Laziness and Rest: Totally Not the Same Things

At the end of a week, I am wiped. I arrive home every Friday evening declaring my plans to get some serious rest. Does that happen? Of course not. Instead, all I do is loll around watching DVR’d episodes of Community, wondering why my university never hosted campus-wide paintball fights.

This may sound very restful. Indeed, I am not doing anything. If it wasn’t for Shiva, I probably wouldn’t leave the house at all during such a session. Unfortunately, it turns out that after two days of such laziness all I am is more tired.

How can this be?

Dogs don’t have this trouble differentiating. They seem to innately understand their immediate needs and how to meet them. If they are thirsty, they find some water and drink. If they are tired, they climb on the nearest couch and sleep. If they are hungry, they find the nearest human and beg for treats. It’s that simple.

We humans seem to have our wires mixed up. If we are thirsty, we debate the ethics over bottled versus tap versus soft drink. If we are tired, we tell ourselves we need to suck it up. If we are hungry, we calculate how many calories we’ve already eaten, decide it’s too many, and go back to work.

No wonder we don’t truly understand what real rest is. By the end of a long week spent denying ourselves, it’s natural for us to want to indulge in extreme lazy. Of course, this only makes us feel unproductive and exhausted, setting us up for more failure once the work week begins again.

I am completely guilty of this. But, as they say, nothing changes if nothing changes. If I am going to break out of this work-till-I-drop-then-waste-away-on-the-couch routine I need to acknowledge my problematic behaviour and come up with solutions.

Rest is… Spending time playing with my three fuzzy foster kittens.

Laziness is… Reading a trashy novel and feeling guilty for not sweeping the floors.

Rest is.. Taking the dog for a three-hour trip to the dog park.

Laziness is… Watching a Will Smith movie I’ve already seen three times before.

Rest is… Going to bed at a decent time before I fall asleep on the couch.

Laziness is… Sleeping in as late as possible and then rushing around to get everything done before work.

Rest is…  Eating regular meals that fill me up.

Laziness is… Grabbing an energy bar or a handful of chips and berating myself for eating crap.

Rest is… Long, cozy chats on the telephone with family and friends.

Laziness is… Responding to emails five days late and spending the whole time apologizing for said lateness.

Rest is… Getting my chores done during the week so I can enjoy fun on the weekends.

Laziness is… Procrastinating and hurrying to do my laundry at 10 o’ clock Sunday night.

Rest is… Petting Shiva at night when she snuggles up on the couch.

Laziness is… Batting Shiva’s tongue away as I try to get a blog post up at the last-minute.

So it’s a work in progress. The point is I need to be more aware of what I am doing and how I could better be spending my time. Sure, lolling around can be fun. However, there is a limit. What is better is getting out and appreciating the moment. Finding things that inspire me. Relishing my abilities. Taking time to get things done so I don’t beat myself up for not doing them later.

I am not saying I am going to delete everything from my DVR  or give up potato chips. Please. But I do think it’s important to understand what makes me feel rested and what just makes me want to delve further under the blankets. There is a time and a place for Community. A sunny Sunday afternoon is not it.

24 thoughts on “Laziness and Rest: Totally Not the Same Things

  1. Ha! I love Community! (And am very glad it’s back, though this new season is mostly on my DVR waiting to be watched, too.)
    It’s funny to read this, because a few weekends ago the Husband and I did something similar with an Arrested Development marathon. You can hardly help it! They suck you in! (Just like those Will Smith movies… wasn’t Independence Day on last weekend?)
    But you make a good distinction. Laziness, for me, involves the procrastination of anything else. Rest is when the to-do list is done, nothing is nagging at my conscience and the house is clean and the dogs are walked. If I can sleep in until 10am guilt-free, it’s rest.
    So basically, the distinction is my mind, not my body. If my mind is at rest, even a long, brisk dog walk with lots of hills is relaxing and rejuvenating.


