Cast your memories back to the childhood days of ample leisure. You may well recall a story about a golden haired girl who venture into the house of three bears. She tried all their porridge, slept in their beds, and sat on their chairs until she found the perfect quantity of each.
Ok this is not an article about breaking into a strangers house and abusing their property. This is an article of balance and, in a truly Goldilocks way, how you can find a happy midpoint between your hobbies and a degree of stress – helping you get the most out of work.
It’s so inherent in our working culture that we have to work at full capacity, all of the time. This often leads people to experience overwhelming stress in the workplace, permeating into other aspects of our lives and often resulting in burnout.
Workaholic induced stress is costly both to your own well-being and to wider public services. According to research in the Harvard Business Review, stress costs healthcare services in the US additional expenditures of $120 billion to $190 billion dollars per year. It is also reported that stress contributes to at least 120,000 deaths per year.
A great remedy for this is finding time for leisure and hobbies. In our childhood days it’s something that we were very good at – it pretty much dominated our lives – in part because we didn’t have the weighty burdens of work on our shoulders. If you think about it, how many memories do you have as a “stressed” child?
Principally, hobbies allow you to do something you enjoy. Whilst you may enjoy your work, when you are doing your hobby, you are usually not thinking about work. In this sense, hobbies help you to switch off and take a step back.
You are also getting a genuine feel good factor, when participating in something you enjoy you are stimulating a part of the brain, the septal region, that results in happiness.
Less stress, more skills
Hobbies are not just a good stress reliever but a great work-skills enhancer. As Aytekin Tank writes for Fast Company, “Dancing, circus arts, music, theatre, and sports strengthen the brain’s executive functions. Strategic games like chess improve brain plasticity. Playing a musical instrument strengthens the corpus callosum — an area of your brain that bridges the left and right hemispheres . Learning a new language engages an extensive network of the mind and improves cognitive functions.” Clearly these skills are well suited to the complex tasks of the workplace.
Just the right amount
Although high-levels of stress do have an evidently negative impacts on us, it seems sensible to think that stress can come in degrees. We might say that in it’s lesser form stress translates into something like “pressure”.
Ian Robinson in his book “The Stress Test: how pressure can make you stronger and sharper” claims that we can use stress at a moderate level to motivate ourselves.
Whilst I think that talking of stress as a motivator can have negative connotations, the idea is that we can at least use lesser forms of stress to help motivate us and improve our productivity.
Incorporating hobbies and leisure into our lives, as well as harnessing stress and pressure to improve our work habits is a great way to find balance. Ultimately this kind of Goldilocks approach will help us navigate those more stressful moments, but lets hope you don’t get chased by bears in the meantime.
At Linkilaw, we’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and this balance is probably what is most difficult to accomplish. If you want to stay focused and motivated throughout the year, you need to recharge your batteries and disconnect from the crazy daily life.
We understand how hard is to be an entrepreneur so at Linkilaw, we help you with your legal matters so you can stay focused on growing your business.