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Dean of Students

Hobbies enhance creativity, focus, and joy

graceWhat do you do when you have spare time? Do you sit on your phone or laptop checking Facebook and every other social media account you have? Do you binge on Netflix and cable? When was the last time you read a book just for fun or did something other than sitting in front of a screen?

Sometimes it feels like we don’t have time for hobbies. As college students, we have a lot going on. I have a tendency to feel guilty if I watch TV episodes when they actually air instead of just DVR-ing them later. I feel like there is always something more productive I could be doing

But over the past few years, I’ve found a system that really works for me. I keep a very detailed agenda with each class, internship, or work requirement in a different color; each day, I write down what I have to do that day for the next day or two in advance. I feel really accomplished when I get to cross-off items on my list, and it helps me feel like I deserve to cut loose and watch a few episodes of my favorite shows when I have the opportunity.

When I was six years old, I started taking piano lessons, and I continued playing regularly up until I came to college. I haven’t played often in the past few years, but I still enjoy having the ability to pick it up when I go home. For Christmas this year, my boyfriend gave me a keyboard, and now I’m able to play here at school when I want to do something.

Even if playing an instrument isn’t your thing, it’s important for you to find a hobby you really enjoy. A New York Times article addressed this when Carol Kauffman, an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, stated, “Hobbies can enhance your creativity, help you think more clearly, and sharpen your focus. When you’re really engaged in a hobby you love, you lose your sense of time and enter what’s called a flow state, and that restores your mind and energy.”

Although I’m not one to enjoy working out, I know that some people do. The Rec Center offers a varietyof fitness classes, so you could try a couple of those if you’re interested. Reading books for fun may seem weird because you probably have to read for a lot of your classes (I know I do), but it can be refreshing to read a different genre. Art can be a good release as well, whether it’s through painting, photography, sculpting or any other medium.

If you’re not really an art person either, you could consider cooking or baking for fun. I personally love baking gourmet cupcakes, and I know that it can be a really good time. Additionally, this is something you can do with other people, if you want to hang out with your friends while clearing your heads.

Hobbies are important for more than just something to do when you have a minute. They help you have a release throughout your life whenever you get stressed. Additionally, hobbies just help you be a happier person in general, because you can unite with people who have similar interests as you.

A Fox News article suggests adopting a new hobby every three months. That may seem ambitious while we balance classes and other activities, but there is no reason not to strive for it. Trying new things can make you happier, and so can having a balanced life outside of school in general. Find your passion, and maybe you can figure out a way to adjust that into a hobby you can do for the rest of your life. Just don’t feel guilty if you end up indulging in a couple more episodes than you planned on. Live a little!

Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to dvgvjohns@ilstu.edu.

 

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