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Staying Mindful of Destructive Patterns When Engaging in Favorite Pastimes

Everybody loves getting lost in their favorite pastimes. Whether it’s eating fish and chips on the beach, sharing a bottle of wine with friends, or gaming late into the night, there’s nothing better than burning off steam and treating yourself to some luxury and fun.

However, some habits can become destructive if taken to extremes. A few games of Fortnite before bed may help you unwind, but blasting enemies until 3 a.m. every night probably isn’t in your best interest.

Likewise, your relationship with food and drink can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional night out with friends or sharing a pizza with your partner.

However, if you find yourself in the bars every night of the week, something else may be in play. Being mindful of destructive patterns can help bring joy back to your favorite pastimes. A little moderation and self-accountability can go a long way and open your eyes to other ways you can spend your time, energy, and income.


More people are gaming today than ever before. 3.24 billion gamers now spend their leisure time exploring virtual worlds, racing against one another, or farming digital crops on games like Stardew Valley. Gaming can be great for your mental health. Getting lost in a virtual world can help you “switch off” and give you the skills you need to become more resilient to real-world problems.

However, gaming can quickly become an addictive, destructive habit that saps your energy and allows you to ignore issues in your life. Some negative effects of gaming include lower self-esteem, isolation, flawed coping strategies, and poor academic or work performance. You may be at greater risk for harm if you aren’t intentional about your habits and are no longer gaming for fun.

You can reclaim your love of gaming by avoiding toxic player bases and focusing on games that bring your joy. Many first-person shooter games host unmoderated online communities that allow players to say or do unkind things without repercussions. Avoiding these games is in your best interest if you’re struggling with your mental health. There are plenty of alternatives available that foster positive interactions and teamwork.

Sports and Exercise

Like gaming, sports and exercise reward you for your hard work and regular practice. This can be a great way to boost your mental health, build your confidence, learn new skills, and meet interesting people.

However, it’s easy to get sucked into your favorite sport or exercise regime. This may lead to destructive behavior patterns that weaken your social bonds and leave you with constant physical and mental fatigue.

You can maintain balance by managing your expectations and paying attention to the physical signs of fatigue. Cut yourself some slack if you miss a practice or need to take a break from your sport for a while. You may want to become better at your favorite sports, but overtraining will only lead to exhaustion and frustration.

You can learn to recognize the signs of overtraining yourself. Running too frequently, lifting too heavy, or failing to take a break from exercise can lead to injury and poor performance. Overtraining can also harm your mental health, as folks who overtrain suffer from poor sleep quality and an inability to relax. If you train too hard for too long, you may also put yourself at a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

Start by taking a week off to reduce physical fatigue and help you refocus. This can help reduce physical and mental fatigue in athletes of all kinds.

During your rest week, try to take a step back from the sport you play and spend more time with loved ones or enjoy a different hobby. You may realize that you’ve been neglecting valued relationships that can better support your overall well-being or forgotten how much you love doing a non-physical activity.


Opening a bottle of wine or a cold beer can be a well-earned treat after a long day of working or studying. Some studies show that very moderate alcohol consumption can improve well-being and even help you live a happier, more carefree life.

However, there’s a big difference between occasional social drinking and problem drinking that leads to alcohol use disorder (AUD).

AUD occurs when you drink too much, too frequently, and no longer feel in control of your drinking habits. You may start to experience cravings for alcohol or engage in dangerous activities while under the influence. These signs may mean you need help to be more mindful of destructive behaviors associated with alcohol.

You may need to seek help if you suspect that alcohol has become a problematic pastime. Getting assessed and speaking to an expert can help you get back on track and find other ways to fill your time. Experts can also help you measure your progress and enable you to strike a healthy balance between alcohol consumption and your overall well-being.


There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the pastimes you love. However, moderation and mindfulness are key to ensuring that your favorite hobby doesn’t become detrimental to your overall health and well-being. If you suspect you’re in too deep, try to reassess your habits and consider getting expert help to break your dependence on exercise, gaming, or alcohol.



About the Author: Dan Matthews is a writer, content consultant, and conservationist. While Dan writes on a variety of topics, he loves to focus on issues that look inward on humanity, and that help make the surrounding world a better place to reside. When Dan isn’t working on new content, you can find him with a coffee cup in one hand while searching for new music with the other.

Image Source: Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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