It is commonly believed that leisure time activities are for retired persons. But experts have something else to say! According to a research conducted by San Francisco State University in 2014, creative activities like cooking, knitting, photography, painting or gardening can increase one’s workplace productivity by reducing the stress level. “We found that in general, the more you engage in creative activities, the better you’ll do at your workplace,” said Kelvin Eschleman, the study’s lead.
Eschleman is right in his assessment. Highly successful personalities do take out time to indulge in hobbies.
- Bill Gates plays bridge
- Meryl Streep knits
- George W. Bush paints
- Jack Dorsey hikes
- Richard Branson plays chess
- Marissa Mayer bakes
- Angelina Jolie collects weapons.
So, let us find out how pursuing a hobby can increase your work productivity and keep your stress levels down by improving every facet of your life.
How hobbies boost job performance?
First, let us look at the results of the research carried out by San Francisco State University (as mentioned earlier).
The study was conducted on two groups of professionals. They were asked to describe their hobbies/creative activities outside work, and also how creative they were at work. The first group consisted of 341 employees whereas the second comprised of 92 US Air Force captains.
The people from the first group self-rated their workplace performance while persons who were in the second group were evaluated by their subordinates and co-workers.
The study revealed that in both the groups, those who had a hobby were more relaxed outside work. At workstation too, people with a hobby were better performers. They were more likely to help others.
Now let us look at all the related benefits of having a hobby that can make you a star performer at your workplace.
- Hobbies help in keeping the stress level down
Spending time in leisure activities is the best way to take a break from your daily hectic schedule. Hobbies offer diversion from all stressors. They can keep you from getting burned out. We have very limited space in our mind. If we fill it with fun, then there will be no room left for pesky thoughts. We can have fun only by doing what we love. Hobbies are considered similar to meditation at times. It has been proven that people who are less stressed are more creative and proficient in their job performance.
- Health benefits of pursuing a hobby
Everything is interconnected. If you are not happy and physically fit, then you cannot give your 100 percent to your work. Hobbies can refresh your body and mind. They help in staying active, happy and healthy. It has already been proven that doing what you like in your spare time delays the signs of aging. The pleasure you get by indulging in leisure activities can imbibe positivity which can help you fight against illness. Take a look at the health benefits that you can get by pursuing a hobby.
a) Lower risk of metabolic disease
According to a study (conducted in 2009) published in Psychosomatic Medicine, people who take out time to indulge in their hobbies have lower blood pressure, lower BMI (body mass index) and lower levels of stress hormone. It lowers the risk of metabolic diseases.
b) Improved immune system
If your hobby includes an athletic pursuit, then you will get better benefits. A South Korean study which was published in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being discovered that a pastime of a fitness routine or sport improved physical health. Staying active helps enhance one’s immune system. “Physical activity can help prevent or maintain control in some chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes arthritis and even some types of cancer” (stated in a report from Aging Home Health Care).
c) Sharp memory
A research, which was published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, discovered that people who spent more hours in pastime activities scored better in cognitive skill test irrespective of their education, social class and sex. Hobbies like solving crossword puzzles, searching new words, playing card games or brain games help sharpen problem-solving skills by challenging the mental abilities.
d) Quality sleep
Getting 7-8 hours sleep can help you stay healthy. It helps your brain work properly. It protects your physical health, mental health, safety and quality of life. Pursuing a hobby that involves physical exercise can help you get better quality sleep.
- Hobbies improve creativity
When your mind is focused on something it likes (intrinsically motivated), it tends to think more creatively. Apart from that, engaging yourself in your favorite pastime activity can uplift your spirit and make you feel motivated. So, if you take out time to do what you love regularly, you can see betterment in your workplace productivity.
Take a look at this list if you want inspiration. Try any of these out and you can see the results for yourself in a short span of time.
10 productive hobbies that can help you release stress and increase your workplace productivity
Check the list of top 10 hobbies that can work as stress-busters and make you more productive.
According to a study which was published in the Journal of Health Psychology, gardening improves positive mood by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. “Gardening is grounding, brings you closer to the earth, and allows you to heal yourself by tending to other living things”, says Michelle Polk, herbalist and acupuncturist.
According to a research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading can help reduce heart rate and ease tension. A couple of minutes of reading is sufficient to release stress. It can help you take a break from daily humdrum.
Journaling is a great way to release your stress. Writing down all your emotions and thoughts is healthy. It reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Listening to music
“Music has a calming effect and can be used as stress-relieving therapy,” says Rebecca Lee, founder of RemedistForMe.com. Whenever you feel low, just listen to your favorite track. It will surely soothe your mind. According to Harvard Health, listening to music everyday can decrease anxiety and stress, slow down your heart rate, and lower your blood pressure.
Dancing is a good stress buster. It can help you release your stress by uplifting your spirit.
Baking is meditative. It can help you alleviate all your stress. According to a survey conducted by Great Comic Relief Bake Off, many people start baking whenever they feel depressed.
According to Medical Daily, Art therapy reduces stress and the symptoms of depression. Coloring helps in eliciting a relaxing mindset. It makes you forget all the tensions.
Whenever you feel stressed out, you can take a hike. Hiking helps in reducing rumination, according to a study conducted by Stanford University. Walking outside also decreases anxiety and improves mood.
- Crafting a gift
Crafting a gift can help you reduce your stress. It will make you forget about everything else. It is a great stress buster.
- Having a pet
Spend time with your pet. It will surely make you feel happy. It will improve your mood and reduce tension.
It’s okay to skip a night of Game of Thrones or wake up a little early on Sunday morning for taking out time to do what you love (or to explore a new hobby). It will definitely make a huge difference to your work life.