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Today, people consume much more than they produce. This isn't inherently an issue in society, but I think that the value and rewards of producing something by yourself are often overlooked. Hobbies are activities that are done regularly for leisure and can include a wide variety of things.
First, I want to create a distinguishing point and break up hobbies into two categories: productive and unproductive. Examples of unproductive hobbies include playing video games, reading, and watching your favorite TV show. While unproductive can seem like a negative term, these hobbies are not bad. They are great outlets to enjoy your time, unwind your mind, and create fun memories with friends.
Today I want to focus on productive hobbies: Things like writing, drawing, and playing music. For the most part, these hobbies fall under the broad category of "creative" and generally have outputs that can be shared with other people.
Productive hobbies can activate something called "the flow state." This is a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment of that process. Most people have felt this before—I know I have when I'm "in the zone" while writing a big paper for a class that I'm almost finished with. Keeping up with a creative hobby not only can unlock this for you at the moment, but you also learn how to utilize it in other aspects of your life. Kevin Eschleman, an assistant psychology professor at San Francisco State University, led a study that asked people to describe their hobbies. Across groups, researchers found that people who engaged in creative hobbies outside of work performed 15 to 30% better when they were working.
Some things that are seen as a big barrier for picking up a hobby are time and money. While, yes, it might be expensive to purchase a new instrument and take a lot of time to learn a new song, there are plenty of options that neither require much time nor money. A huge recommendation I can give is to start journaling. Journaling is something that I hear a lot of people want to start doing, but seldom do people actually take that step. A tip is to not beat yourself up if you miss a day or two of your journal; it takes a few weeks to develop a new habit and soon you'll get in the rhythm of it.
You will also start to see the rewards and positive feelings you get from keeping up with something. If you don't know where to start, watch a few YouTube videos on something that you think you might enjoy, as they most likely have plenty of tips for people who are starting out and can set you on the right path.
Feeling overwhelmed these days is common, and it might feel like there's no way you can add something else to your plate of tasks you need to do. But trust me, you can. Having a hobby will not only increase your happiness, but also productivity levels in school and work. Also, if you find that you do have the time, you don't have to stick with a singular activity. We live in a time where it is easy to access, try, and dip into many things.
Now is a time to discover yourself and figure out what you like doing. We all have a lot of time on our hands staying stuck at home, so why not try something new. You may find out that you really enjoy an activity. Plus, having a hobby makes you more interesting. Now when someone asks you what you like to do, you have a fun answer that you can talk about. So get out there, learn more about yourself, and grow as a person. You'll never know where it will take you without trying.