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Got Some Free Time? Could Be Too Little or Too Much

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us would laugh if someone suggested we had too much free time.  As we surge through home tasks, family care, work deadlines, and countless other responsibilities, free time just shrinks.  

I sometimes find myself sneaking off for a few free minutes to watch a favorite show, take a nap, or just browse through some new recipes. If I am lucky, the weekend opens up and I can spend an afternoon biking with my family. 

The Value of Free Time health experts tell us free time and happiness is crucial to our well-being. They suggest we need 2 to 5 hours of free time each day.  New research suggests the amount of free time and what we do with it are both important. 

Too much and too little free time link to lower rates of well-being, according to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  

Co-author, UCLA Professor, Cassie Mogilner Holmes, PhD, defines free time as "doing what you want to." That leaves out appointments, errands, etc.  Free time is that blissful Sunday afternoon when you tramp through the woods, or an evening spent reading a new novel. Free time on the weekend could mean biking, hiking, camping, or gardening.  

Quality Counts 

Dr. Holmes says we need at least two hours a day of free time to reenergize, but if we have too much free time, benefits diminish when it does not seem to be worthwhile or productive. 

On the other hand, if extra hours are spent volunteering at an animal shelter, doing a wilderness hike, or teaching a child to play a guitar, they can provide a healthy mental boost. 

Take a moment and jot down some things you would love to do but never get around to doing. Then make a point of fitting a new one in each week. Or call a family meeting and have every one contribute new ideas. Then try them all out and post comments and pictures of the best times. You may be surprised how much better everyone feels when they are heard and free time is shared. 

Go ahead! Give it a shot. You will know you are there when everyone is laughing more and complaining less.  Enjoy.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.   

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