Being able to engage in leisure activities – things we do in our free time for their own sake, often for fun, entertainment or personal improvement – can boost our wellbeing. Leisure activities allow us to detach from work stress, recharge and gain perspective. They also enable us to use our strengths, provide experiences which are more or less challenging, give us the opportunity to get together with friends and make new ones, and can provide choice, positive emotions and a sense of meaning that might otherwise be missing from our lives. But do we all have time for leisure, and are all leisure activities equally beneficial? In this chapter we consider how leisure and wellbeing are linked, the difference between active and passive leisure and explore the characteristics of activities that can promote wellbeing. We end the chapter by considering the role that governments, communities and individuals might play in creating more opportunities for more people to engage in leisure activities which have a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Peter Gray TED Talk: The Decline of Play 2014

W.H. Davies (1911) Songs of Joy and Others. A.C. Fifield.

Why is leisure important for wellbeing?

Do we have time for leisure?

Is all leisure good for us?

What does positive psychology research say about leisure?

Active and passive leisure: Context matters