How to fit leisure time into your busy schedule­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Do more of what makes you feel good

Before you got bogged down with work, before you had the responsibility of bills, family, and everything else that keeps you busy, what did you do for leisure? What did you enjoy doing for fun and to unwind?

Enjoy-your-leisure-time

If you think back to your childhood and teenage years you had lots of leisure time, however, adult responsibilities took over, and as a consequence you have very little time to enjoy things you once did.

The demands of adulting

When we were children we spent hours using our imagination and finding ways to occupy ourselves. Reading or drawing in a corner of our bedroom for hours, playing for a school team, building a car out of cardboard boxes, caring for and playing with our pets.

As adults, we have so many things on our mind, shopping for groceries, looking after grandchildren, dealing with teenagers, looking after aging parents, housework, targets at work, maintaining a car, as a result, we don’t have the free time we used to have. There are so many other people to consider, considerations we didn’t even think about when we were younger.

Too-busy-for-leisure

Life as an adult can be demanding of our time and leave little for leisure and social activities. Subsequently, your social circle more than likely declined as you or your friends got married, had children, or relocated for work. Having children can make it more difficult to catch up with friends, as can working full time and developing your career and you simply lose touch with people.

What’s your leisure?

What leisure activities do you miss? What is it you would love to pick up again or get involved in if you had the time?

If you could have time to spend on the things you love, what would you do? How would you spend your time? In particular, what would you get from having time to spend on putting your needs first?

It is most important to recognise that we all need time to unwind by doing things for fun and to help us feel better. Without a break from the demands made on us in adulthood sooner or later we suffer from burnout. Without a doubt, leisure time is essential for our over all wellbeing and mental health.


Find your passion

Creative activities

Creative projects are an excellent way to unwind. E.G. listening to music, singing in a local choir, or playing an instrument you enjoyed was a child.

painting and writing are enjoyable activities for some.

Artistic pursuits have similarly been found to have a calming effect for those who enjoy creativity. Find an art class, practice painting, drawing, making pottery or glazing ceramics.

Other creative leisure activities to think about: photography, floristry, knitting, craft groups

Literature

Another creative pursuit to take up is literature. There are many book clubs and writing groups you could get involved with. Your local library would be a good place to start. Or drama classes could be more to your liking. Your local theatre will have information on groups in your area.

Outdoor activities

Gardening and walking are good outdoor activities where you can unwind as well as get some fresh air.

Sports

For those of you who are team players, take up a sport like rounders, football, netball, or golf.

Exercise

Gym classes or a gym workout can help you to unwind.

Without doubt, exercise is deemed an important activity for physical health, at the same time, exercise is as beneficial to our mental wellbeing. Activities to consider are gym classes, walking, running or cycling groups, and swimming,


Plan time for you

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Partner / Spouse

Organising time to enjoy leisure and social activities is something you need to discuss with your partner or anyone else it will affect. Talk about you both having time to pursue hobbies and make a plan that fits you both. Decide if there is something you would like to do together, or if you prefer, do things separately.

Grandchildren

Discuss your plans with family members if you are looking after grandchildren and come to an agreement on when you have the time to help. If you struggle to change the childcare routine, have a look for local groups where you can socialise and meet up with other parents and grandparents . Discover more clubs and activities during conversation to fit around your circumstances.

Working life

How many hours do you spend working? Some jobs require completing or preparing work at home. Do you need to do this every night / weekend? From time to time, make time for you by putting away any work. Your health and having time to unwind is important and should not be sacrificed for the sake of work.

Working life, in an office or as a barista

At a stage where you want to step back and reduce responsibility? Firstly, look at the possibility of changing roles within your company. In the event that nothing is available or maybe you just want a change, research alternative companies / careers that will give you time to increase your leisure and family time.

Disability

Disability can reduce your ability to attend clubs and social activities. Who can help? To begin with, ask friends and relatives who can help in assissting you. If you have no support nearby, look online for local organisations that provide activities to meet your needs.

See the bottom of the Change4Life page for links to services that can help https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities/accessible-activities

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Other useful links:

https://www.spiceuk.com/home.aspx

https://www.meetup.com/

https://www.togetherfriends.com/


To sum up how to find your new passion and enjoy time to take a break:

Firstly, research online, look at shop noticeboards, read local news to find out what’s available near you. In addition, talk to people who may be interested in joining you or go ahead on your own.  Most local council websites have links to activities.

Secondly, spontaneity can be fun and last minute arrangements increase your motivation. Be flexible where you can and enjoy last minute arrangements.

Alone time

If you like time by yourself to unwind do that. Make a space at home to read quietly, create, play music, meditate, and make sure others know not to disturb you.

Go to a café to read, write in a journal to put your thoughts in order or just people watch. Walk there and make it part of your timeout. Most importantly, turn off your phone and enjoy.

To conclude, we all need time to decompress away from responsibilities, friends to chat to and laugh with. Without time for leisure, life can become overwhelming, so give yourself a break and make it a regular thing. Plan to do something weekly, fortnightly, or at least monthly to relax and unwind for the sake of your health your family, and your happiness.

Meeting up with friends for a drink and something to eat.

Leisure activities to:

  • improve health
  • Result in better knowledge
  • Inspire creativity
  • increase social circle
  • relax and have fun

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