This paper summarizes my understanding of leisure, the effects that leisure have in an individual as well as the community, and the skills the people going into the profession needs to have. I included my views on what I believe leisure to be. I provided examples based on personal experience that had happened in my younger years like how a change in the environment had a huge influence in the way that I grew up, how I perceive the world, and how being surrounded by diversity did not give me a sense of belonging. I provided the roles that leisure should play in the lives of individuals and communities and how it can have a positive and negative effect. Also, I included the skills that a person who wants to go into the profession should have and not being properly trained will only cause you to do more harm than good to the people that you want to help.
Leisure is any free time that you spend with yourself or with other people and you partake in activities that you enjoy of doing. You don’t think about work and responsibilities at that moment. You are de-stressing yourself from constantly working too hard or too much, from responsibilities, and from anything that causes you stress. In a way, doing leisure activities is how you treat yourself so that when you come back to your regular daily routine, to school or to work, you will feel refresh and work even harder. Leisure can be seen in two different views: state of being which is the traditional view, and state of mind which is the modern view. I believe leisure to be a state of mind. I don’t need to rely on the judgement of others when partaking in certain activities for it to count as leisure. Any activities that I perceive as leisure is leisure. Leisure is subjective. Only I know which activities, for me, counts as leisure. Just like only you can know which activities will help you de-stress. This is because everybody is different and we all do not enjoy the same things. If a person enjoys playing the piano to help them relax, get their mind off from stress and a way to clear their head, then playing the piano is a leisure activity for that person. However, that will not be the case for everyone. Not everyone enjoys playing the piano so for them, playing the piano will not be a leisure activity.
Leisure has affected my life both positively and negatively. I grew up in the Philippines in a small town where everybody knows everybody. At the age of 11, my mom brought my siblings and me to live with her in America. There are a lot of areas in New York where you can find Filipino communities, especially in Queens. However, my mom chose to live away from those communities and decided to live in Brooklyn instead, which I did not feel any sense of belonging growing up. When I got to America, I didn’t have any friends and I barely see my mom because she was always at work. I was usually by myself and I barely go outside because I had no friends to play with. Every day I would go to school then home. Since I had no friends to play with, the leisure activities that I found enjoyable are solitary leisure activities which are activities that I enjoy doing by myself and I did not need other people to do them. I would enjoy watching the television, binge watch on Netflix, drawing, listening to music, playing video games, reading, basically any activities that I can do by myself. I will admit that doing these type of leisure activities is very enjoyable to do and has helped me de-stress from school however, it had put a lot of strain on my physical health. The leisure activities that I found enjoyable are usually the ones that I can do in the comfort of my own home. Going outside to play wasn’t even on my mind. Since I stayed at home all the time and only went out when I had to go to school, I ended up gaining a lot of weight to the point where I had reached 200 pounds. And for a short person like me, weighing 200 pounds is not a good look and is one of the things that are preventing me from making new friends. Being obese had made me a very insecure, shy, and quiet person. It was only recently that I had lost 70 pounds. My cousin and her husband has helped me a lot while I was on my weight loss journey. They had given me plenty of advice and recommended activities that I can do to help improve my physical health. If it wasn’t for them, I am sure that I would still be obese to this day.
After graduating high school, I went to college and I got my first job, with the help of my older sister. Being a full-time student and having a part-time job is not a good combination if you don’t know how to properly manage your time in which, at the time, I didn’t. I was constantly being stressed from deadlines, work, exams, papers, and at home. I barely have time for myself because I had so many assignments and studying to do. The only thing that helped me de-stress was listening to music and getting lost in it, even if it’s on the train ride to school, to work or at home. I would watch YouTube videos during my class break, as well as, work break to also help me relax and clear my head from all the stress. In this part of my life, leisure has had a huge help. Being constantly stress is not good for my mental and emotional health. Being able to relax, even for a little bit at a time, has helped me greatly. Sometimes, you just need to spend some time with yourself and without the distraction of others.
In the lives of individuals, I believe that leisure helps improve their emotional well-being, lifelong learning, quality of life, life skills, and physical health. Coming from personal experience, leisure can have a negative impact on your physical health. Being involved in activities that you enjoy doing is great, but you must keep in mind your well-being as well. Just because it feels good does not mean that it’s going to be good for you in the long run. You must be mindful that your body has needs and if you don’t support those needs, then your body will respond in a negative way. You could become obese and have a lot of health problems in result of not doing enough physical activities. Leisure plays a role in improving your emotional well-being. Only you can know what is best for you. Relying on others occasionally is okay but relying on them too much is not a good thing because they won’t be there for you all the time to help. Being able to find out what causes you to have that emotional release is the best feeling in the world. Having all that emotions pent-up inside you is not good because then you become too emotional and you might end up taking out your anger on the wrong person. You won’t be able to think straight because those emotions that you’re feeling are clouding your judgements. Also, partaking in leisure activities will help you become independent, will help you grow, will help you adapt to change more easily, will help improve your life skills, and it will help better your quality of life. However, not all leisure activities will give you the same results. You must know which activities to be involved in that will help you achieve the results that you want.
In the lives of communities, I believe that leisure helps improve their sense of community, awareness and appreciation, community viability and desirability, and social support. Having a community that you feel comfortable to be in is great because you won’t feel like an outcast and it will be easier for you to find help because everyone is open-minded and are willing to help. Leisure helps improve our understanding of our differences, of our ethnic and culture. An example would be a community that does tai chi in parks. If you aren’t familiar with tai chi but would like to do it indicates that you want to better your understanding of tai chi and its origins. Leisure helps improve social support within the community that will help increase the social bond making the community better. There are many leisure activities that will help improve the well-being of the elderly, as well as, the youth. Leisure will also help improve the cultural identity of the community and will give the people in that community a sense of belonging. Since the people in the community usually have similar interest, putting up a business that is specifically for that community will be a success because you know who you are targeting.
As a leisure professional, I intend to make an impact on the populations that I will be serving by fully understanding the individuals in order to provide them with the recreation activities that will work for them. I would be open-minded, respectful of my clients and not force anything on them. In order for me to help them achieve their goal, they have to be willing to accept my help. To do this, I would follow the therapeutic recreation process, APIE which stands for Assessment, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. The first thing that I would do is to make an assessment. I would gather the necessary information about my client through interviews, observations, and information acquired from their doctors and significant others. This will help me devise a treatment plan that is specifically for my client which brings me to the second thing that I would do and that is planning. I would plan recreation activities for my client based on my assessment of them. The third thing that I would do is to put those treatment plans to action by implementing them to my client. The last thing that I would do is make an evaluation to see if the treatment plans that I made are working for my client. Based on my evaluation, I would make any necessary adjustments to my treatment plan to maximize the benefits to my client and to see if it had helped my client reach his/her goal. Depending on my experience with my previous clients is where I would see if I would need to make any changes to my program before implementing them to other clients.
In order to become an effective professional, I would need to engage in conversations with people who are employed in the profession. This is because these people have more experience and are more knowledgeable of the profession. Engaging in conversations with them will help better my understanding, will give me very helpful advice, and will also allow me to learn from them as well. The skills that I need to have are accounting and financial management, marketing, public relations, and organizational management.
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