Leisure Definition Essay

Leisure Time Essays

by thangngovan

Hi everyone. I am a beginner in IELTS, and studying by myself because I have no condition to take a class. I will do IELTS in next 2 months, so I really need your help, specially in checking essay. Below is my first essay on leisure time, every comment is a helpful advice for me!

Some people think that it is important to use leisure time for activities that improve the mind, such as reading and doing word puzzles. Other people feel that it is important to rest the mind during leisure time.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Leisure time is necessary for people after working and studying hard, and there are various recreation activities to do base on oneself purpose. Many people support the methods helping the mind getting better, while others endorse the thinking to rest in free time, but it is more effective if we take part in outside activities.

It is true that people can improve their personal ability by practicing pursuits improving the mind. By doing the word puzzles, this activity helps us raise the logical thinking and solve problems at work more effectively. On the other hand, we can wider our knowledge and absorb more information from many kind of books, the mental health will be better.

Standing at the other view, putting the mind at rest by enjoying media entertainment, people reduce the stress. After long day at work or school, we usually feel tired and need to relax. There are many channels such as watching films, listening music and playing games, our mind will balance again.

However, the pursuits of two sorts above have some disadvantages, such as we feel more stressful when practicing the mind or to be not conscious if using electronic entertaining methods, we should take outdoor actions. When enjoying outside events, for instance, doing exercise or playing sports bring about our physical health will be better, the mind will be refreshed and having energies for new works.

In summary, doing activities, improving our mind in leisure time will enhance our thinking but perhaps, also lead to feeling more stressful. Meanwhile, laying the mind to rest helping us reduce work’s pressure, however, we can feel graver. Personally, participating in outside pursuits is good for both metal and physical health.

(282 words)


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Pressure at Work and Time to Relax

by Mahesh Senadheera
(Sri Lanka)

Many people think that nowadays people are being subjected to more and more pressure in their work and thus are having less and less time to relax.

What is your opinion?

yes, it is true that people are having less time to relax as they are subjected to more pressure in their work. it has been the routine of the average man to wake up early in the morning, to leave the home for work, to work to dusk and return home late night. Thus it is reasonable to say that people are being subjected to pressure and they have no time even to dream of relax.

Due to the distance of the working place, a number of people find it difficult to reach there on time. So it is customory for them to leave the home early in the morning. To finish the daily course of the duty, they work as machines. Very often they fail to complete the duty of the day. The result is the amount of work on his shoulder is graduly climbing up. Consequently, intense of pressure is going up. Whether he is a government or prviate employ, this is the common situation. As a result, he has been deprived of his time to relax an refresh.

On the other hand, people in this ultra modern generation are engaging in a very hectic life style because of their personal needs. They have been helpless in the management of their time. Load of the work, duty of the personal and the social life is pressurizing them moment by moment. Unwillingly, duty of the family and children become agrave problem if they do the work for living properly and vice versa. It leaves them only pressure and stress.

According to the facts mentioned above, many people in the society today are being deprived of their time to be with the family members, to relax and refresh.

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Best Use of Leisure Time

by ahmet

Please provide me with some feedback on my Leisure Time Essay.

Some people think that it is important to use leisure time for activities that improve the mind, such as reading and doing word puzzles, other people feel that it is important to rest the mind during leisure time.

Discuss both opinions and give your own opinion.

Many people believe that it is significant using spare time for things that enhance the mind, for instance reading and doing word puzzles. the others think that it is vital to relax the mind during spare time. In my opinion, I agree that people should use leisure time for activities which improve the mind.

On the one hand, some people have very exhausting job. Therefore, they would like to relax during leisure time, so they do not want to do anything within this time. They think they need to rest. Moreover, many people are lazy, for this reason they do not keen to do activities to improve the mind. For instance reading a book and doing Sudoku puzzles.

On the other hand, many people have stressful job too, but they would like to enhance the mind. Therefore, they do many things within leisure time. Such as reading a novel, solving puzzles, doing exercises which are useful for improving the mind. I think that people who utilize spare time doing activities that boost the mind are more successful than others who love to use spare time for relaxing.

Finally, in my opinion, people should use their leisure time to improve the mind. For this reason people should do anything which is useful for enhancing the mind. Moreover, I would argue that, people should hard working not to be idle. So they always doing something to be more successful. Furthermore, I think some activities are so relaxing while they improve the mind. Such as doing Sudoku puzzles.

In conclusion, I agree that people should do activities that improve the mind during leisure time. Because, while that they are performing activities for improving the mind, the activities can contribute to job achievement. Moreover, I think, leisure time should be used effectively since it is so precious.

