The Achiever and the Couch Potato
I was giving an update to my mastermind group yesterday, which involved sharing how I had a couch day over the holiday weekend and just cocooned. A part of me felt a little shame in admitting that - because I've told myself this story about how I'm "being lazy" and therefore will never achieve what I want in life. But I said it anyway because it was my truth.
I was amazed to hear the other women in the group echo my story. This was yet another moment in life where I had almost convinced myself I was the only one...There's tremendous power in knowing I'm not alone.
Before we met, I had written in my journal and acknowledged for myself that sometimes I need a good couch day and there's nothing wrong with that. This year I feel like I have done less than in past years, yet I carry a blanket of perpetual exhaustion around with me like Linus.
I have to remind myself that it's especially hard to be on as a parent 24/7 without the normal breaks we got pre-pandemic.
I might not be as busy, I have barely driven my car in the last 8 months (is it really necessary to get an oil change every 3 months because it's been about a year and I still haven't reached the odometer reading). There are far fewer things scheduled on my calendar than normal. But the fact is that each day takes a tremendous amount of effort to simply show up and give it my best.
And while I make small acts of self-care a daily priority - going for a walk, journaling, meditation, doing yoga, calling a friend, etc. My body still needs extra time to rest and recover from the stress and demands of this year. So, I let myself have a couch day. And if I'm being really honest with myself, I could use another one.
Growing up, I heard a lot of criticism - don't be a couch potato. It was drilled into me that there were two types of people, you were either lazy or an achiever. I of course wanted to be the achiever.
So, it's no wonder that there's this extra baggage of shame for spending a day relaxing on the couch. I don't want to be a lazy couch potato.
But the world isn't so binary. We're not one or the other, we are both and. We can be both lazy and a high achiever.
Furthermore, our bodies aren't machines that can be producing work 24/7. We need time for rest and recovery. We need sleep. We need nourishment. We need to restore not only our bodies but our minds and spirits.
Perhaps part of the problem is the punch of the word lazy. It has so many negative connotations that go against the puritanical work ethic that permeates our culture. The notion that your value and worth as a person is tied to how much you produce puts an extremely negative spin on laziness.
What if there's such a thing as purposeful laziness? What if one of our greatest challenges in modern society is intentionally choosing when not to exert energy?
There are endless ways to give our energy away and allow ourselves to become depleted. It is far easier to mindlessly exert energy than ever before thanks to technology and social phenomenons like FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Suddenly, with these reframes in mind, having a restful, lazy, couch potato day is a radical act of resistance that feeds my abilities to achieve when and where it matters most.