It’s Wimbledon time again and I’m an addict, so for two weeks in the year, I juggle my time between the studio and the TV.  Not a confession I really like to make, but it’s something that began in my youth, and seems to me to be a connection between my mum and me, especially now that she’s no longer with us.

Also, the tennis has been really good this year.  For the first time in ages, it seems like the women’s game is a bit more open as the Williams sisters have been affected by injury and ill health in the last year, and the men’s game is really exciting and more international than ever.

My particular problem this year is that I am also weaving for two exhibitions with deadlines next week and the week after, and I’m a little behind schedule!  So I’ve been getting up earlier and starting weaving early and then popping in and out of the house to see what’s going on in the tennis whenever my body needs me to take a break.  It works quite well usually, with weaving for an hour, then a tea break to catch up on the tennis and then back to weaving….  It takes the players around 30 mins per set, so I can usually catch up with what’s going on, get a flavour of the atmosphere and how the players are responding, and then leave them to it for a while!

Whenever I stop to watch Andy Murray, I find myself having to go back to the weaving because I seem to affect his performance!  He always seems to struggle with his matches when I am viewing, and gets himself sorted when I’m not!!  Really, I don’t intend to jinx the poor man!!

Anyway, I was starting to feel a little guilty about this ‘leisure activity’ of passively watching the tennis, when I read an article talking about the quality of how we spend our down-time.  This writer was talking about golden, vacuous and vicious pastimes.

The golden pastimes are the times we spend in improving ourselves, whether through meditation, physical exercise, reading quality books, learning about something that interests us, consciously savouring experiences, and sharing quality time together. In other words, positive actions.

Vacuous pastimes are those where we are in our comfort zone and ‘chilled out’, such as watching TV programmes which are not instructional but are not total rubbish, reading books that don’t demand anything from us but which have an interesting storyline, watching films, sharing conversation over a meal together.  In other words, neutral actions.

Vicious pastimes are those which have the potential to do us harm, whether physical or mental, whether through active or passive means.  These kinds of pastimes are watching rubbish or violent TV, going for a blow-out meal or heavy drinking session, gossiping or reading gossipy magazines.  These are the easiest to choose to do, but also the most harmful to our psychological and physical well-being.

I read the article and thought about the content for a while.  It is interesting to realise that the first one is the hardest for us to select, and yet will give us the best physical and mental results, while the second is probably the one that most of us opt for for an easy life.  The third one most of us generally resist, but give in to occasionally, and usually feel really guilty about if we ‘indulge’.

The one thing it really made me do is stop to think what my leisure activities are contributing to my physical and mental health, and although I feel a bit guilty about my Wimbledon fortnight, I know that in general, I tend towards the golden activities.  I like my brain and body to be stimulated, pushed and extended, but I also fall into the second group because that’s often the only way I can spend time with my DH, especially at the end of the day.

Getting back to Wimbledon, just thinking about how dedicated these athletes are and what they put in to getting to the top of their game, and especially how important it is for them to do well at Wimbledon is also inspiring.  If they can do it for their sport, I can do it for my weaving.  So for me, Wimbledon is a spur as well as a pleasure.

Next week – week two!!  Bring it on!!