How Hobbies Can Help Manage Burnout And Mental Health

May 15, 2021

For Gauri Yardi, music is more than just a hobby. It’s something that helps her deal with the ups and downs of life.

In 2017, after a tough few years that left Gauri burnt out and exhausted, music was a huge comfort.

“At that time, I sang a lot. [It helped me] slow down, be in the moment and relieve stress,” the 37-year-old writer from Melbourne says.

Lately, she’s picked up the ukulele and found it has helped, too.

“When you’re playing, you’re concentrating on your finger positions and … strumming,” Gauri says.

“You’re not thinking about a pandemic, or what’s going on at work.

“For me, it’s not at all about getting better. It’s just about having fun.”

How hobbies can help your mental health

For many Australians, the pandemic has brought uncertainty, stress and isolation, and research suggests hobbies can help.

Research from the Australian Psychological Society found that four in five Australians found activities like listening to music and spending time on a hobby moderately or highly effective in managing stress.

Another study from New Zealand found engaging in activities like song-writing, creative writing, knitting or art led to increases in wellbeing that lasted into the next day.

How to find a hobby that will help you recover

Jo Wintle works as a business psychologist, and has researched approaches to managing burnout in workplaces.

She says hobbies are useful for “effort recovery”.

In other words, they can help us detach from the daily stresses of work and home and help us feel refreshed.

“Hobbies that you pursue are a fantastic way to recoup your energy. There’s no limit, and it’s really up to what you’re interested in,” she says.

For best results, she recommends thinking about activities with these four elements:

  • Psychological detachment from work — the activity should help you disconnect from work.
  • Relaxation — your hobby should be enjoyable and help you feel good.
  • Mastery — it helps if you get a sense of accomplishment.
  • Control — having control over an activity outside of work can help with recovery.

Ideally we should aiming to spend 30–60 minutes a day on these types of activities, Ms Wintle says.

“It has to be an activity that engages you enough mentally so that you are distracted from the workday and focusing on something else,” she says.

Full article: ABC


Wright, P. (2021, July 15). ‘I guard it with my life’: Why having a hobby is so vital for wellbeing – ABC everyday. ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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