by Zsenai Logan

One of the hardest things about study is the feeling that you have to give everything else up to do well. It always feels like a choice. Should I go hang out with my friends or should I pass this exam? Should I play this game I’ve been excited about or should I get an A on this assignment? Should I read the book that’s been sat on the bedside table for three months or should I do my assigned readings?

But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. Not only are hobbies fun, but they’re also beneficial to both your mental wellbeing and your study. Often research is telling us all about how people who have regular, fun hobbies are not only happier, but more productive.  And really who would deny that, as the alternative seems to be thinking about work 24/7 and that’s just going to cause you to have a breakdown?

But it is important to have proper time management. While it would be great to read this article and think that you can go out and do your hobby whenever you want, realistically, your study would suffer. But it’s okay to schedule a hobby; it doesn’t make it any less of a hobby. Maybe you can set aside a half hour of reading time before bed, or right when you get home you can play a game for an hour. Whatever your hobby is, it’s important to schedule it in because it’s important to find the difference between a hobby for interest and a hobby for procrastination.

Hobbies for procrastination are not really hobbies. We’ve all been stuck in that time-suck that is mobile games. You say to yourself you’re going to take a little break because you deserve it but suddenly it’s five hours later and you just have to beat that next level. Well done. You’ve successfully procrastinated. Next week you is going to hate now you.

What if instead you had decided you could have a break but only for an hour? Instead of a mobile game you could go start that new videogame that you’ve been waiting all year for. Sure you could go off and end up in the same time-sink, coming out of a gaming coma five hours later, or you could set a timer on your phone and when the hour is up, get back to work. You’ll feel a lot better having done something you actually enjoy and next week you isn’t going to be so upset.

But what are my hobbies?

Your hobbies are whatever you want them to be. Just think about something you enjoy. Maybe it’s going for a run or reading a book or baking a cake. It can be anything. It can even be something that you don’t know you enjoy. Try learning a new language or scrapbooking or stamp collecting. Maybe you’ll discover a new hobby. Or maybe you’ll hate every moment and never want to touch it again.

Whatever your hobbies are just make sure they don’t slip away while you’re studying; your mental health and your work will be much better for it. And don’t forget to enjoy that downtime. Forget about study for a moment and just have fun.

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