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Hobbies are an excellent way to keep your mind stimulated in a good and relaxed way. A pastime can definitely be enjoyed just for the sake of it, but a hobby can also become a great source of inspiration to your way of thinking or approaching different aspects of life. If you’re thinking of properly starting a pastime, your university years could be the perfect time for that since even smaller hobbies can be a good balancing force between your free time and studies (and work). Here are some of our suggestions to the students!

1. Journaling

Whether you do it with pen and paper or your laptop, journaling is a fantastic way to let out all that’s in your mind, like opening the window of a stuffy room. Particularly if you feel like you can’t organize your thoughts properly and need an outlet to just separate your thoughts and ideas – or to connect them and see what’s been bothering or even inspiring you lately. Journaling is also private and safe and encourages you to be open which might enable a whole new range of expression and contemplation, the positive effect of which is that you get to know yourself more and what drives you – or what you absolutely dislike.

2. Book journaling

Are you an avid reader? Have you noticed that during or after you’ve read a book, you always stop and reflect on what you’ve read? This might become even better if you try book journaling. It doesn’t matter whether you could write a whole page or just a few sentences about how horrid or amazing a book was; if there’s a thought or an idea, just write it. The great thing about this is that you can get so much out of your reading experiences and learn plenty of this complex world of ours that might also stimulate conversation with someone else. And who doesn’t want to learn? You'll also vividly remember the stories!

3. Baking

Baking can be a challenge since it kind of demands more precision than cooking. As in, too much or little of flour, salt, butter, or milk for example can ruin the whole thing. However, because different pastries need, more or less, precision in their making, it might become a pleasant pastime in learning to bake as the process can take your mind off other things. You can start with easy classics like cookies and cupcakes and advance every week or two by trying to make a new pastry. (Also, baking fails often make hilarious stories.)

4. Drawing or painting

Or both. Lovely activities that most definitely can take your mind off other things and, in fact, relax it significantly. Drawing or painting can also be a great means of expression, of course, if there’s a lot in your mind. Don’t obsess over how to start or what to draw; just grab the pen or brush and let your childlike instinct of experimenting with shapes and colors lead you at first. (You never know, you might end up creating fine abstract paintings.) These creative activities can be inspired by anything really that’s around you or merely by your fascination with the details of a flower, for example. Don’t think too much and enjoy filling the paper or canvas. Check out this article on how to engage with this hobby more.

5. Photography

Many of us absolutely love taking photos and no wonder, it simply is fun. And even though many of us don’t possess those expensive cameras specifically for photography, it doesn’t mean we can’t engage in the hobby. The smartphone is quite efficient, not to mention ridiculously good with all its features, and a perfectly good device to capture a moment of the day or a particular part of your environment that always catches your eye. Is there a specific thing that you always pay attention to, like the sky, the streets when they’re empty or full, how objects look in daylight, or how your friends look in the distance? Do you like taking pictures of things that seem out of place and peculiar? Start a collection of photos and see how it will turn out.

6. Writing postcards

Writing delightful postcards just to tell how things are going and to wish the best to the recipient might seem odd since obviously you can text them or send a picture in a few seconds. However, getting into postcards might just become more enjoyable than you’d think. First, it’s not just a piece of paper you’re buying – you’re buying a lovely card with (hopefully) the best pictures that are inspired by what the receiver likes. Second, you’re actually writing by pen and sending news or mere goings-on with your own wonderful handwriting. Third, it really can be a nice surprise in the receiver’s mailbox. Who doesn’t like lovely mail? (If you think great mail is only what you’ve ordered, come on.) If you have friends who live in different cities or countries, why not give it a go. You can also try this lovely way of sending postcards by taking part in a project called Postcrossing. Happy writing!

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Helsinki Contributor
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