6 Ways to Feel Happier in Your Free Time, According to an Expert

If you’re feeling resentful of a lack of downtime, Dr. Holmes says instead of focusing on the time you don’t have, aim to use the time you do have more strategically. Arranging your days to include less of what gets in the way of his happiness, more of what matters, and enough time to do nothing at all can help you feel less tied down. In other words, with a few schedule adjustments, you may be able to find your sweet spot of downtime. Here are five relatively simple ways to start working towards a life of (enough) leisure.

1. Take stock of your current free time.

“Discretionary time is time spent how you want to, not how you have to,” explains Dr. Holmes, so it’s not limited to hours you don’t work or sleep. To see how much free time you really have, grab a piece of paper or access a notepad app to do some simple math. Start by calculating the breaks or free time you have on any given day. Maybe you woke up early and jumped in for a 30-minute yoga session. At work, maybe you took a 15-minute walk for coffee with an office mate. if you heard a favorite podcast or called your sister to talk about your day during your ride home, write down those minutes as well. And it’s worth noting that minutes don’t need to be perfect to count. Was her 15-minute walk interrupted by a phone call from her demanding boss? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t count time if you enjoyed it overall.

“Two hours sounds like a luxury to some of us, but if you look at your day and calculate, you’ll see how much it adds up,” says Dr. Holmes. “You may find that you’re already up to about two hours of time that you wouldn’t have wanted to spend otherwise.” It’s important to recognize that this sweet spot is within reach without having to make any drastic life changes, because knowing that something is achievable creates a sense of hope rather than hopelessness, says Dr. Holmes.

2. Try to cut the fluff.

If your discretionary time typically falls short of two hours, Dr. Holmes suggests looking for waste. Specifically, he’s looking for minutes (and sometimes hours) that he spends in a way that doesn’t feel satisfying. Unfortunately, work and travel take a lot of time for a lot of people. While those activities probably can’t be abandoned, you could at least make them more satisfying by scheduling them with joy, says Dr. Holmes. (Here’s more of his advice for a less exhausting work week).

With everything else, he recommends looking for what you can sacrifice. “One way to increase your available time is to reduce the amount of time you spend Social media scrolling”, writes Dr. Holmes in Happiest hour. “This can lessen how much you ponder with envy over all the glamorous (and carefully curated) ways others spend their time, for example. It will also free up real minutes.” You don’t need to abstain from your apps entirely, but you could try keeping your phone in a drawer or another room to make it less tempting, for example, or set a 30-minute social media limit for yourself for the night. night, whatever feels feasible. To you. The goal is not to feel bad about how time flies; is to look for minutes that you can claim.

3. Outsource whenever possible.

For all blech activities that must In fact, Dr. Holmes recommends outsourcing whenever you can. If it’s financially feasible for you, trade a trip to the grocery store for a grocery delivery (make sure you tip really well), a time-consuming dinner prep with a Food delivery service, or another night of solo parenting for a nanny, all of which might lighten your load enough to take a breather. “Time is a resource that matters. If you have the means, studies show that time-saving products and services are worth investing in,” says Dr. Holmes. And the results of the study you refer to hold up across all levels of income, age, gender, marital status, and whether or not there are children at home. That is, people who spend money to save time are happier than those who don’t.

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