Leisure and Lifestyle

At the beginning of this course leisure was a topic I did not give much thought to and I felt like I did not have the time to spare to put much thought into. To me, all leisure meant was having free time to do whatever it is that I wanted to do. But after analyzing my life I noticed that I had surrounded my life with solely work and school and my “free time” was anytime I spent watching television and anytime I slept. However, after taking this course I learned that leisure meant more much than that.

Now leisure to me means, as Richard Kraus states, leisure is “time which is not devoted to work or work-connected responsibilities or to other forms of discretionary or unobligated time,” (Olson et al. , 2003, 12). The “time” in which Kraus mentions, I personally see as the time that one takes for oneself and fulfills that time with an activity that provides personal satisfaction. To one person, the act of watching television may be satisfying; on the other hand, I personally think that an active activity can only provide satisfaction or any activity that stirs away from or does not produce boredom.

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Unfortunately, our society views leisure as something that cannot be accomplished or cannot be apart of life because there is not enough time. This paper will be a reflection of several issues that this summer semester course and textbook discussed, such as balancing work and leisure, time management, and boredom; I will be discussing my leisure lifestyle plan as well. Throughout the summer course, an issue that was consistently presented through our class discussions and through our textbook was the balancing of work and leisure.

The discussions always seemed to come down to the argument that many people simply could not balance work and leisure. It seemed to most to be one or the other. For example, after completing our interviews I, along with many students in my class, noticed a common similarity with our interviewees. We noticed that the most popular excuse for not participating in leisure activities or not have much leisure time was due to work. Many did not know how to balance work and time for leisure.

As I reflect back before the taking this course, I remember that I had the same excuse, “Because of my busy schedule of work and school, I have no time to do new things or take time for myself”. But as I think about it now, leisure is one’s personal time, one activity in which one finds satisfaction, finds relaxation and relief. Therefore, when I start feeling tension due to the high demand from either work or school, I simply take some time aside and go for a swim or take a jog; it is my escape, it is my stress reliever, and it is my leisure.

I believe same concept applies for others and their hectic work schedule. If by simply setting time aside to participate in leisurely activities, not only will they find a relief of stress in their daily lives but also find that they are enjoying life much better. A study conducted to show the relationship between stress-coping methods, leisure, and genders, found that both male and female managers relied on leisure activities to help them cope with stress.

The male and female managers showed different methods or techniques to relieve the stress nonetheless those techniques were affiliated with leisure (Iwasaki et al. , 2005, 1). Whether people see it or not, leisure is a very important part of everyone’s life and not just in a figurative manner but it also important in respect to the physical well being of people. In order to be able to live a gratifying life, stress free, it simply takes the balance of work and leisure or simply learning the concept of time management.

One thing this class has taught me to do is truly evaluate my time and how I spend it. Before this class, I constantly complained about how I had not time whatsoever to do any leisurely activities. I realized, after taking a deeper look at my schedule, that I could probably be spending less time on some things and more time on my leisure activities. All along the problem was that I was not managing my time right and therefore I felt like I did not have any time for leisurely activities. Unfortunately, the same situation most likely applies for many people.

Yes, many do spend most of their time at work but assuredly if they were to reevaluate their time spent, they most definitely may find some of their extra time that could be spent on leisure. Without having or developing good time management skills, one may find it easier to stress out or find it easy to not make time for leisure. The results for a study conducted on 249 college students showed that the combination of anxiety reduction and effective time management affiliated with participating in leisure activities can be an effective technique for reducing academic stress (Misra & McKean, 2000, 41).

The same study also states that, “campus recreation practitioners may plan leisure activities and social recreational pursuits that increase the educational benefit from leisure pursuits to help students handle their academic stress,” (Misra & McKean, 2000, 49). So therefore, there is time for leisure as long as we learn how to manage our time. Once we find time to participate in those activities we desired for so long, it will help cope with nerve-racking situations that surround our lives.

Besides keeping us from stressing, leisure also keeps us entertained and it helps stirs us away from being bored. Many of us can easily admit (I know I can) that when we finally do have time for leisure activities we end up sitting on the couch in front of television watching it the entire night through. One thing I have learned through this class is that leisure is not considered to be an activity where no productivity is accomplished which can eventually lead to boredom but leisure is an activity that involves ones ability to relax and at the same time it allows one to experience adventure.

Leisure allows one to live life to the fullest. One article says that most people experience boredom because they perceive life as there being nothing to do or because they feel pressured by external factors to participate in leisure activities and inevitably that perception lures them into boredom, (Caldwell, et al. , 1999, 116). So first we give the excuse that we do not have time for leisure but the ultimate reason is because we are letting something keeping us from doing it.

Another thing I learned in class is that there will always be some kind of constraint that will try to keep us away from doing something or from achieving our goal but if we keep letting that stop us from life then we will never experience life to the fullest. This course has taught me several things about how I view and value my life. My values, my desires, my motivation was always in the back of my mind but it was nothing that I clearly defined for myself even though these are the things that are meant to define me.

Nonetheless, this class has taught me how to look at life in terms of leisure and goals and I believe that my visual presentation if accurately reflects my life analysis. In about five years I see myself more focused in the area of my career but I also plan to do some leisure activities that are reflective upon my career. For example, within the next few months I plan to graduate with my BA in psychology and following that (in or about two and a half years) I plan to graduate with my masters in education of counseling concentrating in marriage and family therapy.

However, before beginning graduate school I plan to take a year off so I can dedicate my time working and volunteering in children homes. Early next year I am planning a trip to Costa Rica for a month to volunteer at a children’s school. Within the rest of that year I plan to do as much volunteer work as I can with underprivileged children. I will be concentrating on starting my career but I will also be fulfilling my desires to travel to work on my passion, children.

In about ten years, I plan to have finished graduate school and start working with companies or organizations in which I am able to utilize my therapy skills. I am hoping and I am determined that shortly after I will be able to open my own marriage and family therapy practice. I also plan to travel all around Italy. For some reason I have always found the Italian culture to be interesting so I plan to learn to speak Italian and travel all around Italy discovering the culture as well as volunteering my time with children.

In that time, I also hope to settle down with my significant other and possibly start a family of my own. The values that my parents have taught me, I hope to pass those on to my children because I have come to appreciate them on a greater level that it would not be right to keep them silent or to myself. After fifteen years I plan to participate in many leisure activities such as gardening, golfing, and horse back riding.

I also plan to have an established practice of my own and with that experience I plan to help start a non-profit organization for underprivileged children. I would like to start an organization to help abused children or children if foster homes or children with mental disabilities. My passion is children and I know there are many out there that need help. Despite the number of children organization there might be, I still plan to open one because as long as children are still experiencing pain and abuse, one more organization meant to help will not hurt.

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