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A hobby a day helps you work, rest and play
Last Updated: 2022-07-12 08:55 | China Daily
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An outside interest can ease work pressures and enrich life, enthusiasts claim.

As an advertising worker by day and a talk show host by night, An Di has many ways to break out of her workday routine and make life outside the office more wonderful and fulfilling.

The 28-year-old has always found living in Beijing to be stressful, especially during her first two years in the city, because of traffic jams, crowded streets and subways, seemingly endless work and many other factors.

Like many people of her generation, she believes that finding a hobby or a passion is like discovering another identity that can effectively distance her from everyday stress and offer her a chance to explore more possibilities in life.

"I'm also learning jazz dance, illustrative painting and how to mix cocktails. Maybe in a few years, I'll quit my job and become an illustrator or a bartender," she said.

After graduating as an advertising major at Wuhan University, Hubei province, in 2017, An came to Beijing with dreams of becoming a professional in the field. She soon found a job as part of a freshman training program at an advertising company.

"I was new to the city and a novice at work. I spent quite a long time getting used to the pace of life and work. Developing hobbies like painting and photography has been a good way to reduce stress. More importantly, these hobbies also give me inspiration and new ideas for creative work," An said.

She recently started a new job at a company where she is responsible for posters and graphic design for social media advertising, and one of her pieces won the China edition of the 2022 Young Lions competition in April.

"I'm very busy in my new job. I often work 12 hours straight and get home at around 11 pm. Instead of going to bed immediately, I turn on my laptop, find an online talk show and watch it."

Seeking opportunities

When talk show programs started becoming popular in China in 2017, An quickly took notice. She said she has followed almost all the online talk show programs and attended many events offline.

"I longed to become a professional host, so I sought opportunities," she said.

In January, when one of her friends invited her to take part in a talk show competition, she agreed without hesitation. "It was definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done," she said.

Although she prepared many scenarios and practiced a lot after work for about two weeks, she was still nervous when the big day finally arrived.

"I felt nervous for the first few minutes of the performance, mainly because I was not familiar with the stage. After all, it was my first performance in front of a large audience. Gradually, though, my nerves were submerged by my concentration and excitement," she said.

"My performance was OK, and taking part in the competition was really a great experience."

Even though she wasn't among the winners, she plans to take part in more events and attend training sessions. "I want to step into the field and become a more professional host someday," she said.

She is also developing other hobbies, such as dancing and learning a musical instrument.

"I love to have a full schedule, and good time management helps balance my work and my hobbies," she said.

"In fact, my hobbies affect my work performance in a positive way. The more I learn in different fields, the more I am inspired when designing. 'Work hard, play harder' is my motto. After all, life is a journey of experience, and working hard makes life better."

Videos with bite

Zhang Haili thinks hobbies allow her to make better use of her spare time to enrich and control her life.

The 30-year-old native of Luohe, Henan province, is a member of staff at Shanghai University, but she also creates videos of her pet corgi dog and posts them on Bilibili, a video-sharing platform, where her account has nearly 20,000 followers.

She usually arrives at her office before 8:30 am and leaves at 5:30 pm, seldom working overtime. Her daily routine includes administrative work, arranging teaching schedules for members of the academic staff and assisting them in running lectures.

That changed during the quarantine prompted by the fresh wave of COVID-19 cases in Shanghai from March to the end of May.

For that period, she lived in a dormitory on campus and was on 24-hour call every day for campus management issues.

"I was burdened with a lot of extra work, such as collecting data about COVID-19 control, and I often worked from 7 am until midnight. Working overtime was hard, but it was nothing compared with not being able to come home and take care of my dog," she said.

"Living and working in Shanghai can be stressful. My dog has always been a great companion to me, helping me to relax and easing the feelings of isolation and loneliness. I asked a friend to look after her during the quarantine period, and it was very difficult for me to be away from her for such a long time."

Zhang started recording life with her corgi in 2018. At first, she regarded it as a random hobby and didn't expect many people to like her posts. However, after posting several videos, she gained a number of followers, which she found a little surprising.

As a result, she began managing her account on the platform more carefully, making the filming and editing of videos a regular part of her life.

Now, she is often approached by people who ask her to cooperate with them or offer her money to advertise their products. Meanwhile, Bilibili also offers rewards for creators like her, based on viewer numbers and likes of posted videos.

Zhang usually spends around two or three hours shooting and editing videos at night. Sometimes businesses, such as pet food companies, make contact and ask her to promote their products. The preparatory work for scripts and videos takes more time than her regular shoots.

Despite the attention she is receiving, she still regards her videos purely as a hobby.

"I don't want to train my dog as an animal actor to do whatever I order her to do. I just capture moments that I feel are interesting, and I tell a story based on the materials I have. I make videos for my own interest and I don't want to turn them into a tool for making money or to plan seriously as a career to step into," she said. "Sometimes, I only earn several hundred yuan for a promotional video."

As Zhang wasn't able to shoot or edit videos during the quarantine period, she did some livestreams to share her life with her fans.

Her growing fame has resulted in meaningful encounters with fans. For example, in April, one of her friends was unable to buy fresh vegetables under quarantine, so he asked Zhang for help.

When she posted her friend's information on a page for her followers on Bilibili, a fan contacted her with details of how people could order fresh food online. Thanks to that assistance, her friend and many of his neighbors were able to buy high-quality vegetables online.

"I consider my videos a great channel for me to communicate with people who share similar interests. I feel that developing various hobbies makes me live life to the full. I try to manage a lot of things in my spare time, and if I cannot find anything more interesting to do, I'll even clean the house," Zhang said.

"Making videos of my dog and posting them online is shaping my life in a positive way. I have made a lot of friends at offline events, and I love the excitement I feel when I see that some of my videos have had 1 million or 2 million hits."

(Editor:Wang Su)

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A hobby a day helps you work, rest and play
Source:China Daily | 2022-07-12 08:55
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