Tangible hobbies in a digital world

Finding small ways to unplug can add up


Ella Jennings

Replace that phone in your hand.

Annie Johnson, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the stay-at-home order, many people found themselves with excessive free time and a jarring transition to a fully digital world. As remote learning and working from home began, the separation between work and leisure became increasingly blurred, making relaxation difficult despite the created downtime. This transition demonstrated the importance of having physical hobbies in order to decompress from screens.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I remember how scrolling mindlessly on my phone no longer offered the relaxing qualities it had in the past. Because of this, I found myself feeling mentally exhausted and less productive.

In order to fight this fatigue, I decided to teach myself something I had always wanted to learn: crochet. Learning how to crochet gave me the opportunity to unwind and focus on something other than my work. Also, the creative process of crocheting helped me look at my schoolwork in a different way.

With this new hobby, I discovered a more meaningful form of relaxation than switching between apps on my phone. Crocheting has gradually become part of my routine and something I look forward to daily so I can finally step away from the screens that have become a vital aspect of my school day because of remote learning.

While talking to other individuals who also experienced mental exhaustion, I realized that most people have taken up a new, or long forgotten, hobby in hopes of getting away from their computer screens. Most of these hobbies include things like cooking, gardening and exercising.

These are activities most do every day, but they became more meaningful in the midst of the pandemic. Others decided to pursue more artistic endeavors, such as playing a new instrument, painting or writing. Before, many students preferred to unwind in front of a screen, rather than take time out of their day to engage in genuine hobbies.

Although hobbies are seen as a way to decompress from your daily obligations, engaging in a fascinating activity might benefit your productivity during the workday. When people choose to bring joy and purpose into their lives through their activities, it combats the burden of everyday stress.

This, consequently, allows you to approach each work task with a clear mind and relaxed mood. Similarly, the creativity necessary for many of these activities engages the mind, boosts your mood and your problem-solving abilities. Moreover, participating in a creatively stimulating activity will help you undertake mundane tasks differently.

Since hobbies both clear your mind and help you practice skills you wouldn’t otherwise utilize, your productivity and work ethic will improve substantially. Finally, decompressing with a physical and meaningful hobby will prove rewarding since you are working towards a tangible goal. Whether this end product is a handmade sweater, a homemade meal, or better physical health, the benefits of unwinding with a screenless hobby are remarkable in both your work and personal life.

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