I Prefer “Conserving Awesomeness”

Ever since I was little I’ve done a dozen things at once. If I have the TV on, I’m usually reading or writing. If I have an extra 30 minutes, I figure I can clean or organize something. Part of me has always been of the mindset that if I have time, I need to fill it with something productive.

And for as much as I talk about being a lazy ass on the couch all the time, the truth of the matter is that I can’t tell you the last time I did actually stay in my pajamas and robe all day.

That’s just not how I roll.

But something odd has been happening lately. It’s like I have an angel wearing her thinking cap and carrying a Swiffer on one shoulder while a devil in a bath robe sits on the other, and all I want to do is tell the spastic angel to quit blocking the TV and go get me more tea.

In other words,  my motivation to “carpe diem” the past few weeks has been replaced by an urge to “carpe the couch” and completely zone out.

I still go to work, to the gym, to all the places I need to go, but when I get home and have time to do the things I feel that I need to be doing—you know, trying to market whatever it is I should be marketing, writing, reinventing the wheel, etc.—the siren song of watching a brainless show or zoning out with reading outweighs my urge to produce. 

Part of it is crippling depression and physical exhaustion—I know that much is true and possibly a future post—but dare I put a positive spin on it and say that in between those bouts I might just be (gasp) cutting myself some slack?!?

But of course there’s some guilt that I’m lazy or unambitious.

After all, I have the ability to write and create all that stuff, so that’s probably what I should do. And I also have the free time, more or less, so it’s pretty much sinful if I don’t fill that time up with stuff, right?

Part of me thinks that’s correct, that there’s so much more I should be doing. But then part of me thinks, “Bath robe all day!”

It takes a lot of energy to get through the daily grind. And although I don’t plan on making pajamas my outfit of choice, I’ve decided that I’m no longer ashamed to say that yes, I let myself zone out on the couch with tea and the ballgame/a “Chopped” marathon on Food Network sometimes instead of writing or “doing” something productive.

While I used to think I had to get up at 6am even on the weekends to avoid that “lazy” label I assigned to myself, I now proudly proclaim that I love sleep. Seeing as I’m up by 5 during the week, I look forward to bonding with my bed until at least 8am on the weekends with no guilt.

I don’t have anything to prove to anyone.

So even though I do still feel a little bit guilty I’m not “doing” more all the time—especially as it relates to writing—I figure when the words are there, I know it and it’s kind of hard to ignore.

The same goes for everything else.

It’s finding a balance between spastic Swiffer angel and demotivational devil and just “being” without looking at it as laziness. Instead, I’ll just consider myself to be conserving awesomeness until I ready to unleash it on the masses.

Possibly in my bath robe.

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39 responses to “I Prefer “Conserving Awesomeness”

  1. Well my first head nod and giggle of Friday is happily given to YOU Abs!

    I too get up too early, go to bed too early (for most people) and think that I “should” be doing something at all times, but this winter I’ve been cutting myself some slack too….I won’t spend a day in PJs anytime soon..and even if I do I’ll be cleaning, folding laundry or redecorating my house while I am…but I will take more mini breaks while doing it…esp if there is a “Law & Order” marathon on ;)

    • Exactly. I know I’ll NEVER be “lazy,” but we all have a different definition of it. However, I don’t have two little twin sons and I don’t know how you do it all. You deserve more than a “Law and Order” marathon!

  2. I’m going through the same thing. My wife and kids preach to me about taking it easy/calm down/slow down and smell something like roses . I’m starting to listen. Then again, my anxiety meds are really friggin good right now.

    If you were at my house you’d see me do several things at once and try to write.

    I like to call it Carpe Minuta

  3. There are never enough hours in the day. Ever. (Well, unless it’s a horrible day that just won’t end.) But I can be busy all day in my p.j.s, fill my day with too much stuff to do without ever even leaving the house. And I can’t just watch TV either — MUST have a book in hand.

    • You also have kids and that responsibility, so I can see your need to try and fit everything in. I never really have the “not enough hours in the day” thing, as I try and make sure I DO have enough time to do what I want. However, it’s hard when 90% of your day is dedicated to work/other people. I guess maybe there aren’t enough “me” hours in the day :)

  4. i have to say that the only area of my life where I am doing only ONE thing is when I’m writing. In all other areas, on most occasions I’m doing two things at once. it’s just the way we’re wired as Americans. If we feel we’re not being productive, then we’re the first ones to label ourselves as lazy, unmotivated, procrastinators, etc. Yet, we seem to be the only ones with this mindset. In other countries, the act of NOT doing something is actually doing something and is seen as an essential part of maintaining good mental health. But, in an effort to prove ourselves right, we resist and in resisting there we go right into the exhaustion lane with anxiety, depression and all other mental health issues driving right beside us. The body needs to shut down, needs to reenergize, needs to be left alone from physical and mental feats so it can function. It took me years to learn this and although today I can relax without guilt, I still have my moments of “I need to do something.” it’s a learning process but you now seem to be on the right track. I like your interpertration of awesomeness. Awesome!

