In Defence of Being a Lazy Little...

By Naomi Smith | Wednesday 12th July, 2017

Let’s not be polite about this, we’ve all spent a day or three lying in our own filth; watching addictive telly, binging comfort food and slacking off (or other things like.. well... best keeping them to yourself). It's all fun and games until - like a bad hangover follows a fun party - a full-blown existential crisis about how much of our precious free-time we just Netflixed away often follows a fun lazy day. Well guys, it’s time to stop slob-shaming ourselves.

Being lazy, in my opinion, is paramount to being happy. Now, I’m not talking about being a lazy shit all day every day. Unless you are Seth Rogen in every 'lovable slacker' movie ever, then that's not gonna work out so well for you. However, I am whole-heartedly defending 'doing nothing'. The way I see it, there are two types of doing nothing and the difference between them, like most things in life, comes down to technicalities. Are you doing 'nothing' to procrastinate an implied 'something', or is 'nothing' the activity you have actively chosen to do?

Being lazy, in my opinion, is paramount to being happy.

So let’s take a look at procrastination, and more importantly the guilt that often accompanies it. When researching this, I came across a lot of those Here’s Why Scientists Say Lazy People Are The Most Intelligent titles. Unfortunately, being lazier than an elderly cat in the sun really isn't going to make you more intelligent or creative. Sorry. However, if you just respect the need to switch your brain off for a little while before tackling a big bad task, it might just make you happier. Procrastination is supposedly directly caused by something in the limbic system of the brain (that's the bit that controls your emotions and whatnot).

So, there is a specific area of that goo in your skull that’s causing you to paint your nails instead of writing your essay. The simple version of why it does that to us seems to be that the brain automatically pulls you away from a task that’s upsetting you in the same way it would automatically pull you away from an object which is hurting you. So if you are stressing about a task, it physically affects your body. And while yes, you’re gonna have to tackle it eventually, this probably isn't the best state to produce your finest work. The 'it’s not my fault, it’s biology' argument won't justify failing an assignment and ruining your life BUT if the goal here is to put our happiness above all else then maybe it is okay to listen to what I’m going to uneducatedly call our instincts. Just for an hour or two at least.

The type of laziness where you do nothing because that's what you damn well want to do, hits home with me for the countless times I have come home from work, disappeared into my duvet and not reappeared until it’s time to go to work again. Sounds like a sad and pointless existence but sometimes it’s what keeps me content and energised enough to handle the parts of my day that actually do require all of my energy. You know, the parts when I have to deal with people. If this is also the case with you, don't think of it as wasting time that absolutely should be used for productive things, think of it as rewarding yourself for getting that shit done already. A lazy afternoon after a day doing well at work/uni is just the dessert your mum promised you if you ate all your vegetables. People need incentive.

The key thing to remember is that we are a generation under insane amounts of pressure. Back in February, The Independent published the results of a survey that claimed that “Young people in the UK have some of the poorest mental wellbeing in the world with only Japan falling below British millennials by levels of stress and anxiety". We feel ya, Japanese millennials, life is hard. Whilst yes, we are lucky to have so many options that generations before us didn’t, that can turn sour when we are expected to excel in every single one of them. The professional world expects us to be a million different things at once if our CVs are going to get a second glance. For me, not only does that make it okay to have a comfort zone to escape to where you are allowed to be a big nothing for a while, but it makes it vital in not burning out into a big anxious puddle of failure. Putting your mental well-being first doesn’t have to mean booking a therapy session, it can just be doing whatever makes you happy.

If you still feel like hating yourself just for doing nothing for a bit, just imagine treating someone you care about in that same way. Unless you are willing to walk up to your own mother and say “you lazy shit, sitting there with your cup of tea is exactly why you’re a failure” don’t internalise that shit on yourself.