The power of hobbies to impact our performance and long-term health.

2020 has been a year of constant change, and with that, constant stress and strain. The importance of mental health and staying inspired has taken on new meaning during this global pandemic, and everyone has dealt with the strain in different ways.

But the challenge of staying inspired and focused is not a new issue, especially when it comes to work. It can be a constant struggle to perform at your best daily if you aren’t actively pursuing ways to fill yourself back up. The way many of us choose to recharge is through hobbies.

Besides the obvious benefit of stress-relief, hobbies have been proven to have long-term physical and mental health impacts:

  • Lowered risk of dementia
  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Improved ability to critically think and creatively problem solve
  • Improved attitude at work and lowered risk of burnout

Reference: Psychology Today & CNBC

During this quarantine, I decided I needed a new hobby, not only to progress my existing skills, but to also have an outlet that was entirely for fun and that would challenge me. I’m a Digital Strategist in my everyday life, but I’m also a photographer in my free time and for the agency. I love the process of shooting photos, but recently have been shooting more for work than for fun. I wanted to change that and return to the reason why I fell in love with photography in the first place – it’s really fun!

As a result, I decided it was time to pursue something I’ve always wanted to try in the world of photography: old-school film photography. More specifically, medium format film photography. I was never exposed to analog photography or film in school —  everything was digital. However, film photography and the challenges it presents excited me because it felt like a chance to return to being a complete beginner.

I went all in and purchased an old medium format camera from Japan called a Zenza Bronica ETRSi. I waited patiently for a few weeks as all the parts to the camera came in, purchased a few rolls of Ilford HP5 film to get me started, and then I was off and running. 

Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Now, I carry this camera almost everywhere with me and use it to capture moments of my everyday life that aren’t meant for anyone but me and my family. It has been an exceptionally inspiring experience to start from scratch, make mistakes, and return to the reasons why I decided to pursue photography in the first place. And that energy has bled into every other aspect of my life, including work!

Identifying and pursuing a hobby that builds you up has never been more impactful, and I encourage anyone reading this to spend a few minutes to reflect on what fills you up with energy. Invest in yourself, and find some Return on Inspiration! You’ll be happy you did.

Here are a few photos from my first roll of film! Follow me on Instagram for more.

Still life photo taken with Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Landscape photo taken with Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Baby portrait taken with Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Sky photo taken with Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Portrait taken with Zenza Bronica ETRSi

Dylan Stone, Account Manager headshot

Written by Dylan Stone

“I make the most of every opportunity.”