Have you been feeling off lately?

You may have a gazillion tabs open as you’re reading this trying to figure out what’s wrong. If you’ve found yourself staring at a screen for hours with none of your tasks fulfilled yet or find yourself feeling tired even before you start your day, you’re not alone. If you have been struggling with a lack of motivation and energy this past year, then keep on reading…

There are days that we may feel more productive than others…

Some days we may not want to do anything at all or maybe you have been feeling like this for a while. We may feel “lazy” or find ourselves procrastinating during times like this. This can bring up difficult emotions if we tend to tie our productivity to our self-worth. Living through a collective trauma, an experience that has altered each one of our lives in some shape or form, it is expected that we may not be performing as we did before. In fact, individuals that may be struggling emotionally tend to worry more that they are being “lazy” when they aren’t 100% productive. We have dealt with many changes and experienced variety of losses. If we lean into the feelings of “laziness,” we may learn a lot from what our bodies might be trying to tell us.

After experiencing the changes brought on by COVID-19, our brains can feel overworked…

This can be an overwhelming experience as one can have a hard time perceiving between something that happened in the past with the present moment. This can occur because our brain typically remembers emotional pain in the form of flashbacks that constantly recreate the experience once triggered. One may experience feelings of hypervigilance – running in the background of their minds, assessing the situation, and trying to report back to the rational brain what it finds. This takes a toll on your body which can result in you feeling drained and exhausted throughout your day. Think of the past year and the rollercoaster of emotions we have been presented with. Our brains are not equipped to take in so many changes at a time so it may take more time than we think to process it all.

So, it’s important to be mindful of the external measures of success you have upon yourself…

Instead of critiquing yourself on your productivity and the quantity of work, try reflecting on questions like “how many times did I catch my own negative self-talk?” or “how many times did I recognize that my body was tired or hungry, and did I give it what it needed?”

Feelings of “laziness” may also stem from being in a really difficult situation where you may be feeling helpless. You may feel like people aren’t giving you freedom and autonomy and not really respecting you or letting you feel heard. During these times, it is common to check out because of the unfair situation you are placed in, and this can be perceived as you are being “lazy.”  We can internalize this message and feel bad about ourselves and then struggle with guilt. When thinking about our productivity, reflecting on our current conditions and how we feel before, during, and after tasks can explain a lot.

Instead of viewing lack of motivation as “lazy,” reframing it as a barrier that can be overcome is beneficial to breaking “lazy” behavior patterns.

For those that struggle with procrastination, it may be helpful to view the context of the issue and not a consequence of laziness. For example, if you find yourself staring at a blank page for hours unable to begin your project, this may be a sign you may need some type of stimulation or social contact. When a person has trouble starting a project that they care about, it’s typically due to anxiety about their attempts about not being “good enough” or just not knowing where to begin. Check-in with yourself by asking questions like “is my fear of failure hindering my ability to work?”

“Laziness” may even indicate a sign of burnout. Whether we are feeling overworked or sometimes the opposite where we may be feeling under-stimulated or feel like the work we are producing is not meaningful or appreciated, it may be difficult to find the motivation to put energy towards it. Reflecting on questions like “how important do I feel contributing my time to this work” or “what are some external factors that may be contributing to these feelings” can be important.

So think of ways to extend grace and compassion to yourself when you are feeling “lazy.” Below are some things to consider when thinking of ways to cope with these feelings of laziness.

Coping tips:

  • Change gears if you find yourself stuck on a task for too long. It may indicate that you need stimulation or social contact.
  • Recharge your batteries – This can be anything from taking a walk, getting something to eat, or taking a nap.
  • If you’re in a workplace where you aren’t given the room to set limits – recognize that it may be the job and not you – This can be an opportunity to cultivate collective advocacy because it is a problem that comes from above and from around us, not just from within.
  • Figure out what works for you. We all have different learning and working styles so sometimes experimenting with different work hours or different routines may be helpful in stimulating your brain.
  • Take breaks and try mind stimulating games such as Sudoku or brain teasers when having difficulty focusing.
  • Look for what is holding you back. If anxiety is the major barrier, you may need to engage in a relaxing activity.
  • Seek professional help. Sometimes our anxiety can get the best of us and seeing a professional for care can be helpful.

Feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19? You’re not alone. If you need someone to talk to, try one of our support groups, or call a trained crisis counselor:

Online Wellness Group

Join a wellness group

Confidential • Anonymous • Free

5 groups to choose from

Emotional Support Helpline

Talk to a crisis counselor:

Call: 1-844-863-9314

Confidential • Anonymous • Free

8am-10pm / 7 days

You might also like…

New York Project Hope

Online Wellness Group

Join a wellness group

Confidential • Anonymous • Free

7 groups to choose from

Emotional Support Helpline

Talk to a crisis counselor:

Call: 1-844-863-9314

Confidential • Anonymous • Free

8am-10pm / 7 days