May 19 - 25, 2008


Leisure is a key to a balanced, healthy life

Mention "leisure time" and I think of those Corona beer commercials on TV: Lazy, tranquil hours on a deserted beach with no tasks more challenging than slicing limes and removing bottle caps. 

Relaxation time on vacation is one thing, but for the other 51 working weeks of our year, leisure time shouldn’t be neglected, “leisure consultant” Alison Link told the New York Times on Sunday. (Click here to read the interview.) Attending to our leisure time can greatly improve the quality of our lives, she says.

Leisure boils down to this: Wise use of our “free” time. So it’s essentially a stewardship issue.

“Too often, leisure time that is not used in a satisfying way turns into idle time, or is used to do a single thing to excess (like overeating, or getting into family quarrels),” Link says. “It can even turn negative, which is what happens often in the cases of substance use, delinquency and criminal activity.” [Note to self: Let’s rethink those couch potato afternoons watching Star Trek reruns and eating Ben & Jerry’s Heath Bar Crunch ice cream!]

She advises making a list of things that give us fulfillment in body, mind or spirit, and putting priority on those activities whenever we have any stretch of free time, no matter how short.  For instance, for a client who was burning out on a blistering schedule of television production, Link advised investing in leisure on those rare, brief moments of down time.

“She created a list,” Link said, “she could call a friend who would make her laugh, take a walk to get coffee, sit for a few minutes in the park, even walk to and from work. Once she started to add some of these things, she felt more free and happy at work, and she saw changes in her life outside of work, especially in how she interacted with others.”

Good advice for busy pastors, but also for the people who sit in our pews  who are juggling a zillion things and are living with extreme amounts stress.

--Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
(Reprint rights gladly given to congregations for local, nonprofit use. Just include the following notice: “Copyright © 2008, the Rev. Robert Blezard, Used by permission.”)

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