As I mentioned in my last post, I think hobbies are a fantastic stress reliever. However, we need to make an effort to keep up with them. As adults, yes, we do have other responsibilities, but it is also our responsibility to keep ourselves healthy and happy. As a post about the importance of hobbies in “Your Zen Life” explains, hobbies can not only clear your mind and reduce the negative stresses in your life, but they can also open your mind to think more creatively and introduce you to people with similar interests.
One of my favorite ways to escape the harsh realities of life, as a kid, was to jump into another reality through reading. Now, as my life grows ever more stressful, I’m reading less and less. Some people don’t enjoy reading and they have other ways to reduce stress. That’s fine, but for people like me, ignoring the calming affects of reading a good book is truly a waste. I feel strongly that making an effort to read more would have noticeable positive affects. According to a study by the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress by approximately 68%. That is significant, and something to be taken very seriously.
One of the best ways to truly devote to a hobby is by joining a group or club focused on that hobby. I encourage you to find a book club or any club associated with a hobby you enjoy, to not only help keep you consistent and accountable, but to also help you bond with people who enjoy that hobby as well.
The English department at Purdue University hosts Books and Coffee every Thursday throughout February. At each Books and Coffee gathering, a Purdue faculty member discusses a book that is significant in contemporary literature. It’s an opportunity to hear about, learn about, and discuss new books, and if you get there early, you get coffee and pastries. Books, coffee, and pastries…I think I’ve found my heaven…ehem, sorry, don’t mind me and my drool. Follow this link to the website for more details.
It’s so easy to turn on the TV and veg, but relaxation shouldn’t only be about turning off the mind, it should also be focused on healthily disseminating the negative and stressful burdens you collect every day, not pushing them aside to be relived later. So come to Books and Coffee, and let’s find our place of zen within the pages of a great novel. If you’re not on campus, or you can’t make it, try to find a local book club. At the very least, open a book and read one page, every day. Sometimes the hardest part of getting back into a hobby is taking that very first step. So, let’s us all, every day, attempt to read that one page.