If You Ever Felt "Lazy" Because You Needed Rest, Read This
I got so many replies to my first book highlights that I'm back at it with round two.
I'm writing this before I head offline for a two-week vacation. This will hit your mailbox while I'm away.
In the days leading up to my vacation, I noticed I was feeling discomfort about signing off from work for two weeks.
I got curious about that feeling and it reminded me of a book (because everything reminds me of something I've read).
That's where the inspiration for this month's book highlight comes from...
This month we have an excerpt from Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price.
"...the laziness we've all been taught to fear does not exist. There is no morally corrupt, slothful force inside us, driving us to be unproductive for no reason.
It's not evil to have limitations and need breaks.
Feeling tired or unmotivated is not a threat to our self-worth.
In fact, the feelings we write off as "laziness" are some of humanity's most important instincts, a core part of how we stay alive and thrive in the long term...
When people run out of energy or motivation, there's a good reason for it.
Tired, burned out people are...struggling to survive an overly demanding, workaholic culture that berates people for having basic needs...
The Laziness Lie has three main tenants:
1. Your worth is your productivity
2. You cannot trust your own feelings and limits
3. There is always more you could be doing
...Research has repeatedly shown that a person on the verge of burnout will have trouble staying focused and productive.
No amount of pressure and stress can magically help a person overcome that lack of focus and motivation.
The solution is to cut way back on expectations for awhile.
Overextended people have to find space in their lives to sleep, power down their stressed out minds, and recharge their mental and emotional batteries.
You can wait until you reach a breaking point...or you can prevent illness and burnout now by being gentle with yourself before it's too late.
The Laziness Lie has tried to convince us that our desires for rest and relaxation makes us terrible people...
In reality, our feelings of tiredness and idleness can help save us by signalling to us that were desperately in need of some downtime."
For me, this passage is helpful because it reminds me that (1) rest is necessary (2) our culture shames us for resting, so we judge ourselves for needing it and (3) we can mitigate burnout by adjusting expectations at the individual AND organizational levels.
The culture and systems we live in are designed to extract resources, which includes our energy.
If we resist these forces by setting limits and meeting our human need for rest, we may be labeled lazy, uncaring, or uncommitted to the cause.
That can lead to us feeling ashamed, so we keep grinding as if we're machines.
If you're waiting for someone else to give you permission to rest, you might be waiting a very long time (unless you think this newsletter is doing that and if so, it is and please do!).
Practice compassionate badassery and give yourself permission to rest.
Start with what's in your control:
Try scaling back over-giving or perfectionist behaviors at work (high achievers have higher rates of burnout) or reclaim your limited time to rest by taking a break from social media.
That being said, burnout is a workplace issue and it needs to be addressed by the organization. More on that shortly!
This book is just okay, but it is a solid intro into the concept of our worth being tied to our productivity. If you felt some resistance to the 3 tenets of the Laziness Lie, you might get a lot out of this one! You can find a copy here.
If you'd like a more in-depth conversation about rest, grind culture, climate justice, capitalism, white supremacy, and more, I highly recommend this amazing interview with Tricia Hersey of the Nap Ministry.
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