Leisure Guilt – How to Relax & Switch off
We all have our own hobbies and leisure time activities. These could involve reading a book, walking around the block, binging Netflix, or spending quality time with family and friends. Most of us value leisure time as it provides us with an opportunity to unwind and recharge, whether this be from work, study or other tasks and responsibilities. Engaging in leisure can really lift our mood, reduce stress and even improve our overall life satisfaction. For some however, the ability to be enjoy these moments of idleness or self-chosen activities is hindered by their perception that leisure time is wasteful.
In a world so fast-paced, leisure is often frowned upon. Working long shifts, skipping work breaks and missing out on well-deserved vacation days in order to be productive has become the norm. It really comes as no surprise that so many people struggle to engage in leisure without ruminating in work-related stress and a missed opportunity for productivity.
Leisure guilt is a real thing and it can be detrimental to mental health. Research has shown those who neglect leisure time are more likely to be more stressed, anxious and depressed compared to those who make time to unwind. Many think leisure will reduce work efficiency, however it is quite the opposite. By engaging in some free time and taking a break from work every now and then, you are more likely to return with better problem solving abilities, improved creativity, work ethic and ultimately an increase in productivity.
So how exactly can we switch off our guilt during times of leisure?
Challenge your beliefs about leisure:
Often guilt stems from the belief that leisure is wasteful. Understanding the benefits of leisure and how it can improve work efficiency may help to reframe this cognition. Another option may be to consider ways you can utilise leisure activities so that they align with your long-term goals. For example, allocating time to go on a leisurely walk may be perceived as a way to maintain good physical health.
Schedule your leisure time:
If you are struggling to find time to unwind, it may be a good idea to pencil your leisure time into your calendar. Not only will this give you a greater sense of control over how you spend your time, but it can help to separate work from leisure time.
Speak to a professional:
If you are someone who is struggling with burnout, stress or depression as a result of over-working, it may be worthwhile speaking with a professional. At Positive Mind Works, we have several psychologists with the skills and expertise to help you find a healthy work-life balance. To learn more on how therapy can help you enjoy guilt-free leisure, contact our reception on 1800 327 477 (AU) or 0800 327 477 (NZ) or click here to book.
We all deserve time to relax and de-stress. Leisure time provides us with the perfect way to do that. Not only will engaging in guilt-free leisure improve our mental health, but taking a break from work can also improve our productivity when we return.