into something that extends beyond them and their private relaxation time. It’s easier to make time for something when you realize it benefits not only you, but others as well.
Invite Family Along Some of the Time
If you invite your family to join you in pursuing your passion, you’ll be able to combine family time with hobby time, which means that no one will feel hurt that you’re ignoring them in favor of your hobby. At least some of the time, invite your spouse and the kids. If you enjoy crafting in your workshop, find age-appropriate projects for your kids to complete alongside you. If you love reading, take turns reading aloud as a family. You’ll be able to engage in your passion more often if everyone in the family participates.
Schedule Time Alone
Even if you spend most of the week with your spouse and children, it’s still beneficial to recharge by engaging in a hobby alone for a short time each week. It’s a matter of making time. Schedule time alone on the family calendar for your hobby at least an hour a week, and encourage your loved ones to do the same for their own hobbies. Arrange to have a meal or activity together afterward once you’re all refreshed and share how you spent your time. That way, you still get alone time, but everyone feels involved.
Support Your Family’s Hobbies
Just as you should encourage your spouse and kids to join you at least some of the time in engaging in your passions, you should encourage them to find their own passions and be there to support them. Not everyone shares the same passions in a family, and that’s fine. Your kids might have little interest boating with you at first, for example, but after a while of relaxing on the deck in the quiet of the lake or ocean, they’ll probably grow to like it. Applaud them for expanding their horizons — and then it’s your turn to go home and participate.
For example, if your child loves dancing and you think it would be silly to dance with him or her, put aside your hesitation and offer to dance. If your spouse loves action or romance movies and you couldn’t be less interested, swallow back your distaste and offer to watch at least one film a week. If nothing else, you’ll have together time. It’s just you and your family making memories, encouraging each other to embrace their passions, and no one else has to see.
About.com cites a study in which people engaged in leisure activities, specifically physical leisure activities, just 20 minutes a week were less likely to experience fatigue. Clearly, devoting time to relaxation has a positive impact on your health, and you don’t even have to have that much time to spare. Meet with your family to discuss how all of you need to support each other’s hobbies, and allow everyone time to herself. The short time apart will make you all happier whenever you’re together.
About the Author: Kai Werlin is a counselor who specializes in time management and healthy family relationships.