If you’ve finally gotten some time to yourself, don’t let boredom take over. Here are six healthy and productive ways to take full advantage of your down time.
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but exercising is an extremely healthy way to spend your free time. Not only is exercising beneficial for your physical health, but many studies have shown that its effects are comparable to those of antidepressants. Exercising has been shown to release feel-good endorphins, reduce stress, boost energy and improve sleep quality. If you’re not big on physical activity, the key is to find a venture that you truly enjoy so that it’ll be easy to make it a part of your daily routine rather than feeling like it’s a chore. For example, dancing, hiking and even shopping are all fun activities that count as exercise. Aim for about 30 minutes of physical activity a day in order to reap the full benefits.
Although playing games might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of being productive, they can actually be great mental exercise. Just as you need to move your body, you also need to stimulate your mind. Puzzle games such as 2048 are great for improving problem-solving ability, boosting concentration and developing strategic thinking. Contrary to popular belief, playing games doesn’t have to be mindless or a waste of time. Instead, it can be a productive way to strengthen your mind and exercise your creativity.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has been shown to have numerous benefits for both the mind and body. Studies have shown that meditating for just 10 to 15 minutes a day can decrease stress hormones, strengthen the immune system and lessen acute and chronic pain. In addition to its physical health benefits, meditation can also improve your self-esteem and allow you to better understand and control your emotions. The good news is that you can practice meditation wherever you are, as it doesn’t require any extra space or equipment. Utilizing some of your free time to practice meditation can have significant effects on your overall well-being.
Take Up a Hobby
Channeling your energy into a fun and creative outlet is a great way to make use of your down time. Numerous studies have shown that hobbies such as journaling, playing a musical instrument and photography can reduce stress, promote a sense of well-being and boost your confidence. The importance of being creative can’t be overstated, as it can allow you to more effectively express yourself and your emotions.
What better way to spend your free time than to give yourself an at-home spa treatment? Whether you choose to give yourself a pedicure, use a deep conditioning hair treatment or apply a refreshing face mask, pampering yourself is a fun way to calm your mind and body, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Set the mood by using a diffuser with your favorite essential oils or lighting scented candles, and play some calming music to get the full spa experience without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
It may sound simple, but reading has been shown to have numerous surprising benefits for your mind. A recent study using MRI scans showed that reading involves many complex neural circuits, and these connections are strengthened the more that you read. This can help prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, reading has also been shown strengthen your vocabulary, reduce stress, improve sleep quality and alleviate symptoms of depression. Whether you enjoy mystery, historical fiction or romance, there are plenty of great books for you to choose from.
From engaging your mind to getting your body moving, there are many ways to effectively use your free time. The next time you find yourself with some down time, be sure to take up one of these six rewarding and fun activities.