This is the fourth post in my Creating a Balanced Life series – and focuses on Leisure – What you do with your spare time – hobbies, pastimes, interests, me time and personal development.
Living in todays fast paced world, where you are meant to be striving for success in relationships, family life, home life, career etc… its very easy to forget yourself in the equation. Thats why I feel that its important to have a section in my S.M.I.L.E acronym that serves to embody everything that helps you to relax, and develop as a person.
Leisure is what I called this section – as it’s the area where you can prioritise fun time, and start to look ahead and plan how you want to live in the future.
Its what you get to do for your leisure – without thinking about others in that equation (that’s what the other sections are for!)
But I can’t just look after what I want, can I?
Look after yourself and the rest will follow
Too many times I have heard people say that they don’t have time for themselves – theres always something more important to do / attend to in their lives, but my answer to that is that if you don’t look after yourself then you run the risk of not being able to help others as you may then suffer from burnout/depression etc…
After all – if you are not happy then everyone around you will be aware of this, and it can affect every part of your life.
So, lets tackle this area and see how we go – the aim is to make it a priority, as much as any of the other areas in your life – and I bet that out of all 5 of the S.M.I.L.E subjects (Social, Manage the House, Income, Leisure, Energy), this is the one that suffers the most from lack of time……
What is the perfect scenario for my free time?
Think carefully about what you love to do – what makes you happiest, and what you would spend time on if you had more of it.
This could be ANYTHING really – heres a few examples to get you going:-
- Joining a sports team
- Learning a new skill
- Complete relaxation time
- Writing a book
- Watching films
- Theatre visits
Now, you may see that these naturally fall into 2 categories – those that are purely for fun, and those that help you to develop your skills. Both of these are crucial to having a rounded life, as its important to do things just for fun, but equally important to keep growing and finding out more about yourself as you never know what you may find out!
Make time for fun in your life – do things just because you want to – and the key is DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.
If you have children and worry that you are not spending time with them, think about it this way, you will be a happier parent to be around when you are happy, and your children will also learn that everyone has their own things to do at times and thats a good thing as when you all do spend time together you may find its more quality time than ever!
Its also a great way to destress after a long day doing what you should/need to do. Its a way to rejuventate yourself and gain more energy for the rest of your life.
Everyone needs some fun in their lives!
And along with fun comes personal development. Learning new skills, finding out what you like to do, discovering new passions – its all there for the taking, and so often I hear people say that they wish they had done ……. if only they had the time / energy etc…..
Grab your wishes by the hand and go with it. Even if you only start to read about a new career, or buy an audio book to listen to in the car that will teach you a new language – its all steps in the right direction.
Think about where you want to be in 5 years time if you are finding this exercise difficult. Its amazing how many people have sort of forgotten they own selves when it comes to planning the future. Do you want to be in a new career, own a business, live abroad etc…. – work towards that in little steps starting NOW and you will have a real chance of getting there rather than looking back and regretting what could have been.
Where can I find the time though?
This is the biggest stumbling block on why people don’t do a little of what they love. Time.
However, I always say that you find the time to tackle an emergency when it unfortunately hits you, you find ways to fit in family demands and household jobs etc… – so treat this as you would any other demand on your time.
When you are planning your time, look at your week as a whole, and see where you are wasting time or where you can be more clever with your time (I am planning on writing a time management ebook early next year so watch this space if you need extra help!). Even creating more time in your day by getting up earlier or going to bed later is feasible.
It may be that you only need a few minutes a day to have some me-time, and maybe once a week a couple of hours for a new class or for a hobby.
Make these unavoidable appointments and you will start to fit them into your life – and prioritise them – don’t question whether you have the time – simply do it!
We all need some downtime to destress and build up our own sense of self.
To do this we need to prioritise ourselves within our own schedules.
So, look inside yourself, find out what makes you happiest, and work towards adding some of this into your life each day. You will thank yourself for it as you will find that every part of your life feels easier once you are happier in it!
Heres to a happier, more balanced you!
If you would like to read the last part of this series of posts – all about your ENERGY – then just CLICK HERE!