If you are like a lot of people, when someone asks you what you like to do in your free time, your first thought is, “What free time?”

After all, the pace of our daily lives tends to be fast and filled to bursting with job responsibilities, family activities, household chores, and more. If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, there are additional demands on your time, including (but certainly not limited to) attending recovery support meetings.

For many folks, “free time”—when they have any at all—is devoted to watching television or scrolling through social media (or doing both at the same time). These are pretty passive activities, but sometimes it just seems like they are the only thing you have energy for at the end of a long day.

This, arguably, is a pretty sad state of affairs. But the pressure many of us feel to avoid “wasting time” has led to constant busyness (which can sometimes mean being busy trying to look busy) and feelings of guilt when we are not doing something that feels productive.

We would suggest that one solution to this issue is to reframe what we mean when we say something is or is not “productive.” This reframing, we would argue, has benefits for everyone—but especially for those who are in recovery.

Let’s take a look at how having an engaging hobby is, in fact, the opposite of wasting time

Why You Should Have a Hobby

As we have noted, one of the big reasons people give for not having a hobby is that they are simply too busy. Spending time on leisure activities means taking time away from other responsibilities.

This is where our notion of reframing productivity comes in. Spending time doing something you truly enjoy is absolutely productive when it comes to your overall well-being—which in turn supports your ongoing sobriety. 

The health benefits of hobbies include:

Those are significant benefits, right? And if you can access those benefits by doing something you love, that is undeniably a good use of your time.

And the best news? It does not much matter what hobby you choose as long as you enjoy it.

Start Doing Something You Love to Do

Have you ever told someone about an activity you enjoy only to have them dismiss it as silly or boring or, well, a waste of time? When that happens—when someone “yucks your yum”—it is easy to take that to heart. You might find yourself thinking that your hobby really isn’t the best use of your time.

But how someone else feels about your hobby is not important. The only thing that matters is that you enjoy it.

Maybe you would like to join a bowling league. Great!

Maybe you’d enjoy a book club whether in person or online. Fabulous!

Maybe you enjoy visiting antique shops in search of things to add to a collection. Wonderful!

Maybe you have always wanted to learn to juggle. Go for it!

As long as the hobby does not harm anyone and does not tempt you to use drugs or alcohol, it is fair game. If you truly enjoy it, your time spent doing it is worthwhile.

Get That Hobby on Your Calendar

When it comes to all of the things in our life that we habitually think of as “productive,” we tend to use a calendar to help us get where we need to go and do what we need to do.

If we shift our thinking so that we consider our hobbies productive, it only makes sense that we would schedule time to engage with them just like we schedule everything else. Putting your hobby into your calendar reinforces the idea that it is, in fact, important.

After all, there is nothing more important than maintaining your sobriety—and your hobby can help you do that.

We are Here to Help You Get Sober

At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we are fully engaged in the evidence-based practices that help those we serve reclaim—and maintain—their sobriety. We personalize treatment because we understand that each individual has their own story and their own specific needs. 

Our medically supervised approach to detoxification allows you to regain your sobriety while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. Our rehabilitation program includes group and individual therapy and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders. And our continuum of care ensures you can start your recovery journey feeling motivated and confident in your sobriety.

The first step is up to you. When you are ready to make a change in your life, our Indiana team is ready to help you accomplish your goals.