As a writer, I often find myself trying to avoid cliches. Initially just as a way to avoid being a shitty writer, but as time goes on and life takes over, the lines get blurred and my brain just thinks: Cliches = Bad.
But there’s a reason cliches become cliches. They’re often so true that at some point it just sounds like pointing out obvious stuff. In some cases of dealing with mental health, cliches can be quite helpful.
Recently, I’ve been trying to adhere to the “less is more” cliche and it’s going pretty well.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life” – Socrates
It’s been sort of like a second phase to my most recent attempt to get on and stay on the right path mentally. The first phase being a realization that I wrote about in my last post “Enjoy the little things”. While appreciating the things that I value and enjoy more can be a rather enlightening feeling, it also sheds that light on the unnecessary bullshit that made things so tough to see in the first place.
The main theme of adhering to the “less is more” theory is to look at things in your life and ask “is this something that I need or enjoy, or it just something I think I have to do?”.
Now that phrasing is annoyingly broad even for the person who just wrote it, but really, I’m just delving into this change and how broad it could be, so I’ll give you a couple examples.
1) Scale back on social media use.
Social media, I think, was created as a start to represent yourself online, but also to be able to customize what your version of the internet looked like. Somewhere along the line, it became an expectation to follow certain people or accounts to be informed or to stay connected or whatever it may be – a lot of people end up seeing a lot of annoying, aggravating shit on social media. Why?
I deleted my facebook a few weeks ago once I figured out you can keep the messenger part if I ever need to contact someone whose number or email I don’t have. It’s been great. I used to go to that site for probably an hour a day and never really did anything but see other people’s posts and sometimes feel worse about my own life. It was something that I and many others visited everyday because it just became part of the routine.
I got more enjoyment out of deleting my profile and taking FB off my bookmarks bar than that site had given me in the last 8 years.
2) Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it.
This one could be very relatable to some and probably not at all to others, but I’ll try to explain myself.
Another thing I cut out from my life is fantasy football, which sounds like a crazy thing to say in April, but when you’re job is to write about professional football, the fantasy stuff becomes a little more serious.
I’ve been playing FF for at least ten years and (not to brag) I always have a good team. I don’t have a formula or certain experts’ advice that I follow or any specific strategy – I just know a lot about the league and have consistent luck predicting which guys will do well. It’s something that’s just part of the sport for me, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I got any real joy out of it. It adds a layer of interest to a sport that has plenty going on.
For a lot of people, FF simplifies the sport that’s probably too complicated for the average adult attention span to really comprehend. For me, it turned into something a chore that came along with the sport that I cover for a living.
People change. Circumstances change. The only thing that is consistent in life is change. Change does not have to be a bad thing; it just needs adjusting to. And that may be the key to living with depression and anxiety – to be able to recognize and adapt to change instead of letting it control you.
The things you once thought were the source of happiness and togetherness may now be the reason for doubt, anxiety, and loneliness. Take a look around. Get rid of the shit you don’t need and a pleasant state of gratitude will be closer to your grasp.