You’re reading Life-Work Balance, a series aiming to redirect our total devotion to work into prioritising our personal lives.
You’ve had a long day at work, your muscles ache for sitting in the same position for too long, or your legs for standing too long, and you’re tired. All you want to do is eat a warm meal and slouch in front of the TV or laptop while you scroll your phone. And then repeat for the next four days.
Work can be draining – you’re required to carry out the same monotonous tasks daily, helping companies get richer, with little regard to own your wellbeing and happiness.
The only relief is the weekend, which is often reserved for refuelling, catching up with loved ones, or completing life admin.
But there are things we do throughout the week that reinvigorate us, make us feel alive and skilled, and happy. Those are hobbies.
While in the last decade, hobbies have taken a turn towards hustle culture – monetising our past-times so we can make more money – the pandemic has allowed us to rediscover the little things that have a big impact on us.
With working from home becoming an ordinary staple, we have more time than ever to cultivate social and personal activities.
We spoke to some people about the hobbies that are changing how they approach work culture.
Marcio Delgado, a London-based and influencer marketing manager, 41, says the pandemic has shifted how he organises his week.
“During lockdown I started to take my dogs for a one-hour walk right in the middle of the day to break the monotony. Although life is fairly back to normal in London now, I have not changed that,” he says.
“Before 2020 I would build my life around my working hours, basically blocking almost any time I possibly had between 9 to 6pm to attend the office and sit in front of a computer. Now that the world is a bit hybrid, I have inverted priorities and still able to work as much - or more - than before.”
For Rosie Thomas, an ADHD coach from Berlin, something people don’t often do as a hobby had a significant effect on her.
“Going to sauna regularly has changed my life,” she tells HuffPost.
“I was always against going to saunas because I tend to hate the heat, but in January I decided to try it out. I started going regularly and it has truly been mind blowing.
“I have ADHD so my mind is typically running about eight consecutive trains of thought (minimum). I’ve struggled with meditation, yoga, any form of silence. But the sauna enables me relax and think clearly.”
Not only does it help Thomas relax, the sauna is also useful for her work.
“I’ve come up with some amazing ideas for my business in the sauna, solved a couple of problems I was struggling with, and begun sleeping more deeply,” she says.
“Now, if I’ve got some bad brain fog or I’m feeling a bit low and I have time between my 1:1 coaching clients, I’ll go for a quick sauna session and truly come out feeling like a new person.”
Similarly, Natalie Arney, 39, an SEO consultant from Brighton, has found multiple hobbies bringing life to her week.
Among crafty activities such as punch needle, scrapbooking, and cross stitch, one hobby stands out for Arney - choir.
“I have a couple of things I like to do, but the one that’s impacted me the most so far this year is joining a choir. I started in January this year and it has really helped me with work and my week,” she says.
“I go every Wednesday evening during term time, and this term we had a concert to get ready for. I absolutely love the choir because it gives me something to look forward to, and the community it has created is so supportive and caring.”
Choir practice also helps Arney in another area – getting out of the house.
“I struggle with my mental and physical health, and up until I joined choir, I didn’t do much outside of the house that wasn’t to do with work (I’m a freelancer, so it’s easy to lock myself away), but now, aside from going shopping or out for a meal, I’ve also got choir to go to,” she says.
“Singing also really helps you physically and mentally, including helping with breathing, posture and muscle tension, and releases neuro-chemicals too - which as a person who lives with chronic pain, I really benefit from!”
Hobbies are subjective – one person’s enjoyment might be another person’s idea of boredom – but no matter what brings someone happiness, hobbies and interests outside of work are the ultimate acts of resistance against capitalism.
They bring us pleasure without the expectation of procuring money or making us more marketable to recruiters.
So swim in the seas, pamper yourself in a sauna, curl up with a book in a local library, lift weights, knit, shoot hoops.
Whatever brings you joy.
Life-Work Balance questions the status quo of work culture, its mental and physical impacts, and radically reimagines how we can change it to work for us.