Leisure activities are a virtual necessity. They are needed to keep people from degenerating into one-dimensional personalities. Sticking with one thing over and over again, would not bring the kind of fresh insights to the work which one can get from other activities. Outside activities have a nice regenerative effect and pump people with energy. Often, output exceeds the input. These activities provide new challenges.
When people find themselves successfully meeting those challenges in after- work pursuits, it generates a kind of confidence in them, which would be helpful in boosting their regular work or career.
Another spillover effect from non-vocational activities or hobbies is that the creative juices generated by them continue to flow much afterwards. There are several other benefits as well. Sometimes the thought of indulging in a leisure activity would help people pull through a particularly rough workday. Then the amount of sheer relaxation that can be derived from a game, a rehearsal or a pleasant drive is no less. Even a nightly crossword puzzle or watching a TV programme can be a powerful stress-buster. However, the problem is that even these activities can become dreadfully routine and uninspiring.
Hobbies help people to feel that they are interesting and even help in advancing their outer image. Participation in outside activities makes a person more interesting as other people start perceiving that way. In fact, one can get the image one wants simply by taking up the right sport. So, it is no wonder that extra-curricular activities and hobbies are given consideration during interviews. A challenging activity makes the candidate far more attractive, and probably a better performer.
Given the huge amount of benefits to be derived from leisure activities, it is no surprise that some people go a little overboard. As a result, people slowly find themselves disliking so many of the things they do that their life becomes full of tension. Frustrating leisure activities is a sure sign that something is wrong. Hence, it is important to figure out what you are getting from each activity. It would be useful to do some analysis and weed out the less beneficial of the various activities performed. A pastime may be relaxing you, challenging you, or making a contribution to your community.
Figure out what exactly you want from your pastime and accordingly modify your activities. If possible, select your hobbies that are different from your everyday work. For example, if your work involves spending time with over-grown people, find something where you can interact with children.
Some people mistake a necessary sporting activity as a leisure activity. For example, in the business world, playing golf is a must activity for developing network. People take it up for official reasons and hence it cannot be considered a leisure activity because there you are interacting for business reasons. Hence, it has to be considered a part of your business activity, unless you also happen to enjoy it.
In such an activity you may end up feeling more tensed rather than relaxed. There is definitely no harm with developing interests that will put you in touch with the right people, but do not try to convince yourself that you are having fun, while the truth is otherwise.
Many a times, people take a vacation only to find themselves wanting to relax more than the day they left for vacation. This occurs because people often put off their much needed vacation and takes it up only when they are full of depression and fatigue. By the time they pack their bags, they find that they cannot leave their troubles at home and they cannot enjoy being anywhere else. To avoid such a situation, it would be advisable to take major vacations at regular intervals with a few long weekends in between.
Our society is terribly undereducated concerning leisure options. The security of tradition combines with an innate fear of unknown to keep people from finding a new vacation place or activity which they might truly enjoy. People often keep on visiting the same place again and again for vacation, even though the place which was once enjoyable no longer rests and regenerates them.
If that is the case it would be advisable to experiment with different kinds of vacation options. Or at the very least, add a couple of new activities to your things-to-do list for your vacation. Do not add more new activities lest you end up with too many things to do with too little time to do it.
The most important thing to remember when you come back from a vacation is to give yourself a one-day buffer going back to your usual routine. Otherwise, it can result in a low feeling for first couple of days on routine work and may result in some disorientation and confusion. One needs to remember that it is not easy to shift gears instantly because your mind and body may still be in vacation mode.