Photo credits: Jeremy Yap via Unsplash
At the peak of quarantine, the majority of the country turned to finding hobbies to occupy their newfound downtime at home. People began painting, reading, doing their nails, crocheting, going on walks and much more. However, as the world begins to go back to how it was before the pandemic, it is increasingly difficult for people to find time for those hobbies. So, these hobbies are increasingly being dropped, but many don’t realize how important it is to create time for them.
One of the reasons we saw an emergence of various hobbies is that people needed to fill their schedule with something to keep them occupied. Turning to these hobbies also helps relieve struggles that many people have with their mental health. During the pandemic, many people were struggling with depression, anxiety and the stress that naturally accompanies the world shutting down. A study published on Karger had found that of its 8,780 participants, many indicated that “taking up a hobby was associated with the maintenance of lower levels of depressive symptoms…and a 32% lower odds of developing depression.” The fact that people turned to these hobbies to help alleviate stress that shows these hobbies are at least helping in some way. So why should we forget that? As a society, we tend to prioritize work and often forget to take time for ourselves.
In addition to mental health, hobbies can also help you maintain your physical health. This, of course, leans more toward hobbies such as hiking, running, cooking, etc. Keeping up that habit of going for an evening walk or a morning run is important because it helps keep you strong and healthy. This doesn’t mean that only these specific hobbies are physically healthy; a 2015 study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that “multilevel models revealed that participants had more positive and less negative mood, more interest, less stress, and lower heart rate when engaging in leisure than when not.” So, even if the hobby itself isn’t geared towards improving physical health, it is doing a lot more than you may think.
Of course, the pandemic has made many people change their outlook on their financial situation. While most people have invested some money into getting their hobby started, many are making that money back, and then some. A study of 595 consumers done by LendingTree found that 48% of those questioned had stated that they made money off of their hobby, and additionally 28% intend to eventually make a profit off of it. Not to mention, selling products can help build personal confidence and relationships with customers.
Relationships with customers isn’t the only kind of relationship that can form due to pursuing your hobby. Your hobby can help you build other new relationships. For example, there are various clubs on campus that follow common hobbies and can lead you into getting involved on campus and making new friends. There are also various online forums that allow you to connect with others who share your interests, even for those hobbies that aren’t that common. On another note, it can help to strengthen relationships you already have. Playing board games with your family, taking photos of friends or baking for your neighbors are all examples of ways to use a hobby to strengthen existing relationships.
One reason that people may get frustrated with their hobbies is because, as a society, we feel that we need to be good at something in order to pursue it. Believe it or not, it’s okay to not be good at your hobby. If you enjoy the process, you will build your confidence and happiness no matter the final result. If it’s truly something that you do just because you enjoy it, that’s all that matters.
Peighton Schwalm is a third-year English major with a minor in Journalism. PS963160@wcupa.edu