We have reached the point in the semester where, each day, us students get out of bed and follow the same routine: shower (hopefully), school, study, sleep. We have all just finished midterms and second eight-week classes are in full swing.
It can be hard to remember there are things you genuinely enjoy doing. Things that you probably haven’t found the time to do in a couple of weeks. Things that let your mind relax, even just for a few minutes. Hobbies.
However, hobbies are one of the most important parts of our everyday lives. Hobbies keep us sane. They keep us cognitively and physically fit to do the everyday things required of us.
A lot of people claim to not have a hobby, but I don’t believe that. Let's look at how to find some hobbies to get you through the last months of the semester.
Find what interests you
I know, I know, that sounds obvious, but let's dig a little deeper.
Ask yourself these questions:
What activity have you always wished you could do or be good at?
What videos come up on your Tik Tok or Instagram that hold your attention repeatedly? Is it cooking? Singing? Guitar playing? Running? All are good options.
What hobbies have you taken up in the past but given up?
Over quarantine, what did you do to keep yourself sane? If the answer is watching videos or YouTube, what were those videos of?
How much time a week do you have to dedicate to this activity?
If you said none, I don’t believe you.
Be honest, how often do you sit on your phone when you get home from class? Or at night when you should have gone to bed 2 hours ago?
[Related: OPINION: Just take a walk]
Every time someone tells me I spend my free time on my phone, I get so annoyed because those brain breaks on my phone are needed. However, in recent months, I have found if I fill those brain breaks with reading or rock climbing or something else that brings me joy, I feel a lot more fulfilled at the end of the day.
Now, I am not saying taking a moment to be on your phone to purely relax isn’t also needed sometimes, but it is just as important to try new things and keep your brain stimulated!
Once you know how much time you have to dedicate to your desired hobby, you can narrow down some of the ideas you want to try out.
Only have a few hours each week? Reading is a great option. Do you have chunks of the day where you don’t have anything scheduled, maybe one to two hours at a time? Try working out or exercising in some form. Do you often feel like you need to do something with your hands as you sit around and talk or watch movies? Take up crocheting or knitting.
Time does play a part, but it should never stop you from trying out something you're interested in.
Ask yourself what you want to get out of your hobby
In general, hobbies help us escape. They aid in getting us out of our heads and helping us calm down. However, not all hobbies are created equal.
So, ask yourself, what do you want to get out of this hobby? Is it mental stimulation? Maybe chess or puzzles are a good option. Do you want to feel completely relaxed? Once again, crocheting or drawing are always good hobbies to pick up. Do you want to feel creative? Try painting or maybe baking.
Every hobby can provide us something different, and you may have different needs on different days. So don’t be afraid to bake some cookies one day but go hiking the next.
Hopefully by now you have a few hobbies in mind
Remember, don’t take it so seriously.
Hobbies are meant to be fun. You don’t have to be perfect at it, especially at the beginning. In fact, some of the fun is learning!
Nobody is asking you to be an expert or professional in your hobby. Who cares if you can only play the four basic chords on the guitar? There are still so many fun songs to play, and practice makes perfect. Same goes with art, knitting, baking, dancing, photography and so much more.
Just find something you find fun and shut the world out as you do it. This is for your happiness, not others’.
Another thing to keep in mind is you should never feel obligated to do your hobby.
Yes, hobbies are good for your brain and everything. However, forcing yourself to do something because you think it is good for you will only make it less fun.
Giving yourself a little push to put down the phone is completely different, but forcing yourself to go work out after a super exhausting day or convincing yourself to write poetry after being mentally drained is not helpful. It will only make you grow tired of your hobby.
As the semester consumes you and interests slip out of your fingers, remember to take time for yourself. Don’t lose sight of the things that matter most to you.
Find the thing that pulls you out of your head and lets you relax for just a moment.
Hobbies can make a massive change in your mental health. Don’t take it too seriously, remember to listen to your needs and most of all, enjoy yourself.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.