Time Gap and Mental Wellness

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Time Gap

American men generally have more time for leisure than American women at 5.69 hours and 4.87 hours respectively per day. These and other findings are outlined below.

BLS - Leisure and Sports

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the results of its latest survey "Time spent in primary activities and percent of the civilian population engaging in each activity, averages per day, by sex, 2018" in 2019.
  • According to the report, American men spend an average of 5.69 hours on leisure (free time) and sports each day.
  • On the other hand, American women spend an average of 4.87 hours on leisure (free time) and sports each day.
  • Both sexes spent an average of 5.27 hours on leisure and sports per day in 2018.
  • The full report and summary of the American Time Use Survey can be accessed here.

Sports, Exercise and Recreation

  • The report's technical note defines this activity category as including attending, participating, or watching sports, exercise, and recreation activities.
  • According to BLS, American men spend an average of 0.36 hours on sports, exercise and recreation each day.
  • American women spend an average of 0.23 hours on sports, exercise and recreation each day.
  • Men also spent more time on sports, exercise and recreation than women during weekends/holidays at 0.46 and 0.22 hours respectively.

Socializing and Communication

Watching TV

  • BLS includes this activity under the category of general leisure activities along with reading, relaxing or thinking, playing or listening to music, using computer for leisure, playing games, and other related activities.
  • According to the report, American men spend an average of 3.09 hours watching TV each day.
  • American women spend an average of 2.61 hours watching TV each day.
  • Men also spent more time watching TV than women during weekends/holidays at 3.71 and 3.12 hours respectively.

Reading

  • The report includes this activity under general leisure activities along with watching TV, relaxing or thinking, using computer for leisure and other related activities.
  • According to BLS, American men spend an average of 0.24 hours reading each day.
  • American women spend an average of 0.29 hours reading each day.
  • Women also spent more time reading than men during weekends/holidays at 0.31 and 0.26 hours respectively.

Playing Games and Computer Use for Leisure

  • The report includes this activity category under general leisure activities which include playing board, card or digital games as well using a computer or surfing the Internet for personal interest.
  • BLS reports that American men spend an average of 0.59 hours playing games and using computers for leisure each day.
  • American women spend an average of 0.35 hours playing games and using computers for leisure each day.
  • Men also spent more time playing games and using computers for leisure than women during weekends/holidays at 0.75 and 0.40 hours respectively.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Time Gap Analysis

Maximizing leisure time through exercise, socializing and playing games among other activities contributes to mental wellness by releasing stress and strengthening connection with others. These are outlined below.

Leisure Time

Sports, Exercise and Recreation

  • The BLS' 2018 American Time Use report defines this activity category as including attending, participating, or watching sports, exercise, and recreation activities.
  • The 2017 State of Women's Wellness US survey (latest version) placed fitness as the number one factor positively affecting women's mental and emotional wellness.
  • 21% of women across all generations ranked it as the number one factor for personal wellness.
  • 25% of Millennial women identified fitness as the number one factor affecting personal wellness.
  • 21% of female Boomers identified fitness as the number one factor affecting personal wellness.
  • 19% of Gen X females identified fitness as the number one factor affecting personal wellness.
  • Sociologist Liana Sayer observed that women, especially mothers, are made to feel guilty for taking time for recreation such as socializing or enjoying exercise and recreation.
  • Women feel they should spend more time on their children rather than pursuing sports, exercise or recreation.
  • However, men generally do not need to justify the same need to enjoy leisure time.
  • The Women's Health Matters organization in California stresses that taking time to exercise is beneficial to women's mental health and overall wellness whether they have a condition or not.
  • Exercise has been shown to improve sleep and ease anxiety.
  • Staying active has also been shown to improve memory and increase energy levels.
  • Dr. Valerie Taylor of Women's College Hospital said, "I think exercise should be part of a wellness program for all of us... So if you make this ‘me time’ something that you do to prioritize your own health, that can only be good."

Socializing and Communication

  • The State of Women's Wellness survey identified socializing as the second top factor positively affecting women's mental and emotional wellness.
  • 13% of women across all generations ranked social life and trusted relationships as the second top factor for personal wellness.
  • 19% of Millennial women identified it as the second top factor affecting personal wellness.
  • 11% of female Boomers identified social life and trusted relationships as the second top factor affecting personal wellness.
  • 10% of Gen X females identified it as the second top factor affecting personal wellness.
  • According to Medical News Today, face-to-face contact is similar to a 'vaccine' that triggers the nervous system to release neurotransmitters that regulate stress and anxiety.

