The Laziness Myth
The concept of laziness is one that can cause incredible shame and encourage us to berate ourselves endlessly.
In a culture that tells us we’re only valuable if we’re productive, being tired and taking breaks can weigh on us and seriously affect our mental health and self-concept, even though it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon.
We invalidate our feelings of burnout and fatigue by telling ourselves that we’re being lazy, especially if we haven’t done anything during the day that we think warrants tiredness.
Not getting everything on your to-do list done doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to feel exhausted. When we feel this way, our bodies are telling us that we need to wind down, and it is more than okay to do so.
“Lazy” was originally used to describe somebody who dislikes work or effort. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Procrastination, which we often conflate with laziness, does not come from a place of not wanting to work but rather from anxiety and perfectionism.
This anxiety can spiral out of control and affect us in all sorts of negative ways, even though it’s only because we feel pressure to complete our work flawlessly.
We’ve been taught that hard work is actually more moral than rest, and in turn that we cannot trust our own feelings and our body’s cues. This makes it almost impossible not to feel like we’re doing something wrong by taking a break.
Further, people with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety find it incredibly hard to muster the motivation to get things done, which is entirely valid. Part of the reason that these afflictions are so common is this laziness narrative. If you see emotions as a threat to your productivity, then it’s incredibly hard to avoid shame around giving yourself what you need.
If you think that you’ve fallen into the trap of the laziness lie, that’s okay. Most of us have. Try to notice what you do and don’t do from a place of non-judgement and ask yourself what you are realistically capable of. If you feel that you’re not capable of “enough”, that’s just the narrative infiltrating your mind again.
Everybody has their limits, and the more you respect those limits and prioritise self-care the more you will be able to fulfil your tasks to the best of your ability. Try to rearrange your time and tasks in such a way that allows for you to rest and reset if at all possible.
It’s also important to consider that the pandemic has emotionally exhausted us. It’s natural to feel less productive during this tumultuous and confusing time, and you should give yourself the space to feel that way.
Don’t link productivity with inherent goodness – you are no less of a person for procrastinating, feeling tired or taking a rest.
Respect yourself as the wonderful, capable woman that you are. There’s no shame in giving yourself what you need.
Let us know in the comments below if any of you have been feeling this way recently?