Forced into confinement within the walls of their homes for longer durations than thought possible, billions of people across the globe sought out a variety of new hobbies and interests to maintain mental stability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mayo Clinic, an increasing number of U.S. adults reported symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the pandemic. To counteract these symptoms, the clinic suggests enjoying at-home hobbies or identifying a new project to occupy the amount of time sitting around during the course of the quarantine.
Creativity blossomed for many people while experimenting with different ways to entertain themselves. Many found solace in all sorts of passions such as baking bread, reading books, hitting step goals and meditating. The pandemic is still a major piece of society with an indefinite end, though people are getting back to their “normal” lives with work and school.
Although people do not have as much time as they did early on in the pandemic, many continue to participate in their newfound hobbies.
During the pandemic, 18-year-old Hailey Ledford, a Salt Lake Community College film major, recalled wanting to pursue her passion for photography.
“I’ve always been into photography. I started really getting into it in high school,” she said.
With heavy influences from her father, the pandemic gave Ledford the time to explore her talent behind the camera. Ledford aspired to become a photographer ever since she received a Nikon digital camera for her birthday. She became eager to explore different types of photography techniques, which led her to buy an antique film camera and explore the world through its vintage perspective.
Ledford’s hobby has become a passion. She takes her cameras out at least a couple of times a week and said she is not particular in what she captures in her shots so much as experimenting with various scenes and styles.
Lexus Beardall, a 19-year-old University of Utah student, used her free time early in the pandemic to launch a YouTube channel to showcase her own films and photography.
“I got into them because [YouTube] had always been an interest of mine and I finally had time to make it happen,” Beardall said.
With school and work back in full swing, Beardall said she still makes personal vlog videos, which she uploads weekly to her channel called The Life of Lex, a project she pursues just for fun. She continues to hone her craft by exploring new film settings and through trial and error processes.