This is a guest post by Joe Wilner.
I can’t remember a time recently when I’ve been accused of working too little. If you’re like me you find it hard to let work go, take a break, and enjoy some well deserved leisure time. Though, to have more joy and serenity in life, having “free time” is exactly what needs to be done.
Leisure time offers a chance to regroup and relax. It offers a chance to feel free from life’s restraints, and provides time to experience peace of mind. Don’t be a slave to work, deadlines, and time constraints.
Everyone needs time away from daily stressors, so start making leisure time a priority and reap the benefits.
Change Your Perspective on Leisure Time
Leisure time should not be a burden or inconvenience. Remember that life is a gift and must be cherished each day. Take time to slow down and stop looking toward tomorrow. You must give yourself permission to take part in life and really experience it for everything it has to offer. Expand your perspective of what life is all about. Life is certainly meant to be much more than a stressful and exhausting race to accomplish your to-do list.
Begin living here and now! By always waiting for what we don’t have and focusing on the next thing to come, we lose out in the end, as life will pass us by. Look at life as an adventure, where every moment offers something valuable.
Make Work and Leisure Overlap
In an ideal world we would all be spending our days focusing on what we love and never be overwhelmed by the stress of the daily grind. If this is you, I commend you for designing your ideal life, and managing your emotions so nobly.
Many people haven’t reached this pinnacle in life. Though, don’t despair, we can all reach this point of making a career out of our passion if we are willing to put in the dedicated effort and gain the self-awareness and self-trust to make it happen.
Start examining your values, interests, and skills, and explore how these can be developed in a way where you can make a living while enjoying what you do.
This may be in a creative endeavor such as music, art, or writing, or related to overall lifestyle habits, such as exercising, meditating, or praying. Work toward integrating your life roles and responsibilities so you can spend time improving your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being in a convenient and involuntary manner.
The Importance of Managing Time and Stress
So, you may be saying, “I understand that leisure time is important, and really do want to make it part of my life, but I just don’t have time.”
If this is the case, you need to begin reorganizing your life and prioritizing your values. Here’s how:
1. Make sure priorities and values match. Are you spending time on those things that are most important to you, or do you spend the most time on things that are at the bottom of your values list?
2. Once priorities are known, follow suite and do first things first. If you have an urgent task that needs to be done now get it done, and don’t worry about what can wait until later.
3. End the procrastination cycle. Start now and get started on the things that end up getting in the way of valuable time spent with family, friends, and hobbies or other nurturing activities.
4. Simply schedule in time for leisure activities. Make it a priority to spend time doing what you love. Put it on your to-do list.
If you love what you do, you will find many moments when it provides fulfillment, though whenever stress comes into the picture, leisure time is no longer serving its purpose. If stress is the issue, remember:
- Time-management is key
- Don’t worry about what you can’t control
- Spend time with people who can help you relieve stress
- Engage in leisure activities that can relieve stress
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy
Do you actually take Leisure time?
Many people feel they must work harder and longer in order to reach their goals, make more money, and find happiness. If we’re going to work hard, we need time to play hard as well.
When you are taking time for leisure, are you having a hard time enjoying the moment? Whether you’re gardening, taking the dog for a walk, spending time with family, or any other recreational activity you may find yourself concentrating on other things and having your attention elsewhere. If this is the case, it doesn’t count as leisure time. If you are only physically present during these times, and neglect the emotional and mental respite, you will never experience a reprieve from the stress of daily life.
Realize how valuable and important these experiences are for your relationships, health, and well-being. Learn to organize your life and priorities in order to become completely immersed in whatever you choose to do in your leisure time. In the end taking time away from the hustle and bustle of life can come in many forms. You just need to find what offers you relaxation and rejuvenation.
Joe Wilner writes at www.shakeoffthegrind.com to help people stay motivated, confident, and inspired to work through those not so uplifting times in life. You can also follow him on Twitter at @shakethegrind.
Photo by Scarleth White