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Why You Need an Underwhelming Pastime

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After I’ve completed my work or classes for the day, I’m always looking for something to do. Most of the time, my go-to activity is watching the latest binge-worthy show on Netflix. However, I’ve found that my attention span for TV doesn’t last very long. I was looking for something to do that gave me the satisfaction of an engaging show but didn’t have to be a show. Something entertaining, but not draining. A way to pass the time, enjoyably.

It took me a while to even figure out what that meant. Engaging? Engaging how? Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with sitcoms like everyone else? After flip-flopping between mindlessly watching TV and trying to draw after a long day, I stumbled on the idea of an “underwhelming” pastime. Underwhelming pastimes are hobbies or activities that keep your mind focused without being overstimulating. They require just enough mental effort while still being relaxing.

Any artists reading this are aware of the dedication and mental effort it takes to create art. Be it drawing, painting or any other art form, you have to be in the right headspace to make something. As much as I like to draw, it often doesn’t happen after three back-to-back classes and a last-minute trip to the grocery store. My newfound inability to draw and paint without guidance led to my purchase of a paint by number.

There’s something about filling in little shapes with colour that’s oddly satisfying. Since paint by numbers only require painting within the lines and using the right colours, they don’t take much effort to complete. This makes them the perfect underwhelming pastime. The act of painting is engaging enough to be interesting, but it doesn’t leave you burnt out 10 minutes in. Paint by numbers come in different sizes and in varying levels of difficulty. Most sets also come with a frame or a hook to hang your painting up once it’s complete. This is an added bonus since it’s nice to see six months of work hanging up on your wall.

For those of you who aren’t into art, there are other pastimes that are mellow enough to be enjoyable after a long day. Doing puzzles, making new playlists, journaling and playing card games are a few to consider.

From crafting to cooking, there are many activities that don’t require a whole new skill set just to complete a task. All hobbies are valuable experiences if they make you happy. They don’t need to be fancy or involved to be “worth” your time. If paint by numbers have shown me anything, it’s that relaxing, underwhelming experiences are just what we need during the non-stop existence of daily life. So, if you reach a point where Netflix shows have lost your attention, consider trying an underwhelming pastime.

Eden DeMarco

Wilfrid Laurier '24

Eden is a 2nd year student studying Business Administration with a minor in English at Wilfrid Laurier University. She spends her spare time reading books, drawing and binging new thriller series on Netflix. She can be found browsing for hours in Chapters or listening to music in her backyard.
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