With the average minimum workday being 8.5 hours per day with a high end being 10 hours per day, it is easy to see why so many of us struggle with anxiety and depression or mental health issues in general. Utilizing the time we have each day is important as our free time greatly establishes other mental health factors. How do you spend your time each day? How many minutes do you spend in mindless activities such as scrolling social media or binge watching a show? Today, we are going to talk about other suggestions for effectively using your free time. Ready to get started?
Why Is Free Time Important?
Humans are complex and just like our bodies are designed to detox what is not needed or used, our minds need to be able to do the same. It is easy to want to stay busy and not have to think about something, but does that truly help you overcome the situation? Or does that temporarily provide a time of just not thinking about it? We need free time to process our feelings, our lives, our circumstances and upcoming events. When we don’t take that time, our feelings don’t just vanish, they accumulate. Practicing this, over time, can take great negative tolls on our mental health. Below are some reasons to consider utilizing what free time you have differently.
- Our minds need space to dream, create and analyze
- We need time to think and shed some thoughts from our heads
- We all have upcoming events that we need to mentally prepare for
- It is important to practice gratitude for the good and positive things in our lives
- Free time helps us be more productive
- Our mental health depends on it
How Should I Spend Free Time?
There are so many options when it comes to filling our time. I encourage you to evaluate your time spent, be honest with yourself and write out the activities you are currently choosing to fill your time. Be honest with the details, they matter here. For example, if you wake up and have 1.5 hours until you leave for work, write out what you do in those 1.5 hours. If your commute to work is 30 minutes, write out what you do in those 30 minutes. If your small children take hour long naps, write out how you spend that hour. Throughout our lives, how much free time we have will change. Not everyone will have a large amount of free time right now to alter, but each of us have at least some minutes we give back to our minds. Once you have an idea of how you are currently spending your free time, take a look at the below list and decide if you want to incorporate a change. Does your mental health need a change?
- Listen to a podcast or teaching during your car rides
- Learn a new skill
- Read something of interest to you
- Do something creative like draw, paint or write
- Learn a new hobby or interest – start small
- Take a walk – process something on your heart
- Organize an area of your home
- Enjoy some sun
Utilizing free time may not come natural for you. If this is the case, you can schedule your free time. Making it as important as the activities you currently keep can help assure you will prioritize it. Sometimes our mental health depends on it.
There are many reasons why we choose to avoid filling our free time with something healthy and beneficial. If you desire to create a better place for yourself mentally but struggle with keeping yourself accountable to it, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to listen. Our team of therapists can help you establish steps toward your goals.