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The Importance of Having Fun Outside of Work

17 October 2016 by National Bank

It’s tough to disconnect in our digital world. Mobile technology keeps us connected to work long after we leave the office and we forget how important it is to log out, shut down and turn off.

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Statistics Canada reports that over one in four Canadian workers feel highly stressed in their daily lives, and more than six out of 10 workers identify work as the main source of stress. Here: four digital detox tips to get you thinking about claiming some fun time.

Get moving for fun

You could sign up for a recreational hockey team or softball league. But why not consider a social activity that’s a little less predictable—and maybe lot more fun.

Ultimate, originally known as ultimate frisbee, is a non-contact team sport with millions of players worldwide. Here’s how it works: two teams try and score points by passing the frisbee, or disc, to a teammate in the opposing end zone. Ultimate is played in pick-up games and recreational leagues with varying skill levels so whether you’re new to the sport or played it in college, there’s a league to match your level.

You might want to consider less expected activities such as bubble soccer, ultimate dodgeball and Quidditch. In bubble soccer, participants play a game of soccer with their upper bodies inside an inflatable bubble, bumping into the other players and rolling away wrapped in the ball. Ultimate dodgeball is a typical game of dodgeball played on trampolines. Fans of the literary series Harry Potter have adapted Quidditch to a real-life sport, with two teams of seven players mounted on broomsticks playing on a hockey rink-sized pitch.

Channel your inner Matisse

In 2015, two of the top seven slots on Amazon’s Top 100 book list were occupied by a Scottish illustrator named Johanna Basford. Basford started a global trend in 2013 by publishing adult colouring books featuring her hand-drawn black and white illustrations; art supply company Crayola followed suit, launching their line of colouring books and accessories for grownups in 2015. A popular children’s activity, colouring is fun and good for your mental health: a Harvard University psychologist found that it can reduce anxiety and encourage a meditative state.

If you’d rather colour outside the lines you can get the same mental health benefits by painting or illustrating from scratch on a blank canvas. Painting and illustration can be pursued solo in the comfort of your home, with friends in a social setting, or in classes offered in your community.

Connect with colleagues outside work hours

Chances are that you share a passion or activity with at least one of your work colleagues. Getting together with like-minded colleagues outside work hours is a great way to network and have fun at the same time. Whether it involves culture, sport, fitness or nature, spending time with one or more of your colleagues can open the door to new friendships and opportunities. The key is to focus on what you have in common other than work—avoid talking shop and focus on what else you have in common. If you do, you’ll likely develop a new appreciation for something that you already enjoy.

Play tourist in your town

You don’t need to go far to have fun—become a tourist in your town. Check in with your local tourist board and you may well discover art festivals, free concerts, walking tours and more plus listings for exhibits at the museum and art gallery. Don’t forget the established attractions—museum, art gallery. Many attractions and museums offer discounts for families or open their doors to the public for free on a weekday.

And don’t overlook simple outdoor activities. A Stanford University study observed noticeable changes in the brains of participants who took 90-minute walks in a natural area versus an urban one. Rent roller blades, bike along the boardwalk, go tobogganing. Always fun: agritourism options such as wine tastings at a vineyard, pumpkin patch visits, apple and berry picking at local farms.

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