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Imagine that you have checked off every single item on your to-do list. No one is expecting you anywhere for hours and hours. You find yourself with uninterrupted time to yourself. 

What would you do with that time? (For this exercise, let’s take napping off the table—though we’d be lying if we said a nap didn’t sound nice.)

Whatever just came to mind, that activity can support your mental health—and your sobriety.

You might wonder how we could know that. After all, we have no idea what you might do with unencumbered time. Still and all, we are confident that whatever you might do, doing that thing would be good for you and your ongoing recovery from a substance use disorder.

We can state that with confidence because a hobby—no matter what it is (as long as it does not involve drugs, alcohol, or other harmful behaviors)—provides real benefits to the person who pursues it.

Let’s take a closer look at why that is the case.

The Importance of Recharging in Recovery

All of us have so many demands on our time. We have jobs. We have families. We have volunteer organizations we try to support and faith communities we try to participate in. We have bills to pay and obligations to fulfill and chores to do. It can seem like every single hour of our day is accounted for. And we often give up some precious hours of sleep to keep up with everything for which we are responsible.

The result of all these demands? High levels of stress. Burnout. Trouble sleeping. Irritability and anger. Symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

And in some cases, a relapse.

To protect against these bad outcomes, it is essential to find ways to relax and to recharge. Having a hobby is a great way to do that.

Believe Us When We Say Any Hobby Will Do. Really!

Do you like to play board games—or pickup sports? Great! 

Enjoy a day spent fishing—or a day spent thrifting? Fantastic!

How about curling up on the couch with a book for hours on end—or re-watching your favorite television series? Excellent!

Like to tinker with cars? Play golf? Collect baseball cards or stamps or figurines? Work jigsaw or crossword puzzles? Cook? Garden? Crochet? Go to renaissance fairs or to comics conventions or to the symphony? We love each and every one of those options!

We hope you get the idea. Truly anything you enjoy (again, as long as it isn’t harmful and does not include drug or alcohol use—so we do NOT approve of #38 at the link) can be a worthwhile hobby that provides real benefits for your mental health and for your ongoing sobriety.

The Counterintuitive Part: You Might Have to Schedule Time for Your Hobby

Most of us tend to think of hobbies as something we pursue in our “spare time”—the time we have that is not filled with other responsibilities. But we have already established that the idea of having spare time is largely a myth. Our obligations will easily eat up every moment of every day if we don’t make a conscious effort to prevent them from doing so.

That is why pursuing a hobby can involve a bit of counterintuitive behavior. You might have to actually schedule time for your hobby.

If you think about it, it makes a certain amount of sense. We schedule all sorts of important things so that we don’t forget to do them. Most of us could not get through a single day if we lost our calendar (or its electronic equivalent). Our schedule tells us where to be, what we will be doing, and for how long.

Your hobby deserves a place in your schedule, too. Marking off the time does a couple of important things: It makes sure you prioritize the time for yourself, and it helps alleviate any sense that you are “wasting” time. If it is in your schedule, it is important. Simple as that.

Helping You Get Sober is No Hobby

At French Creek Recovery Center, we believe in the value of engaging hobbies, but rest assured that we treat the work of helping you regain your sobriety extremely seriously. After all, reclaiming your sobriety is essential to reclaiming your life. 

We provide personalized treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, or disorders originating from trauma. Our medically supervised approach to detox will allow you to get sober; our rehabilitation program will give you resources and strategies for staying sober; and our continuum of care will help you start your recovery journey with confidence.

When you are ready to change the direction of your life, let our team in Meadville, PA, help you chart a new and sober path forward.