Hobbies are a source of relaxation and are good for mental wellbeing.  In particular, hobbies are a great way to connect with people and stave off feelings of loneliness.  We can all be guilty of hermit-like behaviour, but if actually going out is not where you’re currently at, there are groups of enthusiasts online and on FaceBook.  

Resurrect old hobbies

I sang in a number of different choirs for many years back in England, but I never thought about looking for a choir to join when we arrived in NZ.  That is, until I heard a live choir in the shopping mall in December 2016. Not long before that, I had had some breathing issues. Upon hearing the choir, I decided to find a local choir - it was a hobby that I know I enjoyed, a  hobby I was still capable of, and hopefully would be a good workout for my chest and torso muscles. It wasn't long until I was welcomed into Waitakere Voices (I knew it was the right choice when Walter was given his own choir uniform (a turquoise bowtie).

Adapt current hobbies

My favourite sport was karate - I was on track to achieving my dream of being a black belt, when my MS decided to rear its head.  OK, so actual karate training, grading, competing was all now theoretical, BUT, I continue to teach it, and I regularly act as judge, scorekeeper, or ring admin at regional and National tournaments. This keeps my technical knowledge fresh and means that I am still in contact with the wide network of friends that I met when training.

Modify some hobbies

I like to read - now I use a book cushion to position the book in the best way to lessen fatigue.

I like mathematical and strategy puzzles - I play them online now as my writing can be so illegible that I throw myself off track.

I like to play cards when family visits - now I use a playing card holder, and someone else shuffles and deals when it’s my turn to do so.

I like going to the beach with my family - using my Sandcruiser buggy, we can still do this.

Retain current hobbies

Not all hobbies will need to be re-evaluated.  I still enjoy many of the things I have done for years.  Going to see movies, attending music concerts, socialising with friends and enjoying the sun on my face were all part of my life before MS, and still are now.

Discover new hobbies

My daughter was interested in photography, and showing a real flair for it too.  I had a quick turn with her camera and found that it was pleasantly rewarding to compose a photo the same way you imagined it.  However, I needed my own camera; not because I wanted a better model but because it was tricky for me to physically use her camera.  When shopping for a camera for me, I had a different set of specs that I wanted - not the brand, focal range or ability to shoot 4K video - no, I was looking at weight distribution, size of camera body, positioning of the shutter button, any physical attribute which would help me out.

Don’t let your disability define you - let your hobbies do that.

Another ‘hobby’ I have is being particular about my grammar - I spent time researching the definition of the words ‘adapt’, ‘amend’, ‘change’ and ‘modify’ so that my headings worked.  By the way, amend means to improve, modify means to make small changes, and adapt means to make suitable (LOL).