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Entering the Real World: Part V

Hobbies & coping Mechanisms

This week, I wanted to dive into the topic of coping mechanisms & hobbies that can assist you while transitioning into independence. There is a noticeable difference between a hobby and a coping mechanism, so let’s start by distinguishing the two. A hobby is simply an activity or interest that is done in someone’s spare time as a form of pleasure or relaxation. Common hobbies include collecting themed items, sports, and engaging in artistic and creative activities. A coping mechanism is a strategy used to manage or work through trauma or difficult emotions. There is a wide variety of coping mechanisms ranging from mental exercises to physical activities to alleviate stress.

Growing up, I never really thought I had any hobbies that I was truly passionate about. I have always been the type of person to be okay at a lot of different things, but never really great at one individual thing. In the past year or two, I have found myself drawn mostly to painting as a hobby. When I have the free-time, I tend to devote a couple hours to painting based on inspiration I find online. I don’t call myself a true artist, but I love learning more about different techniques and mediums. It’s always fun to explore a new interest and try them myself. Another one of my hobbies includes collecting enamel pins, mostly Disney pins because that’s what I started my collection with. Collecting is always a good hobby to start with, since you can almost collect anything you want! It can sometimes be an expensive hobby, but that’s why having a good sense of your finances is important. Plus, you can always ask for more additions to your collection during your birthday and the holidays. There are also a lot of hobbies that can also be used as coping mechanisms!

I’ve only recently learned about coping mechanisms and how you can develop both healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Unhealthy coping mechanisms include isolation, binge eating junk food, using drugs, and projecting your aggression/emotions onto other. As you get older, it’s important to figure out what methods work for you in your life. What works for me may not work for you and that’s okay! Healthy coping mechanisms don’t form overnight; it will take time to learn what methods help you personally. Take the time to think about what’s causing your stress, anxiety or other triggered feelings. The more you know about yourself and your emotions, the easier it will be to find a coping mechanism that works for you! One thing I like to do when I get really upset is to take ten deep breaths. I know it sounds corny, but it can really help. I also like this technique because I can do it anywhere I need to.

I’d recommend looking into other coping mechanisms or hobbies that could potentially suite you and your personality. As you get older, it’s important to take some time for yourself to relax and enjoy a stress-free activity every once in a while. Your life and career can take a toll on your mental health, so keep in mind that a little “me time” is necessary for everyone.

I hope you have enjoyed this series, and be sure to see next week’s concluding article; Entering the Real World: Part VI: Patience is Key.

I am a senior at SFASU, graduating in December 2021 with a bachelors in Animal Science. I want to be a Zookeeper when I get out of school because I have always had a passion for exotic animals. My favorite hobbies include painting and reading!
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