Hobbies: Uniquely Personal Tools for Managing Stress

Hobbies: Uniquely Personal Tools for Managing Stress

Posted by the T2 Public Affairs Office on April 12, 2017

As the winter weather starts to break, you’ll see kids out on community fields playing baseball and holding soccer practice. Trailhead parking lots will fill with cars, their owners tightening boot laces and adjusting packs before setting off down the paths. You’ll notice more cyclists on the roads.

But what about you? Finding something to do that you enjoy — a hobby — can help improve your psychological health. Hobbies can even help with combat stress. Not only can they serve as an escape from daily stressors, but they also can have a long-term positive impact on your mood. According to the National Center for PTSD, a pleasant recreational activity can even distract a person from the effects of PTSD.

To find a hobby, think about the things you like to do. If you enjoy physical activity, you may enjoy hobbies such as swimming, walking or team sports. If you enjoy more mental activity, you may like hobbies such as reading, meditation or writing. Or, entertain both body and mind through the practice of yoga, or by working with your hands doing crafts, auto repair or gardening.

Different hobbies work for different people; it’s important to find the best fit for you. Check out activities provided by your Morale, Welfare and Recreation center, and try out your local fitness center, golf course or bowling alley. You may find an activity you enjoy that might lead to a long-term interest.

T2 offers educational information about the importance of hobbies, as well as several resources to help you choose a hobby and learn how it impacts your behavior:

  • Health & Wellness eLibrary Reference Materials: Pages 4–5 explore why hobbies support an emotionally balanced lifestyle — especially after returning from deployment. Page 7 offers a list of questions to discover where your interests lie.
  • Positive Activity Jackpot: This mobile app suggests activities in your area and encourages you to invite friends along. Indecisive? Pull the “lever” and the app will make a choice for you.
  • Mindfulness Coach: To make the most out of your new hobby, train your mind to really focus on being present. Use this mobile app to acquire and practice this skill.
  • T2 Mood Tracker: With this mobile app, you can monitor your moods and track any behavioral changes. After trying a new hobby, check in on your emotional health regularly to see if it shows any long-term benefits.

You may be saying to yourself, “Sure I’d love to do these things…but who has the time?” Finding time to take care of yourself is an important part of effective stress relief, and the key can be successful time management. Consider these time-management tips in the resilience section on the AfterDeployment website.

Don’t put off lowering your stress levels. Check out these resources and find your new hobby today. Besides being therapeutic, a new activity may spark a brand-new passion!

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