Is it normal to have no hobby?

Having a hobby is often seen as an important part of a well-rounded life. Hobbies provide opportunities for creativity, stress relief, social connections, learning and personal growth. So is it normal or healthy to have no hobbies at all?

What percentage of people have no hobbies?

Surveys suggest that most people do have at least one hobby, but a sizable minority report having no hobbies or leisure activities that they engage in regularly.

  • A YouGov survey of over 2000 Americans found that 13% said they had no hobbies.
  • A different poll of 1000 British adults found that 17% considered themselves to have no hobbies at all.
  • Other surveys have put the percentage of people without hobbies between 10-20%

So while most people have some type of hobby, it’s not extraordinarily rare to have none at all. Around 1 in 10 to 1 in 5 adults may have no regular hobbies or leisure activities.

Why some people have no hobbies

There are a variety of reasons why a person may have no hobbies:

Lack of free time

Hobbies require free time and energy. For people who work long hours or have extensive family obligations, free time may be scarce. Without adequate free time, it can be difficult to engage in and maintain hobbies.

Other priorities

Some people may simply have different priorities for how they spend their free time, such as watching TV or movies, spending time with family or friends, or just relaxing. Hobbies may not rank highly on their list of priorities.

Lack of money

Certain hobbies can require significant investments of money for equipment, materials, membership fees, etc. People on a tight budget may not have the financial flexibility to engage in expensive hobbies.

Lack of access

Accessibility issues can also prevent hobby participation. People with disabilities or mobility issues may not have access to facilities, adaptive equipment or transportation needed for certain hobbies.

Lack of interest

Some people may simply not have hobbies because they lack interest in developing a hobby or feel they don’t need one. They may be content without having a regular leisure activity.

Lack of knowledge

People may not have a hobby because they don’t know about options or how to get started. They may mistakenly think hobbies have to be complicated or expensive.

Lack of community

Having a community of fellow hobbyists can help motivate continued engagement. People who lack a supportive social circle may struggle to maintain interest in solitary hobbies.

Mental health challenges

Conditions like depression or anxiety can sap motivation and make it difficult to focus on or enjoy hobbies. Mental health challenges may need to be addressed before successfully developing a hobby.

Is having no hobby unhealthy?

Are there downsides to having no hobbies or leisure activities? Some potential risks include:

Increased stress

Hobbies help provide relaxation and stress relief. People without hobbies miss out on this benefit, potentially leading to higher stress.

Reduced creativity

Many hobbies involve creative expression. People without hobbies have fewer outlets to engage their creative, artistic sides.

Less learning

Hobbies provide opportunities for learning new skills and acquiring knowledge. People without hobbies miss out on mental stimulation and learning that hobbies can provide.

Fewer social connections

Joining hobby or interest groups is a way to expand social circles. People without hobbies miss chances to meet new people and cultivate social connections.

Increased boredom

Lack of hobbies can lead to boredom in leisure time. People without hobbies have fewer enjoyable activities to engage in during free time.

Lower life satisfaction

Research links hobbies with increased happiness and life satisfaction. The lack of a hobby can represent a “missing piece” that lowers overall satisfaction with life.

Poorer health

Some hobbies like sports or gardening have physical health benefits. People without hobbies miss out on these potential physical boosts.

Are there benefits to having no hobby?

While lack of hobbies can have downsides, there may also be some benefits:

More relaxation

Life today is increasingly busy and hectic. Having no hobbies means more free time to simply relax and recharge without structured activities.

Less stress

Some hobbies, especially competitive ones, can themselves be stressful. Not having a hobby means not taking on that potential stress.

More flexibility

Hobbies can lock people into routines with fixed schedules. No hobbies means more spontaneity and openness to pick up new activities.

Lower costs

As noted above, some hobbies require significant investments of money. No hobbies means avoiding these potential expenses.

So while lack of hobbies carries risks, for some people it may be a deliberate lifestyle choice that maximizes relaxation, flexibility and happiness for them.

