First off, I feel like this title is me going straight for the self-deprecating zing right back at myself. The amount I say "do less" to myself or the amount someone else says it to me on a daily basis is much, much higher than it should be. I'm also laughing while writing this because I'm writing this after 7 hours in the library and 3 hours of sorority meetings, so I am truly NOT living what I am writing (shocking...).
As senior year begins and I try to somehow catch my footing, I find that the one thing that I've been missing is blogging. Writing is a wonderful outlet for me, so finding/forcing myself to find the time every day to commit to writing a post shouldn't be as hard as it's been. I'm also forcing myself to give myself more time to do what I enjoy, even if it means sitting in bed at 1 am, on a Sunday night, writing a blog post.
So, against everything that I've said in the past two paragraphs, while I get my footing back in school, I'm generally trying to "do less"- whether that means I'll try to be less extra, or actually do less on a day to day aspect, we'll see what actually happens. In terms of doing less, I'm trying to do these few things:
1. Give less of your mental energy
I use the term mental energy so much, my friends must be ready to slap me silly. But, it's true! We all have thoughts that take up space in our brain, but take up time when we think about them! I call this "taking up mental energy". If you're constantly thinking about something, it's draining your mental energy. If you can stop focusing on something and allow yourself to put it to the side, then you can give less of your mental energy to it.
2. Care less
This is similar to the previous point, but slightly more aggressive. At some point, you have to stop caring. Caring about what other people think, what other people are doing, and etc, etc. I really came into this year thinking so much about the ways that other seniors were living their life and trying to get myself to live what I thought was the perfect senior year life , and after being on campus for two weeks, I've realized that FOMO and trying to reach goals of something that I'm not really isn't worth my time. I need to and want to spend my time differently than some other seniors on campus and some of my close friends and that's completely fine. I'm not a fan of forcing myself to go to an event I don't want to just because my friends are going. Sometimes you have to force yourself to simply care less about what others are doing in that moment or what you worry someone may be thinking about you- nine times out of ten, the other people will miss your presence, but not give even two seconds of thought to judge what you're doing.
3. Be realistic
Going off the previous point, know your limits. If you can't do all of your reading for class in two days, maybe don't even try to do that. Give yourself the time you actually need to get things done, so you're not overly stressing in one moment. Also, be realistic and know yourself. If you tend to bail on tentative plans (hi, it me), sit down the moment you want to make a plan with someone and schedule it THAT second with them. If you think realisitically about the time you have and the way you tend to spend it, you can save yourself a lot of drama/mental energy (hey there it is again!) in the long run.
4. Be selfish
Similarly to my second point- put yourself first. Yes, be kind, yes, be caring, but also: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Or put bluntly, do what you want before you do what others want. After spending at least three years, but more like 20 years, of being very giving with my time to others, it's hard to suddenly reclaim it and try to take charge of my free time. I feel like I'm being wasteful or selfish in a bad way, when in reality, giving myself time to do what I want, not what others want, actually gives me a chance to recharge!
5. Ask for help
This is something I've learned the hard way. It sucks to come to a point where you really aren't feeling all those "I've got this sh*t down pat* vibe. It sucks even more if you have too much on your plate and you're too committed/passionate/in love with what you're doing to drop anything on your plate. That's when you really have to lean on your support systems. I've seen this Emily McDowell greeting card going around online, and it's basically my life at this point. I've leaned heavily into my support system since coming back to school, and it's helped me insanely. My friends know that I need to put myself first and they remind me to do so when I start to forget and overload myself- having friends that help you to hold yourself accountable and who take care of you are the best support system you can find. Lean on who you need to and give yourself the time and space you need and allow your friends to help you find it!
I hope y'all enjoyed this- for me, "doing less" is kind of about freeing up the energy you need to bring your *zest* for life back into your life. It's about reducing stress and anxiety and being able to lean into what you really love!