Leisure time can be stressful, for me at least, simply because it’s not meant to be: I’ll have some glorious spare time on my hands and recently I’ve not quite known what to do.
I’ll look inside myself and feel what my true desire is: “Excellent”, I think “what I most want right now is be near trees and water”; so off I’ll head on a walk somewhere. Problem is, five minutes into my walk I’ll feel a teeny tiny amount of anxiety (a sure sign that all is not 100% well), you see now what I most want to do is to write, or be in a coffee shop, or have a nap. Whatever I have embarked on doesn’t match what my shifting, sliding self wants, and I’m finding it problematic.
During my training to be a counsellor I really learned to hone into this part of myself and trust it, but to be honest this central part of my being is a bit scatty. On the whole it serves me well to be able to encounter a myriad of dichotomous feelings, but it’s not very relaxing to respond to this petulant self, and as I say a bit bloody stressful.
So how do I keep listening to myself and find a way to relax a bit? Well, I guess, it’s a bit like any decision in life. There’s never an absolutely perfect decision, it’s not so simple as right and a wrong.
Oliver Burkeman in a recent article wrote about a research paper, Decision Quicksand. It states that we confuse the complexity of a problem with the importance of it in our lives. My inner world is complex, deep and unrestricted by practicality; and let’s face it, whether to have a nap or go for a stroll is very trivial. So it’s simple isn’t it? I just choose to carry on walking and accept that where I’m heading won’t be the perfect way to spend my time; but maybe if I can accept this then magically my leisure time will suddenly become, low and behold, really quite relaxing.