Dominic worked a lot. After work he hit the local gym, worked out, picked some chicken sandwich with guacamole from the supermarket, hurrying up because in Switzerland they close at 21:00. His time after working hours was all planned well in advance.
Mondays pushing at the gym. Tuesdays learning German at the Sprachschule. Wednesdays playing squash with his friend. Thursdays going out for dates in fancy bars and restaurants. Fridays packing his bags and departing for a weekend trip.
You might ask: “But what is so strange or inappropriate about it?!”
Nothing. But Dominic’s feelings were far from pleasant. He was constantly stressed. He needed to pack the day before, depending on which activity he will pursue on a given day. Then, traffic on the road and stress if he will make it for the date. Busy every day, all the time. After 6 months he took psychological help because he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t focus and he was constantly exhausted.
Each one of us has free time and it is our decision what we do about it and how we shape it. However, free time means something different for us.
Martha: “Free time is the time I have when I don’t need to be at work”.
Kevin: “I understand free time as the time when I don’t need to do anything, even cooking or cleaning”.
Jacob: “Free time does not exist. There is always something to do”.
What’s your definition of free time? Why certain people experience leisure time stress? Let me give you two examples of free time stress.
1. TOO MUCH ACTION
Like Dominic, you are planned the whole week with different types of activities. You think you can do it, but the weekend comes and you’re dead from tiredness.
2. TO LITTLE ACTION
You don’t plan your free time and when it comes, you are frightened and stressed about “but what will I do?”.
What to do to avoid leisure stress?
- Don’t take too much on your shoulders
Let your body relax and recover. You don’t need to hit the gym every day after work.
- Learn to rest.
Let go. Lay in bed with a book. Sleep. The world will not collapse if you rest in quiet.
- Be gentle with yourself.
You are not a machine but an intricate biological computer. You need TIME for everything. It also relates to resting.
- Find good ways to relax
Switch off your computer and phone, go out to a forest or a park. Breathe fresh air. Sometimes a change like this can bring the awakening and change.