There is an old joke in the Army that you know you are about to catch orders to Fort Polk (a remote installation in the forests of central Louisiana) when your branch manager calls and asks, “Do you like hunting and fishing?” As it happens, many veterans and active duty service members do like hunting and fishing regardless of where they are living. It also demonstrates how well important it is to have a hobby to get away from work. Many people understand why they are important.
Time to Relax
It is possible for a person to work all the time and pour all their energy into their occupation. Some of us even know people like that, but they are unusual and most of us are not like that. Most people need an outlet to relax away from work and family obligations. At a certain point, putting all your energy into your job leads to diminishing returns. That is one of the ways hobbies are valuable. They provide an opportunity to do something different from your job.
To stay with the hunting and fishing example those are both activities you can do solo and quietly. A lot of jobs require you to work with people all day. That can be tiring or stressful and I personally get tired when I am around people too long. Other hobbies that can be enjoyable by yourself are running, cycling, or playing golf. All of these can also be done with people too. If you like doing these hobbies with other people that can also be a benefit simply by interacting with others outside of a work environment.
Hobbies Worth Doing
Another type of hobby that can be beneficial is athletic hobbies. In the military working out is a part of the regular schedule, in effect you get paid to exercise. When you leave the active duty military it can be harder to find motivation or time when it is not required. Joining a gym can be a great regular hobby. Adding exercise to a regular routine can be a great way to enhance your productivity and mood. These also have the benefit of being a place to interact with people outside of work. Both traditional gyms and gyms designed with functional fitness in mind can provide this. Gyms and rec league sports can offer an outlet for competitive instincts. Team sports can also be a way to replace the teamwork aspect of the military that might be missing from civilian jobs.
Variety of Interest
It isn’t a hobby in the traditional sense but volunteering your time with charities such as food banks, shelters, or religious institutions can also be a good outlet for work and offer many of the same benefits. Volunteer work and affiliation can be a way to build relationships away from the office.
Hobbies are important because they are a place to direct your working energy outside of your job. It can be very beneficial to have an outlet away from a job that you do not have to do. They can also be a place to work in a different environment and meet other people in a less formal setting. There are more types of hobbies than I could name here, these are a few examples that are either popular or things that I enjoy personally. The important thing is to find things that energize you and make time to pursue them.