Significance of Leisure Activity

2022-12-21 - Mental Health

Significance of Leisure as the proverb goes

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'

Mental well-being is an inevitable part of overall health. It has great influence over our physical well-being and overall lifestyle.  It has been proven in research studies that mental well-being should be maintained for reducing stress levels and onset of depression in individuals. It is like finding a balance in your life. We are overwhelmed with all our responsibilities in today’s hectic life run that we just miss to check out ourselves.

We humans in our day-to-day schedules forget to find quality time for us – self time. Our body needs to be in tune with nature to get its natural rhythm and balance properly.  We need the energy source from the sun - sunlight, the pure fresh air that mother nature grands us for our inhaling, and small efforts from our side - regular exercise, which is sure to take us along a path of positivity and seeing life with added beauty.

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'

The proverbial saying expresses the idea that working constantly and making no time for enjoyment makes one bored. This is true to its essence. Leisure activities play an important role in the improvement of mental health of children, adults, and old aged people alike.


Children love the engagement of parents and family members in leisure activities. The special bonding developed through such activities highly uplifts an individual.

Children especially the younger ones learn more through playing. They are at that stage when they are developing crucial cognitive and motor skills. A structured activity like team or unstructured free play in the backyard will provide a child with plenty of opportunities to engage in leisure activities on a regular basis.

In the past, children spent time doing various types of games and activities. They played variety of outdoor games, walked in the neighbouring areas, and connected well with people and nature surrounding them. Now if you look at the children, a common trend is they are all absorbed in gadgets and killing time. Moreover, they are faced with situation where the world has turned to be more competitive in terms of educational activities also.

Simple plays like hide and seek, house role play, catch and cook with lots of running, hopscotch etc had many positive effects on them which played a vital role in their growth and development. Lack of such playing has paved way to bringing negative impacts on the emotional development in kids, giving rise to problems like anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self-control.


Engaging in leisure activities during their unstructured, down time, teens are more likely to choose adaptive skills over maladaptive ones, that could get them in trouble. Maladaptive behaviours are those that stop you from adapting to new or difficult circumstances and is usually triggered after a major life change, illness, or traumatic event. It could also be a habit you picked up at an early age.

If the maladaptive behaviours are not identified and replaced with productive ones, they can lead to emotional, social, and health problems.

Teaching leisure skills alongside emotional regulation strategies will help your child be more successful. They will learn to cope up with unexpected changes. Instead of getting frustrated with the situation, he/ she will know how to manage the disappointment and make another appropriate choice.

Scheduling play dates and get-together with your child, wherein they participate in leisure activities with their peers, will be beneficial.

Leisure skills serves as a motivator key guiding your child to push past less preferred activities and engage in beneficial activities with more focus and determination.

They will have more mastery of their downtime, when engaging themselves in leisure activities and thus taking them on a fruitful path.


Leisure and recreation can help to enhance the overall quality of life by striking a positive balance and regulating the quality of life. Physical recreation and sporting pursuits, is generally associated with improved levels of self-esteem, allowing us to feel good at whatever we undertake. When we are actively engaged in pursuits, we feel satisfied. Individuals not taking part in any activities are not satisfied with the level of their health and fitness and are low on self-esteem. Adults usually are too engrossed with multiple side hustles and are afraid to slow down for fear of missing the next opportunity that comes along. This kind of mindset is harmful to mental health. Our mind can become overloaded, leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Leisure time enables individuals to re-energize, recharge, and even gain a new perspective. Experts recommend using breaks and downtime to pursue activities. Playing a sport to improve physical fitness, listening to music to improve focus, cooking a meal all help in enriching mental health. The point is that it is important to find an activity that suits your needs and interests.

Moreover, the ability to be present in the moment is a skill that can be learned and practiced as it has many benefits which includes reducing stress, improving communication, and increasing focus. We are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future when we are present. We are focused on the now and here and this grand us the opportunity to control our thoughts and emotions and choose how to react to a situation at hand rather than being controlled by our thoughts or emotions. We become more aware of our surroundings and pay attention to people and things around us, which improves our communication and help build stronger relationships.

Taking a mental health break is as simple as getting outside for some fresh air, even if it’s just for a few minutes, being in nature will help to be relaxed and clear headed. Disconnecting from the gripping hands of technology is another way to take mental health break. Disconnect from the various devices like phone, computer, and other devices and experience the difference. It promotes relaxation and reduces stress.  

Spending time with loved ones, catching up with a friend, or simply enjoying some quality time with pets are all helpful in making us mentally strong. The very feeling of being around those we care about can help reduce stress and improve our mood.  It is essential to make leisure activity a regular habit.

Elderly people

Recreation is the key to having a healthy mind, along with a healthy life. Indulging in physical activities improves mental health of older adults, their quality of life and overall well-being. Physical recreation makes a great difference as it becomes a part of the healing process, allowing for quick recovery of the body and mind. Having some form of physical activity protects them against several health ailments, slow down the process of declining motor skills, flexibility, and strength. It helps to increase brain functioning and self-esteem, keep them sharp and their minds will be strong which will ward off cognitive impairments due to old age.

The elderly people are often at great risk of depression and anxiety-related issues, when going through major health problems and surgeries, as compared to other age groups, and getting involved in recreational activities brings out the lost sense of hope and competence in them. It reduces risk, boosts self-esteem and a lends them a refreshed state of mind. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are also eliminated, which improves mood and positivity.

Reading is a great hobby for older adults acting as an indoor recreational activity keeping their brain engaged. It improves knowledge, memory, reduces stress and improves sleep disorders. Recreational sports activities like pace walking, jogging, light yoga, or just simple outdoor recreational activities like standing or walking proves to be beneficial. Exercising can be done in groups to strengthen social connections and meet new people of the same age group.

Gardening provides good opportunity to spend time outdoors. By working on plants, flowers and kitchen crops, doing light garden chores, will also help them soak in some important Vitamin D. Moreover, the elderly gets quickly attached to pets. Indulging in daily chores like feeding them, bathing them, walking them, and playing with them is a form of both indoor and outdoor recreation and reduce loneliness and boredom.

Playing simple card games, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku, etc. sharpens focus, improves memory, and helps to relax, while providing some exercise and improving hand-eye coordination. Organising trips - group or solo to nearby attractions, close cities or dream destinations is refreshing and it is energising.

Recreation for the elderly is simple and proven method to keep their body and mind alert, and themselves better occupied.

Make time for yourself, choose something you love to do and keep your brain cells ready to face the very next step boldly and beautifully..