Doing Less to Be More
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.
Because the only thing you can bet on is that life can and will reroute your plans.
A major case of depression sprinkled with severe anxiety;
Two emotionally turbulent job changes within a couple months;
And a couple of colds that wouldn’t quit.
As is always the case, the choppy waters I meandered through in the past month or so have settled and produced some clarity, which I’m super grateful for. Here’s my resulting mantra:
Simplifying equals peace.
Pretty obvious right? But the thing is, simplifying doesn’t mean what it used to mean to me anymore.
I used to associate it with the whole less-is-more movement and decluttering. And while I still acknowledge the value in releasing what no longer serves me (that goes for ill-fitting sweaters and emotional baggage) these days I’m all about decluttering what I’m doing.
Which means I’m making conscious choices in regard to what I’m choosing to add to my to-do list. I’m consistently asking myself, “is this important to me? Is this the best use of my time and energy?”
And I’m listening to my body and mind, and acknowledging the messages they are parlaying (“forget cleaning the floors woman — we need to rest” and “you’re not a graphic designer — outsource it!”)
As a self-betterment obsessed Xennial (definition here) I have a tendency to get a bit, let’s say preoccupied with improving and making progress. (OK bugger it: I am obsessed with bettering myself, all the time.)
And with that passion comes some side effects, namely, stress from overdoing things.
Case in point:
- I get too many books on the go, and each one is filled with advice that contradicts the others.
- I place an excess of value on my need to seek out experts to fix myself.
- I sign up for and receive too many e-newsletters from so-professed experts, which overwhelms me and clogs up my email.
- I put too much on my to-do list (clean out inbox is at the top)
- I put too much on my shopping list.
- I expect too much of myself.
- I don’t give myself permission to just chill.
How does all this mess with my health?
When I think only experts know the answers, I de-value my ability to innately understand how to best care for myself. And I sabotage my well-being, by way of distracting myself from taking ownership of my mental and physical health (“I can’t make myself feel better on my own — only other people and things can”)
Then I get in a loop of thought that says I need things outside of myself to make me feel better, which often results in me getting into mad consumer mode (“must have more books, vitamins, wellness products, appointments with healers, etc”)
All of that adds more tasks to my to-do list and depletes my bank account at an alarming rate.
So I end up doing more, thinking it will result in me being more, when in truth, I just end up mentally and physically depleted.
These days I’ve been cutting back on everything. I’ve been reading and writing less, and dialling back my incessant need to understand and make sense of everyone and everything.
Just taking a big old time out from my need to be productive.
I’m keeping my to-do list short, and focusing on the stuff that’s most important to my health:
- Writing content for clients
- Updating the blog and working on my wellness resource guide, as I feel the urge (Side note: I never force myself to write. I don’t attempt to pry, shame, or coerce soul work out of myself. Otherwise, I end up with garbagio.)
- Cooking healthy food (the foods we eat affect our mental health, and I’ll be doing an interview with a nutritional expert about this soon, which I’ll be sure to share with you.)
- Keeping my house in acceptable shape (there will be some clutter, and that’s OK. At least I’ll work on being OK with it.)
- And most important: Being unwaveringly kind to myself, on every single occasion.
So that’s what I’m all about these days. And I’m wondering if you can relate?
Maybe you’ve felt the same internal chaos over the past while. And perhaps you see the correlation between the incessant pursuit of progress and the likelihood of ending up at an emotional and physical stalemate.
Maybe you can see how counterproductive the go-go-go, more-more-more lifestyle really is.
And maybe you can dig into the idea of filtering out the stuff you’ve been doing that doesn’t serve you. You know, the stuff that if you really let yourself sink into how it makes you feel, you realize it drags you down, and you need to let it go. Like ASAP.
And even if it takes you a bit to fully release it (because breaking a habit can be hella hard to do) maybe you’ll tap into that part of you that, like me, just wants some relief from the emotional overwhelm.
If you’re vibing with all of that, join me in committing to giving yourself permission to dial back the need to always be doing, and turn up to truly living.
Try it on. See how it feels. I think you’ll dig it.
Andrea Scoretz is a health and wellness blogger who is passionate about using storytelling as a means to heal and release the stigma surrounding anxiety, depression, self-care, and self-love. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, in literary magazines, and various websites, and she is a featured author in the newly released book, Just Words, Volume 1, now on Amazon. She shares stories and wellness resources with her growing list of subscribers via a monthly newsletter: Sign up here.