Let’s face it, there’s a lot to do in your free time, and not a lot of time actually free. In between work and other commitments, it might be rare that you find a spare moment to indulge in your own hobbies or favorite activities.
However, even if you are rushed off your feet, it’s still important to take time to yourself. First, work out when you can be free and for how long. The next step is to use this time wisely. Unfortunately, this means no more TV series binges, or at least cutting back to make room for other, more wholesome pastimes.
The following things to do have been chosen as a way to maintain a more balanced life, including physical exercise, mental workouts, socializing and relaxing. In reality, you can modify this list however you please, but try to include one activity from each category.
Long Walks (Exercise)
There’s maybe nothing more simple and rewarding than taking a long walk. The feeling of being outside somewhere nice, with the breeze in your hair and sun on your face, is truly unbeatable. Walking is a great way to unwind after a hard day at work and it’s also great exercise.
Researchers have recently found that brisk walks are as good as jogging for reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s the distance traveled and energy used which is important, not the intensity of the exercise.
Walking also gives you a lot of time to digest your own thoughts. This is invaluable and very understated in today’s extroverted society. As well as being good for the body, walking has even been shown to enhance mood.
If you do prefer other types of exercise, then that’s totally fine. Each to their own. Do what you enjoy and use what’s around you, whether it be a jog in the park or canoeing on your local river.
Card Games with Friends (Social)
No matter how busy your life is, it’s always important to see your friends, loosen up and have a laugh. You could meet up with friends in cafes, out and about at bars, or take turns hosting at each other’s houses.
One way to keep it fun, yet still be able to get up for work in the morning, is to play card games. There are plenty of entertaining card games available at casinos and online casinos, or you can just play at home with friends.
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games, and it’s easy enough to play. Everyone is dealt two cards, including the dealer. The object is to beat the dealer by getting closer to a score of 21 without going bust. You can use chips for betting too.
Another game worth playing is Jacks or Better, a 5-card draw game of poker where, you guessed it, only a pair of Jacks or better gets paid. Texas Hold ‘em is the most popular form of poker and is a classic for playing at home with friends.
Volunteer Locally (Community/Civic Duty)
According to an article on Inc.com, one of the keys to a balanced life is civic duty. Helping out in the local community is one of the most rewarding uses of your spare time. Giving time and energy comes with its own emotional pay-off, and other people benefit too.
Everyone has a different idea or passion when it comes to helping people, be it feeding the hungry or helping those who have suffered abuse, and no doubt there is plenty to get involved within your local area. It doesn’t have to be charity work either. You could coach a sports team or start an interest group to bring like-minded people together.
Not everyone has the time or resources to volunteer. If you do, consider yourself one of the fortunate people in the world and give back.
Learn a New Skill (Mental)
When you were younger, no doubt you were always learning something new, whether it was a new fact or theory during your education, or picking up a new hobby to find out your interests. If you want to keep your mind fresh and young, then you should continue learning new things all through your adult life.
There’s a lot of different skills you could learn, from taking cooking classes, to finally learning how to drive. You could take up a martial arts class or continue your education with a formal course. How about that musical instrument you always wanted to play but never got round to? Now is the time!
Learning something new is always a decent use of spare time. Again, it’s one of those things that feels rewarding in and of itself, but you also get to expand your repertoire of talents too.
Cultivate an Additional Income Stream (Financial)
For better or worse, finances are also part of a balanced life. If you work loads and don’t have a lot of free time, you might want to skip out this section as your work may already cover it. If you are working less than you desire, or you are struggling for money, then this may become a priority at times.
There are many ways that you can cultivate a secondary income stream, none of them easy. If you see get-rich-quick schemes, then you should probably ignore them. Sustainable income requires hard work and dedication. If you use your spare time wisely, you may generate enough to help you out, even if it’s only a trickle at first.
You could start an online business, like blogging, selling stock photos, web design, becoming a virtual assistant, setting up an e-store and promoting it on social media, and more. If you want to go down the more traditional physical route, you could build up a side hustle doing odd jobs, gardening, home baking, dog grooming and so on.
Again, the trick here is to work with what have a passion for. If you’re going to spend your spare time generating more income, then you may as well enjoy yourself while you’re doing it.
After all that ‘doing stuff’ you are going to need some serious time to relax. I don’t just mean passively zombifying yourself in front of the TV like we have been aiming to get away from, I mean seriously pampering your mind and body.
Take a nice hot bath with candles, book in for a massage, eat a healthy meal and then stick a film on to wind down. There’s nothing wrong with an early night every now and then either. Sleep well!