Learning lately: the importance of leisure time

Hobby: an activity done in one’s leisure time for pleasure 

I’ve never fully understood the idea of hobbies. I run my life off to do lists so leisure time is more of a fantasy.

When I met my husband, he had so many hobbies and I felt really lame. He snowboards, golfs, plays video games, skateboards. He has a hobby for every season and does at least one a day. It made me insecure at first, because I had no idea what to say when asked “what do you do for fun?”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete dud! I do have interests and things I really like to do, I just don’t choose those things or make time for them.

In your twenties, you’re thrown into adulthood. Which can be exciting, but also sucks. Am I right? Responsibilities take over and for an organized, task-oriented human like myself, they can easily become your whole life. Leisure time quickly disappears and if I’m honest, every day is overwhelming. I’ve come to realize this about myself slowly and with the help of people close to me.

I don’t really know what I like to do anymore, or have an answer when someone says “what are your hobbies?” My immediate answer is Netflix, because that’s what I do to shut off the running list in my mind. (I’m not alone am I?) I’d just rather watch the BAU catch serial killers than think any longer!

In reality, I don’t have hobbies right now and this is no one’s fault but mine. I’m not fighting for my free time or my mental health. If all I do is “work” or try to be productive, where does that end? When do I feel peace?

Well, I don’t.

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been getting up earlier in 15 minute increments. I’m now getting up about an hour earlier than I used to! This is so I can sit outside to drink my coffee, pray/journal, and read my Bible. Usually, this leaves me with 30 free minutes in the mornings and it has been SO good for my soul. It sets me up for a positive, God-focused day. And then the weekend comes and I have actual free time.

My instinct is to schedule myself thin. Be with people, go grocery shopping, clean the house. But Saturday comes and I get maybe ⅓ of those things done because I’m exhausted.

So what do I really like to do? What have I always enjoyed doing?
You guessed it: I made a list.

The number one thing on that list? Books!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. I (of course) read the Harry Potter series (sometimes an entire book in one sitting), the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Series of Unfortunate Events, and eventually, every book written by Jodi Picoult. I even used to write book reports on these novels after I finished them. Nerd alert. I’d discuss what I liked and what I didn’t, the writing style of the author, the character development, etc. (Maybe I’ll do a few of those on here? We’ll see) These reports weren’t for school, just because I wanted to discuss them somehow and didn’t have a book club or anything. Then I went to high school, got involved in a sport and became very committed to that. It became my hobby, the thing that took up most of my time, and I lost the other leisure activities I’d loved. I forgot about them too. When college came, I stopped playing my sport, and never started other hobbies again. I poured myself into school, and that was over before I knew it.

I have struggled for a long time to figure out why I am so stressed and anxious. There are many factors for this, but I think a major one is I forgot about me.

I was of the idea that doing what I wanted was selfish. I hardly ever thought about what I should do to relax until I thought I was going to explode.

As a person, I am production driven. If you’re anything like me, you might see this “leisure” as a waste of time. I certainly did.

Here’s what I have learned: my goals in life are to show God to the world, have a successful marriage, have a family, and remain joyful despite circumstances. If I want to achieve these goals, I need to make time for them. I need to make time for God so He overflows from me. I need to make time for my marriage. I need to make time for my family. I will one day need to make time for my kids. I need to make time for my joy. 

There are many ways to say this – me time, self care, leisure time, free time, rest, relaxing, drinking (lol who said that?), mental health days, treat yo self days, etc.

Whatever you call it, having this time is important for your mental health. Giving yourself time to chill and recharge is huge for how you handle stress. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my mood, my temper, the amount of sass I produce, and my outlook in general when I spend even 30 minutes a day for myself.


What is your favorite way to spend your free time?  I’d love to hear – I need some new ideas!

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