Love A Lazy Day? You Should Be Having Them More Often Than You Think

Treat yourself, your body and mind will thank you.
Yulia Naumenko via Getty Images

While we still seem to be in an era of romanticising being too busy, one thing we should actually be focussing on resting and taking our time wherever we can. In fact, even just one lazy day a week can have huge benefits for mental and physical health.

If you’re the kind of person that finds themselves feeling guilty for taking it easy (same) or feel like any moment you’re not being ‘productive’ is a moment wasted, reframe what you consider to be productive because, actually, giving your body what it needs is productive and important to wellbeing!

The importance of relaxation

While sitting back and watching some tv, reading a book or even scrolling on your phone for a while might feel lazy, what you’re actually doing is giving your body the opportunity to recover from your busier days.

A paper published by Yale University counselling and support services back in 2016 said that actually, we should be scheduling times for relaxation. They said, “Whether it’s having a cup of coffee with a friend, sitting still in a quiet session of meditation, or working on a long-neglected art project, be sure to schedule your relaxation times.

“They are every bit as important as the other to-do’s on your weekly calendar. View them as appointments that you won’t cancel unless an emergency arises.”

This is because research shows that relaxation keeps your heart healthier, reduces stress, reduces muscle tension and can help you to avoid depression, anxiety, and obesity.

Additionally, when you take the time to rest, you are helping to boost your immune system, and helps to alleviate symptoms of ongoing physical and mental conditions.

How to relax

According to the leading mental health charity, Mind, some of these activities may help you get into a more relaxed state of mind:

  • Read a book or a magazine, even just for a few minutes
  • Run a bath, watch a film, play with a pet or try out a new recipe
  • Take a walk, even just for a few minutes
  • Consider taking up a class you’d like to try such as yoga
  • Try doing some seated exercises
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and place your hand on your stomach – it should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out
  • Count as you breathe. Start by counting ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe in and ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe out. Try to work out what’s comfortable for you
  • Try painting, drawing, making crafts, playing a musical instrument, dancing, baking or sewing — don’t worry about how it’ll look when it’s done, just enjoy the process
  • Spend time in nature whether it’s tending to your garden or walking in some green spaces
  • Listen to your favourite music mindfully by trying to pick out different instruments
  • Turn your phone off for an hour if you can

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on