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Healthy Lifestyle: 25 Tips on How to Spend Leisure Time

Healthy Lifestyle: 25 Tips on How to Spend Leisure Time

Maybe Tom and I are crazy, I don’t know. We are pensioners nowadays, we should be sitting in a chair looking outside what the neighbors are up to, right? Instead of what we are doing now: working on our websites, I am designing a couple of things, Tom is finishing his thesis.

My guess is, as long as we are both having fun, we’re OK. The only thing we really need to be aware of is to not work for too long. Leisure time is important.

All the more now we are in lockdown on an almost regular basis and restricted in our movements, it’s important to consciously spend leisure time together.

1. Spend time with your better half

Healthy Lifestyle: 25 Tips on How to Spend Leisure Time
A day out to Cartagena, a couple of weeks before the third lockdown of our village.

In the Netherlands, both my husband and I were solo entrepreneurs working from home. Being in the same building the whole day is no guarantee you really connect to each other.

Nowadays, after our move to Spain, we still spend a lot of time solo in our study rooms. Every day we make an effort to do things together with full attention to each other.

2. Leisure time playing

Play a game with your (grand)kid, a friend or with the neighbor kid. Fool around with things you find. Try to remember what the movements were of old nursery rhymes and relive them.

3. Sauna

Go to the sauna. This can be a quick visit for one or two hours. Or make it a whole day with some beauty treatments or solarium tanning.

4. Visit a museum

The other day I made an eBook about how to prepare for a museum visit (receive a free copy). I simply love art and exhibitions. And you get much more out of it if you prepare a little bit on forehand.

Having a meal with friends
Having a meal with friends

5. Party

Organize a party. Invite some friends or do it on your own. An image I have had in my mind for ages is a scene from the movie Antonia with the Dutch actress Willeke van Ammelrooy: a group of friends sit outside in an orchard at a long table, eating and having fun. It’s my ideal party and we are lucky to have lovely neighbors who enjoy having lunch with us.

6. Take a hike

In the summer one of the massive events in the Netherlands is the Nijmegen Vierdaagse, the Walk of the World. Four days of walking 30, 40, or 50 km. Every year scientists investigate a specific group of hikers. For instance diabetics or people with a weak heart. It is obvious that any kind of movement is good for a healthy lifestyle.

7. Sport

Sometimes that can be a hike, but it can also be: swimming, nordic walking, biking, or running. If you are able to combine your activity with being in nature, it’s killing two birds with one stone. Nature has such a beneficial effect on us.

8. Take up a hobby

Making ceramics with a group of likeminded people
Making ceramics with a group of likeminded people

Knit, make ceramics, paint, scrapbook, anything. Some are so serious about a hobby, it’s not an activity in their spare time anymore but work.

Look who’s talking! 🙂 That was me, years ago. Everything had to look ‘responsible’, meet the highest standards of the art academy and colleagues. I am so glad that I no longer suffer from that.

9. Read a book

I read about two to three books a week. Books about marketing, the internet, or personal development. And novels or crimis. I read “The Circle” by Dave Eggers the other day about the influence of social media. I can really recommend that one. Do you know another interesting title for me to read?

10. Visit a friend

In the Netherlands, it’s not a custom to visit friends unexpectedly. You call to make an appointment. Isn’t that a pity? We are living too shortly in Spain to know the drill over here. But we are finding our way around, who knows what will happen.

11. Meditate

Skill to do comes of doing

Do you meditate? Whenever I sit down my mind wanders off in all kinds of directions. I don’t know what it is to think about nothing at all. But meditating is called ‘practice’ for a reason, so I will keep on trying.

12. Make a drawing

Many people are convinced they can’t draw. That is such a pity because the result is they don’t even try. Sure, not everyone will be an artist, but it’s my conviction everyone can draw. And as with any skill, you’ll get better with practice.

13. Watch television

If you have one, that is. We don’t have a television anymore, but at times I watch Dutch or Spanish television on the computer. On YouTube are a lot of videos that are fun and entertaining. My guilty pleasure is watching singing contests, like The Voice or Britain’s Got Talent.

14. Work in the garden

I guess this is our way of meditating, removing the weeds in the garden. We love seeing the seedlings grow. And we both water the plants every morning, giving us a lot of satisfaction.

It’s even more rewarding to not only have bushes and flowers but have a kitchen garden as well. With the added advantage that we have delicious herbs and vegetables from our own soil.

