There are barriers for all of us when pursuing leisure activities, ranging from financial, social, or availability and distance of the leisure activity you wish to pursue.
Barriers To Leisure Pursuits
However, there are also other barriers to leisure pursuits, including inaccessible hiking trails, strobe lights at concerts, loud and unending noise at gatherings, learning difficulties trying new things.
Each barrier presents you with a unique set of challenges. This article will explore some of these challenges and ways to work around them. Of course, there is always an alternative activity if something is inaccessible to you.
Everyone wants to go hiking as it is good exercise and one of the best ways to connect with nature. However, if a trail has too steep of an incline, it will be hard for people with joint or back issues to venture up the path. Additionally, very few trails are paved and flat enough to use a wheelchair on.
- One alternative is to go to a park. Parks are usually paved and flat and can be just as beautiful as hiking in the woods.
- Another option is to go to a scenic overlook. There will be signs to pull over to see a view on the highway.
- Find some spots that you love, or go for a drive in a woodsy area with the windows down.
- Finally, if you cannot leave your home, try sitting by an open window or caring for a garden or houseplants.
2. Strobing Lights
If you have photosensitive seizures, nearly everywhere you go is a risk, including watching your favorite TV show. You could be scrolling on social media and come across a video with flashing lights.
One of the most common places for there to be flashing lights is at concerts. Many people love live music and experiencing music firsthand in a crowd.
Unfortunately, there is no ingredient list for a show, so it is not always clear if there will be strobe lights at the concert or not.
- One option is to call the music venue and see what they have planned.
- Another option is to go to friendlier events like acoustic open mics at coffee shops or get some friends together to listen to your favorite album and dance around. Though not the same as going to a live concert, you can create your own show!
3. Sensory Overload
There are many leisure pursuits that are enjoyed in large groups. However, gatherings can be incredibly overwhelming for many when the location’s noise, smells, taste, and visual sensations are consistent.
For example, imagine a restaurant with music playing in the background with multiple conversations occuring, that are loud as they are trying to speak over the music to be heard.
In the background, plates are crashing about, and the smells from cooking fill the air. As people come into the restaurant, the air becomes thick and hot.
Then add in wait staff moving around, asking you questions, and you have a scenario that has the potential to trigger sensory overload.
- Spending time with people in a small group or one-on-one is an excellent way to avoid sensory overload. It will not be as loud, and only one conversation will happen.
- If the music is too loud, ask for it to be lowered. You can even do this at restaurants.
- An accessibility aid you can try is to use earplugs. You can purchase in or over your ears or use both simultaneously for double the protection. You will only be able to hear what’s very close to you or nothing at all, depending on the ear protection you’re using.
4. Learning Difficulties
Some leisure pursuits may be very frustrating if you have difficulty learning new things.
For example, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, new languages, playing an instrument, cooking, knitting, and more might take some people longer to learn than others.
However, taking your time to understand something as you are able is ok. Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone, and new things might take a bit more practice.
Find someone who will support you while you learn. It will be helpful to have a kind teacher who can explain things and encourage you.
- If something is making you upset, put it down for a while, take a break. Sometimes walking away for a few minutes is the right thing to do.
- If you feel negative when trying something new, then try the new thing for a predetermined time frame and then do something that you know and love. Rewarding yourself in this way will help you validate the positives within you rather than the negatives. It will help you gain confidence and will also make you happy.
Triggers and leisure pursuits are tricky as they are not universal but rather a personal imprint within individuals based on their life experiences.
Therefore, flashbacks can occur by even the slightest mention of something, the smell in a location, hearing a particular language, song, or word, feeling a rough or smooth object, tasting a bitter, salty, or sweet food.
Many people who have triggers spend a lot of time researching a place, person, movie, or even a tv show before participating as they need to feel safe. The energy expended to do this research can be very exhausting.
With professional help and personal determination, many triggers can be reduced or eliminated. Unfortunately, removing triggers is a challenge, and there is no pill or quick fix.
- Seek professional help from your doctor or a psychologist
- Try a Google browsers app that have been created to help with triggering events in a show.
- Feerless is an app that relies on crowdsourcing to identify any potential triggering scenes in Netflix TV shows and movies. A small bubble appears on your screen when a potentially triggering scene emerges. You can choose to fast forward, look away, or exit your show.
- Warn Me is an app where you enter your triggering words so that content will not be shown when you browse the internet.
- Lastly is an app called Soothe, where you can monitor browsing content and hateful social messages.
One person may struggle to climb a mountain but have no trouble seeing violence on TV, while another may have the exact opposite experience.
If your barrier to participating in leisure pursuits is excessive fear of interacting with other people, click this link to access our guide on Social Anxiety and Participation in Leisure Activities
Leisure pursuits are not one-size-fits-all but offer many opportunities and levels of participation for all to enjoy.