In the age of the 21st century, Millennials spend a good portion of their time handling technology. In fact, a survey of Millennials taken by the Urban Land Institute revealed that Millennials' hobbies are almost exclusively technology-based.
We enjoy television, radio, video games, social networking and online shopping.
That's not surprising, giving the ubiquity of the web and easy availability of VPNs, but it means that hands-on hobbies have fallen to the wayside. Non-tech hobbies are less popular than ever, which is a downright shame.
Rather than neglecting the wide world of hobbies available outside of a computer, consider picking up a new one. It's time to unplug.
Here are five reasons Millennials should take up non-tech hobbies:
1. You can create unique, one-of-a-kind products.
Creative hobbies, like woodworking, painting, sculpture or crafting, produce marketable and unique objects, which you can create a business around with more ease than ever.
These handmade products require creativity, labor and skill, which is why handmade products sell at more lucrative costs than machine-made things.
Independently-owned small businesses are finding increasing success in a technology-based world selling their handmade products. The popular merchant website Etsy has over 25 million active shoppers looking for unique, handmade products.
The indie beauty company industry, home of every makeup hobbyist who decided to get their own hands dirty, has grown four times as much as other industry brands in the past several years. Buying handmade products is in now, and fostering a creative skill is more marketable now than ever.
2. Non-tech hobbies can get you outside.
There's a reason the standard image of a Hollywood nerd is a young skinny teen with translucent skin: Tech hobbyists will spend most of their time indoors. Picking up a non-tech hobby can include sports, construction or exercise that gets you outdoors and into the sunshine.
It's easy to spend all night online if you don't tire yourself out throughout the day.
Outdoor activities can get you a better night's sleep, reduce your stress and improve your health. If you're finding yourself feeling sore and stiff on a regular basis, or your sleep schedule is drifting into dangerous territory, an outdoor hobby can help you adjust and feel better.
3. You can bond with people face-to-face.
In the age of technology, it's easy to build up a network of online friends with little effort. But that remains more difficult in the real world.
Tech hobbies are often one-man activities and reduce your social interaction. A creative, physical or social hobby can get you back into the real world and reinforcing your real-life friendships.
Face-to-face social interactions can improve your mental health and reduce your risk of developing depression. It's no surprise that internet use has been linked to depression, as the environment is both isolating and the perfect way for the depressed to hide from the world.
But spending physical time with people is critical to mental health, and non-tech hobbies are the route to experience that.
4. Creative hobbies can make you a happier person.
Hobbies, especially physical and social ones, have been associated with improved health and mental clarity. Having something to present you with stimulation, physical activity and the outdoors brings you back to a natural way of interacting with the world around you.
Although your forum or blogging account can feel like social interaction, it lacks the benefits of hobbies that take physical exertion and immediate response, which are both critical to developing healthy social behaviors.
You may be craving that social interaction without even realizing it. The health benefits of hobbies hinge upon these face-to-face benefits and outdoor activity. Staying inside just can't have the same effect.
5. It can connect you with your culture.
Often, cultural activities are some of the first to be neglected upon the introduction of new kinds of technology. This leads to a ubiquitous internet culture, but a disconnection to one's own culture.
Traditional activities such as classical instrument-playing, homemade cooking and clothing construction have fallen by the wayside, but these traditional activities are critical to many peoples' cultural histories.
Cultural hobbies can connect you with your culture, your history and your ancestry. Many cultural skills are in danger of dying out, which makes any decision to pick them up as a hobby a positive one.
As a Millennial, it's easy to become absorbed in your tech hobbies, as they're so popular, easy and entertaining. But the physical, emotional and sociological benefits of stepping away from a computer and going outside, or into a creative studio, can give you a chance to develop a new, unique hobby that brings joy to your life.