Hobbies That Improved My Mental Health

Because self-care is the best care

Hobbies That Improved My Mental Health

About two years ago, I had a mental breakdown during my shift at work. I worked at a call center six days a week: Monday through Friday and also Saturday. From November 2017 to the middle of February 2018, I had a job that was stressful and took a toll on me. The long hours and working on Saturdays was the start of my mental breakdown. I hardly had any time off and would work up to 10 hours on most days. I enjoyed it for a while, but it literally sucked me dry. So I ended up quitting a few days after Valentine’s Day of 2018, for the sake of my mental well-being. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in February 2012. For almost the last decade, I was on medications for my depression and anxiety, but it made me sleepy and didn’t help. Also, I also sought help for my mental illness. However, it didn’t solve any of my problems either. So I decided to do some hobbies that will benefit mentally and also physically. Things are well with me now, but I wanted to set aside some time for myself by doing hobbies I enjoy and I’m going to share a few of them with everyone.

Playing Video Games

For 30 years, I’ve been playing video games. Whether it’s the NES or Nintendo 64, this hobby is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Video games sometimes tend to get a bad rap and be blamed for mass shootings happening as opposed to holding people who commit crimes accountable. Video games and companies aren’t to blame and there’s no evidence showing that it causes mass shootings. Another great benefit of playing video games is they improve your mood. As an introvert and a veteran gamer, it relaxes me. I rather enjoy a night at home playing video games than attending a party.

Perler Bead Art

Last summer, I became interested in perler bead art for the first time in about 20 years. If you’re unfamiliar with who invented them, I’ll tell you. They were invented by a man named Gunnar Knutsson in the 1960s in Vallingby, Stockholm. Those fusible beads come in different colors and can be made by melting them together with a clothes iron. You can make necklaces, keychains, coasters, and so much more out of these beads. I use Perler brand beads for my creations. I’ll post a link to their website at the end of this article. They sell not only perler beads, but also mini beads, pegboards (used for placing beads), accessories, etc. If you haven’t seen any of my perler bead DIYs, go check them out. When I was in the fifth grade, I was introduced to this hobby, via my special education class. I was in special education classes from Pre-K through my junior year of high school. So me and a few other students made these creations. I made a star and took it home to show my parents. Fast forward to this year and I still love doing this hobby every once in a while.

The final hobby on this list is something that keeps me in the zone, especially when I’m at work. I’ll listen to pretty much anything but heavy metal. A song has to not only keep me upbeat, but in the mood. Whenever I have my headphones on, it’s a sign that I don’t want to be disturbed. I stopped using public transit months ago, because other people would talk to me while I was listening to music. However, whenever I'm on a Greyhound bus and I have my headphones on, it relaxes me, because I'm used to traveling for hours. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Music gets me through my day, even if I’m feeling sad or anxious.

It’s okay to have time for yourself and do hobbies that relaxes your mind. I took three days off social media before Christmas to focus on me, because I’m not a fan of holidays and also being commercialized. During those three days, I did some perler bead art and listened to music. Unplugging from social media for days really benefited me. Self care is the best care when it comes to your mental health.

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Mark Wesley  Pritchard
Mark Wesley Pritchard
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Mark Wesley Pritchard

LGBTQ cosplayer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 2X Cosplay Contest Winner.

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