La Dolce Farniente: How To Be Lazy At Home
Laziness is not a moral fault: it’s an integral part of our bodies’ need to regenerate. See how to encourage it at home.
Remember that scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth learns the Italian way of “la dolce farniente“, the sweetness of doing nothing?
If there’s one thing you need to get out of that book (or movie), it’s probably this: that it’s okay, and even good for you, to do nothing from time to time.
Take meditation: you literally sit and do nothing for minutes or hours a day, and yet it has plenty of amazing benefits: it helps with issues as wide-ranging as depression and psoriasis, stress and asthma, even cancer and heart disease.
More demands on us
As modern life makes increasingly more demands on our minds and bodies, it’s more important than ever to have some time to do nothing, to be lazy. But if your home isn’t conducive to sitting down and stop the constant physical and mental distractions that bombard us every second, you’ll have a hard time slowing down.
As an officially lazy person (I’m trying to remove the moral judgement from this word: for me, being lazy means that I work efficiently so I can do nothing for as much time as possible!), I’ve discovered some ways to optimize your home to be able to relax as deeply–and as often–as possible.
Have at least one electronics-free room
Electronics are the machines that keep us tied to business, like a bunch of wireless umbilical cords invisibly tethering us to work, social groups and plain old distraction.
Ditch a big part of your inability to relax by ditching electronics, at least in one room of your home. Personally, the kitchen is my electronics-free zone. At worst, I play music in another room. But in the kitchen I focus on cooking, and I actually find it relaxing.
Most importantly, electronics interfere with our ability to sleep. Ideally, you want to get rid of the television in your bedroom and keep your sleeping space mobile-free. You can use the bedroom as your sanctuary from electronics, whether it’s for reading, meditating or sleeping.
Encourage naps with comfortable nooks and crannies
If your furniture is uncomfortable, you won’t be likely to spend any time relaxing on it. Make sure to have two or three good, comfy pieces: couches, sofas, armchairs or daybeds. Allow for afternoon naps with blankets on the couch and extended armchairs.
Many cultures, especially those in warm, sunny climates, actually close down for naps in the afternoon. The siesta is an essential part of being productive after lunch. If you haven’t adopted this habit, you should give it a try! You’ll be refreshed and ready to take on the second half of your day, instead of relying on a caffeine or sugar rush.
Spend time outdoors in your garden
Everyone, and I mean everyone, should have a hammock.
Seriously. Aren’t hammocks awesome? Slowly swaying in the breeze of a warm summer’s day, listening to the birds chirping and the kids playing around on the grass… the perfect way to be lazy. You can go with a swinging chair too–both are just as awesome.
Make a lazy garden with hammocks and comfy outdoor furniture. Add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit for hanging out in the evenings–maybe even with marshmallows and beer. (I’m sure someone has done a s’mores and beer pairing guide?) Fires and comfy seating encourage laziness and relaxation during the nice weather.
Take long baths
If I had only one wish about my home, it would probably be to have a large bath I can lie in completely without having to somehow lift or contort my legs. (I love baths, if you didn’t know before!)
At least, get a cushion for your neck and a bath caddy to keep your book dry. Add fragrant bubble bath or essential oils to activate the relaxation centres of your brains, and voilà! An hour of laziness right there.
Next time you plan or renovate a bathroom, build it for maximum relaxing effect with soothing lighting, soft decor and maybe even built-in speakers connected to an iPod dock to play your favourite music!
Don’t worry, be lazy
Laziness is not a moral fault. It’s actually important to let our brains and bodies rest, to do nothing. Many cultures around the world, like the Italians, have words to describe this, because it’s so essential to their lives.
We need a laziness revolution in America, and where better to start it than in your own home?
Tell us: how do you encourage relaxation and laziness in your home? How do you let yourself and your family regenerate their bodies and minds?