Hobbies do help de-stress professionals

CREATIVE DIVERSIONS: They provide meaning, fun and can break up a boring schedule without feeling like work.

I MARVEL at career women who have time for hobbies, especially when they are climbing the corporate ladder and are always on the go.

Many people don’t realise that hobbies provide balance. Many would sigh, saying they are always too busy to have time for hobbies as they have to juggle their careers and families, what more to indulge in hobbies.

That is where most career women are wrong. They don’t realise the power of hobbies. Hobbies bring a sense of fun and freedom to life that can help minimise the impact of chronic stress.

People who are stressed out can benefit from hobbies because they provide an outlet for stress and something to look forward to after a hard day (or week) at a stressful job. The research out of San Francisco State University looked at how creative activities like knitting, beading, cooking, painting and baking affect work performance.

In a study by a team of psychologists, the subjects gave their after-hours pursuits and their evaluation of job performance examined.

They found, in general, that the more you engage in creative activities, the better you’ll do. The result showed that people with creative hobbies performed between 15 and 30 per cent better at work.

There are several explanations to this. Taking time to indulge in your favourite creative pursuit might help you recharge before heading back to work or could also be a means to learn more about your strengths, weaknesses and knowledge that will benefit you professionally. Those who engage in a hobby also reported greater feelings of control and mastery.

I know of two professionals who are successful career women with creative hobbies. One of them is Aliza Yasmin Yahaya, 31, who is an offshore structures project engineer with Shell Malaysia. Aliza bakes cakes, macaroons, pavlova, etc, as a hobby.

By word of mouth she started to take orders. She even got orders from famous artistes such as Aaron Aziz and Adi Putra. She bakes and her hubby, Ahmad Sidik (also an engineer), helps her with the icing and frosting.

Another professional that I know is Shuhaizee A. Shukor, 30, an executive with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) who enjoys beading as a hobby.

She said that her beading hobby enhances her creativity and performance. She makes all kinds of beaded bracelets and necklaces.

This hobby later became an online business known as beadlista. You can order her beaded bracelets and necklaces @mailto:beadlista@gmail.com or facebook.com/beadlista. Suhaizee is going to be featured on TV9 soon.

Research shows that those who are in stressful jobs that normally contribute to burnout feel less of a need to “recover” from their day at bedtime if they have more creative and social leisure activities that aren’t work-related hobbies.

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