“I’m first-generation Korean-Canadian and, growing up, my parents were always working,” says the graphic designer. “I always wanted that sort of adventure, but I didn’t know how to go about it.” While she has her boyfriend as an instructor and guide, in 2018, Lee joined the Calgary Women Fly Fishers Club, connecting with fisherwomen of all ages and abilities at weekly meetings, at fly-tying workshops and on day trips. But whether she’s with her partner or the club, she keeps on casting because of what it does for her mind. “From nine to five, I’m on a screen,” she says. “Fly-fishing is a way to put my phone away, disconnect and be present. It’s also brought me gratitude for where I live.”
With all of the demands on women’s time, from careers to caregiving, hobbies might seem low on the priority list. But even though we’re juggling families, relationships, meetings and appointments, it’s essential for our health that we add in activities that bring joy and pleasure. “Leisure is the space in our lives that is most free,” says Colleen Deyell Hood, a psychotherapist and professor of recreation and leisure studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., who has been active in the field of therapeutic recreation for more than 30 years. “Everywhere else we’re constrained by job expectations or roles, but in leisure, we can purposefully choose engagement activities that support our health.” And getting this kind of fulfillment outside work and family life, where so much of our value is placed (or, conversely, where we don’t feel we get to use our strengths), is essential for self-esteem and satisfaction, says Deyell Hood.
Of course, there are the physical benefits that come along with hobbies such as running, yoga and salsa dancing, and social benefits tied to hobbies like playing on a volleyball team and singing in a choir. But it’s the mental health benefits provided by all hobbies, no matter what they look like, that make them so beneficial to our lives— especially when something destabilizing, like a pandemic, comes along.
In the past 18 months, as COVID-19 restrictions put further constraints on us, hobbies have become even more vital for our mental health, to maintain routine, provide richness and enjoyment, and manage stress and anxiety. And as floor hockey leagues and in-person choir practices were halted—and after all the loaves of sourdough had been baked—many people opted for solitary outdoor activities, such as fly-fishing, birdwatching and stargazing, all of which have surged in popularity since March 2020.
“What’s arisen from the pandemic is a return simpler, low-equipment, low-structure activities,” says Deyell Hood. “Given how structured our lives are, I think it’s a good thing! Going birdwatching or hiking with your dog are wonderful, simple, contemplative activities that can have tremendous benefit.”
HOW TO FIND A HOBBY
Leisure expert Colleen Deyell Hood has some tips for getting started.
LOOK TO THE PAST
“Ask yourself: What have I previously enjoyed? And even more importantly, what about it did I enjoy? If you loved playing basketball in university, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to, or can, play basketball now. So what is it about the sport that you liked? Was it being on a team? The competition aspect? The skills associated with ball handling? Once you’ve figured it out, think about other options that offer the same thing. If being on a team was important, maybe join a community organization that keeps your neighbourhood clean.”
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ECO-FRIENDLY YOGA MATS
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SKIN FEELING OILY, PARCHED OR STRESSED? CONSIDER AN ACID TRIP
When it comes to skin care, knowledge is power, and we’re all getting smarter. “Since the pandemic, people are actively seeking information through online tutorials and master classes,” says Patricia Clare, a Vancouver-based national trainer for NeoStrata, an anti-aging skincare line. “They’re really trying to put it together. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.” Knowing that different results come from different ingredients is part of the journey toward building a skin-care routine that works for you, and that means getting more familiar with acid ingredients.
We Tried It: A PRICEY AT-HOME LED FACE MASK
For three minutes every evening, I lie on my couch with an absolutely terrifying mask placed over my just-cleansed face while red and blue lights allegedly work their magic to give me line-free, blemish-free skin. The mask is the latest innovation from Dr. Dennis Gross, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon known for his at-home peeling masks. The DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is an LED mask that uses red light to boost collagen and reduce fine lines, and blue light to kill bacteria to help heal and prevent future breakouts and redness.
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IS THERE EVEN SUCH A THING AS A HEALTHY BREAKFAST CEREAL?
HOW THE PANDEMIC HELPED ME OPEN UP ABOUT MY PARKINSON'S
Recently, my family and I ventured north of our home in Ajax, Ont., to the Bruce Peninsula to go hiking at Greig’s Caves.
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You always remember your first good date. One nibble, and you’re courted by a deep caramel flavour, soft texture and delightfully sweet taste. For me, it was love at first bite.
AT YOUR LEISURE
WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU MIGHT THINK. HERE’S WHY HAVING A HOBBY IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH - AND HOW TO FIND ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
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As a beauty writer, I’m invited to try all sorts of new treatments. But I also get a bunch of inspiration through Instagram scrolling—and that’s where I found my latest task. French influencer Mathilde Lacombe posted a filter-free self ie highlighting her ridiculously smooth forehead, which she claimed wasn’t the result of Botox. Instead, she said her ironed-out guise was thanks to cosmetic acupuncture.
NEW COVID THREAT: BREAKTHROUGH CASES!
Vax didn’t protect them from illness & even death
AMAZON TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO WORK REMOTELY INDEFINITELY
Amazon said it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary.
GUIDE TO OPEN ENROLLMENT
Health care costs continue to climb, but subsidies will make some plans more affordable.
MORE is MORE
Yngwie Malmsteen takes his neoclassical shred to new extremes on Parabellum.
AN INTERESTING OPEN SIGHT
Home on the Greens
Golf-driven real estate is finally getting out of the rough.
Building Community Through Education
KIRAN BIR SETHI is changing the experience of childhood in Indian cities through her education curriculum and initiatives to build healthy relationships between students and their communities. Here she is interviewed by KASHISH KALWANI.
Are Vaccine Mandates Justifiable?
Some call them reasonable public health measures, while others say they are an un-American invasion of privacy
The Kids Are Alright
SCIENTISTS HAVE FOUND A SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE CURE FOR THE POST-PANDEMIC BLUES — FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS
Data Breach Exposes Student Requests For Vaccine Exemptions
Personal information from students at a California college who requested a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine has been posted online after an apparent data breach.