A quick review – you’re determined where your time is going, what your general priorities are and what your priorities are related to leisure. You’ve considered your needs – what they are, which ones are being satisfied through leisure and which ones are not. A next step is to consider the knowledge you possess related to leisure.
We participate in activities we know about. This makes sense, correct? If you know what an activity is or involves, where it takes place, the times it is offered, what it costs, and what equipment or supplies you need, you’re much more likely to participate than if you are missing some or all of that information. The more knowledge we have about leisure and sport activities and experiences, the more options we have. Knowledge allows us to expand our leisure repertoire. Sometimes it is our “repertoire” or options that needed to be expanded as part of the makeover process. We need or want to do something new or different to keep our free-time activities from becoming too mundane or routine.
So how do you expand the repertoire of activities that you can choose to participate in?
Find out what your options are. One way is to get information about what’s going on in your community (e.g., what your options are for participating in leisure). Recreation guides or your local recreation department’s website may be a good place to start. Find out what is being offered. Sometimes recreation departments keep a list of recreation/sport clubs or groups that operate in a community. Ask if they have such a list or where you can locate one. You may learn that there is a clogging group or that the curling club offers lessons. Don’t forget about checking on-line communities as well. For example, some photography websites and forums motivate community members with a photo-a-day challenge.
Collect information on what the activity is. Once you know what options are available, you can begin to collect the other pieces of information you need to support your potential participation. What is clogging? What is hot yoga? What is “Introductory Basketry”? A quick Google search can be helpful in getting a basic knowledge on what these activities are. Better yet, get a contact name and number or email and find out what these activities involve in various facilities. For example, my husband and I were interested in trying “hot yoga” and after doing some general searches we realized that different places had different methods of heating the rooms. Some studios heat do a certain temperature and add humidity. Some described “gradually heating” the room where the yoga would take place. As first timers, we were drawn to the class where the room was “gradually heated without humidity”. We perceived this as a gentle introduction.
Get the when and where information. There may be multiple organizations that offer similar opportunities, but finding one that fits best with your schedule is important. Sometimes we may even choose to participate in an activity because of the location and times it is offered. This is not necessarily a negative way to approach decision-making. Sometimes we discover (stumble upon) opportunities we might never have imagined doing simply because it took place nearby work or home and at a time that worked given all the other obligations and responsibilities that need to be balanced.
Find out what you need to participate. Sometimes participation fees include the equipment or supplies you need to participate. The facility where we did hot yoga had mats, blocks, straps, etc. that we could use. We had the option of bringing our mats if we chose, but it wasn’t necessary. A lot of “first timers” didn’t bother investing in a mat – they decided to wait and see if they were going to be regular yoga participants before investing more in the activity. If you need to purchase equipment, find out exactly what is necessary and what is optional. Ask if there are places to get used equipment – some clubs organize used equipment sales – dance shoes, hockey equipment, soccer cleats, musical instruments or music books, bowling shoes, etc. Determining what is needed to participate beyond a membership or registration fee is often important in deciding if the activity is affordable.
Calculate the cost. This could include cost of transportation (e.g., bus fare, gas), fees to participate, equipment costs, additional costs for participating in special events linked with the activities (e.g., tournaments, jamborees, donations for fundraising events). Sometimes we assume that activities may be too expensive because we anticipate needing to purchase many things that, in reality, we don’t. For example, special yoga clothing is not necessary for yoga. Shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt will do. Before ruling out activities, figure out your actual costs.
Sample the activity. If possible, attend demonstrations or free classes. Some organizations and facilities will offer the first classes free. You can go, meet the instructor, try it out, ask questions, and decide if it is something you’re interested in. This is a great “risk free” way to gather information – no financial investment required, nothing lost but the time you spend exploring the activity.
Add to repertoire or toss it out. Once you have all this information, you are in a much better position to decide whether an activity is something that you can include in your “repertoire” of activities to choose from when you have free time. After acquiring information, it is okay to conclude that it’s not for you.
And repeat. Gathering information is not something you only do once. New activities and experiences are being created, developed and offered quite regularly (hopefully this is the case in your community) and in new and exciting ways (e.g., learning something new on-line or participating in something on-line may be just the right for you). Keep an eye out for things that you’re not familiar with. Gather information. Consider whether activities or experiences might satisfy your needs and keep your leisure interesting and fresh!