Healthy ways to spend your free time!

Taking a pew at the end of a long day, slacking back and succumbing to the peace of visual crack that is your television set, you might feel like you’re giving your mind a rest. However, psychologists consider TV to be junk food for the mind.

TV is NOT a neutral state of mind that allows the brain to recover it actually has a negative effect on brain function.

It would be a lie to say I don’t watch television but I have a few shows that I like to watch each week without guilt. When I don’t keep a balance I start to notice the effects,  be aware of how you spend your time and try and find the right balance for you, try to be intentional with your time.  I have created this small list of ways I spend my free, in the hope it could inspire you to move towards a healthier lifestyle.


Fiction or non-fiction. Be sure you to mix up your topics.  I tend to read primarily non-fiction, psychology and history books and it’s hard for me to mix that up.  I want to be open minded and informed, but in order to do that, I must expose myself to different ways of thinking.  I try to mix in books on spirituality, philosophy, as well as works of fiction from writers I admire.  I could use some more fantasy though.

I know many people that don’t consider themselves “readers”, but I think reading takes practice.  At least the ability to concentrate on a book for long periods of time takes practice.  You can’t sit down and read for hours when you don’t read often.  You develop this ability over time, the same way that you develop strength by lifting weights.


Exercise takes many different forms.  I have a regular weight lifting routine that I do three times a week at my house. Each session only takes 30-45 minutes.  I also play football and cycle multiple times a week. I lose track of time when I am playing football and end up exercising a lot longer than I would if it were part of a set program.

Choose an activity that you love and try to do it three times a week for 45-60 minutes each session.  A healthy amount of exercise doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. (Note: I do recommend that you do one to two days of strength training per week for long term health.)


I am working to become a better writer and communicator.  The best way I know to do that, is to write often.  I decided that I might as well share information that is useful to others while improving this skill for myself.  Writing offers various challenges, and my only advice to you is to write the first things that drop in to your mind when you’re staring at a blank page.  For some, writing is as natural an expression as speaking, but it’s worth practising on a regular basis, even if it is only a journal that no one else sees.

No matter what profession you are in, you will never move up without the ability to communicate your ideas and results to others.  It is important to write and speak effectively.


What if you took a 30 minute walk every night?  It would improve your health by adding exercise, which will lead to more efficient brain function.  It would improve your relationships by providing you time to share your day with someone you care about, in person or over the phone.  It will also provide you an opportunity to clear your mind if you choose to walk alone.  However, most people choose to spend that same half-hour watching a re-run of whatever show happens to be on ( Big Bang Theory, How I met your Mother, Friends, etc.).  Not terrible shows, but it is important to be aware of what you are giving up by CHOOSING to watch that episode that you have probably already seen.

Talking with friends

There are few better ways to spend your free time than talking with a good group of friends.  However, I would caution you that this is not a time to gossip about people who aren’t there.

Researchers have found that people are happier when they are with other people than when they are alone (for both introverts and extroverts)


Sit quietly for at least ten minutes a day.  This is not a time to plan or organize, it is time to sit and do absolutely nothing. Maybe brew yourself up a pot of green tea and drink it sitting quietly – Some people use drinking tea as a form of meditation.  Most of our days are filled with self imposed expectations of what needs to be accomplished; however; it is important to give yourself time to do nothing without any guilt.  Even if that is only the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of tea….slowly.

Brain Games

Keep your brain sharp by playing games that challenge you.  TV causes your brain to atrophy.  Why not try the opposite? Through your laptop, phone tablet or a good old book of puzzles. Here is a couple of websites that I like;  Games for the Brain (Free), Sporcle (Free – My favourite)


Listen to different styles. Use Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube as well as other reliable music services to expose yourself to different genres. Try out Stereomood to listen to songs that match your current mood

Find A New Hobby

Try to learn one new thing every 6 months or persevere with one more complicated hobby like learning a new instrument.  Leading scientists in the field of neuro-plasticity have found that learning new skills that require a certain level of intensity can actually help your brain grow. I have been learning the guitar for the past year, and it’s amazing seeing the improvement within myself over time.

Do you have any other suggestions?