Source | fastCompany : By JARED LINDZON
While downtime of any kind can help relieve stress, there are several science-backed ways that let you enjoy life outside of the office while improving your productivity within it.
Research conducted by Kevin Eschleman, an assistant psychology professor at San Francisco State University, suggests hobbies that are less relevant to one’s career are paradoxically more beneficial for it.
“Whatever the activity is that you’re doing in your free time, it becomes incredibly more valuable if it is different from what you’ve been doing most recently in your work environment,” Eschelman told Fast Company in a previous interview. “People need to be mindful and aware of what resources they’re using in the work environment to realize which resources they need to protect and refuel in their free time,” he said.
Finding a more creative way to get to work isn’t just a good way to save money and the environment while getting a little exercise, but actually helps employees better prepare for the day ahead. Whether your preferred mode of transportation is a bike, rollerblades, or skateboard, spending a little bit of time outdoors before heading into work has been proven to result in higher engagement at the office.
“Years ago, when I commuted by car, I recall being frustrated and tired by the time I arrived at work after sitting in traffic,” says Sibu Joseph. The 40 year-old MRI technician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., has been skateboarding to work for the past 10 years. “At the beginning of my shift at the hospital, I arrive alert and energized,” he tells Fast Company, “At the end of my shift, I look forward to jumping back on my board to head home; my energy is up when I walk in the door because I’ve just spent a little time in the fresh air.”
Joseph believes that those who dismount from a skateboard (or another self-powered mode of transportation) before heading into work are more in touch with their surroundings than those who crawl out of their cars.
“Another benefit is a sense of closeness with my neighborhood because I’m able to meet and chat with neighbors working in their yards or walking their dogs,” he says. “I also feel like I’m setting an example to my children that it is possible to create a life that honors and respects our environment,” Joseph adds. “That’s very important to me.”
Improvisational comedy is, by definition, fun and games, but the career benefits those activities can provide go well beyond the silliness of the moment. Learning to master the “Yes, And” technique of improv comedy, for example—in which players build on the ideas suggested by others—is just one of the many lessons improv comedy practitioners can bring to the office.