Work Pressure and Leisure Time

by liv

Many people think that nowadays people are being subjected to more and more pressure in their work and thus are having less and less time to relax.

What is your opinion?

Today, almost all the people are declining their leisure time rather they are over occupied and concentrated working.

First reason is competition inside the work place. Some people are treasuring their job, which some might replace their position anytime due to jealousy and envy, so workers are devoting their full time in working. For example, a nurse supervisor does not want to return to become a ordinary nurse, in order to maintained her rank. She should do her best to protect her position. Second reason is like expenditures. Some people are busy working for two or three jobs in order to support unnecessary necessities in their life, such as buying brand new car, “beyond your means”, meaning in their life that the salary is not enough to support any expenses. This shows that people re occupied working because they need to pay their debt.

In my daily observation and opinion, workers should think that money is not all the matters for the reason that life is so short, which is why, as long as we still alive we need to enjoy whatever we have, in simple or extravagant way. Moreover, material things are easily can come and go and these things are not important in order to become happy. Giving importance of spending leisure time like going to watch cinema and visiting abroad so that we will feel happy.

I therefore conclude, life is go on, so we need to enjoy single moment of our family, friends and people that surrounds us, rather than having the work position with pressure and in the end, we miss the happiness in our life.

Work and Relaxation

by Long
(hong kong )

Many people think that nowadays people are being subjected to more and more pressure in their work and thus are having less and less time to relax.

What is your opinion?

Leisure time is essential in people's lives especially in this busy world, the valuable leisure time is getting less. However, people have different views on how to utilise their time. Some suggest to have mind improving activities yet the others believe resting is better. This essay will discuss on both sides of arguments.

Some people believe having brain stimulation by activities can help in children development. Young people usually learn academic knowledges from school. Other than traditional learning, reading novels or science fiction stimulate their imagination, having mini- games such as world puzzles, Sudoku can facilitate their logical thinking. Multiple players' activities also provide platform for building teamwork. people can fully utilise their recreational time in order to improve their intelligence, which is important to become competitive in this crucial society.

However, on the other hand, there are some strongly assert that resting is fundamental for leisure purpose. Nowadays, working over 50 hours a week is commonly seen elsewhere. Therefore, having such brain demanding activities after work or study would be a big burden to the participants. Instead, activities such as exercising, listening to music or even taking a nap would help recharging brain by simply resting. It is obvious that our brains require adequate rest to function in optimal level, people can concentrate on their works or learning after relaxation.

In my opinion, both sides have their meets. Resting is significant between working intervals, while mind improving games boost brain development. Hence, I suggest people should employ mind stimulating activities if mentally capable. if people who get fatigue from using brain, mild activities would be good options to recharge.

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Leisure Time and Study

by Orifjon

In some countries young people have little leisure time and are under a lot of pressure to work hard on their studies.

What do you think are the causes for this?

What solutions can you suggest?

From the perspective of history countries were divided into several levels according to their inner development and status. Nowadays current issue is still in trend. Basically, there are some countries where students study under pressure, not having time to relax or do some leisure activities. In this essay, major reasons and possible solutions will be outlined according to question above.

In my modest opinion, the basis of current issue lies in deep roots of education system of discussing countries. More clearly, governments -when planning the system - were now aware of students, who will then have to study following the government's system. Pattern of education was schemed involving positive sides only for governments rather than students. Some countries, for instance, are strictly critisized in planning the system compressed in order to spend less budget of organisation. This is, obviously, the most frightening way of objection of humanity's civil rights. One possible approach can be found in altering the way governments look at future of their own. In other words, the fact that proves that young generation is government's main stick point in the future should agitate them.

The second and the main reason, however, touches the field of schools, universities and other educational organisations. The difference between humankind and animals is only - human moral ability to fell and think. By this argument, students are not tend to feel moral help from educational institutions. 2/3 of all educational institutions forgot about "motivation", "inspiration" and "encouragement". In this cruel world all of humanity attempts to show his cruelty and violence. And from my strongest point of view, problem can be solved by encouraging students morally, to support and help by showing various ways that can withdraw out of harsh situations. Educational organisations should find out ways of innovative pedagogical methods. Only this way, problem of student pressure can be solved.

By way of conclusion, I find it necessary to reaffirm my point on altering the way governments and educational organisations see their future, otherwise serious problems can occur in society of ours.


