When you are coping with depression, it is important to take a full-on approach to healing that involves a combination of therapy, support from your loved ones and efforts to reduce the stress in your life. While you can’t expect to feel better overnight, you can start now by finding activities that help you overcome your symptoms. These hobbies are all perfect for helping you to heal mentally and physically from the effects of depression.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A HOBBY
- Hobbies encourage taking a break.Hobbies offer an opportunity to take a break—but a break with a purpose. If you’re like me, you might like to feel productive while you’re engaging in an activity and a hobby gives you that. You are doing something while still having fun. Hobbies are great ways to take a break from your busy life while still having a sense of purpose.
- Hobbies promote eustress. Eustress are a positive kind of stress, the kind that makes you feel excited about what you’re doing and about life. Hobbies, I’ve found, are one of the greatest ways to access that kind of stress. When you’re doing something, you love—something you don’t have to do for any other reason other than the fact that you love it—you feel a rush of excitement and joy.
- Hobbies offer a new challenge. Hobbies break up routine and challenge you in new ways, ways that are different from work, ways that are positive. The great thing about picking up a new hobby is that it provides an excellent outlet for challenging yourself without the negative stress that comes from a work-related challenge. The new challenge can also open your mind to new ways of seeing the world.
- Hobbies unite you with others. Even if you engage in a solo activity, like photography you’re exposing yourself to a new world of people, people who find the same thing enjoyable that you do.
- Hobbies provide an outlet for stress. Adding another activity to your to-do list might seem like a way to create more stress, but I’ve found that engaging in a new hobby provides a great outlet for releasing stress. By focusing on a non-work-related task, you’re giving your mind something else to focus on. And when you really get in the flow, all your worries and stresses seem to fade away.
- Hobbies promote staying present. If you really love what you’re doing, you tend to get in the flow or zone and really, truly focus on the moment. When I’m working on a project, hours can magically fly by because I’m so intensely focused on what I’m doing. Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, I’m completely and undeniably in the present.
- Hobbies have physical health benefits. Research has found that engaging in enjoyable activities during downtime were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index. Engaging in these activities also correlated to higher levels of positive psychosocial states and lower levels of depression and negative effect. Hobbies are good for your mind and your body.
Finding a new hobby isn’t always easy. You can’t just force yourself to like something; it must come naturally. If you don’t already have something you’re interested in (or might be interested in), try new things. Sign up for a class that sounds interesting or ask your friends what kinds of hobbies they enjoy doing. The key to finding a new hobby—and falling in love with it—is keeping an open mind and being willing to give new things a try. You never know what might become your next favorite past-time!
Journaling is an informal writing style where you can let your mind wander as much as you desire. Whether you want to write about what makes you angry or sad or you want to reflect upon a silly incident at work, putting your thoughts down on paper is a great way to gain perspective. Those who love writing already can take this hobby a step further by starting a novel or non-fiction piece that can be added to each day.
When depression rears its ugly head, it is time to act. Always begin by seeking professional help to ensure that you begin the right treatment. Then, enjoy exploring new hobbies that help transport you to a happier state of being where you are in control of your health and happiness.