Get a Hobby
In a lot of movies, TV shows and even in real life, if someone seems bored, upset about something or has a lot of time on her hands, her friend may say, "You really need to get a hobby." May sound harsh at first, but the friend is probably right. Hobbies are a great way to find something you enjoy doing, something to take up some time or something to distract you from a bad situation. It could be something personal, like a bad break-up, or a professional problem, such as stress at work. No matter what the problem, a hobby helps for a lot of people!
My hobby has always been reading. I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My neighbor who watched my sister and I when we were younger recently told me she always remembers me as an elementary school kid, waiting for the bus with her nose in a book. There were nights where I'd have to finish that great book I was reading, so I would sit by my nightlight to keep reading without alerting anyone that I was up past my bedtime. Alas, most of the time my mom would catch me anyway and I'd get in trouble!
Reading has served me well over the years. Not only has it been a helpful hobby in school and a big part of my decision to become a writer, but it's been incredibly enjoyable.
It's also been a great distraction in bad times. After my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, I'd escape to a good book frequently, especially during the last four months when she was given the dreaded "timeline" of how many weeks she had left to live. I read grief and spiritual books to help me get through, but I will also admit reading J.D. Robb's crime/romance "In Death" series helped me "get away" for a while, too.
There are so many hobbies to choose from, and they can help alleviate mental stress. Some, like biking or swimming, can be physically beneficial for you as well. No matter what your hobby is, an enjoyable pastime can be paramount to your mental health.
Shameless plug: Have a hobby you want to share with ADVANCE readers? Submit a description of your hobby, how you got started and what you enjoy about it for our Downtime column. Include a photo and send your description to firstname.lastname@example.org.