Finding a Hobby You Love
by Megan T., Recreation Therapist
“I’m so bored, there is nothing to do!” How many times has this thought ever crossed your mind? When it does, what do you typically do to stop feeling bored? Maybe you decide to lay on the couch and watch TV all day, play video games, spend hours on social media, or – my personal favorite – eat because you’re bored. For some, boredom may be what triggers you to drink, use drugs, gamble, or engage in unhealthy sexual activities. All of these activities listed can quickly turn into unhealthy, and some in cases even addictive, activities.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. “I watch TV in my down time to help me relax”, or “when I game, I’m still interacting with my friends and meeting new gamers”, or “I only drink/smoke/gamble with my friends and we don’t get together very often.” All of those thoughts are perfectly valid, and for some people may truly be harmless hobbies they can engage in in moderation. It’s important to keep in mind that engaging in any unhealthy activity can lead you down a slippery slope, and if you are still experiencing boredom even with some of these hobbies, it might be time to re-evaluate what you are doing to fill your free time.
Having a healthy leisure lifestyle is important for everyone, but especially for those in recovery. Being able to turn to healthy hobbies you enjoy can make all the difference between maintaining your recovery or relapsing if you start to feel bored, or even stressed and overwhelmed. I’ll admit, I do love to binge some of my favorite TV shows every now then, but it is important to balance those mindless hobbies that can become addictive with healthy hobbies that keep your mind and body engaged.
“You want to me to find a new hobby I enjoy? Where do I even start, I already know what I like!” That is a totally fair point. It can be daunting to think about what else you can do to fill your free time, especially if you don’t have much free time to begin with. The key to finding a hobby you love is to be realistic with how much time you have to dedicate to that hobby, while keeping in mind what kinds of things interest you or get you excited and happy. If you’re afraid of heights, I wouldn’t recommend taking up rock climbing or skydiving. If you don’t like sitting still at home, maybe doing jigsaw puzzles or learning how to crochet won’t be a good a fit. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, read more often, or learn a new skill? The only thing stopping you from doing that is yourself! Start by making a schedule of what a typical day looks like for you, and see where you can make time to try something new and find a hobby you love! Not only can the right hobby help you feel more fulfilled, but if it’s something that excites you it will decrease your feelings of boredom and potentially prevent a relapse, especially if boredom is a trigger. Sounds like a great reason to try new things and have some fun to me!