8 Productive Ways To Spend Your Leisure Time

Kenneth Soares
July 12, 2022
4 min read

We really don’t have too much time on our hands. As a society, as a species (thanks global warming) and even more so as individuals. Finding time for yourself can indeed prove to be challenging in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you clock in about 7 hours of sleep and 8 hours at the office or class, that leaves you about 9 hours in your day for recreation, that is without considering your daily rituals, freshening up, mealtimes and commute. So when you find yourself with time on your hands, it’s important to make the most of it. Here are 8 ways of how you could spend your time productively-

1. Reading

Reading comes with innumerable advantages and benefits, especially amongst the youth. It not only stimulates the mind and reduces stress, but also exposes oneself to the best thoughts, ideas and stories from all of history all over the world. It makes you smarter by improving your vocabulary and aiding writing skills and boosts creativity. Getting lost in a good book is a great escape from the troubles and worries of everyday life, while reading a self help book can allow you to grow professionally and personally. It has been proven that reading also does wonders for your concentration and memory retention. It’s quite literally the best way to pass your time.

(One of my favorite books for leisure reading is The Little Prince.)
Dr. Wade Fish, Director at Northcentral University’s Graduate School, said, “Reading expands a person’s appreciation toward other life experiences the reader is not personally experiencing, especially when reading topics that are not related to that reader’s job or lifestyle.”

2. Writing

We’re out of the frying pan and into the fire with writing. Writing’s benefits are more settled in the communication sphere of an individual when compared to those of reading. It improves your communication with others and provides clarity in thought as well as in the use of your words. Additionally, writing has benefits that cater to your emotional self as well. It provides a channel to healthily express your feelings and emotions and frankly, gain awareness of your reality. Journaling has proven to be one of the most beneficial practices for mindfulness and mental well being, while prose poetry and lyricism allow your creativity and individuality to shine.

3. Learning a language

Now this one’s a biggie! Learning a new language may seem like an intimidating, uphill task until you realise that you’re under no pressure to be going at a certain speed or curriculum. Everything you do, you do at your leisure. While I know learning a new language is not as easy as I’ve cracked it up to be, the internet really helps you out in the process. With the necessary help from YouTube and learning apps like DuoLingo, the world of languages is up for grabs. You can unravel an entire culture’s worth of experiences through the gateway of its language by devoting just half an hour a day for the same. Learning a new language offers you an edge in the professional world, and it is also advantageous to your personality and mental ability with benefits like improved memory, better multitasking skills, and multiple others.

4. Taking up a hobby

In a world where we’re so cramped for time, it is almost impossible to understand what one must do when he/she has a few moments to himself. We’ve been starved from leisure time to the extent that we haven’t thought about what we would be doing on our time off. One solution to this would be taking up a hobby. Whether it’s music, painting, knitting, movies, playing a sport or fandom; hobbies are a great way to add to your personality and potentially your skillset and intellect. Doing what you love can be a great boost for your mental health. Moreover, pursuing a hobby can be the start to great friendships as you meet like-minded people interested in the same activities as you are.

5. Working out

Barely any time to spare means you don’t have any time to dedicate to anything but the new age rudiments of work, work and work. In the transition from running around day and night as a child to becoming a selectively hibernating post-adolescent, we barely realized the degree to which we have become laidback and lethargic. Leading a sedentary lifestyle poses serious physical and mental risks, which makes it extremely important to engage in some form of physical activity daily, be it a short walk, yoga, or hardcore cardio. While gymming is a great way to work out, it offers obstacles in terms of the fees that you pay for it to the cumbersome roads you take to make it to the doorstep, A more elegant solution would be to go on a ten minute run in the morning (and a 10-minute walk after dinner) to make sure that you haven’t lost that boost of energy that you once possessed. For a more core work-out, you can never go wrong with planking, pushups and/or crunches, all of which can be easily performed at home. Yoga is a great form of exercise which fosters physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. YouTube also offers several home work-out videos that cater to different body types, requirements and time constraints.

6. Playing a sport

If working out isn’t your game, why not try another one? Playing a sport from time to time is a great way to make sure you’re always connected to your body. It provides all the perks of working out while giving it a little bit of a competitive edge to push yourself harder. Most sports involve multiple people so it can also be your way of meeting people and making new friends. ‍Engaging in a sport can make staying physically active and mentally healthy enjoyable and effortless!

7. Socializing and networking

Human beings are inherently social creatures. Socializing and networking is an important part of our lives. Living in isolation and solitude can take a toll on every aspect of our life. Hanging out with peers at work or school/college isn’t enough to quench the thirst you have to connect with people and society at large. It might be a good idea to go out with a few friends for an evening at least once in a couple of weeks. Rejuvenate yourself by cleansing yourself of shop-talk and indulging in some much-needed banter. It’ll improve the way you function and also leave you in a better mood. Moreover, connecting with people from different circles and backgrounds can teach you a lot about the world and enable you to grow personally and intellectually.

8. Resting

In today's fast paced world, we are literally on our toes (or at our desks) all the time. Our bodies and minds are almost always exhausted from long hours of work. It's important that we give them the time they need to relax and reset. Rest is important for improved physical and mental health, improved moods and healthier immune systems. All your body craves after a long tiring day of work is some rest. Have a bellyful of something comforting and nourishing, take a shower and call it a day. You have a long day ahead of you starting tomorrow until the end of the week. Recharge yourself for the adventures you will take on then. 

As W.H. Davies rightly summed up in his poem, Leisure, “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?” The world is constantly changing and evolving, but taking time out for yourself and doing what makes you happy must never go out of fashion.

Mental Health
Kenneth Soares
Singer songwriter.

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