• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

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The Importance of Active Leisure
By Kathryn Britton
Feb 8, 2008

My husband and I took my godmother?s new dog, a 10 month old schipperke, for a long walk across Duke East Campus, as far as the statue of Sower. What pleasure this wiggling, active, curious, explorative little creature is giving my godmother! It made me wonder what positive psychology can tell us about pets in our lives. Following this curiosity led me to an article about the importance of active non-work activities in handling work-related stress.

This article is a perfect fit for my growing concern about people who are becoming too tied to their jobs. They read and answer email at all hours. They carry Blackberries, cell phones, and pagers that keep them on short leashes. They attend meetings during the day and bring ?real work? home where they can concentrate. They lose any sense of boundary between their work lives and their personal lives.

More time means more productivity only up to a point. Then people get tired and drained. Their ability to innovate goes down. Their resilience suffers. They produce less. They make mistakes.

?Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.? (Loehr and Schwartz, p. 11)​
Winwood, Bakker, and Winefield (2007) explored the relationship between a variety of common leisure activities and recovery from work-induced stress. They were interested in activities that are capable of generating positive states, activities such as hobbies, creative pursuits, interaction with family and friends, physical exercise, and interaction with family pets. Here?s an example of a question used in their study:

?In an average working week, how much time in total do you spend working alone on any hobbies or creative activity you have, which give you pleasure and satisfaction, and that you do not regard as work? This includes such things as arts and crafts, handiwork, sewing and needlework, collecting, model-making, gardening, etc??​
In a heterogeneous sample of more than 300 workers, people who spent more time participating in active leisure activities reported significantly better sleep, greater recovery from work-related stress, and lower levels of chronic fatigue. The authors found that social activity was most predictive of enhanced recovery, followed by physical exercise, with hobbies being least predictive.

Becoming too busy at work can start a downward spiral. People feel that they can?t do all their work in the regular working hours. Something has to go, so they drop going out with friends or photography or going to the gym. They experience less recovery from work stress. Fatigue accumulates, non-work activities become increasingly passive, productivity declines, and work takes even more time. And so on.

A wise employer would halt this self-defeating vortex by encouraging employees to maintain reasonable hours and to break the connection to work when they go home. But that?s not a common workplace policy, as much as it could enhance the value received from employees.

So we need to watch for the temptation to drop active leisure activities in favor of work demands. Sometimes this is necessary for a week or two, but it is dangerous to health and well-being in the long run.

Look at your own life. Do you have active pursuits for your time off work? If not, what could you add back into your life? For most jobs, there is always too much to do. So do you have a policy for managing your work time so that you can let less crucial items fall off the plate? Can you justify your active leisure activities not just for the pleasure they give you, but also for the degree they help you maintain your energy at work? Mindful of the costs of chronic fatigue, do you encourage the people who work for you to get away from work?

Taking care of oneself takes time: time for healthy habits, time for mental relaxation, time for developing friendships, time for family, time for creative hobbies, and time for physical activity. We suspend these activities at our own peril.

References
  • Loehr, J. & Schwartz, T. (2003). The power of full engagement. New York: Free Press Paperbacks
  • Winwood, P. C., Bakker, A. B. & Winefield, A. H. (2007). An investigation of the role of non?work-time behavior in buffering the effects of work strain. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 49, 862-871.
 

Retired

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Why is it so difficult for working people to proactively arrange for leisure time in the same way time is budgeted for food shopping, taking the kids to the rink and so on.

My grandfather said when it comes to budgeting your time, you should pay yourself first, then budget for everything and everyone else next.

Someone else said, " No one ever said on their death bed "I should have spent more time at the office""

Can a plan like that work today?
 

David Baxter

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Sometimes it takes a bit of a wake-up call to remind us that we need to do it now, not 20 years from now. :eek:
 

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wake-up call to remind us that we need to do it now

Something we encounter not infrequently among our circles of middle age acquaintances. It's the time in life when unexpected medical situations remind us of the frailty of life, and our mortality.

