by Stephanie Noell, Senior Assistant, INALJ Texas
Maintaining balance in your everyday life
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency of getting so wrapped up in my work that I forget to disconnect. I often forget to take a step back and go do something else to get my mind off of the database or lesson plan or art exhibit I’m working on. I keep my work email connected to my phone and I work on projects from home. This kind of work schedule can be necessary for the completion of major projects, but it is important to enjoy the occasional moment away from all of that.
In an effort to find more balance between my work/life schedules, I have been taking up hobbies (you know the ones, those hobbies you always wish you had tried, but never did). My latest hobby is roller derby (I haven’t exactly started yet, I have just been training for it so far). I have seen exactly two bouts and I loved the movie “Whip It”, but I decided that now was the time to give it a try. I’ll be meeting up with the skaters of Assassination City Roller Derby this weekend (you can use Roller Derby Worldwide to find out which leagues are near you), so we will see how this hobby pans out.
The benefits of hobbies like derby are many. They can provide the opportunity to meet new people, which can be difficult for many folks (especially if you are like me and have spent a decade or more in college where you met new people all the time). Many hobbies provide a healthy outlet on top of taking your mind off of work and meeting new people.
Hobbies like derby can also be great for fitness! Getting your body used to wearing skates all the time can be a workout by itself (especially for desk jockeys), training for bouts is going to be intense! Many hobbies can provide you with a little “you” time, too. I have been going to my local roller rink on $2 Tuesdays to train (turns out, a lot of rinks offer $2 Tuesdays/Thursdays) and Tuesdays are my time to zone out and focus just on skating and improving my strength and skills.
The other hobby I have picked up is gardening. I am at that point where I am starting to get why gardening is so popular. So far, I enjoy cleaning up my flower bed and when my plants don’t die, I am genuinely proud of myself. (I don’t know what I will do with myself when my mums bloom.) If you are on a low budget, you can compost for fertilizer, check out environmental festivals for free saplings/seeds and more (I made a rain barrel at one recently), and search on your favorite search engine for a nearby seed library!
Hobbies can also provide a given amount of disconnection (mentally, physically, and technologically) from work. Disconnecting from technology completely might not be possible for everyone, but if you feel comfortable with it, taking your work email off of your phone can be a huge relief. When you are not constantly checking your work email all the time, many folks will find that most of the time, things carry on without you. If that’s not a workable situation for you, hobbies can provide you the break away and outlet you need to maintain balance in your everyday life.
Stephanie Noell is a Special Collections Librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. She earned her BA in Philosophy from the University of West Florida and her MA in Philosophy and MSLIS from the University of North Texas. In her spare time, she collects comic books and supports the arts in as many ways as possible.