A busy schedule and a demanding job shouldn’t deter lawyers from picking up a hobby.
In fact, if you have a stressful and all-consuming job, it’s even more important to have hobbies. Now, before you mentally respond that your schedule doesn’t allow for that kind of thing, think about how you respond when work-related activities arise. If it had to do with work, you would find the time, so it’s not exactly true that your schedule is just too busy—it’s all about what you are willing to prioritize.
It’s understandable that between dealing with client needs, working long hours and weekends, and answering emails around the clock, you may think you shouldn’t waste the time or energy on a useless hobby. But what if we told you that picking up a hobby could actually help you create business, expand your network, prevent burnout, and provide you with renewed focus at work? Sure, hobbies can be simple distractions, but they can also be therapeutic, social, intellectually stimulating, and downright fun—or a combination of all these things. It’s time that you stopped looking at hobbies as mindless time wasters or hindrances to real work. Your job as a lawyer can’t and shouldn’t be the only thing in your life. Hobbies will not only make you more well-rounded but will also give you a needed break from obsessing over emails and briefs. By giving yourself time to mentally recharge and do something else, you’ll be more productive when you are working, and more satisfied when you aren’t.
If you don’t already have a hobby, here are some fun and easy hobbies any lawyer can pick up.
After staring at a computer screen all day while sitting at a desk, getting outside and playing some type of sport can be a great way to relieve stress. If your firm has a sports team or if there’s a rec league near you, you should seriously consider signing up. No matter how good you are—or aren’t—recreational sports leagues can be a boatload of fun and a great way to spend time with friends or connect with colleagues. In addition to getting the exercise you need, participating in sports can be a great way to expand both your personal and professional network.
It’s never too late to become a good cook! Whether you’re a foodie, simply enjoy good food, or want to learn a valuable life skill that your current or future significant other will appreciate, you should learn how to cook. If you define only being able to make pasta and scrambled eggs as cooking, then it’s probably high time that you expand your cooking repertoire. With all the food shows, cookbooks, and recipes available online, all the information you could ever need is right at your fingertips. Cooking can be a great way to channel creativity, and you may be surprised by how relaxing it can be.
Yes, drinking wine is a real hobby and no, you don’t have to be a wine expert to indulge. If you have ever wanted to learn more about wine or simply be able to confidently order at a restaurant and know what you’re talking about, then you may want to think about getting into wine tasting. What’s not to like: You get to sample different styles of wine and learn about good food-wine pairings. Wine tastings are also just great social outings and can be the perfect activity to do with a partner, friends, or colleagues. If you like drinking but wine isn’t for you, then beer brewing is an equally enjoyable alternative.
Most lawyers write emails, draft briefs, and create contracts constantly, so you may not exactly be dying to do more writing in your free time. However, creative and free writing is obviously very different from typing up legal contracts. Whether you like writing short stories, poetry, or would prefer writing down your thoughts in a journal, sometimes simply writing anything down can act as a release for pent up stress and frustration. In addition to being a creative way to disconnect from your smartphone and computer, writing can help you better organize and express your thoughts and feelings, as well as serve as a creative outlet.
As long as you don’t lose hours playing an addicting game, video games can provide the perfect distraction from work. Don’t hesitate to give yourself a break and play a few games of Fortnite, Call of Duty, Madden, or whatever your go-to game is. And, if you’re looking to maximize your downtime by stimulating your brain during non-work hours, studies show that video games can be good for certain areas of brain functioning. Playing can help strengthen memory, spatial orientation, and fine motor skills.
Studies have shown that gardening is one of the most effective activities when it comes to reducing stress levels and decompressing. While starting a garden may seem a little intimidating, all you need is a little space and a pot, soil, and some plants. Gardening is not only easy, it’s an inexpensive hobby to pick up. You might be surprised how therapeutic tending to a living thing can be. Plus, it can improve your décor and provide you with amazing flowers and herbs—herbs you might be able to use when engaging in your cooking hobby!
There’s a hobby out there for you. It may be one you used to enjoy but haven’t dedicated any time to as your career has kept you busy, or it may be a new one. Over the next month, set aside regular time to engage in that hobby. It can be weekly, biweekly, or whenever you can fit it into your schedule, but you must make it a real part of your life.