Doing Hobbies in Exchange For Our Own Mental Wellness

Serina is turned towards the camera and smiles directly.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Healthy Campus Initiatives. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanHCI on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

As a content creator, I have experienced burnout and disinterest when I have used my hobbies for profit. When money becomes a driving force for an individual to begrudgingly continue their hobbies, it may lead to issues that affect the creator’s mental health. Due to this, the line with which a hobby is enjoyable and that of a tiring job can get rather confusing. 

When it comes to health, we should prioritize and understand aspects of our own life that can be considered as hazardous. It’s perfectly normal to enjoy the hobbies that we choose, but we also have to acknowledge the premises of overworking. We often look over this idea, but the overworking of our hobbies could potentially put a toll on our own mental and physical health.

Serina is staring in-between two bookcases with her hands on her hips.

However, having a healthy relationship with our hobbies and allowing ourselves to have rationale for it can be perceived as being especially beneficial. Daniel Hövermann, a writer for Medium, discusses the dichotomy of stress and hobbies and how it could potentially alleviate some of the anxiety that we feel throughout our days. In one of his published articles, Hövermann states that “…hobbies can help to calm your mind and reduce your stress level. Besides that, they grant you valuable times with friends or things you love.”

One of my own favorite hobbies is fixing furniture with my family. We love to thrift-shop shabby items and refurbish them with the intent of showcasing our own specific creativity. Since repainting and reconstruction are physically tiring, we do not overwork ourselves by taking on more than our bodies can handle.

For myself, I have just recently changed my own perspective on the matter as I have returned to treating my hobby as a creative outlet and not just as a money making side hustle. Mainly, I had to reflect on my own thoughts when I had prioritized money over my own well being. I found myself begrudgingly doing work and not enjoying it for those simple enjoyable moments that it had once brought me. I had to reassess: “Is the hobby unenjoyable because it is fueled by making money?”

Serina is smiling while looking down and reading a book.

Due to the premise of money, many people sacrifice their own wellbeing and happiness over the pursuit of accruing more. As we all know, life can become exceptionally difficult because of money. Due to situations such as paying for education, paying for daily necessities or even personal expenses, the main idea still remains the same — life can prove to be difficult.

Using our own creative hobbies as a financial outlet can temporarily alleviate some of these hardships that we feel, but just as Hövermann says, “Change the job instead of stressfully trying to turn your positively distracting hobbies into cash-cows. Otherwise, you will cripple both. You end up with a job you hate and with a hobby that lost all its lightness.” Sometimes, turning a hobby into a second job will only hurt our own health.

Serina is sitting down on a colorful bench and looking off in the distance.

We must understand why hobbies are so helpful for stress relief and when it becomes detrimental to our physical and mental health. The bottom line: hobbies should not cause stress because their sole purpose is to provide happiness.

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Story by:
Serina Gonzalez, Rowan Global student in M.A. in Strategic Communication program

Photos by:
Ashley Craven, junior sports communication and media major

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

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