With job duties, household chores, and maintaining a social life, life can get pretty crazy. Leaving our hobbies and interests aside becomes normal. However, what we fail to see is that we need the creative side to remain sane and manage to hold it together.

Creative activities and side projects are not only therapy for your mind. They are also a window of opportunities which can lead you to a whole new life. In fact, Gmail, Slack, and Craiglist all started as side projects, and now they are a story of their own.

If you are still not convinced about the perks of having a hobby or a project you do outside of your normal work, we’ll list a couple of benefits, and tell you how you can start doing something useful for your well-being.

Your ally in the battle against stress

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 75 percent of UK adults were so stressed at some point in the last year that they were unable to cope. More than 30 percent of surveyed adults said that experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of stress.

Stress has become a natural part of life for almost everyone, but it shouldn’t be like that. One of the ways to cope with an overwhelming amount of stress is to give your brain something else to think about. Creative activities, whether they include outdoor photography or making muffins, can help. Side projects can take your mind off work, and help you do something you love.

 

A gym for the thinking skills

According to a study published in 2015, engaging in creative tasks promotes the production of new neurons, which are indispensable for keeping the central nervous system healthy. Croatian Medical Journal writes that being creative also encourages recovery after stress, injury, or illness.

Having a hobby, therefore, keeps your brain active and healthy and helps you break the monotony of doing repetitive tasks at work each hour, each day, each week, until the end of time.

 

Preventative measures against dementia and Alzheimer’s

The studies we mentioned above, and the article published in the Public Library of Science, all indicate that creative acts exercise different parts of the brain, including medial temporal lobes, which are in charge of memory-making.

As a result, hobbies and side projects are an important ingredient for warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

A mood-booster

We have already established that having a hobby can help you when you are feeling stressed out. But feeling down and being stressed out are not the same. Creative activities can help with both.

An article named “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Healthnotes that creative acts increase our control over depression and emotional pain. Having a side project helps you feeling calm and happy.

Cultivating a healthy social life

A fulfilled social life is essential for your well being, and it fills your life with affirmation and positivity. It is no secret that people bond over their interests and common experiences. Doing creative things in groups can have a significant impact on the quality of life and perceived happiness.

 

Being more successful at work

Many individuals who pursue great careers often dedicate themselves to their work completely. What they fail to see, though, is that with a focus limited strictly to the job at hand it is very easy to lose yourself and become a slave to one skill alone.

Side projects help you build a whole different set of skills which can help you improve and grow in all areas of your life, including your work. Plus, your hobby can nowadays evolve into a career you were always dreaming about.

 

How to tap into the world of creativity?

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Starting something new in your adult years is never easy. You are probably filled with doubts, fears, and insecurities, and that is OK. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Remember the things that captured your attention when you were younger and more curious. Perhaps you always liked to take photos of your family members. Grab a camera and see if portrait photography still makes you feel happy and inspired.
  • Putting thoughts on paper has always been an excellent way to be creative and do something you love. It doesn’t have to be classic literature, though. These days, you can start a blog about almost anything, ranging from a healthy lifestyle to fashion. Writing about a balanced diet and physical exercise can have multiple benefits, as it can motivate you to take better care of yourself, and additionally improve your well-being. In fact, if you become successful in it, it may even be a regular source of income.
  • Find the middle ground between something you enjoy and a marketable skill. This way, you will be able to absorb all the benefits of having a hobby, while aiding your professional career.
  • Experiment! Really, if you don’t know where to start, start everywhere. Go to the gym. Have a singing contest with your buddies. Draw something. Take a cooking lesson. Write a poem. You will know when you find the right creative activity for you. 

We are much more than the sum of our work and family. In fact, people are often defined by their interests, and with a good reason. What we do when we are not getting any financial reward or when we are not obligated to, reflects who we are. Having a hobby and implementing it into a side project will not distract you from your everyday tasks. On the contrary. It will help you complete them with more enthusiasm and joy.

Natasha is a web designer, lady of a keyboard and one hell of a tech geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and technology trends.

To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter.

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