Summer is coming to an end and there is something in the freedom of schedules, the time spent with children playing, the constant light, the leisure that sings to my soul. I feel a bit of sadness at its coming end.
“Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation–What are they? They are the happiest people in the world.” -William Lyon Phelps
Brigid Schulte gave a Greek definition for the word ‘Leisure’–It is the time to refresh the soul. I LOVE that! Summer is all about leisure, making memories, enjoying family, bathing in every moment of sunlight and truly refreshing the soul.
So, how can we incorporate more Leisure time into our lives??
The Busy Epidemic is A major problem—we are addicted to being BUSY—busy on our phones, our schedules, our kids schedules, work, getting our Facebook time in, meals, cleaning, not to mention our favorite television shows… Time is an important issue for most of us, especially in the West. We save it, spend it, waste it, we never have enough of it. The concept of ‘time famine’ has become a familiar slogan in both academic literature and the popular media. 34% of people feel rushed all the time, with 61% never having any excess time and 40% saying that time is a bigger problem for them than money. Time has a vicious habit of slipping through our fingers, leaving us with the feeling that instead of being in charge of our own time, it is driving us. We are not just busy at work, we are busy everywhere. While people squander about a third of all free time (more than 14 hours a week) in front of their TV screens, they spend significantly less time on the activities they themselves consider as most pleasurable, like socialising and outside activities. (positive psychology.org.uk)
CHeck this OUT!! 8 things you may not know about BUSYNESS in the U.S. The U.S. is Stressed Out—Commuters experience greater levels of stress than fighter pilots and riot police. More than one-third of all working adults get fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night–that’s over 40 million people with sleep deprivation. Check out the rest of these statistics at http://www.crossway.org/blog/2013/09/infographic-americas-busyness-epidemic/
Create spaces of free or leisure time into your schedule. Brigid Schulte calls this “time serenity” or “flow” Sometimes, oftentimes work can take over every aspect of your life, so if you set in place sections or breaks in your schedule, you ensure that you are taking some necessary time for you.
Increase the quality of your leisure activities—in your down time, don’t spend all your precious time plugged into the television or wandering through Facebook. Find activities that are truly relaxing, enjoyable, tap into your creativity, or may just infuse you with the joy you need.
Watch your energy levels–if you are feeling drained by a work project or too much noise, too much of anything, take a break–a real break. Step away from the situation, grab a snack, breathe in some fresh air, take a walk. With higher energy, everything is better.
Some ideas for leisure activities taken from Real Simple magazines “What would you do with Extra Leisure Time?”—
Take a Nap: A recent sleep study conducted at the University of California at Berkeley showed that a nap at this hour restored subjects’ learning capacity, making them better able to process information at 6 p.m. In contrast, the learning abilities of non-nappers plummeted. In the Berkeley study, subjects napped for 90 minutes. However, research from Harvard University shows that just 30 minutes is enough to clear your head.
Spend time alone: “Being alone lets your brain refresh itself. You’ll feel best if you turn off the bells and whistles you are conditioned to. And avoid screens. Vegging out in front of the TV or some other electronic device still keeps your brain active.”
Get Out of Town: You don’t have to spend two weeks in Italy. Just a quick getaway “relieves the pressure of a day-to-day routine,”—Even check into a hotel for one night. Even on a short vacation, other people take care of you.”
Go to a spa: If you can book your massage on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning, there are perks beyond the free tea. “Spas are quieter and have more appointment openings,” says Susie Ellis, the president of SpaFinder, a global spa resource.
Make a wish list: Write down all the activities that you long to do more of―whether they’re things that make you happy, relaxed, sane(r), or all three. Rank the items in order of importance to you, then pick one or two to focus on.
Consider this: Devoting more time to what you love can help you get more done overall. Says Neil Fiore, Ph.D., a psychologist in Berkeley, California, “Research shows that to be productive and creative, you must make time for recreation and relaxation. Trying to skimp on them hurts your motivation and often leads you to procrastinate.” Plus, being a little selfish will keep you from becoming burned out or cranky.
Real Simple has another good article Make More Time For Yourself: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/time-management/step-back-second-10000001815333/index.html
What Successful People do: Forbes had an interesting article ’14 things successful people do on weekends’ Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2012) and What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend (Portfolio, 2012), says successful people know that weekends are actually the secret weapon in professional success. “You need to hit Monday ready to go,” she says. “To do that, you need weekends that rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or disappoint you. Cross-training makes you a better athlete, and likewise, exercise, volunteer work, spiritual activities, and hands-on parenting make you a better worker than if you just worked all the time.” Here are the 14 points: 1. Make time for family and friends 2. Exercise is the perfect opportunity to clear your mind and create fresh ideas. 3. Pursue a Passion “Successful people make time for what is important or fun. THey make space for activities that add to their life balance.” 4.Vacation 5. Disconnect. 6. Volunteer 7. Avoid Chores 8. Plan–Successful people plan their month and year because “if you get stuck on short-term lists you don’t get anything big accomplished. 9. Socialize 10. Gardening/crafts/games/sports/cooking/cultural activities 11. Network 12.Reflect–Truly successful people make time on weekends to appreciate what they have and reflect on their happiness. 13. Meditate 14. Recharge
I truly hope these ideas help you tap into the Leisure Time you seek, need, and hopefully, will make time for. It’s a good thing for you and those you love. Cheers to you.