Leisure: The Importance of Taking a Break

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What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

-W.H Davies

Little did W.H Davies know that his words were actually describing life in the 21st Century, or maybe he was a psychic, and his ability to look into our future prompted him to write this poem. In the concrete jungles of our modern cities and the flowing rivers of money, we have actually forgotten what it is like to take a pause, to interlude Life with simple quiet moments. We have no time to stop and smell and roses for we are too busy waking up and smelling the coffee.

We have planners and calendars, diaries and PDAs, appointments and meetings, conferences and seminars and reservations after reservations. We are going from this client to that boss and from this board room to that office. The files on our desks keep piling up, just like tension in our heads. What we tend to forget is that unlike our PCs, life doesn’t give us an option to recycle. We have our priorities all over the place and drowning in sea of work doesn’t help one bit in sorting them out. If you are fighting for dear life here, how can it be expected that you take even a tiny little breather?

This is exactly where most of us go wrong. The age old adage – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – is apt for the workaholic in us, who panics when even a single living moment is spent not doing work. Putting your legs up and soaking in the warm sunshine is a big NO – NO. Deadlines have to be met, bottom lines have to be raised, graphs have to soar. This pretty much sums up our life after college (and for a few, even college life passes more hellishly than this).

Our body and mind need periods of rest and recuperation. We were not built for doing round the clock work nor were any of us born on Krypton. We are made of tough spirit surely, but even that needs refuelling to keep us going. Leisure is a thing of the past now. Who has so much time to ‘waste’? Once in a while, we need to relax, let go of all the worries and just put our feet up.

Leisure is about you. Things which you like to do or would love to do. It is not about meeting societal expectations or conforming to the norms. It  about not doing what others want you to do. Leisure time for one could be listening to music, it could be cooking for some, or it could be napping in a hammock while for some it could be sipping martinis under the sun! At such moments, you are the master of your time and energy and you can do what you will.

What this free time does is that it cools us off. It puts the brakes in our speeding lives before it crashes and burns. It puts the fun back in our life. Think of it as a pit stop that cars make before they speed out again in order to be part of the race. Without this, accidents could occur which could prove fatal, and hence this brief halt is vital. It gives us a chance to oil those parts of our selves which might have become tight and prevents us from breaking down in a heap of stress and pressure.

The need to unwind is inherent in us. Even if we think that we have nerves of steel and our mind over matter, you will find it difficult to function efficiently. When work gets the best of us, we actually reduce our productive output. Time will just lag on ahead of us without actually doing anything. What we could do in say an hour would take us two hours to do and it still would not be the best that we could do. Unwinding is as essential to our body as breathing. The brain, after all can process only so much at a stretch without being pushed to the limit.

Leisure time is also when we give way to our pent up frustration and exasperation. All the things that have been gnawing at us for a long time seem to magically melt away the moment we get some respite from having to continually fulfil people’s expectations. Not only do we find ourselves feeling tonnes lighter, but we also manage to calm down and think things out rationally, often times with a fresh perspective. Leisure helps to unlock the true powers of our thinking processes in relatively short spans of time. It is a great way to get rid of all the negativity that surrounds us and imbibe some positive vibes.

To say that leisure time is a lifesaver would be a gross understatement. It’s a saviour, a messiah that can liberate us from the throes of our tedious life,  resurrect our broken body and re-kindle the flickering flame our souls.

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