Less, Please

Between girl bossing and hustle culture, it seems as though many of us have forgotten what rest looks like. Why are we doing so much? Working so hard? Trying to fill in the moments of 'nothing to do' with something to do? On this Deep Stretch episode of Inner Warmup, Taylor shares what Mental Health Awareness Month (May) looked like in her world.

This month, we've journeyed through The Five Dimensions of Wellbeing, saving the Wisdom Dimension for last. There's no moment to reflect at the end of this episode, but we're sure you'll do so anyhow. Grab your journal, warm up that tea for the sixth time today, and consider this: how would your life look and feel if you simply...did...less?

Mentioned In The Episode:

Looking for a safe space to learn more about self-care? Maybe make some new friends and share your thoughts on the latest Hulu binge? Great, we have something just for you. Join us in the Inner Working Group Chat!

Self-Care Sunday Newsletter, anyone? Sign up to receive weekly affirmations, a word from Taylor, and a special Inner Workout invitation!

Episode Transcript

Hey welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison creator of Inner Workout, and you as always are our expert guest. So today is a Deep Stretch episode, if you're new to the podcast, the deep stretch episodes are a little bit different. They're me just talking to you as if we were at a coffee shop. I'm drinking a cup of tea, you've got whatever your beverage of choice is, there isn't that built in time for reflection, I just get to really share what self-care and inner work has looked like for me over the past month. And this month, in the States at least, is Mental Health Awareness Month. And we've been talking about this idea of multidimensional mental health, how each of The Five Dimensions of Wellbeing can connect to our mental health. And when I was planning out the content for this, I got the sense that I should save the wisdom dimension for last. And boy did my wisdom dimension have a lot to share with me this month.

If you're not familiar with those dimensions and the wisdom dimension, specifically, that one's all about being really present, accessing the power of being in the present moment, being able to hear your inner wisdom - to trust it, and to be able to take aligned action on what it said. And that's what I've really felt called to this month, is to take aligned action. I mentioned already, you're well aware, you've probably heard it plenty of places beyond Inner Workout that it is Mental Health Awareness Month. And if you read our Self-Care Sunday Newsletter, this month hit me pretty hard. Like we're still in a global pandemic, there's still all of the things globally that are happening. And then in the US, we have a lot going on that impacts different facets of my identity. But beyond that context, I just had a hard personal month, I had things come up that I did not expect. And I was feeling pretty depressed during part of the month. I'm still sitting with some of that right now and in the midst of that, what I kept hearing my wisdom.

My inner wisdom tells me that I needed to learn how to be okay with doing less. Do less, that's the title of this episode, “Less, Please”. Like we're so used to saying yes to more opportunities and advancement and all of that and that has a place but sometimes we just need to say “less, please” and be okay with that. So because of circumstance, because of energy levels, because of just different things going on, I found myself doing less. Resting in my bed in the middle of the day because I was fatigued or I just like needed time to be and not do. I found myself leaning out from certain things that I had said I'm going to show up with this level of consistency and intensity. 

I've been playing around with Tik Tok, if you took that Scroll With Intention course you may have heard me mention that. And I was like yeah, this is like really easy and fun for me to put out a few short videos a day until it wasn't. And I wrestled with, well, should I just keep forcing myself to do this? Or should I be okay with doing less? And in the group chat, our membership community every, Monday we have like an accountability where we can say what we want to be held accountable for and every Friday we have this opportunity to celebrate. And my celebrations were like I noticed the beauty of a bird singing during my walk. I think one week my celebration was just like I made it through this week, like super basic stuff. I wasn't reaching to “can I move my body more?” or “can I accomplish XYZ more?” It was just like I did less, I noticed more. I did less, but I still made it through to be able to type the celebration posts. That's where I've been at this month. 

And based on what I've seen, it's not just me. I've heard this in conversations with friends. I've had this with conversations with virtual friends and just seeing the things that people are talking about online. Other people seem to be called to doing less and are wrestling with that too, because our messaging, at least the messaging that I'm surrounded by, isn't encouraging us to do less. Less is not a good thing. We're celebrating people for hitting the next milestone for being able to do so much, for being booked and busy, for balancing a really, really full plate. Those are the things that we celebrate. Making more money than they did last month, or having more followers or more accolades. 

And I'm not vilifying any of those things. I just, I have needed to question my obsession with having more. And I want to give you permission, if that's something that you're wrestling with too, to question it. And to see if you need to get to a place where you can say, Yes, I want less, I need a little bit less, based on where I'm at right now. And it got me to thinking, what if we celebrated doing the least, instead of doing the most? Or even if doing the least is like, oh my gosh, doing the least that's not okay, like our programming kicks in? What if we just celebrated doing slightly less, instead of doing the most? What would that look like? Instead of like, wow, you are volunteering here, and you've got this side hustle, and you have these other things going on? What if we celebrated someone who just like, gave their best at work, chilled out and then had like a really thriving life of leisure outside of work? They weren't trying to maximize their days and optimize their productivity. They're just being present with their work. They're being present in their life. What if we celebrated that? 

