Does (Early) Retirement Make You Lazy? A Truth Guide

As your retirement is getting closer (but even if it’s not), you might wonder, does retirement make you lazy?

As a general rule, if you’re a lazy person by default, you’re likely to be lazier in retirement. And if you’re busy, you’re likely to remain busy in retirement. But laziness is all relative. The quote: “I’m not lazy, I’m just retired” says it all. Retired people may look lazy in the eyes of a busy society. Slowing down and doing things you love is part of retirement.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; let’s dive deeper into the truth about laziness in retirement.

The Truth About Laziness In Retirement

In the western world, we are programmed to be productive 24/ 7, 365 days a year. Since industrialization, we’re taught to work hard and achieve goals fast, professionally and privately. Also, we needed to work hard to afford a roof over our heads, pay the bills and buy food and medicine. The moments we are not busy or productive are when we feel guilty or made to feel guilty by others.

Taking a moment to rest isn’t something we are used to. Or is encouraged, especially in countries that prioritize efficiency and push employees to the limit. This is increasing by the decade, and with social media’s help, where we all are trying to paint a perfect picture online. Because we are very concerned about what other people think of us, it goes so far that other people’s opinions are more valuable than our own.

Perhaps we should rephrase the question and ask: Does Retirement Make You Look Lazy?

Fear To Be Lazy

Most of us have been conditioned all our lives into ignoring every warning bell our body gives us.

It is no wonder that more and more people experience burnout or burnout symptoms, which include physical and emotional exhaustion, because they are dealing with immense stress trying to meet expectations and rising demands. According to a recent online study: 76% of U.S. employees are currently experiencing worker burnout.

From a young age, we believe sacrifice, working hard, and constantly pushing boundaries is important and normal. Working through sickness and being proud of it has become our motto. We are trained to make decisions based on our ego-brain instead of what our hearts say or our soul is whispering.

Also, many people have an unconscious belief that they only earned a break, a treat, or a rest when they worked hard or achieved a goal. They need the feeling that they’ve earned it.

That means we only value ourselves when we gain a result. This directly means that our self-value is dependent on a result and what we do instead of who we are. So what if happens when you don’t get the result? You feel unworthy.

We don’t feel as if we are enough and are constantly reminded of it through advertising, social media, and society. But besides our self-value attachment to productivity, we also care deeply about what other people think of us.

We fear that we will somehow lose something if we stop working or retire. And that is partly true of what we’ve learned so far in this article. Our self-value is attached to the amount of work we produce and what other people think of us, so we are afraid to lose respect for ourselves when we aren’t as productive anymore or do something others might find strange.

So if this is always in the back of our minds… Then I can understand questions such as Does Retirement Make You Lazy? arise.

Would these concerns exist in other parts of the world, where resting (frequently) is very normal and even celebrated?

Wouldn’t it be nice to view laziness differently, more positively?

Can you become a happy and lazy retiree in retirement and don’t care what the people think?

Yes, you can!

Why You Are Not Lazy In Retirement

Being busy has become a status, and that is what many people strive for in retirement; staying busy.

And yes, I highly agree that staying busy and active is one of the keys to a successful retirement. But it shouldn’t be about staying busy, just to stay busy out of fear. Instead, you should stay busy doing things you love and take it easy when your body gives you signals to slow down. Now, that is the total opposite of what society is used to and what we are used to doing.

So when a retiree is doing exactly what retirement is all about, it can look lazy in someone’s else eyes whose belief is to always be productive and efficient 100% of the time. But folks, that is not normal.

You should slow down, say ‘no’ more often to things you don’t like doing, and feel happy about it. Before and after retirement. We need to listen to our bodies and heart and act on that. If you feel sick, your body is giving you a signal you should listen to and take a pause. And not ignore it out of fear of being seen as lazy.

We often argue with ourselves that we shouldn’t feel that way and push ourselves to the limit and our feelings away. Instead of taking a nap, we decide to drink coffee. And that is why it’s important that you need to let go of the resistance to your own needs and other people’s opinions in retirement.

You are not lazy when you choose yourself first. When your bucket is filled with your needs and self-love is when you can be of service to others.

Who Will Be Lazy In Retirement?

In the first paragraph, I mentioned that people who are lazy by default will also be lazy after retirement. The same goes for people who are easily bored and have a bigger chance of being bored in retirement. And it goes the other way around. You will structure your retirement days to stay busy if you’re a busy bee. Only the to-do list will become a little different. Instead of going to work for 8 hours in the day, you spend it on other activities. From household activities and running errands to spending time on a hobby.

The combination of physical, mental, and social activities that align with your soul is the key to a retirement filled with happiness.

Many retirees asked themselves, ‘how did I ever have time to work?’ before retirement. Their agenda is packed with volunteer work, classes, new hobbies, and staying connected with friends and family. At the same time, others love their freedom of having no obligations.

They are thrilled to have no schedule. And protect their freedom. They don’t want to work— or do volunteer work. And do not feel the need to get anything done, because they love the fact that they don’t have to strive anymore or achieve something. It can feel like a great rush of relief.

The great thing about retirement is that you can take a slower pace, and put off some stuff until tomorrow or the next day and still be active. You definitely will procrastinate more, but as long as you’re not sitting on the couch all day watching the TV, you’re going to be okay.

Cause of Laziness In Retirement

What many retirees regret, especially in the USA, is that they didn’t have something to retire to.

They had their retirement planned financially but forgot to have a fun plan for retirement. Once they retire, they’re overwhelmed with the endless free time they have when they retire. They don’t know what to do with all that time, forget about who they are outside of their job, and don’t know what they love doing.

Their process through the five stages of retirement is a struggle. They’re more likely to spend their days sitting on the couch, watching TV, and scrolling through the internet and not getting anything done. Now that is what I call lazy. And this can go into a negative spiral where they feel less worthy of themselves, which leads to depression and loneliness. Many people attach their identity to their job position. And go through an identity crisis when they retire because they need to rediscover who they are on a different level.

But that doesn’t have to be you!

When you retire, you need to be aware of the things you lose, such as routine, structure, goals, social interactions, and a purpose and replace them with new goals, routines, structure, fulfilling activities, and social interactions. And figure out what you love doing and who you are outside of any job position labels.

It can take a bit of time to get comfortable with the new retirement lifestyle, but you slowly start to realize that being lazy is not bad. It can also be your best friend. It is not a lack of motivation but a different perspective on life. You know what you want and are more likely to choose this every single day. Because that is the whole reason why people want to retire: to do what they want and when they want, so don’t be afraid to apply this to your life too!

How To Avoid Laziness In Retirement

When you’ve come to the point that you are lazy, there are many things you can do. And I’ve written a couple of articles that can help you out:

Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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