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It’s Me Time, Not Screen Time: Hobbies to Try This Summer to Help Reconnect with Yourself

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am ready for some Me Time.

This year has been super exhausting, you all know what I’m talking about, and I am eagerly awaiting the end of exam season so I can take some time for myself to rest and perform some much needed self-care. Yes, I’ll be back at work which will be exhausting in its own way, but the thought of having days off? And time to do things I enjoy?? Sounds fake, but I’m REALLY looking forward to it.

That being said, I’ve had a few days to relax this past week before my exams started, and I realized something. This year, more than ever, I’ve developed some really bad relaxation habits which I’m going to have to break if I want to get the most out of my Me Time. Right now, when I want to relax, I listen to a TV show I’ve already seen multiple times and scroll through social media. It’s actually not that relaxing, and at the end of my days off, I end up sad and disappointed that I didn’t get more out of my day.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of hobbies you can pick up this summer to help you relax and take some time to yourself while still feeling like you got the most out of your day!

Knitting / Crocheting

Now, summer may seem like an odd time to learn to knit, but guess what! It’s not all hats and scarves. In fact, Pinterest has an insane amount of free knitting and crochet projects, including summer tank tops, tote bags, cute stuffed animals and more! This activity is great because you get to create something, so at the end of the day you can hold the day’s work in your hands, but once you’ve got a bit of practice it also doesn’t take a ton of focus, leaving you free to relax or do other things while your hands are busy creating.

There’s been an awesome trend on TikTok lately where people are crocheting blankets tracking either the daily weather or their moods from day to day, which could be a super fun way to find a hobby that can also act as a keepsake if you’re interested in that!

Painting

Look, I am NOT an artist. But even I love to sit down, pull out my watercolour paper and paint (lol nope I just use markers, a Ziploc bag and water) and create some really beautiful, abstract things. Whether watercolour’s your thing, or you prefer pastels or oil paint, doesn’t matter. Choose your colours, spend like $25 at Michaels or Walmart and get to painting.

I love just combining abstract colours and shapes, and I throw most of them away since they don’t turn out great, but the ones I keep fill me with such pride. Besides, the ones I don’t like were just for fun anyways, so it doesn’t matter! And if you like a little more structure, YouTube has tutorials that can help you improve your skills. However you choose to do it, painting can be a really fun creative outlet that can help you relax and connect with yourself, and sometimes you can end up with something really cool when you’re done!

Photography

One of my personal goals for this year is to spend more time outside. When I was a kid, I used to take pictures of plants I saw out and about, and I recently looked back at some of them, and they’re pretty good! So that’s my homework for this summer: take one picture of a plant on every walk I go on, and maybe combine them in a photo album.

Don’t like plants? That’s fine, take photos of the sky. Or yourself. Or pull a Lilo and take pictures of sunburnt tourists. All you need is a phone or camera and something to photograph. Not every photo will be perfect, but by the end of the summer you’ll have developed a better eye for beautiful shots, and you’ll have a sizable collection of pretty things you saw.

Reading

I can’t talk about hobbies without discussing reading. And yes, we’re university students, we do too much reading already, but you know what’s WAY better than a 50 page reading about property taxes? A book about dragons. Or ancient history. Or a steamy romance between the wealthy heiress to a massive fortune and the man who hopes to steal that fortune from her, but ends up falling in love instead. (Does that book exist? I just made that up but it sounds good enough to exist and now I want to read it.)

What I’m trying to say is that no matter your interests, there are books out there for you, and reading for pleasure is insanely different from reading for school. Books are a great escape, they’re portable and they’re just as fun as movies, but they don’t give you a headache! (Okay, sometimes they do, but that’s because you stayed up until 5am reading, you silly goose [it’s me. I’m the silly goose.].) Take some time this summer to sit out in the sun and read. It’s totally worth it.

Literally anything you enjoy that makes you happy

This is obviously a cheat recommendation, but for real. Do you like jumping rope? Do it. Birdwatching? Do it! Are you interested in wandering through the empty field behind your house searching for buried treasure? Good for you! Find that money and pay off your student loans!

I hope this list provided some helpful suggestions for hobbies you can pick up this summer to help you connect with yourself and make sure you go to bed each night happy with what you did that day. I’m going to be trying my hand at all of them, especially that treasure hunting one, which sounds awesome.

Good luck, I hope you end the summer with a bunch of new hobbies that bring you joy!

Meghan Mazzaferro

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Meghan is an English and Film Studies major who has dreamed of being a writer all her life. When she's not writing essays and watching films for class, she loves to read YA novels and rewatch her favourite TV shows for the 100th time. Proud plant mama of 24 green beauties, and willing to adopt all the dogs.
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