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1. Introduction

2. Concepts of Leisure
2.1 Leisure as residual
2.2 Leisure as a state of being
2.3 Leisure as expression of personality

3. Theories of Leisure
3.1 Aristotelian Theory
3.2 Compensatory Theory
3.3 Spillover Theory
3.4 Familiarity Theory
3.5 Personal Community Theory
3.6 Self-development Theory

4. Conclusion

1. Introduction

To spend one’s life at leisure is one of the oldest dreams of human beings. Already Aristotle stated: “Just as we make war in order to have peace, the reason we labor is to have leisure”. But how does our modern society approach leisure? In this essay I will first examine some of the existing concepts and theories of leisure and make an attempt to determine their relevance for modern society. The aim shall be an integrative concept of leisure in our modern world. Due to space limitations it can only be a short summary of some of the existing literature.

2. Concepts of Defining Leisure

According to Bammel & Bammel, concepts are the basis of definitions, because they describe “the way you “conceive” of something” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 186). At the same time, Bammel & Camel’s concepts are examined as “meanings of leisure” by Veal and Lynch.

2.1 Leisure as residual

This concept considers leisure as “the time left over when the necessities of life have been taken care of” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 19).

The problem is how to define this residual. Is sleeping or eating a necessity of life or leisure?

Godbey defines free time as “time when we aren’t involved in an activity for which we receive money” (Godbey 1990, p. 3). But is mowing the lawn, volunteering, attending a wedding, etc. leisure just because we do not receive money for it?

Leisure also means “doing what one really wants to do” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 19), and this is not limited to time after work: some people also enjoy working itself. On the other hand not all time besides work is leisure: Sleeping, eating, attending weddings etc. may be an obligation to some people.

This suggests that many activities can be both leisure and work at different times for different people. Therefore time cannot be the only determining variable of leisure.

2.2 Leisure as a state of being

This approach presents the antithesis to the first concept. Here, leisure is something internal, “a state of being, an attitude, a mental condition: it has nothing to do with time, and little do to with space and activity” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 185). This concept was first developed by Aristotle (see 3.1). Kelly goes even further and states “the form of activity is irrelevant; only the meaning counts” (Kelly 2000, p. 15).

Here the determining variable is a person’s attitude. “What is leisure for one person may not be leisure for another person, for it depends on the mental attitude” Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 185). This explains why some people find leisure in work and some in lying on the beach.

Godfrey is more specific and divides this concept into two parts: First, leisure as a state of existence, the “absence of the necessity of being occupied” (Aristotle quoted in Godfrey 1990, p. 4). Second, leisure as a state of mind, the feeling of freedom.

Veal and Lynch propose two other parts: First, the intrinsic motivation to undertake activities for their own sake, and second perceived freedom, which resembles Aristotle’s idea of “freedom from work and other obligations as a prerequisite for leisure” (Veal & Lynch 2002, p. 22).

2.3 Leisure as an expression of personality

This concept is closely related to the previous one. Here, leisure is seen as “what forms the personality and makes the person the kind of human being he or she is” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 186).

The only difference between the last two approaches seems to be that this last concept sets an aim for leisure activities: forming the personality. Dumazedier supports this concept by stating “leisure is, more than anything else, the opportunity for personal growth” (Dumazedier quoted in Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 197).

2.4 Leisure as Activity

This approach defines leisure by the form of activity, assuming that certain activities like softball are typically leisurely.

This implies problems similar to the time concept: How can an activity be defined as leisure? Softball may be leisure for the worker playing it on Sundays, but may be work for the professional softball-player. “There is nothing, except perhaps daydreaming, that is always leisure” (Kelly 2000, p. 15).

Veal and Lynch describe “activity” “as the solution to the practical problem of gathering data on patterns of leisure participation”, and divide activities into 9 categories (Veal & Lynch 2002, p. 20).

2.5 Application

One major problem of an application to modern society is the lack of specific data for these models. There has been hardly any explicit empirical research testing these hypotheses.

For the time-concept some research exists, like the Time Use Surveys of the ABS (also see Veal & Lynch 2002, pp. 126ff).

This shows the concept’s relevance to modern, clock-oriented society. Most people think of leisure as “free-time”. For example the translation of “leisure” to German is “Freizeit”, which literally means “free time”.

Leisure as a state of being seems to be more satisfying, but there is hardly any research done. One reason is the difficulty of measuring attitudes. One example for the relevance of this concept is the fact that a passionate teacher can experience leisure while teaching at work. But at the same time there are people who do not have this attitude.

The same accounts for leisure as an expression of personality.

