How to Relax and Have More Leisure Time

PinExt How to Relax and Have More Leisure Time

This is a guest post by Joe Wilner.

relaxinggirl How to Relax and Have More Leisure Time 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
  • Exercise
  • 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

PinExt How to Relax and Have More Leisure Time

14 thoughts on “How to Relax and Have More Leisure Time

  1. If I did only the things I absolutely love, I wouldn’t earn a dime…well, maybe I’d earn some dough, but not enough to support my family.

    There’s no such thing as “stress-free” living. Given the current economy, if you’re working, you’re lucky and if you and your spouse are both working, you should be ecstatic.

    My wife’s job is literally, physically disabling her, so she needs to quit. She’s hung on this long because she’s afraid of how the economy will continue to progress and after all, I’ve been unemployed before. While I’m not in imminent danger of losing my current job, anything could happen, so it’s hard to relax. We’re both in our 50s so, if I became unemployed at this stage of the game, there’s no promise I would ever work again (I know age discrimination is illegal, but it happens all the time).

    To make ends meet, I also write books in the evening and on weekends. I’ve been constantly busy writing this year and, while this is a good thing, it means I’ve had virtually no real leisure time to myself. Finding the time even to do common household chores is difficult.

    I say all this to address the somewhat pie-in-the-sky values and themes “inspirational” articles such as this one represent. It’s easy to write something like this and it can have practical applications, but it can also be a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to folks out there (not necessarily me) who are fighting as hard as they can just to put food on the table by working multiple jobs.

    Leisure time?

    • James, Thank you for your comment! You make a good point that life cannot be all play. Work, even hard work, can be satisfying and rewarding. I don’t think Joe meant to offend anyone or to say that our lives should be only leisure time. He’s just pointing out the importance of taking some time off to recoup and recharge. Even during difficult times, it is important that we find some time for recreation. After all, we are not robots.

      You are obviously working very hard and I commend you for taking responsibility for your situation. I hope the economy improves and more of us have time to take a break once in awhile. I think we can all agree that this is desirable even if it is tough to do in this economic climate.

      Let’s not be too hard on Joe. He’s challenged us not to forget to take care of ourselves. Otherwise, we might burn out and then who is going to keep the plates spinning?

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for your thought provoking comment. This is important to consider as I don’t want this article to discourage others by any means. I do admit to some lofty aspirations with this article, particularly noting that we can incorporate leisure time by doing what we love to do. Though, for me writing is one activity that I consider an investment while at the same time gaining enjoyment and fulfillment. Do find that your writing does offer some relaxation and fulfillment?

      Though, overall I wrote this article to express the importance of not forgetting what really is most important. Before the last few months, I had a difficult time fully enjoying the time spent with friends and family. I was concered with what I “could” be doing and that I wasn’t being as efficient as possible. This of course was a curse that prevented me from really experienceing these moments. I’m able to spend time doing more things I love and not feel the stress and worry of the many responsibilities I have. I guess the main idea is that we can enjoy life amidst a very busy and hectic schedule. Much of this can come from changing our perspective and outlook, which of course isn’t easy to do. Any further thoughts on how to this can be done?

      • I suppose I came on a little too strong, but there are a plethora of motivational blogs on the web and many of them make the same assumptions about their audience. Actually, I should probably sayr that many of these blogs have a specific target audience, but once they publish their content to the web, they lose control of who accesses the material.

        In this case, you seem to be targeting white, middle class men and women in their 20s and 30s who have a common set of concerns, usually balancing career with other priorities, such as family, friends, and other concerns. This class of people in the U.S. used to be called “yuppies”, but I’ve lost track of the current cultural labels. However, there’s a larger world of people who are also having trouble making life balance, but for them, it may not always seem like the balancing act is something that’s within their control.

        I was prompted both by the fact that I don’t belong to the target demographic and because I know people who don’t enjoy their leisure time, not because they are attempting to manage their priorities, but because they are swimming as hard as they can and are barely staying afloat. For these people, the goal isn’t efficiency, it’s survival.

        I’m doing better than just surviving, but during the past year, there’s been more than one time when I’ve felt backed into a corner by my responsibilities while watching my next deadline slowly stalking me.

        When writing such missives, my opinion is that it’s important to consider that not everyone on the receiving end may see life through the same lens.

        The article’s basic premise is fine, but what some people need help understanding is that, in the face of their struggles to just survive, there are times, even if they’re just moments, when they can take a break and realize their world won’t end because of it.

        A single mother working two jobs just to make ends meet and who barely sees her child because of this, can still take a few minutes from cleaning up the place or paying bills to play with her baby and let herself realize why she’s working so hard. Leisure time might be measured in seconds or minutes in this example, but coupling the “activity” with the cognitive and emotional awareness regarding of why she has to work so hard, makes the work more bearable.

        • James,

          Thanks for the feedback. You really provide valuable insight about being careful not to generalize information and how it can be applied. I really like the notion about taking a few minutes or even seconds for a break and relaxation. If nothing else, we can take a few seconds to breath and calm ourselves down in order to tackle the next thing thrown our way. Taking a few deep breaths can be an emotional life saver.

  2. I have problems with this myself. I think the number one way to get the enjoyment of leisure time is to plan.

    Unless I actually plan some fun activities, time off, or any thing for that manner, the time will just pass by with some meaningless activity or less productive choice.

    • Bryce, I think this is exactly the point of Joe’s article. If we aren’t intentional about whatever time we do “take off”, then it just gets wasted. We want to be sure we are wise in the use of our leisure time. Thanks for speaking up!

  3. Bryce,

    Thanks for commenting! I agree and recognize this in myself when I don’t plan ahead. There are times when it comes to having a nice leisure occasion, and if it wasn’t scheduled and I didn’t plan on doing it, I will tend to tell myself, “I have things to do, I can’t go,” and end up missing this great opportunity to create some wonderful memories.

  4. The comment discussion reminds me of a time when I was working every waking moment for several years, with breaks to eat, shower, the necessities. I got through it by giving myself one night a week I wasn’t allowed to work. By making my night off Friday night, I gave myself the weekend to get caught up. I didn’t have a plan for the night off though. It was wasted time, but as Bertrand Russell says, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”.
    David Smith´s last [type] ..Great Start – Better Start Over

  5. All I know is I have to find some balance of work/leisure or I probably won’t make it to 50 years old. It is so easy to think, “I’m invincible.” But after this last year, I know I’m not. My mental and physical health tanked. The bills will always be there. I just want to make sure I’m around, too.
    Lulu´s last [type] ..On your mark Get set Go away 2010

  6. A good reference for people who work too hard and forget to treat themselves well. But then again, it should be pointed out that leisure and relaxation doesn’t have to be expensive on both our time and money. More so, leisure and relaxation shouldn’t eat efforts which could be spent on other priorities. That’s why I totally agree with the idea that we “plan ahead” our relaxation and spending leisurely moments. Stick to the plans and take the “fun part” as a reward for working hard. That way we enjoy the moments we work and get motivated as well, while we cherish the treats we give ourselves. Thanks Joe for this and thanks Jeff for giving Joe space to share a wonderful of turn-of-the-year reminders! Wish you both productive, meaningful and love-filled 2011!
    arina nikitina´s last [type] ..If You Could Possess an Extraordinary Talent in One of the Arts- What Would You Like It to Be

  7. Pingback: I Lost My Wallet, My Mind, and Diet Coke

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