For some people, being lazy comes naturally and their spirit animal seems to be the sloth. For others, allowing themselves to be lazy, at least for a while, is a whole ordeal. Why is that?
The art of doing nothing is just that, an art. It’s not easy to disconnect yourself from the daily tasks and the stress they may produce and just do nothing. Or at least nothing “productive”. Because we always do things. We breath, we think, we feel, we plan, we remember. Even when we sleep, our brain is still doing something.
For the anxious perfectionist doing nothing can be scary. They are used to run through the loop of high expectations and severe self criticism. They are the type of people for whom nothing they achieve is ever good enough, so they need to achieve more, do better. Not being lazy is their first and most important principle.
Of course, this kind of attitude can be celebrated by your boss and your proud mom, but in the long run, it can damage your physical and mental health. Depression, anorexia and many other health problems are there to wait for you at the finishing line.
Why is so hard for the anxious perfectionists to disconnect, to relax and do nothing?
One of the reasons why these people cannot relax is that they feel guilty when they don’t do something useful. Their self-worth is tied to their achievements, so whenever they don’t see feel productive, they feel bad about themselves.
What they don’t seem to accept is that doing nothing is also doing something. You cannot earn money from sitting on the balcony and read a book (unless you are a book critic). But you are doing something for yourself: you allow your mind to imagine stories, to feel what others have felt, to experience something through the eyes of the author.
If you struggle with the idea of doing nothing, while realizing that your mind and body really need the down time, use one of your strengths: planning. Plan your relaxation time with the same determination you plan your daily tasks!
Another useful thing to remember is that not all urgent things you have to do are really important. You need to learn to trust others and delegate tasks to them, you need to prioritize and not think everything will fall apart if you don’t work yourself to death.
But maybe the most important thing is to redefine what being lazy means for you. You may consider it a moral sin, but isn’t driving yourself and everyone around you crazy more damaging? Can you see relaxation as an important and beneficial part of one’s life? Can you slow down without judging yourself for it?
Sure you can. It just takes practice. And you are so good at so many things, doing nothing will be a child’s play. Please, share this!