Why Everyone Should Have Some Form of Creative Hobby.
By: Ariana Perez
Two years of living through the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a lot of things to light, from the abysmal state of our healthcare system to the ever-growing presence of economic disparity and the climate crisis. Overall, it hasn’t been too good.
However, if there’s a smidge of good to be acknowledged in the midst of everything horrible. It’s that many people, especially students in stable situations, when presented with the abundance of free time granted by online schooling and being unable to return to work, turned to the creative arts for solace.
Reflecting on the early days of the pandemic, between the unease and apprehension for the present and the future, I personally found a glimmer of joy in the sudden abundance of creativity across social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. Suddenly, people who never thought much about baking were learning how to make focaccia bread from scratch. Those who never stitched or sewed anything since Home Economic class were altering thrifted clothes and crocheting tops from colorful yarn. Artists of all ages rekindled their joy for drawing thanks to the extra time to spare.
The sudden rise of people taking the time to start new and creative hobbies was no major surprise. Given the stress of the pandemic, many turned to other more creative outlets, naturally gravitating towards the inherently therapeutic benefits of artsy hobbies.
There are a wide variety of health benefits that come with having a creative hobby. The most obvious of them all is the increase in happiness and overall improvement in mental health. Repetitive hobbies like drawing, journaling, or crocheting perpetuate a state of mind where time and sense of self become lost in the process of creating. This meditative state affects the body both mentally and physically, slowing the heart along with reducing stress and anxiety.
Once the creative process ends, dopamine floods the brain at the sight of a finished and accomplished creation. The overall result is a feedback loop of positive emotion, with the joy found in the process of creating motivating the brain to repeat the same healthy creative behaviors that trigger it. Moreover, self-expressive hobbies like writing and painting have been linked to increases in emotional regulation, helping in the process of healing from trauma and adverse experiences that cannot be expressed or processed verbally.
Beyond the emotional benefits granted by the meditative state created, general brain and body function is also shown to improve with the practice of certain creative hobbies. Studies show that those who play instruments are recorded to have a better cognitive function, particularly in the improved communication between the left and the right sides of the brain. Meanwhile, daily journaling is connected with stronger immune system functioning.
At this point, I want to take the time to acknowledge that not everyone has the privilege and opportunity to set time aside to dedicate themselves to forming a new hobby, creative or not. Despite the pandemic allowing some more time to indulge in hobbies and personal goals, others are occupied with supporting loved ones and families, and I believe it is important to recognize those that make that sacrifice. However, I will say that if you do have the time, there is nothing I personally recommend more to soothe the soul than letting creative energies flow through artistic expression.
While many believe that the country is slowly returning to a new normal, I emphasize the importance of continuing to set time aside for something creative and keeping up with creative hobbies picked up during the pandemic. All in all, whether or not profit can be made from what you create, or whether or not you are particularly good at what you do, regardless, keep creating!
Several accidents force bikers to take precautions. Read how to bike safely.
By Benjamin Noel
At 10:29 am on November 26th, a vehicular accident left a cyclist dead. The death of the 77-year old Moraga native begs the question: is biking in Moraga safe? Now, I’m answering this question with a bias. I bike a fair bit. And by virtue of living on campus, most of my rides start in Moraga.
For the most part, Lamorinda is safe to bike around. Most drivers are cautious and pass with plenty of space. However, Moraga and St. Mary’s Roads both do not have bike lanes. If you feel unsafe sharing the road with cars, and want to get to the Safeway in Moraga, the Rheem campus or Lafayette, have no fear! The Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail has got you covered. The paved trail runs parallel to St. Mary’s road, and can be accessed from the entrance of campus by crossing the street. This trail also cuts out some of the hillier parts of St. Mary’s road, so its an easier way to get around
As for riding on the road, a few things to keep in mind. Some drivers are jerks. They will damn near clip you with their mirror if they’re impatient. A good rule of thumb is to pull into a shoulder when there is one to let the traffic pass. This is mainly for descending Moraga Road into Lafayette, as drivers like to speed down the hill.
Due to the sheer lack of lighting in the main roads in Lamorinda, it’s best to stay off the roads till half an hour after sunrise and half an hour before sunset. Also, you can never be too visible. Even during the day. A flashing back-light and reflective strips make you hard to miss. Bike with others if you can, and always play it safe. Happy trails, and keep it rubber side down.
How does one judge a president who follows an insurrectionist?
By Riley Mulcahy
It is hard to believe that we are in the second year of Biden’s term, and one has to question how he has done in the last year and what he could have done differently. In 2020, there was hope after the election that progressive ideals would finally prevail; however, several marks have been missed in a year still plagued by the pandemic and white supremacy. Bills such as the Build Back Better Bill and the Voting Rights Bill are two monumental bills that still have not been passed thanks to moderate voices such as Senator Joe Machin (D-WVA), who refuses to be the Democrat he pledged to be when he took office. This simply makes Biden's job nearly impossible.
Although there has been a success in getting the infrastructure bill passed in a pandemic, we need more than a commitment to our roads, a commitment to the American voters who are waiting on leadership in the White House. In reviewing his first year, the news publication Politico argues that one of Biden’s first missteps was when he declared “independence from COVID-19” this past summer on the 4th of July. Coupled with two new variants, Delta and Omicron as well as reeling from the understanding that America has always been rooted in white supremacy, a questionable pullout in Afghanistan from the 20-year long war made it difficult for even progressives to get excited about 2024.
The difficulty in assessing the first year of Biden’s term is that, in large part, his work has been to heal old wounds created by other presidents. Democrats must clean up the mess their Republican counterparts made in this increasingly actual pattern. If Trump had a handle on the pandemic and did not spread falsehoods on election integrity, we would not be in this terrible position. However, Biden has not done enough to ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect democracy, which has become increasingly fragile.
The media loves to attack Harris, but instead, we should be celebrating her.
By Riley Mulcahy
Kamala Harris is one the most powerful women in the world as Vice President of the United States; however, she is not treated with dignity and respect in the office she serves. Harris is a former Senator of California and before that, she was the district attorney for San Francisco. Say what you want about her record as a prosecutor. Harris is a trailblazer who has knocked down doors for other women and women of color to create political opportunities, so it will not always be filled with rich white men making the decisions.
Harris is only reported on when she makes a mistake or dips into controversy, one example being her visit to the border when Republicans attacked her. This comes as former Vice President Mike Pence is seen as honorable for admitting that he could not stop the legal counting of votes while the insurrection was going on. There is an evident juxtaposition going on here: a woman of color who has the honor of serving the White House is not seen as having the same qualifications as a white man from Indiana who has protected a failed businessman for more than four years.
The media plays a crucial role in how Harris is being portrayed. The news publication Ms. Magazine argues, “Media outlets need to be called out by their viewers, subscribers, employees and readers for their biased coverage, as well as their lack of coverage. Not only should we question outlets about why her important speeches aren’t being covered, but we need to collectively—through social media posts, petitions, calls to outlets, etc.—press them to cover major upcoming events on topics relevant to our key demographic.” Regardless of where you stand politically, there must be an agreement that we treat our politicians with the respect that they deserve, so long as they do not create irreparable damage to our country.
Melanie Moyer '22,