Hobby to relieve stress


Having a good time with friends, going out for dinner, or attending a theater production once in a while; it’s still not possible for the time being. The lockdown has a major impact on all of us. What can you do? In the beginning, many people decided to clean up their homes or to give their gardens a complete makeover. So did we. After a year, I felt the need for something new. I took the opportunity to discover a new, creative side within myself.

Loyal readers will have learned from my previous columns that I have become a trusted follower of professor of neuropsychology Erik Scherder during the lockdown. I want to grow old with energy and vitality, so I not only try to take to heart as many advices as possible, but I also try to put these into practice. This means for example that I try to cook the healthiest possible meals for me and my family, that I do my exercises to music twice a week and that I go out walking for at least thirty minutes a day.

What else did I learn from Scherder? You can stimulate your brain by continuing to learn new things! Looking for a new hobby is therefore a good idea. It’s best to learn something that takes effort, this increases the quality of the connections within the brain. A hobby can also be beneficial for your mood and, consequently, your wellbeing. In other words, a good way to relieve stress.

I read in the media that many people have taken up birdwatching. Seems like a great lockdown hobby to me, and it’s healthy! You’re outdoors and you can walk off the stress. But it doesn’t suit me. I do however enjoy the combination of walking and taking photographs, which is something I therefore do on a regular basis. But looking at birds doesn’t specifically interest me.

I eventually decided to make jewelry. I love jewelry and I thought that it was time to try it out. It’s not a difficult hobby, and I’m not sure that I’m stimulating my brain as much as I should, to be honest. But I find it difficult enough, and – more importantly – it gives me great satisfaction.

A whole new world opened up to me. You can work with all kinds of threads and braids, you can incorporate various knotting techniques, use the Japanese art of braidmaking known as kumihimo, and so much more. Major advantage: I can start with a simple, straightforward project and then try something new again and again. Another advantage: I can always make a present for a friend. Hours fly by as I mess around with threads, a pair of tongs, beads and fasteners.

So, put down that phone and start a hobby! Go draw, paint, take photographs, do some wood carving, learn how to paddle surf, skip rope, or whatever you like. And use it to restore a good balance between your studies, work and your personal life.

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