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I'm Gen Z and have always loved being cozy and well-rested. I'm relieved my generation is catching up with me.

Kim Schewitz   

I'm Gen Z and have always loved being cozy and well-rested. I'm relieved my generation is catching up with me.
  • From hiking to napping, Gen Z's hobbies have become more wholesome.
  • Despite being young, I've always loved doing cozy, wholesome activities.

It's a Friday night in 2017.

I'm a Gen Z freshman and I don't have a ticket to the sold-out club night my roommates are excited about going to. I'm not dressed, I don't have any alcohol, and I feel a heavy sense of dread in my stomach.

I'm faced with a big decision: I could scroll through a dodgy Facebook group to try to find an overpriced, resold ticket, put on a Brandy Melville crop top, and drag myself to the sweaty pre-drinks my friends are going to. Or, I could give into my true nature: Stay in my pjs, watch Real Housewives in bed, and light a candle while I do some mindful coloring.

Naturally, as an anxious 19-year-old with chronic FOMO, I choose the socially acceptable path. I find a ticket and drink vodka mixers until I love the loud, overly-crowded environment I will endure until one of my friends wants to go home. Fingers crossed, it's before 4 a.m.

Some people call this fun, and that's great for them. But personally, I'd rather be cozy.

In 2017, at the age of 19, this preference often felt at odds with what my friends wanted to do. But over the last few years, something has shifted within my generation. Our interests appear to have become more aligned with a senior citizen's than the cast of Euphoria.

Gen Z is into relaxing hobbies like crochet and outdoor swimming

Not too long ago, weekends were dominated by pub trips, parties, and pints. If I had a dollar for every time I had to freeze outside in the cold because someone wanted a cigarette, I'd be rich!

But COVID lockdowns in the UK, where I'm from, forced us to lead slower lives and realize that going out less and taking care of ourselves more was quite a nice way to live.

Now, even some of my most season-one Serena Vanderwoodsen-coded friends, who used to party chase like their lives depended on it, barely drink. One friend is teaching me how to knit, while another took me on a forest walk as my birthday outing this year.

My housemate has started regularly attending ceilidhs, a traditional Gaelic folk dance gathering, on Friday nights. And rather than queuing to get into clubs, we queue for a table at popular food spots or to swim at the outdoor lido.

Everyone's baking bread and dressing like they live in a cottage. We're painting pots and crocheting while discussing what book we're reading. Hiking shoes are cool, and sex is overrated. Naps, on the other hand, are commonplace.

Gen Z has become wholesome, and I'm thrilled.

Gen Z is one of the first generations who will be less wealthy than our parents

It's not the first time Gen Z has defied expectations. Since coming of age, we've already made a mark on society, particularly in the workplace. Work-life balance and fulfillment are really important to us. We want to be able to bring our whole selves to work, feelings and all, work from home, and will certainly not be working overtime for free (sorry!).

We get criticized a lot for this and headlines claim that we're lazy or too soft. But economically, it makes sense for us to demand more from work and prioritize our personal lives more than previous generations. As Business Insider previously reported, Gen Z is one of the first generations that will be worse off than their parents or grandparents. This means home ownership, a defined benefit pension, and retiree medical care are pretty much off the table for many.

As a result, Gen Zers are "quiet quitting" because they're painfully aware that their hard work could essentially amount to nothing. What's the point of "living to work" if you'll never get to reap the rewards? Gen Z appears to be less focused on the future and more on living enjoyable lives now.

And it seems this attitude extends beyond work. It's possible that this rejection of hustle culture, paired with the explosion of wellness and mental health awareness, is seeping into Gen Z's leisure time, too. It's normal to hang up your party shoes as you get older, but at the same time, there's a clear shift among Gen Zers toward a softer way of life not typically associated with young people.

Our hobbies suggest that we're more health-conscious and aware of the benefits of rest. In 2022, Gen Z spent more time sleeping than any other generation, with an average of nine hours and 37 minutes, according to an analysis of American Time Use Survey data by RentCafe. We also spent more time on self-care activities than other age groups.

I'm an older Gen Z on the cusp of being a millennial, but this trend applies to some of the younger members of my generation, too. In my experience, after-work drinks are sober outings for many of them, and work socials are more bowling and painting than shots and late nights, which may surprise people who joined the workforce even 10 years ago.

Gen Zers, as young as high school age, even coined the term "bed rotting" last year. It means wasting away in bed all day and is the antithesis of toxic productivity.

Aside from my personal delight at finally being on the same wavelength as my friends, I think there's a wider benefit to this slower, cozier lifestyle for anyone, but particularly a group who is statistically struggling with their mental health more than other generations.

Leading a life that prioritizes comfort, nature, and slowing down could, in fact, be an excellent antidote to the fast-paced frenzy of modern life.

Maybe being a lazy snowflake all these years will pay off after all.

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