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!
Melanie Moyer '22,