Coping With Uncertainty Through Hobbies

Having so many interests can be both a blessing and a curse. When the pandemic first started and everyone was asked to minimize social interactions and only go out to buy your essential needs, it wasn’t a difficult adjustment for me to make. Being more introverted than extroverted, it was easy to stay inside and keep busy with what I had at my disposable. TV, books, video games, and writing had kept me occupied for the last two years and made weathering the uncertainty of a new virus we knew nothing about easier to manage. With plenty to do at home, the hard part was figuring out how to make equal time for each hobby.

Between the constant reminders of our ecosystem on the verge of collapse and the horrifying conflict currently happening between Ukraine and Russia, all these unknowns can be crushing and devastating if you don’t have something to distract you. No matter how temporary it is.

Escaping into a game, book, or TV show offers a mental break from all the worrying our current events has brought us. Constantly reading about how new variants might derail our slow emergence back to normal, or how likely the world will be pulled into a new world war isn’t healthy for anyone. It’s difficult to turn off our brains when it’s so easy to keep doomscrolling in an attempt to somehow predict what will happen next. Where do we go from here?

Humans have never been good with uncertainty. We like when we can see a path forward, a clear direction we’re heading in. It’s hard to think of a time when every day doesn’t feel like we’re waiting for the apocalypse to happen. While I like staying informed about the world around me, I also know it’s good to take a break. Having the hobbies I have are a way to stay sane in an increasingly scary and out of control world.

What’s nice about playing a game or reading a book is we get to leave our current world behind while getting lost in a different one. With a game you can feel like you’re in control of a situation and even get to be a hero, or you can read about a character dealing with their own set of problems. There’s a comfort in escapism and it’s certainly needed now more than ever.

I consider myself lucky to have a first world problem of deciding what to do with my mental break time. Not everyone, especially the Ukrainians right now, have that luxury. For some, living in constant fear isn’t something they can just “take a break from” even if they wanted to. That’s the reality they’re forced to deal with every single day.

Over the last three years, I have made it a habit to put everything into perspective. Instead of complaining about my first world problems, I take a moment to appreciate being in the position I’m in. As they say, it could be so much worse and you could be standing in the place of someone whose whole life has been destroyed overnight.

Our hobbies can be our greatest coping mechanism for a troubling world. It’s wonderful to have when you have the means and the access. But before I escape from reality for an hour or two, I don’t forget to stop and be grateful for having such comforts. To be able to pick up a controller and traverse a cool open world, or slip into a good book like a pair of comfy slippers when I can’t deal with the real world right now. Not everyone is so lucky.


8 thoughts on “Coping With Uncertainty Through Hobbies

  1. Good thoughts and good perspective. I too am thankful we have the luxury and liberty of escapism. I love being able to immerse in a great RPG or be engrossed and a gripping book. Movies too, like the Matrix Resurrections… Stories that spark our imagination. The world and associated bad news is difficult to grasp and wrestle with. I must turn it off and avoid doomscrolling on Twitter. I think many others feel the same way too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reading! Yeah, it’s something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Many of us are lucky to slip in and out of reality when an escape is much needed. However, not many of us are as lucky. No matter what might be going on in our lives, it pales in comparison to what is currently going on right now. It’s all about redirecting our attention and perspective on things.

  2. As someone who collects hobbies, I have to say that I definitely am in the more lucky group of people. And that’s from a somewhat developing nation in Malaysia too. So yeah, you’re right on point there. Sometimes we just have to take the time to thank our lucky stars.

    1. Exactly. It could be a lot worse. At least we’re not living in fear every day or coping with your entire life being ripped from you overnight. This is why I try not to complain too much about whatever nuisance or “First World” problems I may have. It’s so much smaller than we think it is and there’s plenty to be thankful for.

  3. Great post and something I am always having a problem with of what to do when I mental breakdown time haha. Luckily for blogging I do it one night a week that is my designated time for that and any other time for however I’m feeling.

    1. Thanks! Taking a break is really important for self-care. It isn’t selfish to take some time for yourself to decompress and recharge. It’s necessary for our sanity. I’m so glad I have a lot of hobbies I can do for my own personal timeout.

  4. Your thoughts were similar to mine this morning when I wrote my post, but unlike me, you found the words and wrote them wonderfully. I think what you have to say rings true for a lot of us right now.
    I was talking to one of my friends last week and I said the same, that gaming and being able to immerse myself in something else has been a bit a godsend for me. I think I would be lost without it.

    1. That’s very kind of you to say, but I’m sure what you wrote for your own post was composed just as eloquently. 😄

      I have to say that many of us can’t take for granted the privilege we do have to escape from what’s currently scary and stressful. We have the means to tune out whenever we want while others just can’t. I admit it does make me feel guilty that some of us can do it so easily and others aren’t in the same position. As I take comfort in these things, I try not to forget how fortunate I am to be able to do that. Remember other people who would trade places with us to be where we are and not struggling or worrying about things far more serious than our own everyday minor grievances.

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