15. Go to the beach

You can do many things on the beach. Hiking, standing barefoot in the surf, or building a sandcastle. We’re happy to live closer to the sea than we did in the Netherlands. Although I do miss the lovely Dutch sand beaches. The biggest advantage over here is we can take the grandchildren to the beach and I love to play with them in the sand.

Related: Even grown ups can play on the beach

16. Take a nap

Hm, it’s a long time ago I did that during the day. For Tom it’s a daily habit, 10 to 20 minutes and he is ready for the rest of the day.

17. Bake a pie

Photographing things around you
Photographing things around you

My mother had a great recipe for apple pie. Brings back good memories. Another advantage of baking your own pie is that you can replace the sugar with honey, maple syrup, or stevia, which is healthier.

Tom makes cookies at times. A simple, but delicious recipe. Yummy.

18. Take pictures

I enjoy myself tremendously taking pictures, for instance as illustrations for this blog. Don’t limit yourself to capturing only festivities, but also shoot something simple you find in the house or outside on the street.

19. Listen to music

I try to listen to types of music I am not familiar with. Most of the time I listen to modern classic or world music. Spotify is a treat; I am discovering such a lot of unknown beautiful music.

20. Make music

You don’t need an instrument to make music. Your voice is always there. As are your hands; you can clap them or drum on the table. Be creative.

21. Do nothing

My husband is very good at this, I am not. Definitely, something I should practice more. Maybe I would do well if I just go sit in the warming sun. 🙂

22. Go to the movie

Leisure time on a terrace
Sit on a terrace and watch other people

Sure, you can watch movies on the television, but the experience is way different on a huge screen. Just before the first lockdown, the local cinema started programming movies in the original language. That is quite rare in Spain. Most movies are synchronized. I am keeping my fingers crossed they will continue the program once the situation is back to normal.

23. Sit on a terrace and watch other people

It’s great to spend time outdoors. I heard they have banned smoking on the terraces in the Netherlands which would be an extra perk for me. No way they will ever do that in Spain.

24. Go away for a day

Combine several of the activities mentioned above and spend a whole day somewhere else. Or be a tourist in your own city. Sometimes we know more about foreign cities than about our own town.

25. How do you spend your leisure time?

This list definitely can be longer.
Tell me in the comment box below: what is your tip for spending leisure time?

16 thoughts on “Healthy Lifestyle: 25 Tips on How to Spend Leisure Time”

  1. Long walk with the dogs, spending time in the parc with my sons, walking through unknow cities with my parents, wife and sons, train or go to events of Muay Thai, enjoying some time in the swimming pool.
    Great blog Hannie

    • Great tips! Thanks 🙂
      I especially like the part ‘walking through unknow cities with my parents’. There used to be a time you thought quite differently about that ROFLOL.

  2. Travel by train. You can watch out of the window because you don’t have to drive yourself.

    Go to the theater. Albeit there are only very few things I like. Opera. Ballet.

    Shop. For me this means moving from one shop to another without buying anything. I wouldn’t know what to buy. Except books. But I promised I will only buy electronic books.

    Farm. Now and then I help a friend who has a couple of fields where he produces organic vegetables and herbs.

  3. Hi Hannie,

    Another really uplifting article that I loved to read. The two most important tips you discuss for me are listening to music and making music. I am a guitar player, and when I am not working, love to jam on my guitar. It’s amazing because it helps me think. I play without thinking while all the while I am thinking deeply about something important. It is a kind of meditation for me.

    Listening to music is when I really zone out and think about absolutely nothing. That is how I recharge my batteries.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up your amazing work.

    All the best,


    • Hi Tom, playing music is fantastic. I have sold my instruments when we were planning on selling the house and emigrating, and the fact we want to travel again keeps me from buying new ones. Although I could look for a harmonica. That’s not big and kind of similar to the button box I had. The pandemic is at times robbing me of any initiative, other than writing. 🙁

      Listening to music is a good replenishment. You’re right, thinking of nothing is better doable when listening to music. Or would it not count as doing nothing, I wonder. Oh well, the effect is nourishing. That’s what counts. 🙂

  4. Thank you for this article. Unfortunately, most of the tips shared cannot be done during lockdown. I personally like to spend my time during lockdown walking in the forest, watching documentaries, reading, spending time with my cat and cooking.

    I am really looking forward to be able to go to movies, visit other places, go to restaurants and visit family and friends.