There's nothing like a week in hospital hooked up to tubes and needles to set off the wake up alarm!

Me...I plan to live into my late three hundreds...and ...I plan to take it all with me..;)
 

lallieth

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I learned a long time ago that spending time with family/friends/alone is needed to bring balance to the mind/body/spirit.When are constantly on the go,those three important things begin to break down and we feel disconnected,from other people and most importantly from,ourselves.

It can be as simple as a quiet walk to a day of active sledding with the kids...everyone makes the choice as to what are priorities in their own lives,and when I see people choosing work over family/friends/self,I can see the breakdown beginning to happen
 

ladylore

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Active liesure is one thing I can no longer do without - so I have learned over the past year and a half. It isn't an option anymore, its a necessity.

My therapist would like me to take it a few steps further and start getting regular massages, going out more into the nature... What I am doing now keeps me on track, bumping it up a few notches would probably help keep me there.

So why am I a bit resistant to some of these ideas and put them off to do sometime tomorrow? They are things I want to do. Makes me go Ummm :thinking: >D
 
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maybe you're resistant because you have this idea stuck in your head that it takes too much time or effort?

there's always something that needs to be done that we feel shouldn't be put off. leisure would be putting it off. at least, that's what i've found for me sometimes.

but make yourself do it, you'll enjoy it once you are, and it really does recharge you!
 

ladylore

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maybe you're resistant because you have this idea stuck in your head that it takes too much time or effort?

there's always something that needs to be done that we feel shouldn't be put off. leisure would be putting it off. at least, that's what i've found for me sometimes.

but make yourself do it, you'll enjoy it once you are, and it really does recharge you!

Your right! :D On the way home I will stop by the massage therapy clinic and see if my health care will cover me for a massage - if it does I will book. I'm convinced - that was easy. :D
 
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hmm you got me thinking now! i would love regular massages. i went and got one one time but i was so self-conscious. it was really nice but i'm too shy to go back.

i was talking to someone today about fun stuff to go do, like a girls' night out or even a girls' trip away for a few days. i only wish i had people to go do something like that with. i'd love to go make a trip somewhere and just have fun for a day or three :)
 

ladylore

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Oh me too. This is a similar conversation I had yesterday with one of my therapists. In my 20's I was so care free, picking up and taking off for a few days. But there is so much to do and see - even a trip to an art gallary, the sea wall (Vancouver)... would be great.

What I miss from my friends in Ontario is that we use to invite each other to sleep over. Girls sleep over:D We would talk all night, pop corn, go out for breakfast in the morning. So much fun.

I haven't connected with anyone around here that thinks that's a great idea. :confused:

I have come to a place where I am content to do some of these things myself (except the sleep over :D ) and if people want to tag along, ok. If not, that is ok too.

But finding people and making friends is a process.
 

Halo

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Interesting that you all are talking about girls get togethers and such because my annual girls ski weekend is coming up in two weeks. This is one weekend a year that we all get together and rent a condo at a ski hill about 1.5 hours away...and the funniest thing is that none of us ski :lol:

It truly is a let loose, drinking, say anything, drinking, do anything, did I say drinking :) kind of weekend. What is said on the weekend stays on the weekend. There are only two rules for our weekend and that is no men allowed and absolutely no cameras :D I really look forward to just kicking back and letting loose (something I don't ever do)
 

Halo

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Ladylore you will just have to come back to Ontario for a visit and coincide it with my girls ski weekend and then we can have a blast :band:
 

Halo

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You have to have dreams in order for them to become a reality :D
 

rosedragon

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The authors found that social activity was most predictive of enhanced recovery, followed by physical exercise, with hobbies being least predictive.

I think physical exercise isn't recover your stamina but increase your stamina capacity and regeneration rate instead. And pumped blood can makes your head feel better. I like to walk or run on 3am, while if I'm tired I might still tired, if my eyes sleepy I might still sleepy, untidy mind gone and feel like having 'fresh brain'.

Pff.. although everyday felt like weekends for me I need a trip away from the smokey-dense capital. Should do it at the beginning of next month..
 

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