Give Yourself a ‘Should-less’ Day

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Cat lying in armchair
Photo: Keri Pinzon

Oh, the joys of being lazy. Reading a novel till your eyes hurt. Watching Netflix so long it makes you confirm that, yes, you’d like to continue watching. Napping. Ellen Burstyn, the Academy Award–winning actress, makes the case today on WNYC’s “Death, Sex and Money” that there are times when it’s best to ignore that naggy little voice in your head reminding you of all the things you should do, and instead, just do the things you feel like doing.

Burstyn told host Anna Sale:

I have what I call should-less days. Today is a day where there’s nothing I should do. So I only do what I want to do. And if it’s nap in the afternoon or watch TV and eat ice cream, I get to do it. I had that kind of day yesterday.

Should-less days, I recommend them. Because what I figured out, is we have wiring, I have wiring in my brain that calls me lazy if I’m not doing something. God, you’re so lazy. … And that wiring is there. I haven’t been able to get rid of it.

But what I can do is I can put in another wiring. I can put in should-less days. So when that voice goes off and says, You’re being lazy, I turn to the other wiring in my brain that says, No, this is a should-less day, and I’m doing what I want.

Of course, not all of us are rich and famous actresses with the time or the means to give ourselves an entire day of complete and utter laziness. But could you give yourself a should-less afternoon? A should-less coffee break? Anyway, I’d tell you that you should listen to the entire interview, but that would kind of undermine the point here. But, you know. Listen, if you feel like it. 

Give Yourself a ‘Should-less’ Day