  2. I have the same problem- sometimes on Sunday I just want to do nothing, but there is SO much to do – how do people have kids on top of all this?? They must be exhausted! 🙂


  3. You make an interesting distinction that I have not thought about, but you are right that total inactivity isn’t really very restful. Except for watching Community, of course. With four dogs and a cat, even watching a DVR takes activity because someone always wants to play fetch or tug of war or other reindeer games. And also I feel better doing aerobics that molding away on the couch while I’m watching a show.


  4. Wow, first Pamela and now you. Does all of Blogville have camera’s on my house and are watching what I do ;0) Your weekend sounds exactly like mine. I need to treat myself to a weekend full of real rest – and so do you! (PS – reading a trashy novel is only laziness if you berate yourself for it! I happen to think it’s very restful.)


  5. I find if I don’t do much, I feel more tired than when I have a hectic day. I think getting things done actually revitalises us. Don’t get me wrong, I still like my duvet days, but I also look forward to my hectic ones.

    Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and enjoy it. Even if you don’t enjoy the actual task, enjoy the feeling of satisfaction from getting it done.


  6. LOVE this post! I’m constantly feeling guilty for having some ‘me’ time, even worse after realising that I could have spent that time a lot smarter, especially when it comes to Del. After relaxing for an hour, I always think that I could have spent it walking him, or playing with him.

    Really interesting post which got me thinking- thanks 🙂


  7. This post really got me thinking! I am as guilty of being lazy as anyone….Sunday afternoons are usually spent with my butt on the couch watching Nascar racing. Which I allow myself to indulge in. But when I’m also parked on the couch on Saturday afternoon (especially in the Winter), then I feel guilty and lazy. What you made me realize is this: how restful can it be when you’re sitting there trying to fight off the guilt, and thinking about all the things you should be doing? 🙂


  8. I have been SO lazy lately. Yes it is true that I still walk the dogs on the weekends but the rest of the time I spend on the couch attached to my computer.


    Please help, come up with a 12 step program or something!!


  9. I love those distinctions between laziness and resting. It’s so tempting to fall in that lethargic trap of just sitting around watching TV, but it never makes me feel replenished or recharged, which is what resting is supposed to accomplish! I think I’m going to have to make my own lazy vs. rest list and figure out how to better spend my down time…


  10. I always feel better about lolling on the couch after I’ve given Blueberry a good long hike. Then the lolling feels more restful.

    Also, if we humans slept whenever we were tired like dogs do, I’m pretty certain more of us would be unemployed. But you are right – we over think things – no doubt about it. 🙂


  11. Once again you’ve hit on something I struggle with…but please judge this one for me…Sitting in recliner, “Notting Hill” DVD playing and reading blogs on the laptop while Gizmo cuddles next to me…Is that Restful or Lazy or a hybrid? I’m leaning towards lazy, but the reading tips it towards restful I think


  12. I am totally with you and this and guilty of most all the “laziness”. My current TV season watching obsession is Scrubs, though I love Community… I really need to catch up on that. See – getting sidetracked again. Being restful rather than lazy is something I also need to work on. One thing I’ve learned is that I don’t do well with a midday nap. Tried one today after not napping in years and blech, I felt way worse afterward.


  13. Oh my God. You just wrote about me!
    I was feeling guilty this past weekend for doing practically nothing and then rushing around trying to get things done at the last minute before work. I even brought work home this weekend and didn’t do any of it. I think I need to redefine rest vs. laziness – just like you did above. Maybe I need to redefine and when I do stop feeling guilty if I am okay with the laziness part. Great post Kristine. Certainly resonated with me.


  14. One of my best tools for managing my depression is bringing more mindful pleasures (or rest) into my life and fewer shadow comforts (or laziness). It truly helps, for which I’m thankful.

    But I try not to look down on laziness all the time. Sometimes it’s the best I can do. And I find that being compassionate toward myself when watching television or eating cheap carbs helps me move past it more quickly than when I judge myself for not being more mindful.

    It would be nice to have more rest in my life that laziness. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it. We’re all doing the best we can.


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