As the demands of our work and other life’s commitments became more and more we increasingly feel pressed for time, when this happens we make up for it by giving up on things that matter to us but we are not getting paid to do. Having time to do your hobbies is increasingly being seen as something that is enjoyed by the unemployed or the lazy.
This may sound trivial but it is as important as our deadlines and commitments are. When people don’t have time for hobbies, our families and our colleagues pay a price. Hobbies can make workers substantially better at their jobs. I know this from personal experience. I’ve always loved cooking food from stretch, making pasta from flour and eggs, roasting and brewing my own coffee beans. But just like everyone else everywhere, I can fall into the trap of feeling that I have no time to do these things.
As both a medical student and entrepreneur I have enough on my plate to keep me busy around the clock. I can easily fall into the trap of the “72-hour workweek,” which takes into account time people spend connected to work on our phones outside of official working hours.
Going to bed is an active decision of weighing pros and cons because there’s always the temptation to do something sedentary and mindless, We usually spend our downtime doing sedentary things such as watching TV or being on social media.
However, choosing to spend that downtime on our hobbies relax our minds with good brain chemistry that relaxes our minds and allows us to think clearer. Many of us suffer from brain exhaustion and burnout no because we are overworked but because we do not know how to rest, like good quality rest. Learning to rest well has a lot to do with doing hobbies we enjoy instead of scrolling through our ‘Timeline’ and clicking ‘likes’ and ‘comments’.
A creative hobby pulls you out of the chemical cauldron of mental fatigue. Whether you’re a musician, artist, writer, or cook, you often start with a blank canvas in your mind. You simply think: What will I create that will evoke the emotion I’m going for? it is in this state of mind where we give ourselves the mental space, to focus on our feelings, and reawaken our creativity. It is as if rational thought and emotions involve different parts of the brain and for the floodgates of creativity to open, both must be in play.
When I take a break from work to roast coffee beans, I reconnect with that perspective. I keep thinking about how someone enjoying the cup of coffee will respond to the different textures and notes of the fatty acids from the beans. I do all I can to bring out the best from the beans by playing special attention to the smell, the texture and coarseness of every cup. Then, when I resume with my studies or work project, I take that same mentality with me. I can tell that my brain was craving that kind of satisfaction. And when I face that work project again, I bring confidence with me.
Being in Medicine is extremely rewarding in many ways but I do not have to tell you that it comes with its stresses too. What we do outside of work can often attribute to our success at work. Maintaining a healthy level of stress has many positive benefits but there is a thin line between healthy and negative stress which we all cross from time to time.