    • Yes, *sigh*, I know what you mean. The 3 months of the first lockdown we weren’t even allowed outside. That was horrible, however somehow better mangeable than nowadays. Everybody is getting so fed up with the measurements of which we aren’t even seeing they’re having any positive effects.

      For me it’s a good replacement to write about travel and leisurely activities that we could do. Some kind of virtual event. Dreaming about it. 🙂

      Take care, Yoana.

  5. Hi Hannie!
    All these hobbies are great, especially during this time of covid – we need to be as active as possible to make our immune system strong. I used to have many hobbies from your list, depending on my mood. Sometimes, if I have a day – off, I like just to watch movies the whole day, and other times I like cooking deserts – especially the cheesecake. If I take a trip, I also like to go to museums or hiking. One thing I would like to try is to meditate, I think it will be good to get rid of stress.
    Thank you for sharing this post!

    • Hey Alex, binge watching, LOL, if I would have had the possibilities that are present nowadays, I would have done that as well in my younger years.

      Meditating is a perfect practice to release stress. Ask Andrew (see one of the other comments), he knows a lot about it. I still find it hard at times, one of the reasons being that it’s hard to sit still for an extended period of time. I am pratising now for several years and it’s definitely one of those things I regret to not have done when I was younger.

  6. Sailing with my husband on our 26′ sailboat, playing soccer with the grandkids, hiking the many nature trails here in our province, bicycling, time in my vegetable garden planting, weeding, or harvesting, reading by the fire in autumn or winter, baking. There are so many leisure activities I love to do. Good to have a variety I guess, keeps me from getting bored.

    • That is such a cool list, Deb. And they really are activities, meaning you don’t sit in a chair for them. 😀

      I would love to be able to sail. I did have some lessons back in the Netherlands, but I was too scared to get any good at it. I couldn’t get a grip on the relationship between the sails and the wind. And since I was a control freak that didn’t please me at all. At the time I blamed it to the instructor being too young and inexperienced, but that is nonsense of course. We need to control ourselves, so I could have looked for another instructor.

      Still, it’s strange that I was so scared. The main reason was the fear of overturning the boat. But I am a good swimmer, so why would that matter. But I even stepped off the boat one lesson because of the gusts that day. Oh well. 🙂

  7. Hi, Hannie,

    Those are all great ideas! We need to find something that makes us happy and do it as much as possible. Life is too short to waste it. Not everything is work and school.

    In my case, I love to watch old films, especially Mexican ones. I’m amazed by the number of good films that were made in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The technology wasn’t that advanced, but there was creativity.

    I also like to chat with my friends via Skype or Whatsapp. Because of the lockdown, I don’t see them often. That and the fact that many of them live in different countries. But thanks to the internet, we can stay in touch. We spend hours talking about movies, books, food, anything and everything lol.

    My biggest passion is travel. Unfortunately, it’s severely limited due to the pandemic, but I’m confident next year everything will start to improve. I hope they roll out a vaccine. Fingers crossed!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • That sounds marvelous, Enrique, do you have titles for me of these Mexican movies? Especially when the technology isn’t that advanced creativity can thrive. But that is a personal opinion of me, obviously. I get sea sick at times from the way movies are made nowadays, so I love the old movies better as well.

      The number of times I have said that: thanks for the internet! It’s good to be able to stay in contact with friends and family. 🙂

  8. I think Tom, in the comments above, has nailed it! Internetje. So many things to draw our attention!

    My favorite past time at the moment is to go to the beach and sit quietly, with eyes closed, and feel the sun, the breeze, smell the air, and listen to the sounds….. I guess it’s a form of meditation. because at the same time I just notice my body relaxing more and more, and become keenly aware of my breath entering through my nostrils and exiting through the tip of my nose……

    Perhaps this is a way you could have a better meditation experience, Hannie? I think the ‘trying’ part is the part that is preventing you from having a relaxing and positive experience 🙂 Let go of the trying! Just be where you are- and notice, without judgement, what your senses are sensing.

    I also love movies, puzzles, and books, as well as yoga!

    Life is good, so much to enjoy each and every day 🙂

    • You’re absolutely right, Andrew, and I do realise of course I should let go of trying, but I tend to forget that when I am on my cushion. Don’t worry, I’ll get there. I’ll keep on trying. Oh wait, I should rephrase that, ROFLOL.
      All kidding set aside, you are quite right, and I love reading your blog in which you have a lot of practical tips in this area!

      Yes, life is good. <3


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