The positive effects of leisure and play time include better problem solving, improved work ethic, and improved creativity. Outside of a work performance realm, quality leisure time has also been shown to help with wider psychological and cognitive wellbeing, physical health, and quality of life.
And yet, it’s difficult to prioritise play. Maybe it’s generational—and we live at a time when the expectation is to work, work, work? Or, our identities have become so ingrained in what we do that work and leisure have become blurred and there’s no separation?
Perhaps it’s that the idea of leisure time is almost un-British? Take a look at some of our wise European neighbours with a built-in long, leisurely lunch, or the Nordics high happiness scores. The Netherlands in particular seem to have this sussed; with the highest OECD Work-Life Balance rating.
On average, in Western society, we get about 5 hours of leisure time a day. Which is plenty of time to get involved in all sorts of things—but instead, most of us spend that time watching tv, which, according to this study from the University of Maryland, has a direct correlation with unhappiness.
In short, we need to take a more active approach to our leisure time.