How hobbies can improve your mental health

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Graphic by Brittney Cheng

Protecting your mental health is of utmost importance in university, especially during hard times like these. With midterms just around the corner and limited social interaction limited by social distancing, students should pay special attention to how they are taking care of themselves- both physically and emotionally.

Self-care can be performed through relaxing activities that take students’ minds off of schoolwork and help them enjoy their university lives more. Unwinding every now and then helps sharpen focus and reduce stress hormones that may result in a multitude of health issues.

Some healthy habits that can easily be picked up during quarantine include knitting, cooking, writing, running and other non-contact sports, yoga, and reading. One of the greatest chess players of all time, Bobby Fischer once said, “You can’t separate body from mind,” which is extremely relevant when it comes to taking care of one’s mental health in a mentally demanding environment like university. 

These self-care activities all help improve an individual’s mental health in many ways. By stimulating the brain through mini challenges posed by enjoyable hobbies, students can stay sharp and improve their cognitive functioning all while having a good time. Physical exercise keeps people in shape by lowering blood pressure, releasing dopamine, and improving memory. Stretching and meditation are also great ways to relax, unwind, and even improve self-esteem.

Getting started with a hobby may seem daunting at first, but with some help from those already involved, you will get the hang of it in no time. Some simple ways to pick up hobbies include YouTube tutorials, blogs, books, campus clubs, or just trial and error. Here at Waterloo, WUSA has a club for almost anything you can think of. Some examples include:

  • Charity Knitting Circle
  • Esports Club
  • Horror Club
  • Bike Club
  • Badminton Club
  • Outdoors Club

Many more clubs can be found at https://wusa.ca/clubs/listing where club directors will be more than happy to assist you in getting involved and picking up a new hobby. You’re also welcome to start your own club if there’s a hobby or passion you’d like to share with your fellow schoolmates.

Listed above were just a few potential activities that university students can pick up during quarantine, so feel free to go and find your next favorite hobby. What are you waiting for? Start taking care of your mental health and pick up a hobby today!

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