When Getting Over Your Social Awkwardness Or Mental Health Struggles Becomes Your Quasi-Hobby

If you're shy or lonely, or have mental health issues like anxiety or depression, it can take a fair amount of time, and trying several different self-help or therapy approaches, before your life starts to get noticeably better. You won't always need to spend years and years, but if your problems are more serious there can be a decent amount of work you need to do on them.

Most people just want to do as little as they can get away with in order to have a life that doesn't feel as difficult and painful. They're not interested in the process of changing or recovering for its own sake. They see it as boring, uncomfortable, a chore, a burden. If it were possible, they'd feel better instantly and never have to think about any of it ever again.

Some people are different. Their main motivation is still that they want to feel better, and they do find aspects of recovery challenging. However, on another level they find the day to day work of improving their social skills or mental health to be interesting and fulfilling. Someone who's already interested in psychology or personal development is especially likely to fall into this category. Whether they realize it or not, getting over their loneliness or anxiety can become a quasi-hobby.

Improving your interpersonal skills or mental health can involve a mix of potentially engaging sub-tasks

Again, it doesn't necessarily require years of your life, but recovering can take some time, Here's a sampling of the many ways you could spend the hours:

If you're really into psychology or self-improvement you may find most of these interesting, or a select handful may capture your attention. Like you might get super into meditating, and attend different workshops every month. If your recovery is more drawn out and involved you may end up learning about most of the items on the list, as you're willing to explore anything that may make you feel even 3% better.

Why improving your social skills or mental health can be interesting and engaging

None of this is to downplay how hard it can be when you're isolated, lonely, and disconnected, or your emotions feel out of control. Working to feel better can have some benefits at the same time:

The effects on your recovery from treating it as a quasi-hobby

For the most part I think making a half-hobby out of your recovery has a positive or neutral impact. You don't need to fix anything about it. If you're genuinely interested in researching and trying out different ways to get over your anxiety or loneliness you'll probably work harder at it all.

However, at times your desire to learn and make progress in new areas, or feel mentally engaged, may cause you to constantly chase a shiny fresh treatment or angle, rather than sticking with something that works, but feels more rote and mundane. Every so often it may make a facet of your recovery take longer. For example, if you first want to read three books on a sub-topic, because you find it fascinating, when one would give you all the info you need to start applying the concepts in real life.

There can be a mild sense of loss once you recover

Some people have social or mental health struggles they'll always carry to some degree. Others can get over them, or at least become much, much better. Obviously it feels amazing to put these problems behind you. Though if recovering was a semi-hobby it can feel a tad bittersweet when you don't need to do it anymore:

Luckily it shouldn't be too hard to transfer that enthusiasm for self-growth toward another project. For example, now that you're feeling better socially and mentally you may decide to develop your public speaking or negotiation skills so you can open more options in your career. And while you're hopefully through the worst of it, if your mental health ever takes another downward turn, you can always resume your "hobby", and use it to aid that new round of healing.