A little something for you.

Hobbies are great. They are something just for you, that you can do without having to get approval from partner, kids or friends. Okay, terms and conditions apply – you may need to negotiate time and any financial cost with the family. However, it is worth carving out a little time and space to pursue a hobby.

Hobbies are often considered as mere time killing activities that we do in our leisure time. In reality, hobbies are much more than that. They are a crucial aspect of our lives, which can help us in various ways. Hobbies are activities that we enjoy doing in our free time, and they can be anything from reading books to running, screen printing, car booting, or gaming. Engaging in hobbies can provide us with a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and joy that we might not find in our daily routine.

The importance of hobbies in our lives goes beyond mere entertainment. Engaging in hobbies can be an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental health and wellbeing, and enhance our overall quality of life. In fact, several studies have shown that hobbies have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Science and Technology, engaging in leisure activities, including hobbies, can significantly reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. The study found that people who engaged in leisure activities reported lower levels of stress and anxiety, improved mood, and increased feelings of happiness and contentment.

Furthermore, hobbies can provide a sense of accomplishment, which can boost our self-esteem and confidence. When we engage in hobbies that we enjoy, we can develop new skills, learn new things, and achieve goals that we set for ourselves. This sense of accomplishment can help us build a positive self-image and enhance our overall sense of wellbeing.

Hobbies can also provide an opportunity for socialization and connection with others. Many hobbies, such as team sports, book clubs, or art classes, involve interacting with other people who share similar interests. This social interaction can provide us with a sense of community and belonging, which can improve our mental health and overall wellbeing.

One study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that engaging in hobbies that involve social interaction can help reduce symptoms of depression. The study found that people who participated in social hobbies reported significantly lower levels of depression than those who did not engage in social hobbies.

Additionally, hobbies can provide us with a break from our daily routine and allow us to recharge our batteries. Engaging in hobbies can be a form of self-care, which can help us maintain balance in our lives and prevent burnout. Taking time to do something that we enjoy can help us feel refreshed and rejuvenated, which can improve our overall mental health and wellbeing.

Hobbies are essential for our mental health and wellbeing. Engaging in hobbies can help reduce stress and anxiety, boost our self-esteem, promote relaxation, provide socialization opportunities, and allow us to recharge our batteries. With so many benefits, it’s essential to make time for hobbies in our daily lives. Whether it’s reading, painting, playing sports, or gardening, finding an activity that we enjoy can have a significant impact on our mental health and overall quality of life.


  1. Chieh-Yu, L., Chih-Hung, L., & Chien-Huei, K. (2015). Leisure activities, stress, and quality of life of occupational therapists. Journal of Occupational Science and Technology, 9(1), 25-30.
  2. Kim, E. S., Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2011). Increased happiness and less depression: how are they related? Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(2), 267-281.
  3. Pressman, S. D., Matthews, K. A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Scheier, M., Baum, A., … & Moskowitz, J. T. (2009). Association of enjoyable leisure activities with psychological and physical well-being. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71

Spring into Action

Spring is often thought of as a time of renewal and new beginnings, making it the perfect time to review your life goals and make any necessary adjustments. While many people choose to set new goals and make resolutions at the beginning of the year, the spring season can offer a renewed energy and perspective that can be just as beneficial for goal-setting and achieving success.

One of the reasons that spring is an ideal time for reviewing and setting goals is that the days are getting longer and warmer. The increased sunlight and warmer temperatures can have a positive effect on our mood and energy levels, making us feel more motivated and inspired to take on new challenges. This can be especially beneficial for those who may have struggled to maintain their motivation during the darker and colder months of winter.

In addition to the positive effects of spring on our mood and energy levels, the season is also a time when nature is coming back to life. Trees and flowers are blooming, and the world around us is becoming more vibrant and colorful. This can serve as a reminder that anything is possible, and that we too can make new beginnings and achieve our goals.

As you begin to review your life goals this spring, it is important to take a holistic approach and consider all aspects of your life. This may include your career, relationships, health, and personal development. Think about what you want to achieve in each of these areas, and set specific, measurable, and achievable goals.

Harness the renewing power of spring by taking on a new challenge or learning a new skill. This could be something as simple as starting a new hobby, or something more ambitious like training for a marathon or taking on a leadership role in your community. Whatever it is, make sure it aligns with your overall life goals and is something you are truly passionate about.


Natural Disasters and PTSD

The recent earthquake in the Middle East and the catastrophic loss of life and livelihood will have resulted in symptoms of stress, anxiety, grief, depression and panic for thousands upon thousands of individuals. I recently saw mention of a need for those individuals to be able to access CBT to treat their PTSD. A noble and well meant notion but I thought it might be worth discussing the misunderstanding behind this notion.

PTSD is a specific mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster. While stress, grief, anxiety, depression and panic are common reactions to a traumatic event, they do not necessarily indicate the presence of PTSD.

PTSD is usually only diagnosed if symptoms persist for more than a month and cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning. The symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares.
  • Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event, such as people, places, or activities.
  • Negative changes in mood and thinking, such as feeling emotionally numb, hopeless, or guilty.
  • Hyperarousal, such as being easily startled, feeling irritable, or having trouble sleeping.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. Not everyone who experiences a trauma will find their initial distress develops into PTSD.

PTSD or not, how soon after a disaster should someone seek CBT? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the timing of when to seek CBT can vary depending on the individual and the specific circumstances of the disaster.

Immediately after a disaster, it is natural to experience some level of stress, grief, anxiety, depression or panic. This is a normal response to a traumatic event and is not necessarily a sign of PTSD. In the days and weeks following the disaster, most people will begin to recover on their own as they adjust to their new reality. This is the time when talking to a counsellor (which is different to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist) might be beneficial to support this period of adjustment.

If negative symptoms persist for more than a month and cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning CBT might be beneficial. While CBT might work for an individual if undertaken within a month of the trauma, the reality is that in the aftermath of a trauma it might be impossible to complete the considerable amount of home-tasks required for CBT to be effective. Worse still, undertaking CBT treatment too soon risks causing further stress. This is why CBT might not be the most appropriate immediate response after a natural disaster.