April 6, 2021 by Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director
The work-life balance came into use in the 1970s and ‘80s. When we pursue outside interests it provides us with the opportunity to clear our minds, recharge, and return to work happier, more productive, and creative.
The dictionary defines a hobby as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” That could be anything from gardening, painting, woodworking, yard work, exercise, reading, fishing, hiking, cooking, and baking the list is endless.
Work-life balance helps to reduce stress and burnout. When we spend time on leisure activities it releases dopamine in our brains, dopamine is the happy chemical. When we hear the word hobby what do think of?
Most people’s thoughts instantly go to artistic hobbies or outdoor activities. Anything can be a hobby that is not work-related and allows you to completely forget about work and focus on another task. Over the years I have tried many things, some I liked, some I did not enjoy. Some of the activities have included: cardmaking, painting, knitting, quilting, jewelry making, reading, running, hiking, cooking, and baking.
Research by Harvard Business School shows that workplace stress is costing $125 to $190 billion annually. This burnout leads to low retention rates in the workforce and companies are losing some of their most motivated and hard-working people.
The solution to burnout is spending time doing things that we genuinely enjoy. Hobbies also pay off by adding skills needed for business to succeed. When we are engaged in hobbies involving imagination, hands-on activities, art and, music it improves our problem-solving abilities.
Four ways that pursuing hobbies can enhance your business success:
1. Exercise a new part of your brain
Cross-train your mind. Try new things! Learning a second language, take a creative writing class, hobbies exercise our brain and improve our cognitive functions. When we do things that make us feel good, it makes us happy and our outlook on life and challenges are improved.
For example, a few years ago I started to paint. I have discovered that painting landscapes provides me with a creative outlet as well as relaxes me from the daily pressures and stress of work. Something as simple as painting on canvas has a way of rejuvenating me so that I return to the office energized and with the ability to see challenges from a different perspective.
2. Hobbies Relieve Stress
Hobbies provide the opportunity to take a break and focus on something you enjoy allowing your mind to rest. Some of my best inspiration comes when I am swimming laps or running. The physical execration clears my mind and the ideas can start to flow.
3. Hobbies can improve your career.
Having hobbies helps you learn to hand work-life stress and think creatively. It also shows employers that you have passions and a drive to do something with your time. Learning a new skill like creative writing will make you a better writer for your business. Hobbies do not always have to include something artistic; I have met people whose hobbies include volunteering; they love being around people and are deeply invested in the organization or cause. Volunteering makes them happy and it improves their career by the connections they make while serving others.
4. Hobbies improve your self-confidence and self-esteem
Pushing your limits, getting out of your comfort zone empowers you and builds your self-esteem. Just this past winter I tried snowboarding for the first time. I went into the activity nervous and fearful. Each time I fell and had to talk myself into getting up and going again. Every time you progress with a hobby you are pushing yourself more into a mentality of being able to accomplish anything.
We often claim that we would like to spend more time on our hobbies and often fail to do so. Learning and doing hobbies make us happier and increases our productivity in our careers. Make the time to indulge yourself in a hobby or two.