New Hobby- Ukulele Playing
A man playing ukulele on the sandy beach in close up view

Stress Free Hobbies, Not Side Gigs

By Paige Lyman

For a few years, I have pondered learning to play the ukulele. I didn’t buy one right away since I never had the energy when I got home from work nor the time to spend on it. But jump to 2020, and now I have two ukuleles and since I’m a freelance writer now, I make it a point to set aside time every week just to play and practice.

I needed a hobby that wasn’t related to writing or anything on a screen. I wanted a fun hobby for stress relief that really had no pressure attached to it in any way, especially based on the growing trend that you should monetize every hobby you have. I think we’ve all encountered this, whether expecting our musical friends to start a YouTube channel or pushing another who paints to create flashy social media accounts solely devoted to their art.

The idea that we have to monetize our hobbies has been very pervasive for a long time, especially in many online spaces. It’s like we have to be hustling with a new side gig, instead of just enjoying some stress-free leisure time. So when I finally had my ukulele, I really went in knowing that it was a hobby. I wanted to keep it something fun and low-stress, that wasn’t going to be meant for anyone other than me.

This can definitely be difficult to do. When we’re learning something new or stepping into a new hobby, we want to share it with family and friends. But apart from a few tweets about learning the general basics, I didn’t really post too much about it. This definitely helped keep my new hobby more to myself!

So in this overly stressful time, what low-stress hobbies can we explore while keeping that monetization pressure off?  Hobbies, at their heart, should be something you’re interested in and that you enjoy doing. So whether you’re creative, interested in collecting something, or learning a hands-on skill, there’s some kind of hobby out there for you!

For me, it’s been learning an instrument. But for you, it might be exploring photography. Photography is a great hobby because you don’t need an expensive camera and there’s so many online tutorials out there. Most people have a smartphone already equipped with a very nice camera.  Keeping this new hobby monetization-free might come from just sharing the photos with friends and family on a private account or just setting up a “hobbyist” account.  Or just keep the photos to yourself and find a unique way to display them around your house.

When it comes to keeping monetization out of your hobbies, I’ve found that it really helps to go in with a specific mind set. Knowing that you just want to do something for fun and stress relief can definitely help down the line. As you start a new hobby, whether it’s crocheting, cooking, or drawing, just keep that idea of no pressure in mind. That way you can stay passionate, focused, and stress free  while enjoying your new hobby.

It sounds like a very simple thing to do. And for me, it’s been very easy to just keep that thought in mind every so often. The idea sticks around naturally after a bit and it’s a nice reminder that I’m here to just have fun with my ukulele.

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