How A New Hobby Can Change You

How A New Hobby Can Change You

How hobbies can help you deal with the stress.
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Starting a new year of college is daunting and stressful for everyone, whether you are starting your first year or your last. You are rushing around making sure you have all the supplies you need, all the textbooks required that are overly expensive, and just making sure you have the essentials.

Then you start your first week and you're rushing to your classes and getting a feel for them and deciding whether you are going to keep them or drop them. With all this preparation and all these decisions, it can send your head into a frenzy.

From personal experience, I can tell you the college stress can get really bad sometimes if you don’t have proper outlets. These outlets ensure that you’re not sitting in your dorm, or bedroom, at home in the dark, alone, staring at all the tasks you need to do and not knowing where to start.

There is one outlet in particular that I have found really helpful. What is it you ask? Hobbies. That’s right, I said good old-fashioned hobbies. It may sound ridiculous and you may be saying ‘I don’t have time for hobbies’, but I’m here to tell you that you do and it is all worth it.

Having hobbies has a lot of benefits for you as a student and even as a person. For one, they help lessen the stress. I know you must be saying, "Well it would add stress because I would have to carve out more time I don’t have to do them", but you’re wrong.

Personally speaking, my freshman year of college got really rough and I found myself down and out more often than not. It got to a point that my mom had to come get me and shake me out of it. After that, I opened my laptop and just started to write. I took one of my favorite fictional characters and started to build a story around them and before I knew it I had about a 1500-word story. After that my writing just took off and I really began to enjoy myself when I was doing it. It is my way of escaping reality for a bit and getting out of my own head and into someone else’s. Writing these fictional stories and characters helps me to better cope with the stress and gives me initiative to get my work done. I tell myself. "Finish this homework assignment, then you can outline this story, or start writing this story".

My hobby writing has become something that is work, but at the same time it isn’t because I enjoy it. This is what hobbies can provide for you. Take something you really enjoy, whether it be a sport, an art form, or even playing with your dog and make it your hobby. Doing these things can help you connect with yourself and help you get a better understanding of what you really need in a time of stress.

These hobbies can also help build confidence. I know with my writing, at first, I thought I was horrible, and still do sometimes, but I started to post it on my blog and got praise and such nice compliments. I had people telling me they loved my writing, that I was a great writer, and that they couldn’t wait to read more. Safe to say that made me want to write more, it gave me more confidence, and made me happier, which lessened the blow of the stress I was going through.

So, with your hobbies, challenge yourself. Posting my writing online was a real challenge for me and it paid off. This can be difficult with some hobbies, but just be creative and have fun with it. That’s the whole point. If you like to read challenge yourself to read two chapters in a day instead of one. If you like playing with your dog try going for a run with your dog. If you play basketball see how many baskets you can make in a minute and try to continuously beat your personal score. Challenging yourself gives you something to strive for, which in the end when you reach that challenge makes you all the happier and probably forget what you were stressing about in the first place.

Time can be an issue for some. I get life gets busy and college makes it busier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze at least 30 minutes a day to do something for you.

Trust me when I say I understand this. I am a full-time college student maxing out at 18 credit hours going to classes five days a week. On top of that, I work anywhere from 20-30 hours a week at my job and those shifts are usually 8 hours a piece, which takes my weekend as well as part of other days in the week. On top of that I have a house full of family and little kids that I adore and help with and couldn’t possibly say no when my 2-year-old nephew walks up to me and say, “Auntie Sommer, outside”. So, time for me is a virtue.

The way I maneuver through my schedule is on somedays I have anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours in between classes so I take that time to sit in the library and write, (which is where I am currently writing this). This gives me some “me time” while also sticking with my responsibilities.

So, if you have time between classes, use it to your advantage. If you have time between school and work, use it. If you have time in the morning before class, use it. Anytime you find yourself bored and have nothing to do use it to your advantage and do something you enjoy because at the end of the day it is only going to help you and make you happier.

To end on a high note, go out shoot some hoops, read that book, write that story, or run around the backyard with your dog. Do what you enjoy and I’m sure that little escape will lessen the stress level and help keep you level headed throughout your college semester.
Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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An Open Letter To The Friend Who Became My Sister

Love is thicker than blood.
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Sis,

There are friends. Then, there are best friends.

According to "Grey’s Anatomy’s" Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang, they're your person. The one who, “if I murdered someone, I’d call you to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor.” You’re so much more to me than any of those titles can express.

As I’ve matured throughout the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that good friends with good hearts serve an incredibly important purpose in our lives, going above and beyond what we give them credit and appreciation for.

The family we choose. You’re one of those.

The day we met, I knew that you were going to play an important role in my life. What I had no idea of was that you would join the cast of my life with a starring role.

