Feeling lazy? Signs you're in survival mode and how to get out.
If you feel like you’re lazy and the idea of spending hours on end watching tv or playing video games, eating comfort food, and not having to interact with a single human sounds like the best thing ever, this may surprise you…
That’s a sign of the “freeze” trauma response (aka you’re stuck in survival mode)!
A trauma response happens any time you encounter more stress than you can process in the moment. Soooo really everyone can relate to at least one of the 4 F’s - flight, fight, fawn, or freeze.
First, let’s clear up that you’re not “lazy”. “Lazy” just means that something else in your life is draining too much energy (physically or mentally).
In the freeze response, something has been so overwhelming that your brain is like, “that’s it - everything is too much, I just want everything to leave me alone and to not have to feel anything so I can be safe”. Your brain’s ONE mission in life is to keep you safe and loved, but with all the stress it has shifted into major helicopter parent mode and has decided pretty much everything could be a threat.
Here’s the thing about trauma responses that’s making your life more uncomfortable than it has to be…
When you’re stuck in survival mode, the thing you need the most when things are feeling hard is the opposite of what your brain automatically does.
Freeze mode is tricky, because the automatic reaction is to avoid everything and, thanks to our society’s hustle culture and the diet + fitness industry’s emphasis on discipline and willpower, that can lead to a lot of self-judgment about what you should be doing (or judgment from others) leading to a lack of self-confidence so that being around others feels even more unsafe.
You may be spending a lot of time watching TV, playing video games, or staying in bed instead of dealing with things that need to get done so that they start to pile up, which makes things even more intimidating and stressful (and keeps you in freeze mode). You may feel completely detached to your emotions.
What you really need when you’re in “freeze” mode is going to feel most unnatural:
Any action feels the opposite of what you want! So a good place to start is to identify the first doable step that helps to calm your nervous system so you can start to shift out of freeze mode. Even becoming aware that you're in the freeze response can help to start feeling empathy and self-compassion so you can start to release judgment and the pressure you're putting on yourself. Instead, allow yourself to think about why it’s really understandable that your nervous system is overwhelmed.
Focusing on one small step at a time instead of big goals is key and celebrating every action as a success will help things to feel less overwhelming and to build confidence for the next smallest step. For example, learning one anti-anxiety tool, going outside for 5 minutes of sun and fresh air, or journaling to start connecting with how you’re feeling.
Here’s how "freeze" mode may be impacting your health....
Living in a state of stress and complete overwhelm impacts your entire body (including your blood sugar and gut health).
You likely feel totally drained and uncomfortable in your body, but the thought of starting any healthy habits seems totally overwhelming. You’re stuck in a vicious cycle of judging yourself for the way you’re taking care of yourself which adds to stress and overwhelm so you don’t take action to change that because the way that you cope is to keep doing the things that aren’t making you feel good (which makes you feel more stressed and overwhelmed).
You avoid social interactions because your brain perceives being around people as threatening and stressful but that leads to loneliness which negatively impacts physical and mental health.
Since these tendencies are automatic, they’re not going to change unless you decide to change them.
Both staying in a trauma response and overcoming it feels hard. You can’t avoid that.
However, the RESULT of doing the hard thing feels very different between the two:
- Staying in a trauma response will further drain your energy and continue to feel disappointing and uncomfortable
- Working to overcome a trauma response will ultimately give you MORE energy and help you to get closer to what you truly want (and need) every step of the way
How to start breaking the cycle...
Overcoming a trauma response and the automatic patterns that have been draining your energy and keeping you stuck doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process.
But every process involves just one small step at a time! And each small step that frees you from the patterns that have been draining your energy and making life harder than it has to be will give you more energy and motivation for the next smallest step.
The problem with most approaches is that they do the opposite of what you need: they add stress to your life which just keeps you even more stuck in the trauma response you need to escape.
That’s why my approach is designed to decrease your stress not add more to your plate...
My programs are designed to feel like a breath of fresh air. 🙌🏻
My LBC (Life Boosting Change) Approach transforms the way you experience life. It gets you out of survival mode, off the hamster wheel (of working hard, yet exhausted and not where you want to be), and on a path that adds pleasure, energy, and fulfillment every doable step of the way.
We get to the root of why things haven’t been working and what has been feeling hard so you can create the change you’ve been wanting - no willpower or discipline required. And you most definitely don’t need to be on your best behavior (that’s actually not helpful).
My goal it to help you to feel better today instead of living in the “things will be better once...” mindset.
Here are ways to get started:
- Use my favorite 1 minute anti-anxiety tool. This is a doable way to start releasing the stress and emotions you’re keeping bottled up. If freeze mode sounds familiar, I recommend doing several rounds of this as soon as you wake up in the morning and throughout the day.
- Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org sharing what about this post sounded familiar so we can start a conversation to identify the next most doable small step to start shifting out of survival mode in a way that feels good to you.
- Visit my website (www.lifeboost.today) to learn more about my LBC approach and the programs availabl
Cheers to your health, happiness, and success!
P.s. While shifting out of survival mode is a process, you will notice a big change in the way you feel quickly in my 6 month program. Here's what one of my clients said after the first month of working together:
“In the first month of working with Amelia, I have noticed drastic changes in my life, body, and mental health. Prior to working with Amelia, I was burnt out, stressed veterinarian who would indulge in foods not healthy for me because I felt like I didn’t have time to cook healthy food. I’ve learned how to look at food labels and determine what foods would agree with my body the best. I’ve learned a bunch of new healthy recipes that I love and am no longer craving unhealthy tater tot’s or ice cream!
Before looking at my work schedule and appointments days before would give me anxiety, affect my home and sleep life if there was a difficult surgery on my schedule. I’ve now learned various calming techniques that I use on a daily basis to keep my stress at bay. I look forward going to work again and being able to take on the day with a new mindset that does not bring negativity. My fiancé has even noticed my new mindset and seen how much my stress and anxiety has decreased since starting the Life Boost program!”
Note: If you’ve experienced trauma, depression, or you’re concerned about your mental health, I always recommend connecting with a licensed therapist, as well!