Watching TV

  • BLS includes this activity category under general leisure activities along with reading, relaxing or thinking, playing or listening to music, using computer for leisure, playing games, and other related activities.
  • The State of Women's Wellness survey identified watching informative TV as a way for women to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • 8% of women across all generations watched informative television to feel informed, empowered and in control of their wellness.
  • 10% of Millennial women watched informative television to feel informed, empowered and in control of their wellness.
  • 7% of female Boomers watched informative television to feel informed, empowered and in control of their wellness.
  • 8% of Gen X females watched informative television to feel informed, empowered and in control of their wellness.
  • Woman's Day reported that watching TV is beneficial for women's emotional and mental health.
  • Dr. Barna Donovan at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey said that strong female role models inspire women: "Fictional entertainment inspires women to persevere through the ups and downs and challenges of everyday life through on-screen heroines who triumph through tough times or strive to achieve their dreams."
  • Psychologist and researcher Alexis Conason said that watching TV recharges the mind by providing an escape from daily stresses, an important factor for wellness.
  • Watching TV also offers an outlet for expressing repressed emotions, which can be a way to recharge.
  • Dr. Michael Grabowski of the Neuroscience and Media stated that fiction can give viewers a new perspective and model positive behavior in similar real-life situations.
  • Laughing at TV comedy can also act as a 'dynamic coping mechanism' to release physical energy generated by stress.
  • Lastly, TV and entertainment challenges viewers to exercise their imagination, contributing to overall mental wellness.

Reading

  • The BLS report includes this activity category under general leisure activities along with watching TV, relaxing or thinking, using computer for leisure and other related activities.
  • The State of Women's Wellness survey identified reading trusted books as a way for women to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • 19% of women across all generations identified reading trusted books as a way to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • 22% of Millennial women read trusted books to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • 19% of female Boomers read trusted books to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • 18% of Gen X females read trusted books to feel informed, empowered, and in control of their wellness.
  • Integris outlines several ways reading can benefit mental health and wellness in general.
  • It only takes an average of six minutes of reading a good book for a person to relax.
  • Reading reduced stress by 68% and was the highest-ranked form of relaxation.
  • Reading helps people sleep and find a mental pathway to restfulness.
  • It can also help slow memory decline by keeping the brain active.

Playing Games and Computer Use for Leisure

  • BLS includes this activity category under general leisure activities which include playing board, card or digital games as well using a computer or surfing the Internet for personal interest.
  • The State of Women's Wellness survey identified work-life balance as a top factor positively affecting women's mental and emotional wellness.
  • 8% of women across all generations ranked work-life balance as a top factor for personal wellness.
  • 11% of Millennial women identified work-life balance as a top factor for personal wellness.
  • 5% of female Boomers identified work-life balance as a top factor for personal wellness.
  • 7% of Gen X females identified work-life balance as a top factor for personal wellness.
  • According to HelpGuide, play benefits adults as a form of relaxation and stimulation.
  • The article reports that play relieves stress by releasing endorphins which provide a feeling of well-being.
  • Playing games such as chess and puzzles also improves brain function and prevents poor memory.
  • Play also helps stimulate the imagination and encourage people to be creative in solving problems.
  • Engaging in play with others helps strengthen relationships and social connection.
  • Play helps adults feel energetic, increase vitality, and boost their resistance to disease.
  • Additionally, play with other adults can heal emotional wounds by reinforcing positive behavior and actions.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Mental Wellness in Women Case Studies

Lululemon Athletica and Johnson & Johnson are two companies with initiatives to promote women's mental wellness. These and other findings are outlined below.