First, I need to say thank you. Thank you for always coming to my locker to check in before class during high school. Thank you for letting me control the music on road trips. Thank you for sharing your family with me, and addressing my family as if you were born into it.

Thank you for patiently listening to the physical embodiment of a broken record when I complain about the same boy I’ve loved since senior year. Thank you for tagging along on every doctor’s appointment, grocery run, and trip to the post office, just because you know that I hate doing things alone.

Thank you for not thinking twice before dialing when I text you “please call me.” Thank you for never saying no to a coffee date. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for being my better half.

We don't share the same genetic makeup, but after all the sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations, shopping until our bank accounts cry, and swapping clothes so often that we don’t know what belongs to whom, how could I not consider you family? We have shared some my fondest memories together, and I wouldn’t want them to feature anyone but you.

You’ve been with me on my best days, and loved me on my worst. You know how to make me laugh when all I want to do is crawl into a hole and die.

Picturing sitting in my car with you in the passenger seat makes me long for summer, where we spend three months together doing all of our favorite things. You’ve seen me naked, done my makeup, and warned me before making a poor decision. Being away from you for extended periods of time makes me feel incomplete.

You are a piece of me that I am not quite whole without. You taught me that blood doesn’t make a family; love does.

You know me better than I know myself, which is both amazing and terrifying. You make me realize I’m enough for this world, and that means more to me than I know how to express in the limited words that make up the English language.

You remind me that I am more than my mistakes, and you keep me grounded when I spiral out of control. You’ve helped me carry my burdens along with your own, even when the universe comes down on you full force, way harder than you deserve.

You’re the one I come to for the truth if I think my new dress makes me look fat, and I know you’ll be honest. I trust you with my whole heart. You know the gory details about every boy I’ve ever crushed on, every professor who was an absolute jerk, and every fight I’ve had with my mom.

I wouldn’t make it in this life without someone who already understands and listens to every thought going through my head and each thing I seriously over think, even when you know, though you don’t say, it won’t matter in a week.

With all these affectionate things being said, don’t forget our fights. The few we’ve had were very real. We still don’t see eye to eye on some events of the past, but I never told my mom about it because there was no need to make her choose a side between me and her “second daughter.

We have learned to move forward, because the love we have for each other overwhelmingly outweighs any disagreement we’ve had, and always will.

Through all the tears and laughs, I don’t think that anything the world has to offer could seriously come between us. You go to a different school than me now, and college has rudely gotten in the way of our routine of spending every waking moment together.

Since we met, we’ve grown separately without growing apart. Neither of us are the same person we used to be all those years ago. Even so, we’ve pushed each other to our limits and you’ve given me the courage to keep going and do things that make me happy.

We lean on each other when it’s been a bad day and all we want to do is to snuggle and indulge in whichever show the other is currently watching unceasingly and unabashedly for comfort (it’s the little things). Having you as my co-pilot on this crazy ride called life has been frustrating, exciting, slightly concerning, absolutely insane, and something I don’t know how I would live without, and I don’t intend to find out.

I’ll conclude this letter with a quote from every basic, white girl’s favorite musical, “I don’t know if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

Love you forever,

Your sis

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Dear Bathroom Woman, Thanks For Reminding Me To Say 'Thanks' In 2019

You may have embarrassed me, but I understand why you said it.

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It's easy to get so caught up in the moment and getting on with your life that you forget to say "thanks."

I was in the bathroom today in San Diego. While in the stall, I heard a phone drop. I didn't know it was mine, however. When I got out to wash my hands, the women next to me, coming out of her stall yelled to all who could hear, "I found someone's phone! Did someone lose their phone?"

Sure enough, the phone lost was my brand new iPhone XR, that I got for Christmas. Feeling relieved, I quickly said, "Oh, that's mine!" and took the phone. I honestly thought that I muttered, "thanks," but maybe not. That's because normally, I don't forget to say "thanks." Normally, I am polite and considerate. But we all have our moments.

So I stuck my phone in my pocket, I washed my hands, and as she was walking out, another woman who had witnessed my retrieving my lost phone said to me, "You could have at least thanked her!"

I immediately felt my face go red and felt angry! I wondered who this woman thought she was, saying that to someone she doesn't even know. I knew that I would never say anything like to someone. So why'd she have to embarrass me like that?

But now I understand. Generally, people think more about themselves than others. Even people who do care a lot about others, still are caught up in their material needs and wants. You know that feeling of panic because you lost your phone, even if you're at the midst of a fun get-together, and you ruin the mood inevitably because you can't find your phone? Yes, you most likely know that feeling very well. We all need our social media 24/7.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that expressing gratitude isn't always the first thing we think of doing, but it should be. She didn't know me and yet she still took the time to give me my phone back. So from this day forward, I strive to never forget to say "thank you." Even to strangers.

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