What if instead of celebrating people who have a lot on their plates, and seem to be handling and managing that really well, what if we celebrated people for thriving while having a relatively small amount on their plates? Like, what if instead of pressuring people to say, oh, you're good at that you should start selling, consulting, or you should start selling this thing that you're making for fun, what if we were like, whoa, you have a hobby that you are fulfilled by? Kudos to you, we're celebrating that! What would that look like? And I'm, I was asking myself these questions as I started formulating them, but I'm really sitting here now as I'm recording this thinking, like, what would that actually look like?

When my friend is telling me something that they're good at, or something they're interested in and my brain can think of these ways to monetize it, or these ways for them to get even better at it. But what if I just celebrated them for enjoying this thing, where they're at in creating space, the fact that they created space in their life for it? On a similar note, speaking of space, what if we celebrated people for having more space in their schedules? 

You've probably seen the tweets about being booked and busy. And then the counter side of that, like, I just want to be moderately scheduled and like supported. Or I just want to be, like, pretty booked, but not feeling busy. But yeah, what if we celebrated people for having space in their schedules, and didn't feel like having space in our schedules was a problem? What if you saw that you had an afternoon off, or weekend evening with no plans? And instead of feeling like, what's wrong with me? Do I not have friends? Do I not have enough going on that this is isn't filled? What if we encourage people to have that space and to take that space? Instead of us feeling like we are entitled to any spare amount of time on someone else's calendar, or us feeling the pressure to fill any space in our calendar?

It seems so simple, but at least for me, that's a radical shift in how I approach my time, and it's something that I've been working with and then continuing to work with. Building on that even further, what if we made it a regular practice to clear space that’s in our calendar. Instead of thinking we're not doing enough, what if we started thinking, ooh, I don't have enough space in my calendar, I'm doing too much, I need to clear space, I need to do less, so that I have this time for me. And I've done this in crunch times. When I had my book deadline coming up, I was, like, I have too much going on. And some of it is really fun. And some of that I'm excited about but right now, I know I have to put my time my effort and energy into this. And I'm not going to have much else to give beyond that. So I said no to a lot of things for like two or three months. And people would ask like, hey, can we meet? Can we talk about this thing? And if it didn't fit into my book and a couple other priorities, I said, “okay, we can talk at this time.” And I don't know why it took that book deadline for me to do that. But I wonder what it would look like for me to more regularly be clear on, this is what my priority is, and it doesn't need to be related to work. 

My priority could be joy. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to optimize my life for joy. My priority could be joy, my priority could be peace, my priority could be healing or rest. And depending on how much something on my plate aligns to that priority, I might need to say, that's not right now, that can wait, or that can be set aside altogether. So that I can live into this priority, not the priority that I've been given by this, like capitalist contexts, that we've just been born into. And if these hypotheticals if these questions, made you a little bit squirmy to think about, like, what if we celebrated doing the least instead of doing the most? If any of that made you squirmy, know that it made me squirmy too, to think is it okay to say that?

What does that mean, if I'm encouraging people to do less, or to not do the most or not even do? Maybe there are some things that you just don't need to give your full effort to, and other things that you do. That makes me a little squirmy to think about. That makes me want to turn inwards more, it makes me want to have conversations with others more about what that could look like in practice. And I think that squirmy-ness is a good thing because that's how we know that we're in the Learning Zone. There's a German educator named Tom Sen and he talks about three zones: your comfort zone, which for a lot of us, our comfort zone is just the messaging that we been told and has prevailed over our life. So our comfort zone is that “I need to be doing as much as I possibly can because that is how I become more worthy. That is how I prove my value to the world.” It may not feel comfortable, literally to live into that but that mindset is comfortable, because that's what we're used to. 

And then there's the learning zone where we're stepping out, we're asking questions, we're starting to develop different skills - it does not feel comfortable. You feel a little wobbly as you're doing it but what it's not is the third zone that Tom Sen talks about, which is the danger zone. Where if we tried to change everything completely in one fell swoop, it gets so overwhelming that we just go straight back to our comfort zone. So in the spirit of being in the Learning Zone, with this idea of hearing this call to say yes to less, to be okay with doing less to be okay with leaning out stepping back, resting. My invitation to you would be to see if there's something that you can take off your plate this week or even if this week seems too daunting, maybe there's something you can take off of your plate today. Maybe you don't need to run that one extra errand. Maybe you don't need to do that extra Tik Tok video that you thought you're going to post. Maybe researching for something can wait until later. Maybe an entire project can wait until later. What would it look like for you to experiment with doing less today by just taking one thing off of your plate?

Thank you for exploring with me. This is something that honestly, I think I'll be wrestling with for a long time because so many things about my personality make me want to be productive and “successful” and all of these things. But I'm really grateful that by listening to my own inner wisdom, I'm being called to question that. So may your week be a week of less of whatever you need to let go of. Less measuring based on productivity and outputs, and more of whatever you need to invite in - more joy, more presence, more play, more rest. Thank you as always for your time, and I'll be in your earbuds next week.