“I used to do that.”
“That was my favourite hobby.”
“I volunteered a lot in high school.”
“I just don’t have enough time anymore.”
We’ve all found ourselves saying these words at one point. University is difficult—a lot more difficult than high school. And, as such, university demands that you devote more of your time to school. It’s often said that sleep is the first thing you cut out, but we often forget about all the fun little things we used to do before we started university. Maybe you were into theatre, or music, or art. Maybe you liked reading or writing, or playing sports, or board games. Maybe you just liked to take walks, or spend quiet evenings with friends.
Somehow, when you got to university, all of that changed. You suddenly stopped finding time for all of your hobbies that you once loved so much. And that’s understandable. We all go through this transition. But we don’t necessarily have to.
Sure, school demands a lot more of us now than it did before. Sometimes, that means we need to spend hours on end in our rooms or in the library, buckling down to work. And that’s okay. But, there are always ways that you could find more time for yourself, even if it’s just once a week, or even once a month. Taking part in something you enjoy is an important part of self-care, and taking that moment to rest and have a little fun can really help to relieve some of the terrible stress and pressure that school puts us under.
Without further ado, here are five steps you can take to help you find the time to indulge in all your favourite old hobbies.
1. Join A Club
Universities are full of amazing clubs for you to join, and they encompass all kinds of interests. From religious groups, to bands, to chess club, there is almost no end to your options! Clubs hold you accountable for your hobbies; there are other people there who are going to wonder where you are if you don’t show up to a meeting. However, there is also a lot of flexibility in clubs. If you need to take a night to study, you can probably do that fairly easily. Clubs are also a great way to meet people who share your interests and potentially make some lifelong friends!
2. Wake Up Early
I can hear the groans for this one. Waking up early is not something that many university students like to do, but as long as you make sure you’ve slept the length of time that you need, it can be a simple way to add hours to your day. Instead of sleeping for that extra couple of hours, try getting up a little early and indulging in your activities of choice. It can be a great way to start your day off!
3. Use Your Weekends
Weekends can be so tempting sometimes, can’t they? You’ve been working hard all week, and now’s your chance to spend a couple days without getting out of bed—just relaxing and watching Netflix. As great as this might sound, it could be more beneficial to try doing something more constructive. You don’t even have to go outside, if you don’t want to. Even if it’s just reading a book, doing art, writing, or playing games with friends, doing things to stimulate your mind is good for you. Plus, when they’re things you enjoy doing, they don’t have to tire you out the way that schoolwork does.
4. Schedule Your Time
We’ve all been told to schedule time for homework, readings, assignments and classes, but sometimes, we forget to put in time for ourselves. Making a schedule can help you see where you might have a little bit of free time. Do you have an extra half hour between classes? Consider spending it doing something you enjoy. Even such a small amount of time can make the whole day seem brighter. Putting in time in your schedule to participate in your hobbies will also help you stick to it, as having it written down and blocked out makes it seem more important.
5. Find Your Motivators
The world is full of incentives to help you motivate yourself to do what you love. These include projects such as National Novel Writing Month or Huevember (both in November), or Inktober. These online communities encourage their participants to devote time to the hobbies they love to do (National Novel Writing Month encourages budding authors to write 50 000 words in one month, and Inktober and Huevember encourage a piece of visual art per day). When you feel like you’re part of a community (much like joining a club!), it becomes easier to acknowledge the importance in pursuing your passions.
No matter what you like to do in your spare time, be sure to make time for it. At the end of the day, it’s for you. Self-care is an important part of university life and our mental health matters!