Did you know? According to a recent study by the marketing firm, Mediaki, it is now estimated that the average person will spend more than five years of his or her life on social media… five years! Another study conducted by Nielsen estimates that the average adult spends five hours and four minutes of his or her life watching television each day. Those statistics are downright scary!
Leisure time is essential for everyone, but without careful attention to how we spend that discretionary time every day, we could end up entrenched in habits that don’t move us closer to our goals or bring us true fulfillment. Each day we have a choice. We can engage in activities that bring us temporary relief or pursue activities that renew us and help fuel our lives each day. At first glance, one might think that relief and renewal are synonymous, but they are actually quite different. Look at the definitions below.
- Relief– Feeling of reassurance and relaxation when anxiety or distress ends
- Renewal– Replacing of something that is worn out, run down, or broken.
Relief is a temporary feeling, whereas renewal brings restoration and enables longevity. Relief might look like sitting on the couch after a long day of work, aimlessly watching four episodes of your favorite Netflix binge, or the feeling you get when your boss allows you to leave work early. While actions that relieve us are satisfying in the moment, they rarely fill us up or help renew our spirit.
Renewal on the other hand, restores and refreshes us; it enables us to return to work with reinvigorated passion and deepens our capacity to handle the daily grind. Additionally, renewal provides new energy to tackle the tough issues of life and be emotionally present to those around us.
Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey, says that we become what we repeatedly do. Instead of being the person who says, “I don’t have any free time because of my busy schedule,” be the person who intentionally adds life-giving habits and routines to your schedule, in order to keep yourself renewed. In doing so, you will have the energy and emotional capacity to do the things that matter most to you. When you are renewed, you can help others in more significant ways. Take ownership of your daily habits and tendencies. Ultimately, this is your life. You ARE what you do consistently!