“Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation ― what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.”

― William Lyon Phelps

Based on Gallup.com, the average American works 47 hours per week (49 hours per week for salaried folks).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us a breakdown of the average time we spend per day on primary activities. For instance, we spend a little more than 8 hours per day doing work related activities, about 9.5 hours on personal care activities (e.g. sleeping), 5 hours doing educational activities, and a little over 2 hours caring for and helping household members.

But…how much do we actually spend on leisure? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says we spend about 5.5 hours socializing, watching television, and participating in exercise per day. The aforementioned are all very important and provide us balance in our lives.

However, why do we often feel bad about taking out the time to do the things that we enjoy? We know that leisure is good for our emotional, mental, and physical health…so why must we beat ourselves up about taking a few minutes to catch up with a friend or read a fictional book?

What’s life if it is all work and no play?

Just remember, it’s okay to have a great work ethic, but also make sure that you take at least 5 minutes per day (hopefully more) to do what YOU want to do.

Here are some benefits of leisure:

1)      You’ll have time to examine your personal goals

2)      You’ll get a break from stressful or boring activities

3)      A sense of autonomy or a feeling of control

4)      Better social skills

5)      Improved self-esteem; especially for introverts!

6)      An opportunity to meet new people and learn new things