Leisure: An Elusive Goal?

For many, leisure is something that is relegated to retirement years. How sad? For leisure is an essential element of joyful living and good health.

Age-old problem

This isn’t a new development. Fulton Sheen, theologian, in the 1950’s, said “Never before have men possessed more time-saving devices. Never before have they had so little time for leisure or repose.” And I’m certain that this mentality has existed throughout mankind’s history…even before the concept of retirement existed.

This also brings to mind a passage from a historical novel set in the mid-1800s. The main character made the comment that information was flowing “at the speed of the stagecoach and telegraph” in a tone that left you feeling the person was overwhelmed by this new reality.

Essential leisure

Leisure should be part of your daily routine. There should be time each day to reflect on the good in your life, the amazing things you’ve learned, the challenges you’ve overcome. Fulton Sheen also said “Repose-true leisure cannot be enjoyed without some recognition of the spiritual world, for the first purpose of repose is the contemplation of the good.

My experience has been that I cannot reflect on the good in my life without feeling connection to a greater intelligence, a higher power, than mine. I get the same feeling when hiking in the woods.

In addition, some of the most creative ideas come from simply allowing your mind to wander. Those of you who feel that you’re not a creative person are probably not taking any time to allow your mind to be free, to wander aimlessly so that it can make connections that you can’t make during conscious effort.

As you assure yourself some leisure time each day, you’ll feel the stress of the day ebb like a tide. This is quickly followed by a sense of well-being, memories of the good in your life. As you allow more quiet time, new ideas surface in the form of insightful questions, solutions you’ve been seeking and new initiatives for you to pursue. 

The stress that’s waned is replaced with new ideas, energy and excitement for the future and the sense of being one with God, the Universe or whatever greater intelligence you experience. All yours for assuring yourself some leisure time each day.

In addition to the benefits outlined above, your sense of well-being, and joy, enhances both your mind’s and body’s health. All these benefits from a few minutes of leisure each day.

For you

If you’re already taking time for yourself each day, kudos! Keep it up! And continue to live this way as a shining example for others who haven’t yet discovered the value of leisure.

For those of you whose time-savings devices haven’t made a dent in your hectic schedule, remember that time utilization is a choice. The hectic pace you’re experiencing is of your choosing, often a subconscious choice, but your choice none the less.

It’s time to make new choices. Take a look at what’s on your schedule and decide what you can change to free up just 15 minutes a day. One of the things you’ll discover is that you accomplish a lot more in less time when you’ve assured yourself some leisure time. As you become more productive, you’ll quickly expand that 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day or more.

I typically take 2 hours a day; one hour for exercise and one for reading.  My wife and I travel roughly 10 days a month, 7 months out of the year. I get a lot done during the remaining 20 days of the month because I’m refreshed and focused.

For our kids

Arrange for some time with your kids each day in which you and they just “hang.” Let the conversation go where it goes…no agenda. As they discover the joy of leisure, yet see you being productive and successful in what you do, they’ll make the connection between focus and leisure and mimic your lifestyle.

In all likelihood, they’ll ask you “What do you think about in your quiet time?” Then you can share with them that some of that time is spent appreciating the good in your life. Some of it spent just letting your mind wonder to enjoy the new ideas that surface during this quiet time. Also let them know that during this time you feel a connection to a greater intelligence that is both comforting and energizing. It’ll help them become more aware of their connection.

Let others know that you love them by sharing this blog post. They’ll appreciate that you care.

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, share your leisure experiences in a comment.

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