Lululemon Athletica

Johnson & Johnson

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "On an average day in 2018, men spent 5.7 hours on leisure and sports, women spent 4.9 hours"
Quotes
  • "Leisure and sports. The leisure and sports category includes time spent in sports, exercise, and recreation; socializing and communicating; and other leisure activities. "
  • "Sports, exercise, and recreation activities include participating in--as well as attending or watching-sports, exercise, and recreational activities. "
  • "Recreational activities include yard games like croquet or horseshoes, as well as activities like billiards and dancing. "
  • "Socializing and communicating includes face-to-face social communication and hosting or attending social functions."
  • " Leisure activities include watching television; reading; relaxing or thinking; playing computer, board, or card games; using a computer or the internet for personal interest; playing or listening to music; and other activities, such as attending arts, cultural, and entertainment events."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Factors Positively Affecting Personal Wellness Fitness Social life and trusted relationships Relationship status Financial security Career and professional satisfaction Self-worth and purpose Work-life balance"
Quotes
  • "Sayer, in a 2016 paper, called American time use “stubbornly gendered”: On average, women continue to devote more time each day to chores and looking after children than men do."
  • "Further, the average American woman spends 28 more minutes a day than the average American man on “personal care”—a time-use category that encompasses activities such as showering, getting dressed, and applying makeup."
  • "A half century ago, there was no leisure gap. What’s changed is that women are working more, but their time spent on housework and child care hasn’t declined accordingly."
  • "“The gender gap in leisure is intertwined with college [education] because of the ways college increases paid work time … and also with marriage and parental status, which increase women’s unpaid work more than they increase men’s paid work,” Sayer says."
  • "They also have less leisure time overall—and mothers have less than fathers. According to Sayer, in 2012, dads averaged over an hour more free time a day than moms, after controlling for demographic characteristics that make people more likely to be parents. “This adds up over the week to an additional eight hours of leisure, comparable to a standard paid work shift,” Sayer noted in an essay published late last year."
  • "Relatedly, many moms are made to feel guilty for taking time for themselves. “If they’re taking a yoga class or going out with a friend, they feel like that’s time they could be devoting to their children,” Sayer told me, summarizing research that’s been done on motherhood. “You don’t really see the same type of need to justify leisure occurring among men.”"
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Looking for a company that has great wellness initiatives? InHerSight’s list is based on ratings and reviews from millions of working women who have rated their current or former employer on 16 factors of female friendliness, including, you guessed it...wellness initiatives."
  • "lululemon athletica is a retail company headquartered in the Vancouver, Canada area, that employs 5001 to 10000 people. The company has a 4.8 star rating for wellness initiatives."
Quotes
  • "Celeste Burgoyne, the company’s EVP of Americas and Global Guest Innovation, made a pledge to promote and support mental wellness on Wednesday at the MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles."
  • "The next major step in our journey is leading the way in mental wellbeing because we know in order to be 100% authentically you, you need to be well. "
  • "In 2020, we commit to offering our people leading mental health benefits, and providing training to all people managers so that they are equipped to support mental health conversations,” she said."
  • "We achieved 100% pay equity in 2018, a leading parenthood program offering up to six months paid leave [for both mothers and fathers] in 2019, and our senior leadership team is comprised of 60% women as of today. "
  • "Still, of the company’s 20,000 global employees, 78% are women. And over 320 people, 200 of whom are store employees, have so far taken advantage of a gender neutral policy that gives up to three months of paid parental leave to employees who have been with the company for at least two years."
Quotes
  • " In collaboration, we celebrated International Women’s Day by raising awareness of women’s issues as well as the power of the practice of yoga to empower women of all ages, races, and backgrounds."
  • "Embody is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to physical and mental wellness education for all people 18+. We offer the healing tools of yoga and mindfulness, and create meaningful volunteer & service opportunities, to help people regain agency over their own well-being. "
  • "Also, on International Day of Yoga, we held a 108 sun salutations free event for the greater GR community to elevate the power of shared practice! Throughout the entire year, we held many free educational yoga and mindfulness classes at the store which were open to all people. "
  • "Embody is honored to be lululemon’s ‘Here To Be’ social impact community partner in Grand Rapids. "
Quotes
  • "Empowering Women ... To Take Care of Themselves, Too"
  • "Whether you're pregnant or up in the wee hours of the morning tackling newborn feeding, it goes without saying that motherhood can be both a joyous and stressful time in life. "
  • "To help women with these challenging moments, Johnson & Johnson unveiled the 7 Minute Wellness for Expecting and New Moms™ App, a science-based wellness resource created by the company's behavioral, exercise and medical experts."
  • "The app helps moms manage and expand their energy levels through guided meditation sessions and quick, easy exercises—empowering them to be their best selves both mentally and physically."
Quotes
  • " Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions, Inc. today announced the launch of the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Wellness for Expecting and New Moms™ app, available on the App Store and the Google Play store."
  • "The 7 Minute Wellness for Expecting and New Moms™ app, is a simple, free, science-based wellness app designed to help expecting and new moms care for body, mind, and baby."
  • "The app, available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices, offers personalized sessions to help new and expecting moms expand and manage their energy. These include 7 Minute Workout sessions that are customized to the mom's week of pregnancy or postnatal phase, individual fitness and energy levels, or any physical discomfort she may be experiencing. "
  • "Mind and Body sessions in the app offer techniques to help create balance, relax the mind, relieve stress and discomfort, and care for a woman's body during this important time. "
  • ""This latest 7 Minute Wellness app reflects our ongoing commitment to develop innovative and personalized solutions that make it easier for people around the world to stay healthy and live vibrant and longer lives," said Len Greer, President, Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions, Inc. "
  • "We want to help moms maximize their energy so they can feel and be their best – for themselves and for those who matter most to them."