Leisure as an activity accounts for some research like the “Australian Culture and Leisure Classification” of the ABS or Veal & Lynch chapter 5. One reason may be that it is easy to find categories of activities, call them leisure, and ask people what of these activities they exercise.

It can be concluded that all of these concepts seem to be relevant to modern society, but that time and activity probably represent what the majority perceives as leisure, whereas the concept of attitude seems to be reserved to those people who have done some reflection on their leisure.

3. Theories of Leisure

Bammel states “theories of leisure behavior explain how leisure relates to other aspects of human experience” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 186). Here I will first explain the content of each theory and then attempt an application to modern society within the restrictions mentioned in 2.5.

3.1 Aristotelian Theory

a) Theory

Aristotle saw leisure as “the goal of all human behavior, the end toward which all action is directed” (Aristotle quoted in Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 187). Leisure in this sense is reflection on oneself, and one major prerequisite for this is the freedom from obligations and necessities of life.

Aristotle supposes that the best part of a human being is reason, which has two functions: a practical and a theoretical one, and “to be a complete, well-rounded human being, you need to exercise both of these functions” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 18). Therefore only solitary contemplation would not be enough to achieve leisure as one can only be virtuous by taking action in society. Vice versa only action without reflection cannot be leisure either.

“In this classical perspective, leisure is the cultivation of mind, spirit and character” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 18). It has nothing to do with time, it is a state of mind and is a total antithesis to the time-concept. “Leisure is endangered when you start budgeting time for leisure”, it just happens.

In addition to this, leisure is “only for those who passionately pursue it” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 187).

This approach contradicts nearly all of the views Kelly presents on leisure. For example leisure in this sense cannot be capitalist (see Kelly 2000, p. 96-96), as leisure-activities should be thoughtful. Aristotle excludes activities such as “pleasures of the flesh” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 17) from true leisure.

b) Application

Aristotle offers a highly idealistic view of leisure. One of his major prerequisites is the a-temporality of leisure. But ever since industrialization our society has been clock- oriented (see 2.5), and therefore Aristotelian leisure seems to be hardly realizable.

One more point is that most of today’s leisure activities such as watching TV, gambling etc. were not regarded leisure by Aristotle.

On the other hand there are people seeking leisure in political discussion or engaging in social activities like demonstrations.

It can be concluded that a major part of our modern society is not exercising Aristotelian leisure, but some do.

3.2 Compensatory Theory

a) Theory

According to Parker and Paddick there are three different types of relations between work and leisure: spillover, compensation, neutrality (see Parker and Paddick 1990, pp. 47-48).

The following two theories state a relationship between work and leisure, whereas the rest of the theories presented here can be summarized under “neutrality”.

The main idea of the compensatory theory is that “work is seen as the dominant force in life, and leisure is seen compensating for either the boredom or the excitement of the job.” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 188).

b) Application

This theory can explain some of the leisure behavior seen in modern society. For example people exciting jobs often seek relaxation after work.

It seems from the examples given by Bammel & Bammel that mostly people with an extreme level of either boredom or excitement in their job fall under this theory. This indicates that this approach has some relevance for modern society.

On the other hand this theory cannot explain why the school teacher becomes a sports trainer in his free time or why a dentist is also a passionate watchmaker.

3.3 Spillover Theory

a) Theory

This theory is the antithesis to the compensatory theory. It states “leisure somehow parallels or results from work activity” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 190). It suggests that work has a strong impact on the worker’s personality and therefore also determines his leisure behavior. This means that a teacher gets used to teaching so much that he cannot help continuing it after work.

These last two theories equal Kelly’s approach to leisure as contextual (Kelly 2000, p. 90), which sees leisure embedded in habits, relationships and social arrangements like work.

b) Application

This theory, too, explains some parts of modern leisure behavior. A lot of people do things similar to their work in their free time, some even regard their work leisure.

But like the compensatory theory it can only explain parts of modern leisure behavior. There seem to be more variables involved.

3.4 Familiarity Theory

a) Theory

This approach seeks to explain why, for example, people return to the same spot for summer vacations every year, assuming that people keep on “doing the things that have previously given (them) good feelings of fulfillment and gratification” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 191)

Skinner, as referred to in Bammel & Bammel, calls this “operant conditioning”, which means that, having experienced positive feelings by doing something, one returns to this to repeat the experience. For example someone who had a good time fishing is likely to return to this activity, especially at critical times.

b) Application

As mentioned above, a lot of people return to the same places for years, and even more people exercise the same hobbies throughout their lives.

But there are also people who get bored by this and seek challenges. Bammel & Bammel suggest the existence of two types of human beings: settlers, seeking stability, and movers, seeking differences.

