Published on Dec 24, 2019

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Many people concentrate most of their energy and attention on business and become almost one dimensional. There are “artsy” activities that are just as valuable as work because they help maintain sanity and prevent burnout.

Life should be a balance. It should not be all work and no play. Play prevents burnout by re-energizing the spirit, relaxing thinking and reducing stress and tension. Even business people need to stop and smell some roses once in a while.

Here are 10 fun, relaxing, “artsy,” playful diversions that can reduce and even prevent burnout:


Dancing – Watch the movie “Shall We Dance” with Richard Gere. Notice the positive effect “artsy” dance lessons have on him over time. Dancing exercises the left and right sides of the brain by causing them to communicate with each other more. It’s a form of mental gymnastics. Dancing is excellent for people with learning disabilities because it forces the stronger side of the brain to work more closely with the weaker side. The result is better business because of better thinking. Try ballroom, line, hip hop, jazz, ballet, salsa dancing lessons. Physical activity aerates the body and helps prevent burnout because it gets the mind on other things besides work, work, work.

Drawing, Doodling

Free-flow, unfettered drawing and doodling is relaxing. Let go of conscious control and just be a spectator to your hand and pen/pencil producing lines, shapes, spaces and abstractions. What is drawn can be symbolic and subconsciously meaningful. Great ideas can be found in doodles. There may be some viable solutions, approaches, angles that can be used in your business. If people can get ideas from reading tea leaves, you can get all kinds of good ideas from your “artsy” doodles. Burnout is sometimes caused by using great effort at thinking. Free-flowing takes no effort.

Playing a Musical Instrument

A friend who is the head of a fast-growing software company plays violin in a symphony orchestra. He takes it along and plays at conferences. Playing a musical instrument, alone or in a group, helps you get away from daily reality. It’s a great escape into an almost spiritual world where there is no burnout.

Special Walks in Nature

How about letting the woods take you on a walk for a change? When at the entrance of the woods, stop and consciously release and submit to the woods. (sounds weird but it can be done!!) Become open to the energy of the woods and abdicate responsibility for the walk. Feel the relief and reduced tension as you let go. Don’t think about where to go. Instead, notice and sense when and to where you are drawn. Follow, don’t lead. This is a great way to relearn how to go with the flow which again reduces stress that causes burnout.


What goes on in a garden is often a metaphor for life. There are good and bad forces interacting – just like in a business. There is life and death – of ideas, products, services, clients, work. There are predators – competition. Things happen and all we can do is keep doing your best. Gardening is a good way to get away from the artificiality of buildings – plastic, concrete, arborite – and reconnect to the REAL world regularly. Become more accepting of what happens in life instead of worrying about things that ultimately are out of your control. Watch the movie “Being There” with Peter Sellers. A simple gardener’s innocent statements about his garden help him to inadvertently become a highly regarded business guru.

Singing in a Choir

Whether you are an independent business owner or corporate leader with fame and fortune, life can get lonely. There can be a sense of isolation and distance from others. Ripe time for burnout! Joining a choir is a great “artsy” diversion because of the bonding to a group and also the anonymity that we sometimes crave. You get to be lost in the crowd for a while. Escape. It helps lift the spirits doing something beautiful together with others. In a choir, nobody cares what your position is or how powerful you are. Again, burnout is reduced.

Calligraphy and Penmanship

Handwriting, in general, has declined dramatically over the decades. Precision penmanship is going the way of the passenger pigeon. People used to send beautiful hand-written letters to each other. Penmanship was their sign of education and personal statement. Now we type, twitter and text in symbols and short forms using computer-generated fonts. Calligraphy is absolutely personal and requires great concentration and effort to create something beautiful. Calligraphy shows off personal skills, talents and abilities in a way that machines can never do. There can be great pride in doing this kind of “artsy” activity really well. Display your work prominently and help your business show itself more distinctively.

Hands-on Arts & Crafts

Clay pottery making, model airplane building, leather craft, glassblowing, windmill making are also therapeutic and fun “artsy” ways of adding to personal skills, talents and abilities. Hands-on activities reduce burnout by diverting the mind from daily work. As a bonus, what is produced in hands-on experiences can be used to add income to your business or used decoratively in the office, might impress clients and visitors. Feeling good about yourself reduces burnout.


Instead of going and watching others on stage, you might join an acting group. This can be done through local library and community interest classes. “Artsy” drama lessons improve communication skills and can help some people overcome shyness and modesty. It is also fun to sometimes live vicariously as someone else -a detective, explorer, etc. Acting helps people see things from different perspectives. Again, the anonymity can be relaxing. Acting techniques might show you better ways of dealing with particular clients and customers who may be causing you to slowly burn out.


Another “artsy” way of releasing negative energy that causes burnout is creatively seeing and establishing new relationships with the material things of life. Taking machines and appliances apart and putting them back together develops skills of analysis and categorizing. Tinkering exercises thinking. Become more attentive to details, more aware of relationships between parts. Seeing parts laid out and knowing they are all related is practice for seeing the “big picture” in life too. Better skills improve business and attitude.

Engaging in “artsy” activities has positive payoffs. Decisions, strategies, relationships, problem-solving can be positively affected. Incubation time for ideas is increased. Business courses such as marketing, management, accounting, etc. are all valuable but “artsy” courses, make business people more well rounded. To top it off, “artsy” activities are often just plain fun, healthy, creative, distracting, and have a calming effect.

Business often requires heavy left brain thinking (logical, sequential, concrete) and less use of the right brain (playful, random, abstract). “Artsy” activities exercise both. They help the brain to bring about greater coordination and improve the ability to think more freely, analytically and creatively. Stress that often causes burnout is greatly reduced.

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