We all have a lot on our minds all of the time. Sadly, that is probably an understatement.
Wondering & Worrying
We are worried about how unhappy our boss seems to be with us at work. We wonder how to help our kids with their surprisingly baffling homework. We struggle to figure out why our relationships keep going south. We worry about the economy, about public health, about the overall health of the planet. From the smallest detail of our personal lives to the largest issues facing humanity, there is enough to keep our minds racing 24/7 and our stress level going up and up.
Unfortunately, many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for all of these issues constantly competing for our attention. They may simply be looking for a way to quiet the mind so that they can experience some relief from their worries. But of course, substance use is not a sustainable solution. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So, let’s say you have been down that path of substance use. Let’s say you have been through detoxification and rehabilitation. Let’s say you are in the early days of your recovery. And let’s say you can feel the stress of life threatening your sobriety already.
You can’t go back to drugs or alcohol. How are you going to get some much needed relief from the stress you feel?
We suggest you get a hobby.
How Having a Hobby Can Help
You might suspect we are just being glib. Get a hobby? Really? How is that supposed to help?
Those are fair questions—but be assured that we are serious. Hobbies can play a key role in recovery for a couple of reasons. First, an absorbing hobby can help you avoid boredom, which is the enemy of recovery. By the same token, hobbies can quiet the racing mind so that it can set aside all its worries for a bit. Occupying the mind in a healthy way is a great stress reliever and an excellent way to address—or even avoid—cravings for drugs or alcohol.
Let’s Bust the Myth that Hobbies Are a Waste of Time
You may be reluctant to take up a hobby because you don’t want others to think you are lazy or selfish or unengaged in the important issues swirling all around you. But we all know the importance of rest. An athlete balances workouts, competition, and rest to stay in peak competitive form. We sleep (or at least we should sleep) for a third of every 24 hours so that we can function effectively during our waking hours. And we take a walk around the block or a quick coffee break to clear our head so that we can refocus on our work. None of those rest periods are associated with laziness—and spending time engrossed in our hobbies shouldn’t be either.
Note that we are not suggesting that you simply shut out the world and disappear down a rabbit hole of personal interests. But a hobby is your chance to rest your mind and spirit so that you are better equipped to deal with all the challenges that come your way. Taking a little time for yourself is better for you—and better for those who depend on you.
You Should Not Stress Over Picking a Hobby
You may be getting stressed out as you read this because you have no idea what hobby you might take up. It might seem like just one more thing to add pressure to your life. But the whole point here is to find something that does not add to your overall stress level.
So let us reassure you: you cannot get this one wrong.
You are simply looking for an activity you truly enjoy that can occupy your mind from time to time. Read your way through the complete works of Agatha Christie at whatever pace you choose. Collect baseball cards not as an investment but for the simple joy of it. Take up geocaching. Or cosplay. Or seeing which coffee shop in your community (or beyond) makes your favorite mocha. Start writing, painting, acting, singing, or playing an instrument. Become an avid fan of a sports team or a comic book or a television series and dive into everything you can learn about it.
As you have probably guessed by now, it really does not matter one bit what your hobby turns out to be. It is your hobby, after all (though hobbies can be fun to share with friends). The only requirement is that you enjoy it and that it gives you a much needed break from your daily stress and responsibilities.
Ignore anyone—including yourself—who suggests that your hobby is a waste of time. Remind yourself that taking this time for something you enjoy will help you more effectively deal with everything else life throws at you.
Our Commitment to You Is More Than a Hobby
At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we are wholly committed to your sobriety and ongoing well-being. We will personalize a treatment plan that takes into account a variety of factors including any co-occurring mental health disorders that may accompany (or be a contributing factor to) a substance use disorder. And we will provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to start your recovery journey off on the right foot. Oh, and we will encourage you to find a hobby you enjoy. After all, the staff is sure to have some suggestions based on their own hobbies.