We work hard to play hard. Leisure is what we consider a prize for our hard work, and we look forward to our time off. It should come naturally to us to savor that desirable ultimate result. But did you know that having leisure time and determining how to spend it may be extremely stressful?

According to studies, some people feel immense pressure to make the most use of their free time by anticipating and spending more money. US economist Daniel Hamermesh mentions in his book “Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource” that the way we seek out top-notch products and services has grown faster than the quantity of time we have to do so. While trying to plan out the best vacation or leisure experience ever might inspire us to be performative, high expectations may clash with our experienced reality, making it feel anticlimactic. In fact, people in high-stress, high-paying occupations prioritize work productivity to the point where they regard leisure as lacking value, even when it doesn’t interfere with their pursuit of goals. Additionally, Marketing Associate Professor Anat Keinan explains that we’re witnessing a shift in our viewpoints: a lack of leisure time has become a potent status signal. She points out that celebrities on Twitter humblebrag about “having no life” and “being in desperate need of a vacation.”

The persistent anxiety that we aren’t using our time “right” can undermine the fundamental purpose of leisure. At the end of the day, the only “right” way to enjoy leisure is to unwind, build good memories, and trust that everything will fall into place.