Does any of the following sound familiar?
- You can’t wait for the weekend, but you spend Sunday afternoons and evenings dreading the next day
- You lay awake worrying about work at night
- You get a pit in your stomach during your morning commute
If you can relate to those experiences, you may be dealing with burnout.
According to a 2021 Indeed survey, 52% of American workers said they are experiencing burnout. Whether it’s caused by prolonged stress or unrealistically long hours in the office, professional burnout can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
If you’re struggling at work, consider investing your time in hobbies that leave you feeling more fulfilled. Here’s how you can find and fund your passion this fall.
Find your happy
Studies have found that there are mental and physical benefits to doing what you love, but when you’ve been on autopilot at work for a long time, you may not even know what your passions or favorite hobbies are anymore. If that’s the case, spend some time discovering what excites you by asking yourself the following questions:
- What did you enjoy as a child? As a kid, you didn’t have to worry about paying bills or juggling family responsibilities; you got to focus on what you liked to do. Think back to your childhood and the activities you did. Perhaps you loved spending time with animals, baking or swimming. Those activities can help you identify hobbies you might enjoy as an adult.
- What’s your ideal environment? Think about what types of environments inspire you. For some people, that may be a busy coffee shop, while others will dream about sitting alone on a quiet balcony. The type of environment you thrive in can impact your passions.
- What have you read lately? Check out your Kindle history, library checkout list or Goodread app and see what books you’ve recently finished. Look for common themes, such as particular genres, settings or even characters. What you like reading can reflect what you want to do in your own life.
- What interests you? In your day-to-day life, take note of things that interest you. Perhaps you find that your ears perk up when you hear about an entrepreneur starting a new business downtown or a new museum opening nearby. The things that pique your interest could be turned into valuable hobbies.
- Have you tried new activities lately? Between work and family, there can be little time for trying new things. If you’ve gotten into a rut, you may find that your creativity and energy are sapped. If that’s the case, make a list of new activities you can do, like trying out a new restaurant, taking a class at the just-opened fitness studio or learning a second language. Even if the activities don’t fit your passions, just doing things that are out of the ordinary can help kickstart your creativity and reinspire you.
Fund your hobby without hobbling your finances
Any hobby can be fulfilling, but they’re not all financially equal. Some, like running, involve just a pair of sneakers and the willpower to get started. Others, like guitar lessons or photography, will have start-up or ongoing costs associated with them.
The last thing you want to do is start a hobby as a way to destress only to add to your financial burdens and increase those stress levels. The following tips can help you keep your finances in check:
1. Create a hobby bank account
Set up a separate bank account where you can funnel extra money each month, and use that to fund your hobby. Keeping the money outside of what you use for regular cash flow needs, however, is key, because you don’t want to dip into retirement savings or find yourself short on grocery funds because you decided to buy a new kayak.
When it comes to spending on your hobby, be smart and thoughtful about your purchases, and budget wisely. This will also help you feel less guilty about the investment you are making on yourself.
2. Be smart with your credit card
If you have good credit, you can use a credit card to get started. And with a credit card sign-up bonus, you can even set yourself up for big future purchases. There are a lot of helpful tricks and tips out there, so read up before picking the best time to open a card for a special purchase.
By spending a certain amount within the first few months of opening an account, you may earn hundreds of dollars, points or airline miles that can all be funneled toward your next venture. Just remember, debt can be a slippery slope, so make sure you’re only spending what you can comfortably pay off each month.
3. Use your hobby to fund your hobby
If you love crafts, consider selling some home-made goodies to friends and family. If your plant hobby has turned your home into an indoor jungle, propagate and sell cuttings to people just getting started.
Turning a hobby into a legit business is an entirely new level of commitment, but if selling something here and there means you can put funds towards your next big purchase, then it can be a great way to invest in yourself.