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Good mental health is an ongoing pursuit, and complacency can be disastrous. I’ve realized over the past few months that if all of our happiness relies on only one aspect of our lives, be it work, money, or a relationship, then our good mental health is precarious. Happiness is truly grounded in a well rounded and balanced life. My Mother always says that not everything will be perfect all the time, and if you’ve only got one thing going on, chances are that’s the thing that won’t be perfect.

And so, 2015 is going to be the Year of Hobbies. It’s not a resolution, more of a new outlook. A goal to get out there and try new things, meet new groups of people who will hopefully become friends. I’ve decided that when I meet someone new, either at a party or a job interview, when they ask, “So what do you do for fun?” I’m going to have a kick ass answer.

I have a girl crush on Katniss Everdeen. That’s probably why my two new hobbies for January are archery and boxing. I’ve never been a fast runner, so if there’s a zombie apocalypse, I need to be prepared to turn and fight. The women-only boxing gym I joined is all about empowerment and by the end of class number one I felt more beast-like, more powerful, and more accomplished than I have in months. The endorphins from punching the hell out of a heavy bag were much stronger than any anti-depressant I’ve been on; it was an instant mood booster.

Conversely, on day one, my archery teacher was talking about how meditative an archer has to be. Breathing and trusting your muscle memory are far more important than overthinking your shots.  Just like everything else, even our hobbies have to be in balance. Relying on one thing to solve all your problems, to make you happy, is a flawed plan.

With illness, relying on medication or therapy alone is also a flawed approach to treatment. Expecting one thing to be a miracle cure for mood symptoms doesn’t work, at least not in the long term. We have so have many things on the go, so when one goes south we have plenty of other sources for self worth and joy. So get out there and try something new! Be bad at something! Get yourself a new answer to, “So what do you do for fun?”

About Sarah Lindsay

Sarah Lindsay is in her mid-twenties and lives in Toronto with her boyfriend and their dog (who also has some anxiety issues). Sarah was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2005 at the age of 16 and is still trying to figure it out. Follow Sarah’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog, or additionally you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or check out her new website: SarahsMoods.com

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