Back in October of 2017, I wrote a blog post about habits: recognizing “bad” habits and building new “good” habits, and how, sometimes, an initially “good” habit can morph into a “bad” habit. I’ve been trying to reconnect with good habits I have had over the years, and potentially build new ones along the way. I came across this Buzzfeed post about hobbies yesterday, and I immediately bookmarked it, because as it turns out, many of the good habits I want to reconnect with happen to be on the list.
Dude. Get a hobby, build a habit.
One of the stumbling blocks that can occur in good-habit-forming is the tendency to think of a good habit as a chore or a task, rather than something pleasurable or affirming. But when we get excited about a hobby, we often look forward to it and make time in our day/week/month to immerse ourselves in that hobby.
So many of my “good” habits that have enriched me over the years and helped to positively define and shape who I am are hobbies masquerading as habits. Over time, and particularly during the hardest years of acute depressive episode and alcoholism, my POV on those things shifted and turned them into tasks. The self-destructive elements at work within me warped my vision, so that I saw these healthful, helpful things as onerous and tedious.
These things that I once got great pleasure from were dulled by mental disease and substance abuse. That’s not to say that I experienced a complete cease-and-desist of these hobby-habits, I just did them very infrequently, and I wasn’t fully conscious of their healing benefits.
I got really excited about that Buzzfeed list of “29 Hobbies for People Who Really Want a Hobby but Have No Idea Where to Start” because it gave me even more great ideas about things I can explore during the ongoing recovery and healing process. It also reminded me that I have always known how to practice self-care and “good” habits, although I have not always practiced presence and awareness of that self-care.
At this moment, I am writing a blog post. I am conscious of writing it, I am aware of the intricate sensation of my own neurology — the exploration of certain neural pathways, the network coming back to life, the encouragement of positive brain activity, the release of good chemicals in the system — I am cognizant of my active role as observer/participant in my own healing process.
Get a hobby, build a habit. Revisit an old hobby, rebuild a habit.
Physician, heal thyself.