I recently read a great article on Medium about laziness – or rather, the lack thereof.
Here is a link to the article by Devon Price
The extremely compassionate author believes that “laziness” isn’t a real thing – that it’s only a symptom of something deeper going on.
As in, a person isn’t “lazy” – they just have issues they need to work through. Some people never work through those issues, so they end up with a lifetime of laziness.
This can be particular detrimental if you are a person who was labeled “lazy” as a child. If you internalize that negative label as “who you are” you will be less likely to dig down and try to discover the real underlying cause of your laziness.
You might start to believe, its just who I am.
And that kind of thought is going to impact every choice you make for the rest of your life.
I think this is something that we should all consider on a deeper level.
- When do we procrastinate?
- When do we feel remarkably lazy?
- When do we feel like we actually *CANT EVEN* ?
You may have come across the very popular Buzzfeed article about Millennial Burnout. Essentially, the author Anne Helen Peterson is claiming a similar idea; its not true laziness that is impacting the millennial generation, but a lack of true purpose. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here: millennial laziness, or burn out?
I think laziness is a huge red flag that you are doing something that is NOT aligned with your deeper purpose, or your dharma.
But what about when the thing you need to get done (like a research paper or doing the laundry or mailing something) is just something you’ve got to do? Its not about a deeper purpose or fulfillment, its just a basic life task?
Anne Helen argues that the generations before us didn’t have problems getting regular life tasks done like the millennials do. And the reason for it?
Its not laziness.
And its not entitlement either (shocker).
She claims that the reason is TOO MUCH PRESSURE. Or, burnout.
And isn’t burnout another way to describe a mild, lifestyle induced depression?
So in fact you aren’t truly lazy, you might just be depressed.
Ok, but now we’ve just traded one problem for another.
So how do you cure the depression?
Burnout and depression could be caused by working for too long on projects that your heart is just not aligned with.
But it could probably be just as likely caused from running yourself ragged on things you truly ARE passionate about. When you run yourself ragged and constantly compare yourself to 5000 pinterest pins and all your social media friends, things suddenly start to not be so fun.
All this is great – but how do you stop being lazy, and quite possibly, depressed?
The first option is obvious – get on some medication.
(that was a joke)
If your depression is caused by burnout, or pressure, or stress, then meds aren’t going to help you. They might help you to numb your feelings, and they might possibly give you a tiny boost of energy (not a lot).
In my opinion, it would be easier to just get re-invorgarated by something.
The prospect of that might be daunting to someone who is already super busy with a million different life stressors and pressure.
But you can always do something else.
No one is ever stuck.
You think you’re stuck, but you’re not.
When I was in college, I was severely depressed. I didn’t like what I was doing, and I no longer believed in it. I thought I had to be there because it was what everyone else did, and what others expected of me.
I thought I was stuck.
And I became more and more depressed.
And then I started fantasizing about suicide.
Not that I wanted to do it – I’m too much of a wuss.
But I imagined never having been born.
That might sound dramatic…after all, I was in a decent university with friends and a bright future…but this is what happens when we force ourselves in a box that we don’t want to be in.
I read an interesting definition of depression the other day: the lack of hope for change.
In other words, when you feel 100% confident that you’re stuck in your current situation.
But you are never stuck. No matter what obligations and responsibilities and debt you may have right now – there are ALWAYS options.
When you deny yourself your inner desires, you will become depressed. You’ll start to feel trapped. And when you feel this way, you start to lose your motivation to do ANYTHING.
So right now – ask yourself what you would be doing if you weren’t “tied down.”
Let yourself go there.
For me, I titled a list “crazy pretend stupid goals” when I did this exercise years ago. And it gave me permission to write down the stuff that I was even ashamed to admit I desired (you know, like being rich and famous and tall).
I’m not saying you need to quit everything in your life and go there right now. You might feel like you still can’t, or the barriers are too large, or everyone in your life would hate you if you did.
But you need to start tossing the idea around in your brain. Chances are, you will be able to work something out. Or come up with an alternative. Or a solution that you didn’t see before. Or maybe, the people you thought you’d disappoint, won’t be so disappointed after all.
The point is, life isn’t such a big deal. Nothing that happens to us is. We can make as big of a drama about our lives as we want. We can grasp onto certain things and never let go. We can hold grudges for a lifetime. We can lie to ourselves about anything we want.
So just try and make sure that you’re doing something that brings you joy.
And if you’re not, take an honest look at yourself, and ask if you enjoy NOT being happy. I think a lot of us love to be miserable. And that might be you. Thats totally fine, just be honest with yourself about it (and try not to push your misery on people around you).
Here’s a list of things you can do when you’re feeling lazy and depressed and you just can’t shake it.
Since laziness and depression tend to hit me at regular intervals and its not very predictable, I have this list in my phone so I can access it at all times. I am a bit of a drama-queen so this step is necessary for me. But you might be able to store it all up in your brainsicle for quick access when you need it. Not me, not going to happen. If I’m feeling low, thats it.
So here is a link to a trello board version of this exact same list for quick access:
Maybe you’re just actually tired. I would estimate that 75% of the time I am feeling lazy and depressed, it is because I got less then 7-8 hours of sleep. But I won’t admit it (usually). I will say to my husband in an aggravated tone “why am I so tired? I mean I know I didn’t sleep very well or very long but I shouldn’t be this tired.” What? Really? Does being overtired make you stupid too? If you know you didn’t sleep enough, stop reading this and take a nap.
(and yes, I know that you hate that I suggested sleep. How cliche and dumb).
2.) Get some important work done.
I know you don’t want to. But if there is anyway you can muster up the energy, do it. You’ll feel better after, like a real, contributing member of society.
3.) Download Habit List (free) and create a list of simple daily habits. Then check them off.
I use emojis in mine. I swear that you can FEEL the rush of dopamine hit your brain when you check off the habit. Make it something super crazy easy. Meditate for 3-minutes. Write down 5 goals. Think of something you’re thankful for. It doesn’t matter what they are. The point is to get your brain in a creative and productive mindset.