Today is a Sunday and I am pretty sure a lot of us are relaxing in the comfort of our homes just because it is a weekend. The weekdays make people find themselves stuck in a daily routine that offers a little more than the “rise and grind” type of life. While it is important to stick to a daily schedule of work, the same routine could become dull especially when you have to wake up every day to go to work at the same time and engage in the same activity every day. Hence the need for leisure. Leisure’s purpose is to be an escape from work and personal worries. It is a time you take for yourself to disconnect. What is a shot of positivity to take your mind from quotidian issues and the problems of life? That is leisure! A great way to end the monotony by focusing on a hobby that is both enjoyable and helps you pass the time in a meaningful way.

Most major religions call for a day of rest; known as the Sabbath day in the Christian belief system. However it has been getting harder and harder to take that day fully with people constantly online chained to their devices. The maintenance culture of people regarding an ideal rest state is getting enough time to scroll past several posts on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Is this the only way good quality could be spent? It is essential we know the different means by which we could spend our leisure hours effectively.

Leisure is defined as the freedom provided by the cessation of activities. This includes free time from work or duties. This is also free time spent away from business, work, job hunting, domestic chores and education as well as necessary activities such as eating and sleeping. Do people actually take their time off to enjoy their leisure? Or try to match up with societal standards by gardening, just to keep up with their neighbor’s garden?

For lots of people, leisure is like a mirage: they can see it very far away but can’t reach it. Nowadays we are extremely busy, that time does not stretch long enough for everything to be done. This leads to the neglect of leisure. But what you need to realize is, at one point in your fast paced life, you will need a break because your body will manifest its tiredness.

When people engage in leisure activity, they have lower stress levels, a better mood, a lower heart rate and more psychological engagement. This can help avoid unhealthy behaviors. Without having a hobby, your life may become boring, seem demanding and end up in an unhealthy cycle. To increase your personal satisfaction which would flow over to your work performance, it is quintessential to have a hobby that can add excitement and spark to your life and your ability to maintain a healthy family and cordial relationships.

Leisure time can offer a great opportunity to catch up on unfinished tasks and advance yourself personally or professionally. Make your free time productive by doing activities for personal development and connecting with your social network. Use your leisure time as a period of reflection to look back on the goals you have set, decide if you are advancing as you would like, and determine if you need to revise or develop new goals.

Next, identify some things you would like to learn and challenge yourself creatively. This could be taking up a task to learn a new language or better your culinary skills. Make a list of a few new skills you would like to obtain. These include things that relate to your personal or professional development and hobbies you want to pick up purposefully out of curiosity.

Your to-do list may be bogged down with extremely overwhelming tasks that you keep pushing to the next day or next week. Such tasks cause frustration and rarely get done until the last minute. Ensure that you actually complete the outstanding tasks on your to-do list by decluttering it.

In Ghana, the weekends showcase a range of networking events which include weddings, funerals and evening cocktail parties. This may serve as a perfect backdrop to pitch a new idea or pass out your business cards. Having a strong social support group makes you more resilient to stress and improves self-esteem. Plan a game night, call up a few friends or family members you never get to see and invite them to join in the fun. Connecting with those you love is a wonderful way to spend your leisure time.

Meal prepping is also a great way to use your down time. When you plan and prepare your meals ahead of time, you are less likely to choose unhealthy options like junk food. If you need the food prepared faster, you could ask a roommate, your partner or children to help you. Plus, you will have more fun as you work together.

Finally, you could make exercise a priority by using your leisure time to engage in physical activity. This delivers an energy boost and keeps your mind alert at all times. Allot at least 30 minutes to running, walking, cycling or some other preferred activity. You could also practice self-care by creating a self-care toolbox which includes your favorite movie, novel or drawing book. These are activities that will rejuvenate your mind.

Benefits of enjoying a leisure activity include

  1. Improving short term memory
  2. Boosting your immune system
  3. Helps sleep disrupting habits like checking your cell phone before bed
  4. Reduces Stress
  5. Reduces the risk of heart disease and inflammation
  6. Restores your mental energy
  7. Boosts creativity.

I would like to end on this note with one of my favorite quotes by Pope Francis

Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way, people who work must take time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport

Thanks for reading and have a fruit filled Sunday!