Best burnout remedy: Get a hobby

This one will be short, because I have my hobby getting ready.

What I learned in the last few months, I realized that going from a computer to a computer may not be healthy. I kept hearing “Well, you spend 12 to 16 hours in front of that thing, that’s going to wreck your eyes!” My reply was always “Half of this is my work, half is my hobby,” but it wasn’t right. Sitting this way all day made me realize that I don’t have a hobby I could call “just for the hell of it.” Everything I did was either work or honing my skills… to get better at work. I needed a vent, a way to really relax.

Yours may come in a different way, shape or form, but I found my hobby. Baking. It’s far removed from computers, and it’s really soothing for my OCD, since there is a recipe that has to be adhered to strictly. You can’t just remove an ingredient, change the ratio, 100g of flour cannot be 60. It’s like alchemy for me, which is fun as hell.

I cannot recommend this enough. When I saw my betters talking about hobbies, I thought: “If I spend my time doing shit like this, how will I get better at my job?” This was a mistake, however. Doing this stuff on the side is relaxing, it helps me sort my thoughts, and makes me use my time a little better.

One word of warning if you want to progress in your career, don’t make your hobby more lucrative. I did it when I went into information security. Before that, I was a translator/interpreter, and on the side, I started hacking. After I realized that I could make a book’s worth of translation in a month instead of three, it was a simple decision. Baking is not lucrative enough for me (I doubt I could make a good living without a few more years of practice), so it’s only useful to let off steam. Mixing dough, kneading it, and then shoving in the oven and waiting for magic to happen. That’s a good hobby.

Another bonus of baking as a hobby! If I want to have a sweet snack, I don’t have to go shopping anymore. I can bake my own bread, pies, cakes, whatever. If a visit is coming, I can prepare my own snacks. It’s not really aquaponics (thanks, Tinker, for a plan for 2024,) but it’s at least putting me less in need of buying baked goods. Also, nothing beats the feeling when your colleagues ask “Who bought this good shortbread?” and you can say “It was me. I made this.”

I urge you, get a hobby that won’t make you money, but will make you happy and will be useful. Baking, sewing, anything where you focus on your hands and not your brain. For all I care, you can have a hobby making mandalas or shoveling sand from one place to another, but a hobby nonetheless. Something you can do on and off and it won’t run away from you.

Hope you enjoyed this rant, and I promise that in 2024, I’ll push out more stuff related to security or hardcore tech privacy, now I’m just venting.