Wednesday, January 15th, 2020...1:48 am

The Benefits of Having a Hobby

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Hello fellow grad students and welcome back to the gradlife blog – 2020 edition!  I hope that things are off to a good start in your semester, and that your resolutions (if you made anyway) are holding up so far. However, I plan to talk about a lesser known association with the month of January: the fact that it is National Hobby Month.

That’s right! A month to celebrate and highlight the importance of activities that we do for fun, leisure and simply because we enjoy it. It made me think about the importance of keeping time in our schedules to include those kinds of activities when the semester gets going.

 

Now, I’ll admit, I tend to promise myself that I am going to keep up with a hobby during school to destress and I always end up choosing to do another reading or spend another hour on that essay. But when I do this I am forgetting how much better and more productive I feel after taking time to do something I enjoy. Even if it is for a short period of time, I am letting my brain take a break and doing something that brings me joy. In this way, hobbies remind us to take a break. But hey, you don’t have to take it from me. There are tons of proven benefits to engaging in our favourite activities!

I stress, EUstress

Did you know there is such thing as GOOD stress? Well, there is, and it’s called Eustress. Stress is usually associated with negative feelings, but eustress helps us to feel motivated and positive about what we are doing. It is when this level of arousal tips over to more than we can handle, that we tend to feel the negative effects of stress. Having a hobby or starting a new one, encourages more eustress because it challenges us, teaches something new, and allows us to be focused and motivated on something positive and fulfilling.

Feeling more eustress also helps us to feel more capable and autonomous which can also help to translate over to other work we do.

Having a hobby helps us to stay present

While doing an activity you love, have you ever found that time seems to get away from you? This has a few benefits. It can help to distract from stressful school work and also ground us in the present moment. It’s a two for one – you can do something you enjoy and get some mindfulness into your day!

Hobbies bring people together

Odds are if you enjoy doing something, there is a group of people who do too! Connecting with people who enjoy doing the same activity is a great way to meet new people and even connect with communities online that can give you new ideas and challenges to try.

There happen to be many other benefits to hobbies, a full list can be found in this Psychology Today article . I myself have recently gotten into crocheting (sadly my school schedule prevents me from going to Grad Room’s weekly KnitWit meetings!). Whenever I get home from a busy day at school or my placement I love taking some time to work on a project, or start a new one and it feels like a reboot of my focus and motivation. Below is a picture of me doing some school readings under the cozy new blanket I recently finished!

No matter what your hobby might be, I hope that you are able to find time this semester to do things that you enjoy. Taking breaks is needed and can be used to make you feel more up to tackling other things and is a great way to care for your mental well-being.

Until next time, Happy Hobbying!

Alex



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