Can A Hobby Make You A Happier Professional?
Creating a healthy work-life balance is important, but often a challenge. I know firsthand the struggles of juggling a full-time business, family-time, mate-time, sleep-time and me-time… so it’s my hobbies that keep me grounded!
Some of my best ideas have materialised when furthest from my desk. I’m not the only one who thinks this. Top advice from mental health and wellbeing experts, career coaches, business leaders and innovators (like Franklin, Darwin and that Zuckerberg guy), all agree a valued hobby is the key to professional success.
As a landscape photographer and business-owner (often working crazy hours), I also like to escape the lens. I enjoy running, hiking, swimming in the ocean, and playing soccer with my son. These activities break up my desk-time to prevent burn out.
The Australian Government Department of Health reports “people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression”. This is backed up by findings showing Aussie adults actively engaged in team sports are less likely than other Aussies to suffer from mental health issues. Committing a small chunk of your week to getting out of the office and into a hobby also gives the mind fertile space to think outside the norm, helping to unearth new ideas and angles to your work!
But I get it. A hobby needs precious time (and money) from your already bursting schedule. Don’t look past the fact that the benefits are awesome career builders. Photography, for example, is a beautifully calming and readily accessible hobby that you can start right now. Taking a break from the demands of work is as easy as picking up a camera (or your iPhone) and snapping a few scenic shots. There’s a strong link between landscape photography and mindfulness, as you’re taking time out in nature to focus on the present moment.
Your hobby, random side project, or extra-curricular activity is an invaluable tool to meet new people and learn new skills that translate to your work. It’s great for impressing potential employers during an interview too!
Having a hobby helps professionals to:
- Reduce work-related stress
- Produce “good stress” (or excitable energy known as eustress)
- Lower anxiety and self doubt
- Increase physical and emotional wellbeing
- Unwind from the daily grind (rather than work, eat, sleep, repeat)
- Improve communication and team-building
- Grow self-esteem and social belonging
- Set and accomplish goals
- Sharpen focus and memory
How do you plan to keep your mental health in check for 2019? Pursue a creative, active, educational or personal hobby – something purely for YOU (not for your boss, clients, colleagues, partner or parents!). A hobby that makes you happy will grow to have positive effects on your personal satisfaction, work performance, and even relationships.
Head to Health (2019) https://headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies
Roy Morgan (2015) http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/yet-another-reason-sport-is-good-for-you-201503162219
CNBC (2017) https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/02/3-science-backed-reasons-having-a-hobby-will-help-your-career.html
Medical News Today (2018) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320715.php
Develop Good Habits (2018) https://www.developgoodhabits.com/benefits-hobby/
Digital Camera World (2018) https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/features/can-photography-improve-your-mental-health