July 23, 2011

Fight Stress With Leisure

In the growing pace or modern life, most of us either do not have time or do not understand the meaning and importance of leisure. We are always running against time. Routine jobs and errands leave us with no time for any activity that gives us pleasure. Leisure is a luxury which was enjoyed by the erstwhile rich folk of yesteryears.

The pace of life has significantly increased in recent years, causing a new kind of strain on many of us, whose work involves heavy responsibility, tight deadlines, long hours, complex work or decision-making. In order to combat these draining effects on life, one has to make time to pursue positive leisure activities. Most people in executive positions thrive on the stimulus of pressure, but beyond a certain level, pressure can become a cause for concern. the long hours or work can become a burden and the level of fatigue goes up. To offset the ill-effects of these phenomenon one has to find time for enjoyment.

stressed out person
Some people find it difficult to stop thinking of their work and are unable to relax. They
push themselves to the limit and over the brink.

(Pic Courtesy: Public Domain Pictures)
A tired executive does not necessarily require only sleep. He requires a change of scene. He needs leisure for both his welfare and the welfare of his company. Research has proved that an overworked executive is a liability to his company. With fatigue his performance suffers. One has to take rest to avoid fatigue, but to maintain peak efficiency, one needs mental well-being which can come through external stimulus. Regular exercise has proved to be a beneficial stimulant, not only for physical agility but also for mental well-being.

Our tendency to take on too many jobs and responsibilities can make us workaholics. But without leisure to unwind, our efficiency level will drop dismally.
To different people, the word "leisure" has different connotations. To some, it just means sitting idle in a park and staring into the space, while to others it may mean an activity which is pleasurable. The word "leisure" is derived from Latin and means "things that are permitted." The early English use of the word meant, "an opportunity to do something". Over the years, it has come to have different meanings like, "state of having time at one's disposal", or "free time". In short, leisure for kost people is a fairly new concept. The tribe of idle rich which was also called the "leisured class", have almost disappeared.

What may be termed as leisure activity by one person may not be seen as the same by another. For instance, gardening may be leisure to some but to a gardener, it's just work. Creative leisure provides the distraction and mental relaxation that smoothens stressful situations. Any activity that provides an absorbing interest and is quite different from a person's work can lead to a state of mental well-being.
woman working in kitchen garden
Working in your kitchen garden can be a relaxing activity.
Pic credits:Alex - Fotolia.com

Activities like photography, gardening, theatre, cinema, chess, music - anything that gives pleasure can be picked up as a leisure activity. But it has to be done with a view of enjoyment and relaxation - not because it is in vogue or everyone else is doing it.

There are people who find it difficult to stop thinking of their work and are unable to relax. They push themselves to the limit and over the brink. They may attain their goals and live beyond their capacity but it causes serious harm in the longer run. Sadly, many women today, caught between the demands of career and home, are forced to forfeit their leisure. Overworked to the bone, with frazzled nerves and stress-filled routines, they have lost the capacity to enjoy life. Their health suffers and so does the well-being of their family members. It is time thinking-women thought afresh on their priorities. Is life for living or simply for being lived?

Vigorous activities such as rock climbing, tennis, swimming and skiing keep a person physically fit while giving him enjoyment. There is a definite nexus between exercise and reduced risk of heart disease. People who are physically active tend to be slimmer and to have normal blood pressure, normal blood cholesterol levels - all of which are associated with a lower rate of heart problems. This is one aspect of leisure activity which is related to physical fitness.

rock climbing
Vigorous activities such as rock climbing keeps a person physically fit while giving him enjoyment. Pic Credits: Tyler Olson - Fotolia.com

However, there are also creative people who love to write poems, paint read or sculpt. These are comparatively non-exerting activities which are not at all physical in nature. Yet, it would be wrong to say that they are not providing mental stimulus or relaxing the person. These activities definitely play a role in promoting the mental well-being of the person.

woman sculptor
Creative activities like sculpting, painting etc play a role in promoting the mental well-being of the person.
Pic Credits:cleomiu - Fotolia.com 

Hence, what one must understand is the basic need to get away from the chores and the rat-race, even if it is for an hour every alternate day or just during the weekends. The principles of leisure and relaxation as well as the development of a hobby are interrelated. One has to cultivate what he feels best for himself.
But there is no denying that a human being, how much ever busy or responsible me might be, has to get away from it all, if he wants to continue efficiently. As the person goes higher in the hierarchy, his responsibilities increase and so do his requirements for leisure.

So find time for your well-being before it is too late. Leisure is a luxury you must be able to afford.
BTW, here are some stress-busters that may help calm your anxiety and make you look years younger.
(Guest post by Harini)

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  1. Joseph8:41 AM

    Get a good relaxation tape and make time to listen to it every day.
    Try to find 'me time' when you do things you want to do rather than just do the things you have to do,
    Join a social club or group where you can meet other single people for social activities.
    Dont be frightened to get medical help if necessary - its safer than alcohol.

