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Hobbies productive for mental health

Samantha Church1 / 2
Samantha Church2 / 2

Trying to find something to do in the little spare time I have is usually how I spend most of that free time. With little money to spend, I'd have to find something that is both cheap and productive. But does it really have to be productive? How much time should I spend working, as opposed to doing something I really enjoy?

These days, everyone I know has turned their hobby into a business.

Do you like talking to people on the internet? Start a vlog or a podcast.

Do you like to knit? Start selling your creations on Etsy.

Do you like to write poetry? Combine it into a book and sell it online.

Do you like to take pictures? Take artsy pictures and become Instagram famous.

Do you like dogs? Create a Twitter account rating dogs.

If you aren't already doing any of that, it might be too late to join those parties.

How important are hobbies really? According to Psychology Today, hobbies are important for many reasons. They help you structure your time, promote flow in your life, make new friends and cope with stress. So, why haven't I started my hobby?

According to the book, "Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte, you aren't as busy as you think you are. We have just succeeded at convincing ourselves we are super busy.

So, I'm working on finding a hobby that doesn't include staring at my TV. A hobby is something you do for fun in your spare time — a definition of which I must often remind myself.

The first step is finding your spare time. Everyone has it — maybe the little breaks between your jobs, or the time you spend before you go to bed.

The next step is finding a hobby that you can do during this time. There are things you can do in pieces, like knitting or journaling. Other things like baking and painting might take more of your time. It is more about what you want to do, not about how much time you have to dedicate to that hobby.

The final step is to do it for pure pleasure. Find a hobby that you enjoy doing that has no social or monetary benefit. Even though we live in a world where achievements are praised on social media and at dinner with friends, sometimes it can be rewarding to do something for fun.

However long it takes you, have a hobby that you can be proud to spend time actually doing it.

Samantha Church is a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth and an intern at the Superior Telegram. She works as the managing editor at The Bark, the student news organization at UMD.