Developing a hobby from zero

For people who lack hobbies but want to develop one, how can they get started? Some tips:

  • Reflect on childhood enjoyments – Think back to activities you enjoyed as a kid. Recapturing that youthful spirit can spark new hobby ideas.
  • Pay attention to daily highs – Make note when you feel engaged or lose track of time. These are clues to potential hobby interests.
  • Look for low-cost options – You don’t need to invest a lot when testing out a new hobby. Start inexpensive.
  • Don’t compare – Don’t worry how skilled others are. Focus on enjoying the process as a beginner.
  • Join groups – Find local clubs or online communities to connect with fellow hobbyists for support.
  • Give it time – It takes time to develop genuine interest and skill in a hobby. Be patient with yourself.

The key is being open to trying new things and giving activities enough time to take root as enduring hobbies. With persistence, having no hobbies can turn into enjoying regular satisfying leisure pursuits.

Healthy vs. unhealthy hobbies

Not all hobbies are necessarily healthy. When taking up a new hobby, it’s important to look for:

  • Hobbies that provide relaxation and stress relief
  • Hobbies that stimulate creativity and learning
  • Hobbies that increase social connections
  • Hobbies that align with your values and lifestyle

Some examples of hobbies with mental and physical health benefits:

Creative/artistic Physical/active Mind-engaging
Painting Running Learning a language
Knitting Hiking Playing chess
Photography Gardening Puzzles and games
Playing an instrument Yoga Reading

Unhealthy hobbies to avoid include:

  • Hobbies that increase stress instead of relieving it
  • Sedentary hobbies that lack physical activity
  • Solitary hobbies that increase isolation vs. social connection
  • Hobbies that conflict with responsibilities or are compulsive

Examples of less healthy hobby choices:

  • Gambling or high-risk speculation
  • Excessive gaming or Internet use
  • Overtraining in intense competitive sports
  • Obsessive projects that lead to poor self-care

The healthiness of a hobby depends on balancing enjoyment and skill-building with maintaining life balance. Stay mindful of whether a hobby is bringing stress or harmony.

Finding balance with hobbies

While hobbies can be beneficial, there are also risks in dedicating too much time to leisure pursuits:

  • Neglecting responsibilities to work, family, health, etc.
  • Spending too much money or going into debt funding a hobby
  • Allowing a hobby to become compulsive or addictive
  • Letting a hobby crowd out diversity of interests and activities

Tips for maintaining balance:

  • Set a time budget for hobby activities
  • Involve family members to make hobbies social
  • Sample diverse hobbies instead of intensive focus on one
  • Reflect on whether a hobby has become excessive or escapism
  • Make sure hobbies align with larger life purpose and goals

The sweet spot is hobbies that add enrichment and satisfaction without disrupting other important areas of life.

Finding hobby motivation when depressed

Depression can sap enjoyment from previously pleasurable hobbies. Tips to rediscover hobby motivation include:

  • Pick hobbies involving physical movement and activity
  • Try cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to shift negative thinking
  • Pursue hobbies with structure, concrete goals and a sense of purpose
  • Involve other supportive people in your hobby activities
  • Reflect on how hobbies align with your values and identity

It also helps to identify any barriers like lack of energy, loss of interest or availability of resources and tackle those head on. Taking small steps forward while being patient with yourself is key.


While most people have hobbies, it’s certainly not universal. Between 10-20% of adults report having no regular hobbies or leisure activities. Reasons for lack of hobbies include lack of time, money, access or community as well as mental health challenges or simply lacking interest.

There are potential downsides to not having a hobby, including more stress, less creativity, fewer learning opportunities and weaker social connections. However, no hobbies may be a deliberate lifestyle choice that maximizes relaxation or flexibility for some.

It’s possible to cultivate a new hobby by reflecting on interests, being open to new activities and joining hobby communities. The key is finding hobbies that align with your values and lifestyle versus becoming compulsive. Hobbies should provide satisfaction and enrichment to complement, not conflict with, other life priorities. With the right balance, hobbies enhance health and quality of life.

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