The other day I received an Instagram message from a follower who was still learning about self-care and what works best for her. She mentioned that she sometimes finds herself using “self-care” as an excuse, instead of an act of self-love.
I could definitely relate to her experience. I’m not perfect. Even though I’ve had a longer experience practicing self-care, I unfortunately still occasionally find myself using self-care as an excuse to be lazy. For example, sometimes I find myself binge-watching a new show instead of working on my blog. Even though I know I had the energy and time to work on my priorities, I used the excuse of binging Netflix as a “self-care day.” While sometimes this might be the case, often times it’s just a way for me to procrastinate and make excuses instead of taking care of my responsibilities.
If you’re a naturally ambitious and busy person who’s not familiar with self-care, you might not know the difference between taking care of yourself and simply being lazy. You might even feel guilty about taking a break every once in awhile. A way to feel less guilty (and take productive and important self-care time) is to know the difference between the two, which I explain below!
What is Laziness?
If you’re constantly using “self-care” as a reason to sit back and watch 10 hours of Netflix simply because you don’t feel like doing anything responsible (we’ve all been there let’s be real), this isn’t true self-care. You should be participating in self-care activities if you’re feeling worn out or overwhelmed as a tool and strategy to recharge and reset before tackling what you need to do for the day. For example, if you’re not truly exhausted and simply feeling lazy, don’t use self-care as an excuse to not exercise for the day. You might feel like your body is asking for the “rest,” but really it most likely needs that extra push and rush of endorphins to get you back in the saddle to feel reenergized and conquer your day.
Similar to making excuses, putting off your priorities and only working on unimportant tasks is more a form of laziness instead of self-care. I honestly fall prey to this habit much more frequently than I’d care to admit, but I’m working on it! Sometimes if I’m feeling unproductive and just don’t want to continue with any projects or errands for the day, I’ll start making excuses to work on remedial tasks that really don’t need to be done, such as organizing my already read messages in my inbox for the 10th time.
If you realize you’re procrastinating, combat the lazy habits with recognizing your priorities and looking within yourself to push forward. If you’re completely burnt out and absolutely cannot work, maybe it is time to take a loving break in order to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your to-do list.
Doing Things that Lead to Fatigue
Your self-care activities should help you feel better afterward, not worse! For example, taking a self-care break to watch an episode or two on Netflix can help you relax your mind or relieve any stress that may have been bothering you for a while. However, if you start marathoning a show for hours and even potentially a few days, you’ll most likely feel sluggish and tired, even though you haven’t done anything physically or mentally active. There’s a fine line between taking too much time off and just the right amount of self-care breaks. It might take some practice to learn what’s best for you, so be aware of your actions and how they’re affecting your energy levels overall.
For many busy and ambitious millennials who are new to self-care, it’s hard to NOT feel guilty for taking a loving and productive break. After some practice, you’ll start to notice the difference between true self-care and feeling guilty for procrastinating and being lazy. You’ll recognize how you feel overall after taking care of yourself instead of pushing important tasks off because you just don’t feel like it. If you feel guilty for your breaks, it’s most likely because you’re not actually using self-care. Try planning your self-care activities to directly benefit one of your responsibilities. For example, if you’re not feeling motivated to get some of your work done, look on Youtube for a short guided meditation that helps you focus on productivity and motivation. This will help refocus and shift your mindset without feeling guilty for taking a break!
Do you ever find yourself complaining about things you need to do, how you feel, or anything that you should have been doing during the day? If you’re taking time for yourself with genuine self-care, it doesn’t include complaining. Why would you complain about taking time to love and care for your physical and emotional self? If you’re noticing that you’re complaining rather frequently and not getting anything done, you’re most likely just being lazy instead of practicing self-care.
What is Self-Care?
Taking Care of Yourself
If you’re new to self-care, you might not be aware with just how much it can improve and benefit your life. In contrast to laziness, self-care is exactly what it says: care for yourself. This can include basic acts of drinking water, getting enough sleep, meditating, and more. These activities help feed your body, mind, and spirit with what it needs in order to perform at its best. If you’re unsure how to get started with self-care, I highly recommend my free 5-day self-care email course, where I can help you easily build your own solid self-care foundation in your busy life.
Recharging and Reenergizing
Unlike when you feel fatigued and gross after being lazy, self-care should recharge and reenergize you to feel motivated and ready to tackle what needs to be done during the day. You’ll need to pay attention to yourself and practice a little trial and error before you learn exactly what you’ll need to do to start feeling better to move forward. Sometimes I just need a quick 30-minute nap or yoga session to get back on track, or maybe even an entire day to give my mental health a break. Give your body what it needs, and it’ll thank you in return.
Paying Attention to Your Mind, Body, and Soul
In order to give your body proper self-care and avoid simply being lazy, you’ll need to pay attention and listen to what your inner self needs. Maybe you’ve had a stressful week at work and your mind needs some time to recharge. You might have been physically active more than usual during the week, and your body needs rest. In contrast, if you’ve been lazy or inactive physically, your body and mind will both need activity to recharge and feel better.
You know yourself better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to recognize what you need in order practice proper and productive self-care.
Approaching Yourself with Kindness and Gratitude
Self-care is an act of self-love. The difference between laziness and self-care is that self-care ultimately comes from a place of love and gratitude. You’re taking care of yourself with the kindness and forgiveness it needs. Are you really being kind or nurturing yourself if you’re procrastinating and being lazy? How are you approaching yourself with love if you keep making excuses and whining? Pay attention to your thoughts and intentions behind your actions. It’ll reveal the ultimate decision on if you’re truly giving yourself self-care, or simply being lazy.
Do you struggle with the fine line between self-care and laziness? Let me know in the comments below!