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Why Your Hobbies Don’t Have To Be Side Hustles

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are obsessed with the color sage recently. And those candles in the shape of women’s bodies. And those really fuzzy, long tote bags. Now, don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I’ve been eyeing the same North Face puffer jacket you probably have been. However, recently, I've been obsessed with Emma Chamberlain’s podcast Anything Goes.

The other day, during Emma’s episode on hobbies, she touched on something that’s really important. After speaking candidly with her father, she realized that because many of her hobbies turned into sources of income, her relationships with them changed, even though they were rooted in passion. Ultimately, she recognized that she needed to start dedicating time to new activities and hobbies that she wanted to do simply because they brought her joy. 

I’m sure we’ve all had talks like that. They spark completely unanticipated revelations or, as I like to call them, little lightbulbs. This is why it is so crucial to keep having conversations, especially in challenging times. They can provide us with unwarranted but very much needed advice. They keep us thinking.

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We spend so much time hyper-focused on our to-do lists. We admit to neglecting the time that we need to do more things that we love. While our assignments, projects, household obligations and jobs are of great importance, doing things that bring you comfort and bliss is just as necessary.

According to a 2017 article by CNBC, “Having a creative hobby is associated with positive work-related traits, like creativity on projects and a better attitude on the job. Other research shows that employees with hobbies are more satisfied with their jobs and have a lower likelihood of burning out.” Ultimately, while it may seem counterintuitive to grant ourselves time that isn’t inherently dedicated to an activity we’re hoping will bring us financial gain, your overall level of satisfaction and productivity could boom.

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There’s something really special about doing something you can be bad at; doing something that you feel no pressure of improving on is oddly therapeutic. I didn’t notice, but I’ve been applying this idea my whole life. For example, I spent three consecutive birthdays when I was younger playing laser tag with my friends. My parents always asked me why I would want to, because I was always at the bottom of the scoreboard. Honestly, I really just didn’t mind. I loved it, even though I was so awful at it. Seriously, I made the employees watching laugh so much, they shouldn’t have charged me; I was literally their entertainment.

Listen, I’m not telling you that you have to go do something you know you’re bad at (although, I would probably be rekindling my love for laser tag if we weren’t living in a pandemic). However, I urge you to do something that you’ve been wanting to try out or something that you notice you don’t do as much as you’d like. Unapologetically. Without feeling bad that you’re not doing something specifically geared towards your career. Learn how to prepare new and interesting dishes. Hula hoop. Go to the gym. Play tennis. Delve into different music genres. Sketch fashion designs (even if you make the weirdest dress ever). Play around with watercolors. Jump rope. Read. Knit a scarf. Do some calligraphy. Capture unsuspectingly beautiful moments in your day with a camera.

You need to listen to your body. When it begs you to rest or take a break, try to listen, even if it feels unnatural. Practice self-care just by being patient with yourself. If you were to see your friends overworking themselves, wouldn’t you be worried and tell them to slow down for a minute? Exercise that same empathy, be kind to yourself, and try to find pockets of time for little joys that could make the world of a difference for your well-being.

Daniela is a sophomore majoring in Human Communication at the University of Central Florida, with high hopes to live in a big city one day. She loves James Patterson novels, pandas, going on boba runs, and exercising- whether it be walking, running, or kickboxing. You'll almost always see her studying at Barnes&Noble, running laps around her neighborhood, or at home watching just about any reality TV show. You can find her on Instagram @dani.palacios
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