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Are You Living Your Best Life?

There is no wisdom without leisure.

--W.B. Yeats

If you are anything like me, you may find yourself struggling from time to time in this fast paced world, to find time for leisure. I find myself thinking that relaxation is a thing of the past. Between work, school, and other obligations, it can be difficult to find time and dedicate it to relaxing. I thought about this recently when I realized that my last real vacation (that was not a staycation) was 7 years ago. I realized - Whew! It is time for some changes!! Who is with me??

When we recognize the positive impact that relaxing and enjoying ourselves has on our mental health and physical well-being it might make it easier to dedicate that time and put it aside.

Relaxation and leisure time are important for many reasons. First and foremost, it's a time for us to recharge. Think about your phone. As you watch the battery symbol on your phone move from full to empty at the end of the day what do you do? We plug our phone in!! We recognize that our phone needs to be charged. Well, after a long day at work or school, leisure activities can help us release stress and feel refreshed. It can recharge us in the same way as that phone being plugged in. Leisure can also help us maintain our mental health. Studies have shown that engaging in leisure activities can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In addition to the mental health benefits, leisure can also have physical health benefits. The more relaxed we are and the more opportunities we have to participate in activities like exercise can help us maintain healthy weight, reduce our risk of chronic diseases, and improve our overall fitness. Even those amazing leisure activities that we may enjoy that don't have us moving much or at all - like reading or painting - can have positive effects on our physical health. These activities lower blood pressure, improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline according to studies.

How can we make the most of our leisure time?

Prioritize leisure time. Make leisure a priority in your schedule, just as you would with work or school. Black out time in your calendar for leisure activities and commit to sticking to that time. And make sure that the people in your life are aware of how you are prioritizing rest and relaxation.

Trying to things. Don't be afraid to try something new, whether it's a sport or a hobby. My favorites are the new activities that you might try that have been on your list of “I'd love to do that but…"

Find balance. While leisure needs to be at the top of our list, it is also important to find a balance between leisure and other obligations. Make sure that you're not neglecting important responsibilities in order to engage in leisure activities. If you don't find a good balance, you may find yourself preoccupied with the things that you “need to do.”

Unplug. With smart TVs, computers, and latest phones all at our fingertips, it's tempting to spend all of our leisure time scrolling through social media or binge watching TV shows. Digital technology often robs us from true relaxation. Spend time in nature, read a book, or engage in other activities that don't involve screens.

Connect with others. Leisure activities can be even more enjoyable when you get the opportunity to spend time doing them with other people. Make plans to spend time with friends and family, or even join a club or organization that aligns with things that you love!

I look forward to hearing how you are dedicating time to yourself for rest, relaxation and recharging! It is time for us to live our best life!


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