    • Agreed 100%. If I hadn’t rambled on for as long as I did, I would have jumped into the societal aspect of this “guilt.” It’s always “more, more, more” and we’re constantly shamed for actually enjoying just “being” and not “doing” all the time. If you’re simply relaxing, someone else is out there doing it up and trying to claw their way ahead. I think it’s only healthy to take time to savor what you’ve done or simply just to “be” and recharge. Sometimes you need to be motivated to relax. Others might not get it, but they’re simply missing out. P.S. When I write, I just write as well. No distractions needed ;)

  5. It is sometimes very hard to keep myself from giving into being “lazy,” but if every second of every day was spent doing something “productive,” we’d burn out fast. Relaxing and enjoying some quiet time are sometimes what’s best for us.

  6. Good for you! Since I’ve retired, I have developed a very comfortable and healthy bond with my bed!

  7. I always feel like I should be getting more done. Most of this comes from within, but it is helped along by perceived judgment. One friend who has two kids and a full-time job outside the home can barely hide her befuddlement at my time issues. When I’ve expressed my frustration at time, she’s actually said to me, “I never have five minutes to myself.” She doesn’t add, “so what the hell is wrong with you,” but I add that for her.

    Compounding the problem of wanting to do more is low energy. I end up having the worst of both worlds. I’m exhausted so I want to rest, but while sitting on the couch in my PJs, I’m always thinking about what I should be “doing” instead. And when I “do” stuff, I resent not having time to sit on the couch/porch and relax. I’m actually trying to develop a time map so I can schedule relaxation. Seems strange, but everyone deserves to actually enjoy their relaxation.

    • I think that perceived judgment is a huge factor. No, I don’t have kids, but that’s my choice just as they chose to have them and fill up their time with other activities. I have a full-time job, stuff on the side, I have a crap ton of family obligations and duties and I also have a house to take care of by myself. It’s not like I live in a castle with tons of time to paint my nails and count butterflies. We all just have different responsibilities based on the decisions we made, and a bit part of it is judging ourselves. I know you get it and hope you can find time to cut yourself some slack as well. You deserve it!

  8. Like you, I’m always doing two things at once, I think my brain is hard-wired to GO-mode and I cannot flick the switch.

    I spend my days off rushing around, trying to fit everything in, and return to work, weary and exhausted, in need of another day off.

    On my last day off, I literally forced myself to stay in bed and watch The Gilmore Girls boxset for the afternoon. Of course, every 10 minutes or so, I would shoot out of bed to hang out the washing, or empty the dishwasher, berating myself as I did so.

    I think I am starting to accept that this is just the way I am, although I am trying to train myself to ease off the gas and slow down a little.

    It’s great to hear that you are finding the balance, my friend, especially whilst wearing a bathrobe. Rock on!

    • I actually don’t wear the bath robe that much, as I found the little tie belt thing was a great thing to drop in the toilet. Let’s go with a sweatshirt and yoga/workout pants. Much more socially acceptable, no?

  9. I’ve also been a major slacker on the cleaning the home front and being motivated when I am there. I blame stress of other junk going on and that all I want to do when I’m in my safe place is curl up and feel warm and cozy and not worry about anything else. I just try to remember that this too shall pass and we’ll be back to dancing the Passo Doble with our swiffers again in no time ;)

  10. At least you made it to the gym! My arse hasn’t seen that place in two months. #scarylazy

  11. I pretty much live in my yoga pants and bath robe after work these days, and I find the trick to not getting the robe belt to drop in the toilet is to loop around twice, or ditch it entirely (when you do this, though, you sort of feel like a dirty creepy flasher since nothing is holding it up).

    Be kind to yourself. You work your butt off at work and still manage to go to the gym, blog regularly, save animals, make old people smile and feed and dress yourself every morning. That’s more than I do any day! If you need time to veg, whatever, you’ve earned it lady.

    Although I must say, I cracked up that waking up at 8 am on a weekend is “sleeping in” for you. If I’m forced to be out of bed before 11 a.m. on a Saturday, I’m a cranky pants all day.

  12. I wonder if we have the same personality type. I even have a hard time on vacation – I like vacations where you have to do stuff (but not stuff like hiking because I am lazy that way), I’m not a sit on a porch all day type, even when I’m officially supposed to be relaxing.

  13. Melanie The Spork Lover

    I am with you on all of the above. I used to specifically set aside Sundays to not get dressed and watch movies all day. But Sunday is also cleaning day, and go to a meeting in the morning day, and farmer’s market day. So pajama day is sometime pajama half day. Or sometimes I make lunch or dinner plans then come Monday I whine I had no down time.

    I’m really going to try and reinstate pajama Sundays after this month. I already have too much to do the rest of this month. And I hate me for it.

  14. I used to feel wasteful if I didn’t do something else while watching tv. Like I constantly had to be “doing”. My new roommate has helped me a lot with that. I will never call her “lazy”, but she’s sort of taught me that sometimes I just need to sit back and relax and stop with all the multi-tasking. It makes life a little more enjoyable to slow it down. Enjoy it.

