The other week I was at a beautiful 3rd wave coffee shop having a conversation with someone I admire and we got onto the topic of talking about the pressure that we put on ourselves to be our best. Day in and day out, this is something we both strive to do in all areas of our lives. In doing so, we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to constantly be super producers, high achievers, and innovative thinkers in these areas.
But what happens when we can’t be at that level on a certain day?
What happens when we lose momentum with our leadership?
What happens when our goals start getting away from us after we had been catching up to them for some time?
What happens if we feel like we aren’t doing enough in our relationships?
The truth is, we are all human beings. We all bleed the same red blood. We all have a heartbeat. We are imperfect beings living, leading, and growing in an imperfect, turbulent time and it is time to read an article telling you to be a bit easier on yourself.
The other truth here is that we work too much and because of this we often are not intentional with our cycles of rest. We sometimes push too hard and we sometimes don’t know when to pause, slow down or just halt for a bit to reflect on all the amazing things we are achieving within our careers, relationships, and passions.
I am here today to tell you something that we should hear more often.
You need to give yourself permission to be lazy.
Ya, I said the ‘L’ word. Anyone who works or has a lucrative career, or is a serial entrepreneur is probably waving a red flag to that statement. But let me explain just what I mean here.
In a world which has information, opportunity, and communication moving faster than ever in human history, it is silly to think that our brains have evolved as quickly as the iPhone in the ability to process and harness so much noisy information. We simply cannot absorb all of the things that are being shared and communicated in our lives today. It is too much.
In giving yourself permission to be lazy, one day a week — this gives your brain and your body a chance to recover. Rest allows for a body in a catabolic state (state of breakdown due to too much stress) to switch over to an anabolic state (state of building up due to a reduction of stress).
Still don’t think you should give yourself permission to be lazy one day a week? Good, because here are some other benefits to being lazy one day a week:
Physical Benefits of being lazy one day a week →
Increased HGH Production
Research shows that if we are able to get high-quality sleep for at least 7–8 hours per night our bodies have the needed time to produce ample HGH (human growth hormone) which is the hormone responsible for many things like muscle tone, energy, and cellular regeneration. If we are able to come off of a high-quality sleep and follow it up with a lazy day, it is like giving your body a full 24 hours to recover from the stresses of the world. I have seen this and felt this in my own life as well. There was a time in my life I was flat out 7 days a week. Going non-stop and working out non-stop. Yet, I couldn’t shred the visceral fat layer I had around my midsection. Although it wasn’t a lot, it was enough to make me wonder why I couldn’t shake it. Fast forward two years later with a lazy day built into my weekly schedule and a better stress management system, I no longer have that visceral fat layer around my midsection. Instead of my body being stressed and holding on to fat, it is releasing more HGH through my rest cycles which means more muscle, less fat.
Increased Learning Capacity
Oddly enough, in such the information age, it is vital to step away from noisy information to then be able to step back into that noise actively. What I mean here is that the more surface-level information we consume on things like social media, the more we crave surface-level information. Why? Because our neurological pathways in our brain are so exhausted from consuming surface-level information that it does not have the energy and ability to dive into deeper information. In order to increase our capacity to learn, understand and comprehend deep information, we must step away from information weekly. This was not necessarily true prior to the information age. However, here we are.
Social benefits of being lazy one day a week →
Opportunity For Deep Thinking
Deep thinking can happen when given the right ingredients. These ingredients are time, a safe space free from distraction and comfort or familiarity. When you combine these things together, deep thinking can easily happen. When we stop trying to be the latest story on IG, or when we just put our devices away for a chunk of time and sit on the couch with a good book, deep thinking begins to unveil itself to you. This is why you need to be lazy for a full day. Deep thinking doesn’t just happen if you sit in a room for an hour. That can produce the start of deep thinking, but deep thinking truly happens after many hours and after you have given yourself permission to be ok with your thoughts. None of this can happen if your task list is a mile long and you are glued to your device in between tasks. Get some separation from obligation and watch what happens.
An Opportunity to Ease Relational Pressure
Nothing says, “I Love You” more than leading by example by showing your partner that it is not only ok but that it is fully permissible to be lazy one day a week. If your partner cannot accept that of you, it may not be the best relationship for you. You both should be ok to veg out on the couch, engage in great (and sometimes, goofy) conversation together. You need to know that you are not judged in walking around your house with your PJ’s on all day or in eating peanut from a jar with a spoon. The world and our social media world judges us enough so you shouldn’t feel judged on your lazy day. Embrace it, together!
The ultimate benefit of being lazy one day a week →
A Body Reset Is A Body that Is Ready to Go
Some people may still be thinking, “Ryan, I don’t have time to have a lazy day”. I get it. Life gets busy. Trust me, I am married to a nurse who works opposite schedules to me. Life gets crazy busy at times! But affording 1 day a week to be lazy is not that much time when you think about it. There are 168 hours in the week (including sleep time). If you block off 24 hours of “lazy time” that still leaves you with 144 hours in your week to be hyper-productive and to crush your goals and ambitions. If you award yourself this time to rest and reset, just wait and watch what your body will do with the remaining 144 hours in your week.
I wish for you to ‘go deep’ in your own life. For additional strategies on how to become more confident, organized, productive, and successful in your life and vocation, I encourage you to pick up my latest ebook: Thought Leadership. →
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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Photo credit: Drew Coffman on Unsplash