Consider this entire article an invitation to be lazy. I just finished recording an episode of the Soul & Wit Podcast with my daughter Bailey (that will be out next month). We chatted about productivity culture, how it can be hard to rest or relax without guilt and how we want to reframe the way we think about laziness.
I’ve been thinking about and writing about this since way back in 2010 when I started bemorewithless.com because I had trouble not doing things and not being busy. Relaxing unless I thought I had earned it and slowing down felt so hard.
Luckily, with some practice and a shift in mindset, I do much more resting and relaxing today. I hope you’ll join me.
Let’s Be Lazy: 10 Ways to Rest and Relax
1. Dump the guilt.
If you feel guilty about rest and relaxation, that isn’t restful or relaxing. Guilt pops up because you think you should be doing something productive. If you tend to overthink how you will relax and doing nothing feels too hard, make a list of things you like to do to relax. You could include things like, take a bath, read a book, talk to my favorite person or anything at all that isn’t work or productive. Let it be lazy.
2. Come back to yourself.
When you feel stressed, overwhelmed or too distracted to focus, it’s time to rest. It’s time to come back to yourself.
Sit down and feel your feet on the ground.
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Name 3 things you can smell.
- Name 2 things you can touch.
- Name 1 thing you can taste.
3. Stop the scroll.
Sometimes we turn to our phones for relaxing, but is scrolling social media or the news ever actually relaxing? Hide your phone and listen to your heart instead.
4. Listen to music.
Make a playlist of songs that help you relax or listen to this one.
5. Schedule some rest.
Instead of waiting until you are on the brink of collapse, schedule rest while you are feeling good. Put it on your calendar as a reminder that you don’t have earn your rest by doing ten more things. You don’t have to wait until you feel bad to rest.
6. Cook a slow meal.
Find a soup or dish that takes some time but doesn’t require too much coordinating. Chop slowly, stir slowly, cook slowly. If you have hungry kids, order a pizza for them so you don’t have to rush. This would work or if baking is more soothing for you, you could try this croissant recipe.
7. Take a joy walk.
Don’t rush or know exactly where you are going. Don’t count your steps or listen to music or podcasts. Instead listen to what’s around you. Enjoy your walk.
8. Relax your body.
Use a massage ball or tennis ball and roll out your feet, hands and other tense body parts.
Yep, just stare out your window or into space or at the wall. It’s not hard to get lost in thought and day dreams here. Let it happen.
Be intentional with your breath. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 1 second then breathe out for 7 seconds. Hold for 1 second, then breathe in for 5 seconds.
Be lazy, rest and relax, not because you got a lot done or so you can have more energy to do more. Do it because it makes you feel good.
Use these suggestions for an entire guilt-free lazy weekend. For more on why we have trouble resting and how to do it better, read The Rest Manifesto and How to Relax.