Coping with sadness and stress- one hobby at a time

Sophomore, Halle Gardner enjoys dancing as a way to recharge after a day at school.

 

Amid uncertainty and confusion, one thing is certain: COVID-19 has been hard for everyone, but especially high school students. With so much time at home, it is easy to feel sad or anxious as a result of feelings of boredom or loneliness. This school year, it is especially important to develop healthy hobbies to fill our time. 

Social worker, Lindsay Taylor says “Having a hobby is important because it gives you purpose. It gives you something to look forward to and helps you focus on self-care which is vital in taking care of our mental and physical well-being.” 

There are a variety of different hobbies that anyone can choose to try, but there are certain activities which specifically improve mental wellness: 

  •  Exercise of any sort– Exercise helps to regulate your mood, clear your mind, improve sleep, and boost dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. These are hormones that are responsible for generating pleasure and happiness. One form of exercise that many students enjoy is dance because it is easy to get involved in and express yourself. Dance teacher, Fara Sadler says, “There are almost always open or “rec” classes at various studios for beginners to take,” she notes that dance is important physically, but it also “makes you feel energized and productive after a long day… to give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.” 
  • Drawing– Drawing promotes relaxation and relieves stress, as well as expanding your creativity, it can also be a more active alternative to meditation. 
  • Outdoor Activities- Even as little as thirty minutes outside will generate many health benefits. Not only does being outside strengthen the immune system and help us regulate our blood pressure, but time outside will also improve mood and provide a distraction from whatever is causing negative emotions. 
  • Listening to Music- Next time you are feeling stressed, go jam out to music in your car or learn how to play the piano. Music helps to regulate your mood and make you feel happy almost instantly. Senior Makenna Webb says, “I definitely use music as an outlet… writing lyrics about what I’m going through or emotions that I have help me sort through my thoughts and get a new perspective on things.” 
  • Writing- Expressing your feelings can be therapeutic. Journaling can be an especially effective method of relieving stress because it helps you feel in control of your thoughts. 

When choosing hobbies, make sure the hobby is enjoyable, meaningful, and removes you from technology, which can be a great way to connect with friends and family, but too much time on electronic devices can leave you feeling anxious, tired, or depressed very easily. Taylor notes, “Challenge yourself to limit your own screen time and see how that helps with your anxiety, depression, and stress.” 

With more time spent at home away from friends, it is important to find a hobby to fill in that helps to make you feel happy and calm despite everything that is going on.