To me leisure is about taking care of me. It’s not just about waiting for time off. The definition of leisure however says differently: Leisure is freedom from the demands of work or duty. They give an example: She looked forward to retirement and a life of leisure. So I looked at the statistics of whether people die after they retire, and research suggests that too little stress might also be a killer. While some retirees live active, healthy lives, peppering their days with tennis matches and volunteer work, others languish in front of the television.
The everyday routine of getting up, going to work, interacting with colleagues, and striving for professional goals can keep people more physically and mentally fit than a quiet yet dull retirement.
When I was a teen and worked at a supermarket checkout for a few months, it seemed like a prison sentence. I hated it. I had several jobs like that. I never enjoyed them. More recently, I have a different perspective on work. I am happy to be free to work. I feel blessed that I can write, facilitate and create training programs. I’ve noticed that some people really enjoy work and other people do not.
The people who do not enjoy it have an energy and vibration of upset. The people who enjoy work have an energy and vibration of joy. It’s really as simple and complicated as that. I have no idea how to measure it, but I can see it. The way they dress is different. People who feel blessed to be at work take care how they dress and look. They smile, they help, they are a joy to be with.
I was teaching a class at a VA hospital and the conversation was about silos and how difficult it was to communicate with different departments. And this one man said,
“I don’t have a problem. I make a point of getting to know everyone. I take them donuts. I never have a problem getting anything done. I know the people who will help me and we have a special relationship. I don’t bug them all the time of course, but if I need something done real fast, I know exactly who to call on.”
Now this guy is the same as everyone else. He has breaks and lunch times just like everyone else, but he takes the time to make connections that are helpful at work. He treats work as a place of leisure. Not that he’s taking time off and laying back doing nothing….but he enjoys work. He enjoys work just like he enjoys his leisure. I guarantee that if someone does not enjoy their work, they will not enjoy their retirement.
What?! They’re suddenly going to change and become enjoyable people. No, they will be the ones described in the research as ‘languishing in front of the television.’
Today, think about leisure. Think about your freedom to work or play. Be playful at work. I am not talking about you skipping into work, telling jokes and being annoying….but playful in terms of getting to know people in other departments. Taking in some fruit—It doesn’t have to be donuts people—it can be healthy. Take care of yourself at work by being playful and you will take care of yourself when you retire and have a wonderful life from this moment forward. My friend, do not wait until it’s ‘leisure time’ to be leisurely; give yourself a break and drink a glass of water—that’s freedom right there.