  15. I’m also one who does several things at the same time….and I definitely feel guilt all the time for not doing more. Not so good. I’m usually so exhausted from work that I just can’t make myself do more.

  16. “while you were busy doing, i was busy being”…someone once said to me. and it stuck. the real trick-pony here is the balance. balance balance balance. sometimes i desire deeply to yell “fuuuuuck you, balance schmalance”. and maybe sometimes i actually do.

  17. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I totally feel you on this. I’m not great at having consistent balance between work and veging out so I tend to hang out in one extreme or the other. I have a hard time sitting still because it just feels lazy so I do something during every commercial, even if I just put my shoes in the closet and then sit back down. I am always wearing PJs though. Or gym clothes. There is no inbetween.

    • When I’m not at work, I’m always in gym clothes. It’s like I’m some cartoon character always wearing some variation of the same exact thing, but no shame. I love comfort!

      • StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

        Better than a cartoon character who is constantly pregnant :)

        • Not sure where that came from, but yes, MUCH better than that. In fact, there’s a better chance of me actually being a cartoon character with super powers than ever being pregnant. I will, of course, be wearing yoga pants though ;)

  18. Sometimes I think I’m too lazy, but then I remind myself that when I used to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, making up things for myself to do, I was avoiding sitting down and relaxing because I knew I would start thinking about the emotional things I was avoiding. I was keeping my brain busy trying not to think about those things. I finally addressed my issues and found other ways to cope. Now I’m a lazy fuck. Not saying that’s what you’re doing, but something to think about. Now put on your robe and watch tv!

    • Exactly. I think back to when i was at my worst and I was in college with two jobs, an internship, volunteering, etc. partly because I thought I had to and it was mandatory of course, but also because the busier I was, the less time I had to actually face all of my issues. When I had a moment to myself, I was too exhausted to contemplate actually feeling anything other than exhaustion. Years ago I learned that letting myself relax and actually “feel” things can suck at times, buy good lord, it’s healthier than the alternative.

  19. Are you living in my head?
    Weird.
    I have mental health issues and I struggle with this a lot. Staying in PJ’s and loafing all day scares me sometimes…cause that usually means something…throw in a missed shower…and bam…recipe for disaster.
    So I keep busy. I’m a SAHM right now so I feel I have to be on the move all the time.
    But talking with other moms, it’s ok to just chill. To just be one with the couch and Chopped (I’m addicted to that show). Finding that balance is hard but we have to be good to ourselves.
    Was this a weird comment?
    I’ll end with a vagina.

    Now it’s awkward. I apologize.

    • Not a weird comment at all, although the “vagina” at the end was a little misplaced. I might have started with that and ended with “Chopped,” as I am also obsessed with that show. Anyway, yes. With my issues I fear that letting down my guard will result in a huge downward spiral of despair and laziness that inevitably will end in disaster again, so I try and keep myself “productive” instead of allowing for that wiggle room. Again, it’s balance and trusting that I always have the choice to make the next healthy step. Sometimes it’s doing something, sometimes it’s letting myself just “be.” Vagina.

  20. Good for you Abby! I think many of us struggle with guilty feelings related to relaxation. Gosh, typing that out sounds so messed up! I do it all the time. I have found I actually have to practice focusing on one thing at time/relaxing (yes, this was a therapy homework assignment).

    A month from now, I probably won’t remember if I cleaned my kitchen three times or four. However, I will feel the effects of overworking myself mentally and physically. I have to decide which is more important!

  21. Sleep til 8am?? Lady, I still til 11 on the weekends. Actually it’s only 10am and I’m up right now, but that’s only because Boyfriend and I went to bed ridiculously early last night.

  22. You’re not doing “nothing”. You’re being zen.

    Kudos to you for stumbling upon it without effort! Because, the art of zen is all about comfort in zero activity…

  23. Sometimes giving yourself that break feels sooo good, and does more than being “productive”. You’re recharging. Nothing wrong with that!

    Stopped by from the Not Mommy hop :)

  24. I would never consider reading a book “being lazy.” That sounds like a perfectly good use of time.

    Fortunately, I am not afflicted with guilt if I do nothing productive on a day off. I don’t know how anyone can sustain a constant state of busy busy busy. It’s overwhelming. Taking some time to recharge is great!

  25. “…all I want to do is tell the spastic angel to quit blocking the TV and go get me more tea.”

    Awesome. Sounds like me, but I probably would’ve cursed at her for good measure. ;)

    I so hear you on the physical exhaustion of depression. It’s a gigantic PITA.

    • Exactly. It’s funny you bring that up, as I’m actually working on a post about that very thing. It’s a gigantic PITA, and we’re not talking bread, although at times pita bread can temporarily make things a little bit better…;)

  26. “I’ve decided that I’m no longer ashamed to say that yes, I let myself zone out on the couch with tea and the ballgame/a “Chopped” marathon on Food Network sometimes instead of writing or “doing” something productive.”

    GOOD FOR YOU.

  27. I prefer Sunday as my day to laze on the couch. I go out for breakfast to ensure that I get dressed…but other than that, I lay around as much as possible. It’s awesome.

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