There seem to be more “movers” in modern society, maybe because of the increasing amount of money available for leisure (see Veal & Lynch pp. 136ff). Due to this it is easier to try out new hobbies or travel to new places.

3.5 Personal Community Theory

a) Theory

This theory assumes that a person’s “leisure behavior is influenced by the peer group” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 192), such as friends, family, and neighbors, because they often introduce people to certain forms of leisure.

In addition to this, human beings are social, seeking friends or groups with like interests. One is more likely to keep to one activity where he knows lots of people than to one where he is isolated.

Doing things together also deepens human relationships: “The family that plays together, stays together” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 193).

The last two theories equal several of Kelly’s approaches to leisure, for example leisure as learned behavior (Kelly 2000, pp. 89-90), which sees leisure as part of socialization, influenced by “our families and immediate communities” (Kelly 2000, p. 90).

b) Application

Regarding the peer group “family”, this theory seems to have lost some relevance over time. Several decades ago life was much more concentrated on the family, with several generations sharing one house, whereas in our modern society most children move out of their parents´ house at the latest when starting to work. On the other hand, friends still have a lot of influence.

But there are also people who start an activity all alone, without being introduced to it - for example horse riding is popular among young girls, maybe because of the various books about it.

Therefore this theory only accounts for certain aspects of modern leisure behavior, and cannot claim total validity.

3.6 Self-development Theory

a) Theory

This theory is based on Dumazedier´s tripartite theory of leisure, consisting of three functions of leisure: relaxation, entertainment, and personal development. He supposes that there will be a time “when personal growth, not working for a living, will be life’s primary motivator” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 195).

Here, relaxation is a prerequisite for leisure, as “we need to overcome fatigue”, entertainment is the “diversion aspect of leisure”, and finally personal development is “the enduring component of leisure” (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 24).

b) Application

Bammel and Bammel state that this approach has found its way into modern society, as most people regard work less important than personal growth (Bammel & Bammel 1992, p. 195). More and more workers make use of the possibility of sabbaticals for self-development, and for many young students not the money they will earn with their future job, but the satisfaction they hope to find there, seems to be the major influence on the choice of study.

But even though modern people have more free time than ever before, Bammel & Bammel state, “with additional free time, many workers simply increase their television-watching time” (p. 195). This means that most people will only realize the first two steps of Dumazedier´s tripartite theory: relaxation and entertainment. For many people this is what leisure means: easy entertainment. To achieve selfdevelopment some reflection and “work” on oneself is necessary, and this does not fit into a lot of people’s perceiving of leisure.

Therefore it can be assumed that Dumazedier´s approach can only explain parts of modern leisure.

4. Conclusion

Chapter three examined the so-called theories of leisure. But according to Bortz a theory consists of several hypotheses that have been empirically verified in themselves. In addition to this, a theory about human behavior should attempt to describe, explain and enable to predict behavior.

The theories mentioned above mostly lack every empirical research that could verify them, and some only propose one hypothesis. The spillover- and compensatory theory do not even attempt to explain human behavior, they are purely descriptive, and therefore no theory.

It seems more suitable to call these theories “aspects of leisure” and synthesize them to an integrative concept, as none of them in itself can offer a general explanation of leisure behavior.

Following this idea we could identify the theory of Aristotle and the self-development theory as accounting for why a person seeks leisure at all. Then the familiarity and the personal community theory account for the kind of leisure a person is most likely to choose. Finally, the compensatory and the spillover theory examine the influence of work on the choice of a leisure activity.

Altogether it seems doubtful that one single theory will ever be able to cover all aspects of human behavior, but when all of them are synthesized we come much closer to an explanation of leisure behavior.


Bammel & Bammel 1992 Leisure and Human Behaviour W.C. Brown, USA 2nd edition

Bortz, Jürgen 1999 Statistik für Sozialwissenschaftler (which translates into „statistics for social scientists“), Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

Godbey, Geoffrey 1990 Leisure in Your Life - An Exploration Venture Publishing Inc., State College, Pennsylvania

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/9cfdfe271b7930bbca2568b5007b8618! OpenView accessed on April 11th, 2002, 9 a.m.

Kelly, J.R. and Freysinger, V.J. 2000 21st Century Leisure. Current Issues. Allyn & Bacon USA

Parker, Stanley; Paddick, Robert 1990 Leisure in Australia Longman, Cheshire

Veal, A.J.; Lynch, R 2001 Australian Leisure. Longman, Pearson Australia

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