Why hobbies are important

As everyone knows and has probably experienced personally, the stress that comes out of jobs and heavy schoolwork is emotionally exhausting and often can add up to be just too much. It’s important to take breaks from these priorities so that the brain has a chance to reset.
However, as anyone who has been absolutely overwhelmed with their responsibilities knows, oftentimes the only thing that sounds good is to sit down and binge watch a good mindless Netflix series. While this is great in moderation, as everything is, it isn’t exactly something people should be doing routinely to destress.
I admit that I am definitely guilty of doing this. However, I think it’s very important to be engaging in something daily that is not school or work related, but enjoyable and fulfilling.
The great thing about hobbies is that there are so many to choose from. A few examples are learning to play an instrument, reading, exercising, drawing or painting, gardening, knitting and many more. Notice that I didn’t include things like playing video games, watching TV, scrolling through Facebook or online shopping in the hobby category. While these may be pastimes, they don’t give your brain a mental break in the same way that a hobby does.
So why are watching TV, playing video games and surfing the web so bad if they’re such great ways to take your mind off other things? In my experience, I always feel guilty and like I’ve wasted a valuable part of my day doing nothing that will help me in the long run. However, because engaging in mindless entertainment is easy, I have found myself in periods where I’m aboslutely addicted to these kinds of entertainment. Instead of engaging in something productively enjoyable, I find myself going back to the things that are easy.
Sure, a lot of people will say that they just don’t have time to fit a hobby into their busy schedules. However, an interesting point published in a Psychology Today article by Dr. Jaime L. Kurtz said, “We habitually waste time, creating the illusion of busyness […] If you’re like me, you don’t wake up in the morning with the goal of squandering so many precious moments on social media, but it often happens, and this is unaccounted for time that can be better spent elsewhere.” I know that personally I can relate to this statement. A lot of the time I feel busier than I actually am, and this definitely limits the amount of time that I have to spend on things like hobbies.
Nevertheless, it’s important to find the time to engage in hobbies. As someone who has fallen out of my personal hobbies I can attest to how dry my life is without them.
Recently, I have been trying to give up my tendencies to occupy my time with unproductive activities like mindless TV and hours of scrolling through social media. Although it’s difficult to let these habits go and even though it takes quite a bit of effort, the self-fulfillment that comes out of productive hobbies is worth it.