  2. Donna8:44 AM

    try to get some "newage" styled musics... like enigma, loreena mckennit, enya... and give yourself to the rythm of the music.. you'll see youre getting relaxed and do not think anything happened bad... thinking this will waste your tryings... while youre listening to music from deep inside, youll see youre free as much as a bird...

  3. Krystal8:45 AM

    Stress can't be fought, but to be managed... Stress is so important that without stress, we don't know which is impotant and which is not. In Psychology, if you want to manage your stress, you must be able to manage your time...

  4. Harshada8:47 AM

    the best way I have found is to not let things stress you in the first place
    a calm attitude, naps, time in nature, a beer, a movie, gentle exercise maybe
    then when you notice something IS stressful, stop forcing or pushing or trying so hard, I always figure, when you try something and it doesn't work, think a little and only give HALF as much energy next time,also, if you have issues that keep you awake, therapy is good for that, just go complain till they are gone, thats what I do sometimes

  5. I like to listen to loud rock music in my headphones, laying with my eyes closed.

  6. Let your mind walk through flowers and butterflies.

  7. Tarun8:50 AM

    Stress is an "illusion". Mind over matter, if you don't mind, it don't matter!

  8. Mahendra8:50 AM

    Figure out some activities such as talking with friends, playing some game, reading novels, etc. which you love and spend more time doing those activities in an organized way.

  9. You gotta take a time out. Turn off the tv put on some tunes and relax.Put up the xbox turn off the computer and go for a walk.Drink a cup of chamomile tea and just watch the world go by.Sit on your back porch and read a book. you have to unwind and unplug.

  10. Dilip8:59 AM

    Peace is something within you. When you are happy, you feel everything is smooth and you find peace. So always do something which you finds you more happiness. Be with friends, go for walks or jogs, if you are interested in sports play games, read books, eat well and sleep in time. If you trust in god, do your prayers, do your studies in time never put it off for the next day. Keep yourself engaged but dont over work. If you do these you can avoid stress. Try to help others, espcially elders in their daily chores and be closer to your parents.

  11. Suvarna9:55 AM

    I just take a walk. Whenever I feel so stressed, I have this urge to take myself out of the situation completely. Even when I'm in the office, I step out and tell them I'll be back in 5 minutes.
    When I come back, I feel recharged and ready to take on another problem!

  12. Amitha9:56 AM

    Painting, boxing, and bowling.
    Do some paintings. Pour all your emotions into it. Then do what you want with it. Some opts to burn it as a way to release themselves. I opt to hang it on the wall.
    Boxing/bowling: Imagine hitting and knocking off the source of your stress.
    The point is look for a way to express all the negative energies clogging in your system into something creative. In the process, you would be relaxing your mind.

  13. Ronit9:57 AM

    it's proved that any exercise releases endorphins, which leave you feeling happy and de stressed. I'd suggest joining a great gym and attending it regularly to keep your spirits up. Running is a great way to do it, as it's very physical therefore releasing lots of endorphins.

  14. Run a really deep bath with some oils or smellies in. Put some chilling music on and light some candles turn off the light and lie there with your eyes shut, it is heaven!! It is best to do it in an empty house

  15. Satish10:01 AM

    when u stressed, then u go for natural environment, like garden, sea beach, hill area etc. u forget all ur past, u only do that which u really like to do,

  16. Distraction is a great cure for stress and anger

  17. Varada10:04 AM

    Play the piano or take the doggies for a walk, always calms me down.

  18. Smile ! a great big one. You can't be annoyed when you smile

  19. Ishwar10:06 AM

    My best tip for reducing stress is to NOT PROCRASTINATE.
    If you have to do something that you are dreading, do it NOW. Don't do it at the end of the day or next Tuesday so that you torture yourself with stressful anticipation.
    Deal with whatever is stressing you out directly and promptly.

  20. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Fresh Air calms you down when you're stressed out

  21. Ashwini9:30 AM

    I never cease to be amazed by the quality of your posts! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months. Thanks for all you do!

  22. another beautiful post! So grateful for you.

  23. great article... but that girl rock climbing doesn't look like she's having fun! she looks like she's about to freak!

  24. Sahil9:44 AM

    Caffeine is a stimulant that can trigger the fight-or-flight response to stress, so avoid coffee, tea, cola, chocolate and other foods and beverage containing caffeine.

  25. Siddharth9:45 AM

    Regular exercise is a fundamental part of any relaxation program. It can lower anxiety, fend off depression and help increas a person's self-esteem. Try walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day.

  26. Gargi2:32 PM

    I meditates twice a day. Meditation helps calm the mind and eliminate stress, which is the main culprit for dull looking skin. So, if you wish to look as radiant include meditation in your daily regime. While meditating you may listen to some soft relaxation music, it will soothe your body and help rejuvenate your senses.


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