Finding Purpose and Meaning During Free Time

Finding Purpose and Meaning During Free Time

“Intelligent people do not get bored”, or so the old saying goes.

The increasingly hectic nature of our modern-day life is having a toll on our bodies, minds and souls. People are busy all the time, from home to work, work to home, and all the in-betweens. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder, with people around the world struggling to find peace at home and work- while managing family, relationships and society.. What a mess!

But what about that tiny, thin slot of free time that appears every now and then? People can’t be busy all the time,  or they can pretend to be. However, it is becoming apparent that more and more people do indeed have spare time, time that they do not know how to “spend”. It’s not a problem of having free time, it’s what to do with idle time.

Instead of sitting down miserably on the couch, holding onto your phone and getting lost on social media, below are a few ideas that can inspire you to find peace once you have some free time and would like to use it to feed your soul.

– Gardening, yes! Buy a pot with fertile soil and seeds and grow a Moroccan Mint plant on your balcony

– Clean your room. This is not a chore. Cleaning your room is the most therapeutic indoor activity one can exercise

– Read a book about a topic that fascinates you, or one that doesn’t

– Here comes the second most therapeutic indoor activity, Do yoga! Bring the Himalayas to your room

– Go for a long walk in the neighborhood

– It’s the end of watching TV as a family. But not if you think otherwise

– Redecorate your whole room. Redesign, reinvent it. Make it more spacious, make it peaceful and calm. I dunno, get rid of that bulky old bed and buy a Japanese futon. Give away those old, unused clothes. Ventilate your room, let the sun in.

– Learn to love tea, invite friends or neighbors for tea-tasting. It is an acquired taste, so start with some jasmine, maybe mint tea. Get your hands on Green, Oolong or Sencha. Try herbal collections on cloudy evenings. Ever tried chamomile before sleep? Lavender? Aniseed tea?

Maybe you just don’t enjoy alone time all that much. It’s true that humans are social beings. People want to congregate over food and music, to share memorable moments. So what may be contributing to decreased chances to meet up with people and friends? Most people are just busy with work and family, at least during weekdays, and soon you realize that your friends’ individual schedules do not really overlap in a way that enables frequent meetups and spontaneous outings. In that case, a good balance can do the trick. Better time management can help too, meaning you can plan outings in advance. Or just assign a day, such as Thursday, for gatherings, and that way there is more structure to your week.

Other times, people are just occupied figuring out how to pay their bills. Sure, we grow up, eventually. Saving to buy your home one day? Putting money aside for that summer holiday on the beach in Barcelona that you’ve been dreaming of? Yeah you gotta finance all of that. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees! So the solution is to talk about these issues openly, to manage expectations and agree on the budgeting aspect of friend gatherings. You can’t impose fancy dinner ideas while your friend prefers going to the park or tea time indoors. People won’t be able to match your pace, and that might be the reason why your meetup ideas often fail. So yeah communicate this stuff and get on the same wavelength with your friends’ personal preferences, to reach common ground.

Another issue is that people change, their preferences evolve. Maybe your friend does not enjoy going to the movies like they did back in the day. Or maybe getting drunk on Saturday evening becomes a non-option. Or maybe the dynamic in your group of friends has changed. A friend may not be comfortable around another person in your group, and that person happens to be there all the time, ugh. Yeah, these things happen, people hurt each other, knowingly or unknowingly, drama happens.. Being aware of these things is key to keeping the group together, or reconciling such issues if possible.

None of this should be a reason to feel frustrated having more alone time that desired. There is a learning curve to overcome here; life throws things at you for a reason. Engage your spirituality, or maybe your mind is more than capable of squeezing that spark of genius, solving this predicament.

Free time should never be a source of frustration. Rather, it can be spent meaningfully, and can contribute positively to your overall wellbeing and mood. Learning to enjoy free time is not the most straight-forward task, especially when one is used to large meetups and a busy social life. It may seem that one has lost their path, or maybe their spark is fading. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Life is constantly changing. There is no one unique formula to living happily. Be engaged, think actively.

Do you have suggestions that you’d like to share? Feel free to contribute in the comments section!