Americans are disillusioned to think they don’t have enough free time, but the reality is that they experience leisure more often than not.
They are seen going out to eat and drink with friends. It is evident every time one attends sold out sporting events or concerts. Americans even spend money to see personal fitness trainers, attend yoga classes, and register for programs at their local park district.
The truth is that leisure time is being sought out by people of all ages. Specifically, older adults and the growing baby boomer generation are seeking novel experiences during their free time. 78 million Americans born between the years of 1946 and 1964 demand recreation, ranging from extreme sports and workouts to quality time with their favorite albums.
In general, most Americans have no problem articulating their busy schedule and chances are their qualms are valid. However, individuals fail to recognize how they choose to spend their time in-between mandated tasks. One classic example of incorporating leisure time is playing games on cell phones or keeping in touch with friends via text messages and social media.
Of course this example may offer temporary relief or distraction from an important meeting or a challenging lecture, but does it provide a true sense of freedom?
Technology has actually increased an individual’s ability to engage in leisure time, but why do some still feel they have no time to themselves?
The issue is not necessarily what you choose to do to in your free time, but how your choice allows you to process the stress of daily responsibilities.
Leisure is intended to provide one with a sense of purpose, relaxation, and restoration. The actual term leisure is based the Latin word licere meaning “to be allowed”.
Think back to childhood and playing games with other children. Without those opportunities for socialization and recreation, the child may experience difficulties communicating with his/her peers, which may affect other areas of development.
Leisure gives individuals a sense of mastery and increases intrinsic motivation. Simply engaging in recreation without an external reward has been linked to higher levels of self-esteem and learning.
Experiencing a steady balance among work, school, family, and one’s personal life is an art. With the use of expanding technologies, individuals are able to implement more effective strategies to feel in control of their free time. Participating in leisure activities of personal choice allows is the only way to maximize one’s quality of life.