Engaging in leisure time offers many benefits for staying healthy in mind, body, and spirit. However, it is not just engaging in a leisure activity that provides the most satisfaction and benefits, but how you view leisure time and the value of it. According to Ohio State University and Harvard University researchers, if you view leisure as wasteful and unproductive, that undermines the enjoyment. This view is also associated with poorer mental health and happiness, and greater reported depression, anxiety, and stress.

While work can impart meaning and a sense of purpose in life, leisure, such as time with family and friends, hobbies, and exercise, is what makes our lives happy and healthy. If you thrive on productivity and the thought of taking time for leisure actually stresses you, consider adding “Relax” or the actual leisure activity to your to-do list. That way you get the benefit of leisure while feeling the satisfaction of checking tasks off of your list.

It’s important to have a healthy attitude about leisure time and to find the right balance of what you need to feel energized and better able to tackle your most important tasks.

The Science of Savoring
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration