Stress in college is a serious problem these days. The most recent data shows that about 60% of college students have felt so stressed that they could not complete their work in at least one instance. Additionally, another 85% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their workload/schedule in the past year. While much of getting your teen prepared for college involves academic and test prep, it’s crucial not to ignore their mental health. One way to help foster your teen’s overall well-being throughout college is by encouraging him or her to take up a hobby. Studies have shown many times over that hobbies of all kinds promote stress relief, mindfulness, and improved health. If you are looking to help your teen develop a positive way to take a break from daily stressors, suggest a hobby in one of many interest areas.
Whether your teen wants to learn guitar, piano, violin or the drums, playing music carries with it many positive benefits. In fact, music-related hobbies have been shown to enhance one’s memory, significantly reduce stress levels, provide a mood boost, deliver a sense of achievement, strengthen relationships, and reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety. In college, there are quite a few opportunities for your son or daughter to take up playing music as a hobby. From informal lessons at the college to joining the school’s band or performance group, help your teen find the option that is right for his or her schedule.
Art of all kinds can be an extraordinary hobby for all talent levels. Above and beyond the fun it provides, art has been used to treat individuals with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other physical and mental health ailments. Engaging in almost any form of art can cause the brain to release dopamine, which enhances an individual’s mood. Art can also promote resilience to stress, improved math, reading, and language abilities, and better problem-solving skills. It’s also another hobby that is easy to take up in college. Many schools offer drawing, painting, pottery, and other courses for credit. Alternatively, your teen can pick up supplies to create the art of his or her choice in the peace and comfort of a dorm or apartment.
From tennis to running, there’s an endless list of hobbies that require physical activity. Exercise of all intensity levels has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance one’s overall health. If you and your college student share a favorite sport or outdoor activity, make plans on a regular basis to practice it as a shared hobby. You can also help your son or daughter find and register for local recreation teams or instructional classes. Many universities also offer the opportunity to play various sports for fun.
Connecting your teen with a hobby at the beginning of college is important for helping him or her to cope with the stressors of daily life. Homework, busy class schedules, work, and social events can make this time in life exciting, yet highly stressful. Encouraging the regular practice of a hobby can ensure that your teen is taking routine breaks, and is watching out for his or her mental health.