Making more of premium “me time”

Making more of premium “me time”

Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness. Here we share our personal tips for turning interests into hobbies.

According to a study by The Society for Personality and Social Psychology, older people are more likely to value their time (compared to those who are younger), and want to spend their time in more meaningful ways than just making money.

Rediscovering downtime

Over the years many of us have forgotten what to do when faced with the prospect of time to ourselves. Bringing up a family, maintaining a career and running a household leaves little opportunity for premium ‘me-time’, and it’s not uncommon to feel guilty if we think we’re not doing something useful or productive. As we get older, we find ourselves with more time on our hands, even while holding down a job. What better opportunity to rediscover doing things for enjoyment?

Why a hobby can be good for your health

Many leisure activities promote wellbeing, says lead researcher Ashley Willans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia. “Our research suggests that active hobbies, such as exercising and socialising, can have greater happiness benefits as compared to passive activities such as watching television or relaxing.”

So, while going for an Indian head massage or sneaking an afternoon at the cinema might be enjoyable, the benefits won’t be as long-lasting. And if the me-time activity is outside your comfort zone, all the better, says Ashley. “Engaging in novel leisure activities could yield the greatest happiness benefits.”

Finding my thing

By chance, I had the opportunity to witness this myself. Completely out of the blue, I found myself taking part in an art class as a favour to a friend. I wasn’t particularly keen, and felt even less so when I discovered that we would be working in pastels and drawing a lion’s head. Yet once I got stuck in, I lost all sense of time and I produced a piece of work I was actually proud of. More importantly, I was astonished by how refreshed I felt, as if I had been taken out of my world and given a holiday.

Being part of the small art group also imbued me with an unspoken sense of community. It’s easy to see the appeal of being part of something that offers companionship, whether it’s a regular dance class, a walking group or a weekly stitch and bitch session.

“People are often stuck in their routines,” she Ashley Willans. “So, engaging in novel leisure activities could yield the greatest happiness benefits.”

Make time for playtime

In his book How To Develop Emotional Health (Pan MacMillan), psychologist Oliver James agrees that membership of groups promotes emotional health. “Just being part of a tennis club or doing weekly line dancing lessons will lessen your sense of rootlessness and emptiness,” he says. “It can help confer a sense of who you are and how to live your life, providing a foundation for vivacity and playfulness.”

And isn’t that actually what “me-time” is – an adult at play? You are giving your brain a rest from all the day-to-day pressures that take up so much space in our heads. We should learn to recognise “me-time” as an essential recalibration of our mental and emotional facilities.

Make “me-time” about others by volunteering

“My colleague Michael Norton, of the Harvard Business School, suggests that giving time away, for instance by volunteering, might produce the greatest benefits,” says Ashley Willans. “Volunteering our time can not only improve happiness, but it can also reduce our feelings of time pressure, because giving away our time can make us feel like we have more of it!” 

 

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You and them

Lorraine 22/05/2017

I enjoy sorting all my photos out from files, getting them printed by FreePrints and then I make them into collage frames for friends with children or holidays etc. I find this relaxing and when you give such a gift at any random time the smile and appreciation just makes the accomplishment last longer

Coupons not printed

Probatequeen 24/11/2016

Apologies for writing on this page but I could not see any other way. I sent my coupons to the printer but all that printed was the message stating that my coupons had been printed, I still cannot print them as they have now gone from the 'basket'. Can you enable me to print these please. I am not impressed as everytime I go to the 'contact us' option a message appears stating the site in down and to try after some time!

Colouring

Nanabee 06/10/2016

I agree Odette! There's something very 'escapist' about colouring. I too do it to unwind. There is so much variety available from Cats to Gardens and Flowers to Mandalas. I find that The Works have a good selection. Slightly off topic...I love how the green monkey on the left is giving his neighbour a cuddle!

Practically Premium Pursuits

BOBBYWILLIAMS 26/07/2016

Sharp and informative article ! I recently enjoyed two wonderful years doing charity shop work helping with customer donations....people really are very generous.......being a major influence in running the store and making countless cuppas for the staff and very often for the regular buyers and got a lot of satisfaction and humour from staff interaction ! But always remember not be too strict with your own ideas and plans as a happy volunteer is a fun volunteer!

Colour your life

odette 29/06/2016

I was recently bought a set of felt pens and an adult colouring book .This is a major stress buster !! If you feel tense or angry, sad ,tired or need a bit of you time just take your book and pens to a quiet place and relax in a world of gentle colour .You will be amazed by the colour mixes you create depending on your mood . I really enjoy this me time !!!

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