Friday, August 10, 2018

Insight: Making a case for laziness by Lorraine Glowczak

When this newspaper reaches your mailboxes, it will be a holiday that I suspect most will avoid like the plague. I know I will. But for those who are courageous and without fear may venture to celebrate the official “National Lazy Day” on Friday, August 10.

I have always enjoyed quirky and fun holidays that give life an amusing twist and helps us not take this big fat world – and ourselves - too seriously.

For the sheer fun of it, I did an internet search on the following: “making a case for lazy.” And I was shocked to discover the results were more about the negative aspects of laziness and how to “handle” or work alongside people with this bad habit.

I admit, I’m not a fan of slothfulness or day-long, everyday couch potato syndrome. But must we constantly remain “on” at all times to be successful entrepreneurs, dedicated employees, and productive, contributing members of society?

Most Americans admit to checking their work emails – even while hiking the Colorado Rockies, on a cruise ship in the Cayman Islands or even sightseeing in Venice. I must confess that I too, have worked and checked email while on vacation. For whatever reason, we don’t allow ourselves much downtime. To do so is a sign of laziness and laziness is not productive. Or so we believe.

There is evidence that sitting idle and doing nothing – giving mind and body a break – offer several advantages. True success, reaching goals and the reduction of anxiety is among the positive outcomes of downtime. According to an article on the website, “researchers have shown that there are several advantages of ‘doing nothing’. Electrical activity in the brain that seems to set certain sorts of memories is more continuous and frequent amid downtime…our brain profits by going offline or disconnecting for even short intervals of time.”

An article from Scientific American online magazine reiterates that giving ourselves a break does, in fact, create productivity. It replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation and encourages innovation and creativity. “A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future,” the article said. And if this is not enough to encourage a moment or day of being lazy – the article also states that downtime may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order.

In the same article, essayist Tim Kreider is quoted as saying, "The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."

So, there you have it – my case for taking time to do absolutely nothing. If you wish to celebrate National Lazy Day, you can use any or all of this editorial on laziness to stay home and sleep in bed all day. Without guilt!

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