Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Discussion: Hobbying and Mental Health

 Zen and the art of endless war.

Our timeline is nowhere near as bleak as the 41st millennium, but sometimes it can feel that way. And some days, (or years) can be worse.

It occurred to me a few years ago that while the primary reason I hobbied was the sense of accomplishment upon completing a model, the subconscious reason for my attraction to it was simple;


While my life is not chaotic, the world almost always is. Being surrounded by that chaos can leave you feeling helpless and unmoored. The hobby offers control in abundance. You chose the army. You chose the models. You choose the poses. The heads. You choose the weapons and gear. You choose the colors. You choose the techniques. 

Absolute and total control.

In a world where we often have no control over matters larger than ourselves, there is respite in something that we have total control over. Solace in the singular focus. I found that, as I decide what biomorphs a tyranid has, or where exactly to place the grenades on a model, the rest of the world falls away. Narrower and narrower my focus becomes, until there is no chaos.

Only me, and the model.

Decompression is an important aspect of mental health. The concept that your mind needs an opportunity to switch modes. As we wind down from our workday, we begin the process of switching thought modes, and prepare for relaxation or a different form of engagement. The process is often completed with a ritual when you get home; shoes off. Comfy slippers on. Alcoholic beverage in hand. Greeted by a pet or loved one. A subconscious, deep exhale.

Before the global pandemic, most of us did this during our commute home. When you change physical spaces, leaving your office and entering your car, your mind begins to alter its mode of thought. Like a diver rising from deep submersion, it decompresses, preparing for what is next. This became challenging in the age of remote working, as our living spaces and working space are shared, and your mind no longer has the location trigger it utilized before.

It has become more important than ever to give yourself the respite needed for mental health. Having a dedicated hobby space, or even pulling a box of hobby supplies out and setting up at the kitchen table after dinner can be an important step to managing stress and living a more healthy life.



  1. I also use the hobby to decompress each day, a period of painting or hobbying before bed really helps relax.

  2. Amen to that, absolutely. Decompress, focus, take one thing and get it done, your way, no compromises. Then sit back and enjoy a little pride in that small accomplishment.

    Meanwhile the rest typically goes to chaos...