fitness · self care

What’s so great about more? Less is just fine as it is.

Samantha recently posted this picture on FB from one of the YMCAs near her– it’s a cute veggie-bicycle graphic with an encouraging health message.

A picture of a cyclist (made from vegetable images) with copy: more water. more veggies. more protein, etc, ending with more happy and fit.
A picture of a cyclist on bike (both made from vegetables) saying: more water. more veggies. more protein, etc, ending with more happy and fit.

Now, I love vegetable-collaged images as much as the next person. Here’s another cute one:

A fruit/veggie/crack collage of a giant flower and butterfly.
A fruit/veggie/cracker collage of a giant flower and butterfly.

Parenthetically, we should give due credit to the master of produce-collaged art, Giuseppe Archimboldo, whose famous Vertumnus is below:

Rudolph II of Habsburg as Vertumnus, by Giuseppe Archimboldo.
Rudolph II of Habsburg as Vertumnus, by Giuseppe Archimboldo.

But I come here not to praise vegetable art, but to crab about all this “more” talk. Yes, the good people of the YMCA mean well when they encourage us to do more of this and that. But we are always being told to do more of the things we are already doing.

Move more live more. Really?
Move more live more. Really?

I am moving some these days– not as much as I would like, but more than I did in the winter. And yes, I want to move even more. I’m trying, I’m trying!

As for living, I think I’m doing the same amount of that as I always have. “Living more” rubs me the wrong way, as if I’m not living enough now. Honestly, these days I’m doing absolutely as much living as I possibly can; trying to squeeze more living out of me is just going to make me start yelling. Hmmm, at least I will be doing “more” of something. This is starting to sound rather appealing.

More yelling (actually cut from a "no more yelling" graphic, but this suited me better).
More yelling (actually cut from a “no more yelling” graphic, but this suited me better).

But you might be thinking, hey Catherine, “more” is out and “less” is in. Didn’t you read or watch Marie Kondo? More causes stress, and less can bring joy.

It’s true– there are lots of folks out there rhapsodizing about the joys of less. But the stealth message they are sending is IF you do less of X, THEN you will get more of Y. Less isn’t good unless it’s tied to more in the end.

Even many of the mindfulness folks cannot keep their eyes off the prize– more productivity once you let go of [insert something here] and embrace [insert some other thing there]. Like the title of this blog post below:

I'm going to start yelling now.
I’m going to start yelling right now.

The world (or rather, the world of self-help and self-improvement) can’t stand it when we just scale back and do less. Our doing less has to be in service of some payoff, like increased success through fake-o less-doing.

Again with the "less, but"! What about "less" with no "but"? Will the world end? I think not.
Again with the “less, but”! What about “less” with no “but”? Will the world end? I think not.

What’s my point here? My point is that I sometimes I just want less.

  • less anxiety
  • less work
  • less self-judgment
  • less time feeling cornered by life circumstances
  • less sleeplessness
  • less coping with the above through overeating, avoidance, etc.
  • less shame about doing less when I want or need to

I’m not claiming that getting and doing less will create more of anything. Maybe it will, but we don’t always need it to. Sometimes we may just need it to be less. Period.

less is just less.
less is just less.

Readers– friends: what do you need or want less of? I’d like to know. I’m listening.

10 thoughts on “What’s so great about more? Less is just fine as it is.

  1. I love this so much. As I was reading I just wanted to shout yes, yes, yes! It’s so frustrating sometimes, why can’t we just live our lives? So much pressure to strive, do more , improve something. I feel the same way about food talk sometimes. It just makes me want to get some jellybeans and a can of coke and lay on the couch.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes– all this pressure has the exact opposite effect. Working on the perfect solution– will post when obtained… 🙂

      Like

  2. I have been doing less, both due to illness, and then on purpose, because I know I need rest to stay healthy. I struggle with guilt though, since I often feel like I should be working. The difficulty with pressure to be constantly improving is it doesn’t allow us to enjoy where we are, or even to have a period of healing and rest when we need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa– thanks for your comments. You are so right that so many messages are about not resting, or resting in service of being energized to do even more. Yes, let’s enjoy where we are; what a thought…

      Like

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