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This blog is another opportunity to feel grateful and thank you dear Universe: You continue to bless me with recovery and overall health.
As a child, life was all about hobbies, playfulness and doing things out of choice. Then came a time when I believed that work was all I knew, and it was about everything in life, so did this transformation happen for the right?
It took an unfortunate incident in life that pushed me to my breaking point and change my opinion. I think I did what was expected to be normal and what most of us do once we start growing up or working, I took work too seriously, without much fun. All I wanted was to gather with friends over lunches or dinners.
When my doctors suggested that I take up some hobbies to divert my attention from various symptoms of my rare disease, Isaacs’ Syndrome (a neuromuscular disease) and subsequently with chronic conditions like Lyme disease, Glaucoma, and Membranous Glomerulonephritis, my eyes sparkled. Taking up hobbies would grant me mental escape, take me out of my every day’s experience, and give a chance to do things I was passionate about. I knew it would help me grow physically, socially, creatively, and most importantly mentally as it would throw new challenges that I had never experienced before. At the same time somewhere, I felt dejected as I had no energy or enthusiasm and, instead, my sole interest was in regaining my lost throne of wellness.
Nonetheless, I started a planning exercise, listing the challenges I might face when pursuing interesting hobbies and the ways I could counter these. To start with, I wrote down the things that interested me, but with a somewhat different approach of identifying hobbies that would support my recovery and simultaneously help me set recovery-related goals:
- Involved physical movement and independence: Playing sports has always been my forte. I especially loved playing table tennis in my younger days, when I was always keen to take on anyone. However, my reason for restarting this hobby was completely different and I faced physical challenges initially. But the sport helped me improve my focus and physical reflexes and push my endurance limits.
- Engaged my brain constructively: Writing articles to broaden awareness of rare diseases was a self-healing experience. I was motivated to put my feelings into words by the vision of an overwhelming response. The exercise helped in softening my mood swings, rebuild my self-confidence, boost my self-belief, make my pains feel less intense, and, above all, gave me the sight to understand my experience better.
- Could improve future work performance: Reading gave me a hitherto unexplored pathway for healing, as I imbibed tips from the experiences of earlier knights in shining armour, and the things they did differently to sail through their crises.
- Were stress busters: My ill health and recovery gave me one of the most enriching experiences in terms of reconnecting with Mother Earth. I learned to be responsible, caring, and sensitive toward all life via gardening.
- Pushed back my concern for my symptoms: The habit of watching motivational movies took me into different worlds from where I always returned bearing positive messages. It made me realize that even sad stories can make us happier at times and that people thrive in even the worst, most unimaginable situations. It made me thankful to God and I resolved to make the most of the circumstances that were given to me.
- Helped me bond better with my family: Many studies suggest that playing chess can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. For me, all such benefits notwithstanding, hobbies were a bridge bringing me closer to my siblings, in particular my brother.
- Enhanced my overall well-being: An outdoor walk has always been among the simple pleasures that entirely rejuvenated me. Although I needed help when going out, it gave me much joy as I was otherwise mostly bedridden and confined to my room. Often, a walk helped me set my mind on covering a longer distance the next day.
As all these hobbies and activities added liveliness and some excitement, I always looked forward to them. My indulgence in these activities became a great way for me to become open to trying new things, instead of being consumed by thinking continuously about the symptoms I suffered. Writing articles to create awareness about rare diseases, which started as a hobby, has today manifested into this website, ordinarily rare, which is steadily growing into a community of many that will ultimately help many more.
Taking up Hobbies made me a better person.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.