The life of a leader is an exhausting one. Your days are filled with judgment calls, pep-talks, and hours of overtime. It’s easy to scoff at picking up a hobby when your days are packed to the brim, but while your work ethic is commendable, it’s important to find ways to decompress before you burn out. 

Burnout isn’t just feeling tired. It’s exhaustion that takes weeks or months to recover from and typically cannot be remedied with a little weekend trip away. It can also lead to company culture issues that could take months to fix. Needless to say, when you’re burnt out, you aren’t doing your company, your staff, or yourself any favors.

You’re a better entrepreneur and overall leader when you’re present, engaged, and doing your part to make your company operate. And a great way to avoid burnout so you can maintain the necessary level of engagement required for your company to succeed is to develop some hobbies outside of work. 

Hobbies? Really? You may be scratching your head right now. Or maybe you already have some hobbies and aren’t sure if they’re helping with any burnout you’re experiencing. Chances are, your hobbies are taking a backseat to all your other life demands, and it’s time for that to stop. 

When you engage in something outside of work and the other tasks and duties of being a functioning adult in today’s world, you’re able to get your mind off of so many things that drive stress and anxiety. You’re ready to give your brain a break and engage in something you enjoy, with no strings attached. Here are a few hobbies you should look into exploring that could help reduce burnout and make you a better entrepreneur:  

1. Learn a New Language

It’s funny how learning a new language in high school felt like slow torture, but as an adult, the idea of it is very appealing. There are so many apps and online platforms out there dedicated to helping people learn languages in a fun and easy way and at their own pace (without any quizzes or tests to possibly flunk). Some even offer tutors from around the world, making any language in reach. 

Learning a new language can also make you more cognizant of your primary language, and inspire you to think more about what you’re saying. Taking time to think about how you communicate will only improve the way you do so. You’ll also sharpen your decision-making abilities because instead of making quick judgment calls, you’ll slow down and sit with your thoughts before making a decision. 

2. Martial Arts

Martial arts like karate, judo, and jiu-jitsu are great for increasing your awareness and mental stamina. While it may seem like they’re all about punches, kicks, and defending yourself against an opponent, martial arts center mostly on step-by-step movements that are repeated time and time again. It can be both relaxing and transformative.

When you take time to control your movements, slowly and deliberately, it can make you think more about how you’re setting and developing goals in other areas of your life. And as you improve, you’ll strengthen your ability to focus, which is essential for any busy entrepreneur. 

3. Play In A Band

Disclaimer: you may have to learn an instrument first. Learning to play music requires dedication and discipline, and while entrepreneurs may have the dedication down pat, sometimes the discipline is severely lacking. We tend to be doers, not learners, so learning to play an instrument can teach us wondrous things about patience. 

If you decide to join a band (which can be just a bunch of your friends getting together from time-to-time to jam or play a few cords), you’ll immediately discover a different kind of team experience. The team-based music-making process is a little different than most team environments because when you’re in a band, there’s a certain level of vulnerability that comes with it. It’s vital that everyone trusts one another and lets the creativity flow instead of hinder it over their own selfish ideas and direction. After grooving with your buddies, your ability to listen to your employees will improve, as well as how you operate within a team.

4. Volunteer

Volunteering gets you in touch with members of your community that you may not regularly interact with, bolstering a feeling of connection. It also opens up a way for you to learn more about others, our world, and can even change your perspective. When we put others first, we find our compassion, which is necessary for entrepreneurs, who can become extremely consumed in their work (occupational hazard). Also, volunteering gets you out of your comfort zone, which can awaken newfound confidence in the workplace as well.

You don’t have to volunteer alone. Get your office involved and make it an ongoing team activity. These types of team-building experiences can not only provide regular assistance to people and non-profit organizations in need, but it helps foster strong working relationships that will follow your staff back to the office.

5. Engage In Some DIY

Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, do it yourself projects are a fun way to spruce up your home and get a little relaxation in at the same time. From small projects, like painting an old chair, to large projects like building furniture, the internet is full of tutorials you can try. Do it yourself projects enhance your focus, ability, and can involve your whole family in some productive fun. 

Nothing teaches patience like trying to wrangle craft supplies for the first time. That patience will serve you well at your next morning meeting or product launch. You never know, tackling a DIY project could uncover a creative side you never knew you had, which can be an additional skill you can bring to the table at work. 

Being an entrepreneur is tough. Our society says that time is money and that you aren’t accomplishing anything if there aren’t dollars attached to it. While it’s true that you should use your time wisely, following that mentality will only lead to stress, anxiety, and ultimately burnout. It’s essential to find ways to get away from the office, recharge, and tap into an area that inspires creativity and personal growth. So cut loose from time-to-time and decompress with an enjoyable hobby. You could gain valuable skills that will benefit you come Monday morning.