Creative Hobbies Can Boost Performance
From the CONCERN: EAP Resilience Library
Evolving communication and productivity technologies enable us to connect and engage with our work in ways we couldn’t have dreamt of even ten years ago. These tools make it easier for us to dedicate more time to work connection, and statistics show that we’ve embraced that immersion wholeheartedly.
While passion and dedication to our work are admirable, it’s important to remember that disconnecting and recharging are also important for ongoing productivity and resilience.
We’ve written before about how taking breaks and time off can promote mental and physical wellbeing. Insufficient downtime can lead to fatigue, decreased productivity, diminished life satisfaction, and even more severe health consequences, such as depression.
Another consequence of too little downtime is that it can cause our creativity engines to slow down or stop working altogether. When that happens, happiness can also suffer.
Considering how hard we’re all working, it counts as a small victory when we do manage to disconnect from work for an evening, weekend, or vacation. Research suggests that we might be able to further increase the benefits of these small wins by focusing on the way we spend our downtime.
Behavioral science tells us that all leisure activities aren’t necessarily created equal. And that, by being more mindful of how we spend time off, we can help maximize the benefits of the breaks we do take.
In short, it’s time to get serious about downtime. To begin, here’s a snapshot of two different categories of leisure.
Typically, more distracting and passive forms of leisure. Great for shorter breaks because they help signal the brain to release dopamine for a quick jolt of bliss.
Typically, exercises creativity by drawing on innate talents and helping develop new skills. Often more immersive, engaging and can also be fun and enjoyable, despite its name.
Studies indicate that the benefits of deep leisure go beyond the shorter-lived mood boost found through casual leisure. For example, one study out of San Francisco State University found that deep leisure comes with serious benefits. The study concluded that subjects who regularly engage in deeper leisure activities or creative hobbies:
Here are some thoughts on incorporating deeper leisure into your life.