Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bringing Leisure Back in Balance

My name is Jordan Dye, and I love everything about the outdoors. I want to take you on an adventure through leisure, past and present, and why we need to re-balance our leisure time, so we can re-balance our lives!

The world today is rampant with technology, and although this has led to great progress, it has also changed our leisure habits for the worse.

Although leisure in some form has been seen as long as we have records, the industry of leisure began in the industrial revolution era.

During this time, people were working long hours in the factories, and they had extra money from this work. Therefore, when they were not at work, they wanted to get the most from their times. They began to trade money for leisure. They would take train rides, go to resorts, watch sporting events, and attend museums, all in an effort to escape their work and enjoy their life.

In the 21st century, leisure has been vastly overrun by technology. The average adult spends 1 hour and 40 minutes a day on social media. As for teenagers, they spend up to 9 hours a day on media combined.

According to Elkington and Gammon in their book Contemporary Perspectives in Leisure, there are 3 main types of leisure: casual leisure, serious pursuits and project based leisure. The most meaning comes from the latter two, with most Americans spending their time in the first.

Stuart Brown  in his 2008 TED Talk, argues that play is vital to our healthy development and living as human beings. In his research he has noted that serial criminals have had a deficit in play throughout their life.

I have experienced in my own life the devastating effects of a lack of leisure. I was in college and wrapped up in my new job at a teen crisis center. I began working an average of 45 hours per week while taking 15 credit hours in school. I would spend my time not at work or in class doing homework or on my devices. My mental health began to tank. As I hit rock bottom I sought help, and one of the first bits of advice my therapist gave me, was to have better leisure.

I quit my job in order to re-balance my life, and I took to the mountains. I spent my down time, which I had much more of, pursuing my passions. I would hike or go on long bike rides. I took a photography class and began doing web development. As I spent my leisure time doing things I loved rather than simply passing time, I found the balance I was looking for. As I started my new job about a month later, I was better equipped to keep my life in balance, because I had learned how to leisure effectively.

Mental Health Professionals have found leisure leisure to be very effective as an aid in treatment, There are many programs that have at least some element of leisure as a part of the treatment model, whether that is the basis of the program like wilderness therapy treatment, or as a supplement like recreational therapy as a part of residential treatment. I have seen at my work at a treatment center how effective leisure can help individuals to learn social skills and find out who they want to be.

There are many avenues to take in leisuring effectively, whether that is embracing the outdoors, reading a good book or pursuing a hobby such as photography, amateur radio, or web development. As we close down our web browsers and silence our phones, we can find more happiness and a better balance in our lives.


  1. I really enjoyed your viewpoint on leisure. I tend to unwind at the end of a long day by going on Facebook, watching Netflix, etc. However, I am now more motivated to do something outdoors and/or more meaningful to relax.

    1. I completely agree with your concept. I think that you have grounds to say that playing and being active is more healthy for you, but what about those people that say they can choose what type of leisure they want? What if they want their leisure to just be video games, card games, or watching television? I have heard people argue this many times.