Written By: Liam Watts / Photo by: Maggie Jean Wince
If you’ve ever been asked a question like “What do you do for fun?” or “Do you have any other interests?” and found yourself unable or unwilling to reply, you might need a hobby. All of us spend time doing the things that we have to. Whether it’s school, work, or some other form of drudgery, plenty of our time is spent in ways we don’t necessarily choose. It is a well-known fact that if someone spends all their time constantly working, they will build up stress and eventually burn out. Many people attempt to circumnavigate this by “crashing.” Crashing generally involves copious amounts of sleep, Netflix, and other activities designed to help us unplug. However, while you might think that these activities are helping, there is some research to support that there is a better way to relax: hobbies. To put it simply, hobbies make us healthier and happier, while also providing us with new opportunities.
Now, when it comes to stress, medical science agrees that while it is a natural part of life, if left unchecked, stress can quickly have severe negative consequences. Knowing this, researcher Katherine Ann Jordan conducted a study at the University of Georgia to determine how stressed college students were, what they did to cope with stress, and how effective their coping strategies were. What she found was that students who reported activities such as “rest” or “watching TV and surfing the internet” as stress relieving activities had higher perceived levels of stress than those students who reported “exercising,” “going outside,” “interacting with others,” or just simply doing something constructive with their time. In a nutshell, those students who spent their downtime doing more things actually felt less stressed than those students who rested, consumed media, and did fewer things. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with sleep or
digital media in and of themselves; however, what Jordan demonstrated is that constructive hobbies can be a more rejuvenating way to spend time.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to find a hobby, or even where to start. One way to find a hobby is to simply pursue something that you like. If you like music, try to learn an instrument. If you like movies and TV, attempt some photography. Food? Try cooking! Another way to find a hobby is to talk to your friends. Many people are passionate about their hobbies and would love to share them with someone else. With this strategy, who knows? Maybe, you might even make some new friends! Finally, sometimes it’s best to just try something completely new. If something has ever caught your eye, or you’ve found yourself wanting to do something but never doing it, now might be the time to try it. You’ll never know what might happen till you do.
Hobbies are great things that have the potential to make us healthier and happier. They can help you relieve stress, have fun, and meet new people. If you don’t know how to find a hobby, try something new or ask your friends. Working nonstop isn’t good for anyone. And the next time someone asks you, “What do you do for fun?” you’ll also have something great to talk about.