It’s no surprise that hobbies are a critical component of a fulfilling life. When it comes to creative pastimes, career-oriented people sometimes need time to de-stress and find it beneficial to focus on craft-based projects.
Forbes notes that creative hobbies can improve mental health and cognitive function and
Indeed says that developing creative thinking during downtime can help people “consider situations from innovative perspectives” in the workplace.
All of these benefits combined can help someone become successful in their main career path, even if the career isn’t in the arts.
Joshua Goodman, a psychotherapist located in Ottawa, says that having creative outlets is essential to him. Playing music and working on a fantasy novel are ways he performs self-care, which helps him achieve the relaxed mindset he needs to connect with clients.
“Writing and music are forms of self-care,” Goodman says. “Those activities help me stay balanced and composed as I work with my clients in therapy.”
He also discusses how writing a novel helps him relieve stress and work through problems he has experienced, which then makes him better equipped to help others.
“Writing my novel has helped me to process much of my own traumatic experience and metabolize those negative events in a way that has allowed me to fuel the empathy I have for my clients,” he says.
De-stressing through creative outlets can help people in other fields as well. Walter Mackey is an insurance adjuster who enjoys crocheting and knitting in his spare time. He says his hobbies are both therapeutic and important ways he copes with pressure from his fast-paced job, allowing him to be more successful and relaxed at work.
“Since my job is usually so stressful, being able to pick up a craft project and unwind while also watching a new design or garment or stuffed toy come to life before me is always a really rewarding experience,” he says.
He adds that crocheting gives him a sense of calm. “Meticulously repeating certain stitches and movements and following written patterns feels very therapeutic to me.”
Mackey notes that the repetition of patterns in crocheting and knitting help him when his job becomes stressful. “Following a pattern and staying ‘on track’ when my workday throws me ‘off the tracks’ is a way for me to manage my stress personally.”
Praising the correlation between creativity and stress relief is a sentiment that Goodman agrees with.
“I’d argue that my creative outlets are essential to managing my stress,” he says. At times, being stressed can signal to Goodman that he needs to take time for his hobbies.
“I don’t concretely schedule in any creative time,” he says. “I often allow my feelings to guide when I stretch my creative muscles, which is usually around two hours a week.”
Another way creative outlets can help someone perform better at work is by stimulating innovative thinking patterns, which can help with problem-solving.
Holly Wells, a marketing professional, enjoys getting creative with regular home decor projects, gardening and cooking.
“Having a creative outlet in your spare time can encourage more creative thinking and ways of approaching things in general,” she says.
Wells believes creativity helps spark her ability to tackle work problems, almost as if being creative helps her practice reasoning and brainstorming.
“From a working sense, that may manifest into new ways of solving a problem or different ways of doing things that are more productive and enjoyable,” she says.
She also thinks that it’s possible to become overwhelmed with work thoughts and problems without a creative outlet, making it difficult to see things clearly and perform tasks.
Hobbies also don’t necessarily mean sacrificing productivity. It’s possible to achieve a lot while de-stressing. Being a productive person doesn’t just include being effective at work.
“Being creative massively helps me with my stress management because my creative hobbies allow me to switch off and feel productive at the same time,” Wells says. “I value creative productivity very much, especially gardening and re-potting my plants!”
About the author
Brittany is a reporter for Youth Mind. When she isn’t working hard to become a full-time writer, she can be found making a dinner reservation, rewatching her favourite movies, or reading about True Crime.