By: Hamza Sultan~
Ask yourself this: Have you ever gone through a day of school or work, completing the assignments, eating, making the same commute, and felt as if you could do it in your sleep?
If you have felt this way before, trust me, you are not alone. Many of us approach our day the same way because it is the most comfortable way to get to the end. This is the way we think: Complete tasks; enjoy free time.
But also, ask yourself this: Do any of your tasks provide an outlet for stress relief, social interaction, engagement, and/or personal health? If none of them do, consider adding a hobby to your to-do list.
Now,I know, I know, your day is chock full of assignments, meetings, homework and classes. How can adding a task to your schedule be stress relieving? Hobbies, however, are always something you wanted to do, and enjoy doing, but never felt like you had the time or incentive to get started. If you take the first step, however, before you know it, you’ll find yourself integrating this hobby into your daily routine. To really get a sense of your available time, consider buying a planner. Map out the absolute necessities of the day with a simple check-box. Observe the spaces between those duties. What are these, you ask? These are opportunities.
Until you visualize the actual amount of free time you have by taking out the non-essentials, such as using your phone or watching YouTube videos (guilty as charged), you will have much more free time than you thought. By overthinking the necessities of the day, they become more time-consuming and more stress-inducing. Perhaps the free time here could be used to prepare for the tasks, or utilized as a time to explore a hobby.
Personally, buying a Little More Planner this year was the best decision I’ve made for my personal health. Every night before I go to sleep, I write the necessities in the time-slots. I then use the time in-between for hobbies, such as exercise, reading, going on walks, or preparing and eating meals. This planner allows me to visualize hobbies and assignments as necessities. I even use the unstructured time for naps, which end up being just as essential in a long day of lectures as a healthy breakfast.
Other people can have different ideas for planning. There are ways to plan on laptops, phones, and by writing reminders. Trust me, I always use to plan mentally, and found myself more paranoid over forgetting something essential. This paranoia led me to be more stressed the next time I needed to remember something. Before you know it, a reliable planner can become a staple in your preparation for a day.
Think of integrating new hobbies into your schedule as being like hopping on a treadmill. If you start off too fast, you’ll likely stumble and slip. If you start off slow, you’ll find yourself matching the pace. By increasing your pace more and more, before you know it, you’ll approach a faster pace with confidence.
When you find a new hobby, think of something you always wanted to do, and how you can get there. Most importantly, find your pace.