‘Am I Just Lazy?’

The thin line between laziness and poor mental health — and how to tackle it.

So, firstly: engage in some direct self reflection

It’s pretty hard to outwardly tell the difference sometimes between laziness and depression, even for ourselves. Only you, as an individual, can ask yourself for the truth and face your own reality. Are you dealing with a mental health problem, or have you always shown a tendency towards laziness? Most people don’t become lazy overnight. So think back: how likely were you to finish things in school? Or keep up hobbies? How often do you see projects or ideas through to completion, or keep on working at something until you feel you’ve achieved something tangible? Are you looking for the first opportunity to shift into a new shiny activity? Or are you always picking up new hobbies? Are you someone who leaves things unfinished?

Set the baseline and break it down into achievable parts

We’ve all got to eat healthy, exercise and sleep, in order to have the energy to do things we want or need to do. So it’s time to set the baseline: when should you be getting into bed each night? How can you ensure that you do that? Do you need to create a nighttime routine? What about in the morning? I’m personally quite a light sleeper, so one alarm and I’m up. But you need to learn how to make mornings work for you. That doesn’t mean cramming in an entire second life before work, the way many productivity blogs advise. I personally do do that, I’ll be honest; but I love mornings. If you are not a morning person, then work with it, not against it.

Figure out where your focus should be

Values. They’re everything. I wrote about this recently, because I think the process of figuring out your core values is really important. Often laziness comes from an inability to focus on what you need to do — things feel overwhelming perhaps, or there’s so much to get done that you feel paralysed. But taking a breath and a step back is really important. Figure out what should be holding your attention — where your values truly lie. From here, there’s a much better chance you will be able to get moving again. It’s the fog of laziness and an inability to prioritise that can become easy stopping points.

It’s time: Face your fears

Sometimes ‘laziness’ is actually just ‘fear’ in disguise. Like, you’re afraid to commit to doing something you might fail at.

Do one thing first

Just one thing that will move you in the direction of your values. Making the conscious effort to stop sitting around or finding excuses to do whatever is easiest is going to be the tough first step. Put down the game, stop Instagramming, don’t text gifs to your friends. Just think: what is it I want to be doing with my life? What are my values? And what one thing can I do to enact them? Even if it is starting with making a list. Just start.

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Photo by Cel Lisboa on Unsplash

Okay, what next?

Maintaining a practice, whatever it is, will help you to learn the kind of discipline that keeps the momentum moving. Meditation is great for this, and apps like Headspace definitely gameify that experience enough to keep you coming back.

Written by

Trying to live better. Writing on Mental Health, Relationships, and Living Ethically. Editor/Podcaster.

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