Why you should take time off when starting up a blog
I just took a week off! Right slap bang in the middle of starting up a blog. Whaaaat? I hear you ask… Like me, I’m sure you have read so much about how hard you need to work if you are taking blogging seriously, how every single spare second will be devoted to writing, and planning, and developing and reading, and growing your business, and you Must.Not.Drop.The.Ball. Evaaaaa.
Thing is, I also see lots of sad tales about people who are diving in and really giving this their all, only to burn out before they have even really begun. People who through only trying to better their lives and provide value to people are crashing and burning in a sea of overwhelm.
I heard one poor lady comment that she HATED blogging and had grown to dread the time she spent working on it. I’m not anywhere near there, I still enjoy this and see it even as a little bit of me time, working on something that brings me joy.
But I want it to stay that way.
When the hubby suggested we go away camping for a few days and we all take our fave hobbies, (instruments, notebooks, too many colours etc) my mind jumped straight into, ooooh I could get soooo much work done! How amazing, working from the van at the beach! Then he added the qualifier, “no work!”
But… but… but…
But what? Is the internet going to implode in the few days I am away? I’m not even up and running yet, is anybody going to miss me? Is it all going to fall away if I take my eye off the prize for even a moment? Or am I going to get a chance to connect with my family, with myself, and my environment? Am I going to be able to paddle in the ocean and feel the sand between my toes and really feel it, without my brain automatically going into work mode?
It felt strange to start with, I found myself fighting it, especially as I enjoy blogging, I am immersed in this now and learning so much, and really buzzing with it all – It was hard for me on a number of fronts to really commit to NOT working, when I really wanted to, and all evidence suggested I should.
But whadyya know? I have come back from our mini-break rejuvenated and inspired and fired up ready to go, having had true ‘reset’ time where I was reminded of one or two things I had forgotten I even needed, I RELAXED! Remember what that feels like?
I am serious about blogging. I am not afraid of hard work and am going to give this my all. But I don’t want to burn out before I’ve even really begun. Work/life balance counts people!
I urge you to remember this.
Starting up a blog helps you reach out and connect to the world around you, if you have something to offer then you need to be firing on all cylinders and raring to go, not crumpled in a heap weeping because you can’t figure out how to alter your menu header or get your social media links to GO anywhere.
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So here are 5 simple ways to press the pause button and reset…
1) Just get the hell outta Dodge
Go on holiday for the weekend, committing to no work while you are away.
Better yet leave your computer behind!
If this is not an option for you financially or you can’t get the time, then even just taking an hour, hell, 20 mins to go for a walk, somewhere scenic, ambling along the beach, strolling in the park, pounding the pavements of your city, whatever, wherever, just go and look around you – really look around you.
Not for ideas about your next greatest blog post, just to see what is going on, things you might ordinarily ignore…
Search for everything that is red, see how many people you can see smiling, or count the dogs you pass. Just be in the moment, smelling, seeing, absorbing. Buy a peach and really taste it….savour your environment and the moment, just for what it is, glorious.
10 Tiny Steps Towards a Big Life
Meditation – a beginners guide
2) Call a friend
Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and arrange to meet up. DON’T talk to them about work. ASK them what is going on in their world, really LISTEN to their answer.
Friendships are a wonderful thing, and your true friends will still be there when you finally emerge from your blog haze, blinking into the sun, but what is even better is not losing sight of them in the first place.
Don’t take them for granted! You never know who might need you, or how you might need them.
3) Rediscover a hobby
Got a half finished crochet project lurking in a basket somewhere? Go and hook a couple of squares! Splash some paint in an art journal, strum your ukulele, go weed your veggie patch, whatever floats your boat…taking some time to do something simply for the pleasure of doing it really has a way of putting you back in touch with yourself and realise what you have been missing.
4) Do some exercise
Go for a run, a bike ride, lift some weights…get your heart pumping. This one is good because not only does it get you away from your computer for half an hour, but well, exercise is good for you and stuff.
A 20 min cardio session will refire those neurons, getting your brain in gear for when you do return to work, so not only will you have had a break AND worked on your fitness, but it will actually be beneficial to your work by giving your brain-power a boost (and starting up a blog needs brain power, trust me!)
5) Immerse yourself
Take a bath. Water heals all. Seriously. I don’t have a bath at the mo…in all other respects I love living tiny, but in my next home, I shall be remedying this. Take a bath, if not for yourself, then do it for me folks (cue the sound of weeping violins). Oh, how I miss my bath!
If, like me, having a bath isn’t an option, then even taking a shower can be an excellent way to pamper yourself. Grab yourself a nice body wash bar or shampoo and really pay attention to the sensation of the water. Chant an affirmation, wash away any stress and relaaaaaax.
Related reading: Affirmations – A Beginners Guide
You’re doing great! Don’t be too hard on yourself!
When you’re starting up a blog, you have to work hard. End of. I don’t want to hear any of this “I started earning 6 figures overnight with only 15 mins of work to set up my blog…” and neither do you.
Because it isn’t true. It takes guts and it takes graft, especially as, unless you are suuuuuuper lucky, you’ll be doing this around your regular job and having to squeeze in your blog work in every and any available space you can find.
It is not at all uncommon to hear tales of people starting work at 6 am and being up until midnight fitting in their full-time job, home and child care in between.
But in spite of this…wait, no… BECAUSE of this, you absolutely NEED a break every now and then. And you know what? After my week off, I came back even more productive and ready to go than I had been before. So win/win I say.
How do you like to unwind when the overwhelm comes a knockin’? Let me know!
Hi Kath, from another Cath!
I love this post and wish I’d read something like this years ago. I have been blogging for about 14 years on and off, over a few platforms. Thankfully no html is required these days! I decided to monetize my blog about 5 years ago. For about 1.5 years I slogged at it. I researched, learnt new skills, brainstormed ideas, learnt photography, wrote and rewrote etc. It was exhausting and ALWAYS on my mind. I was consumed by it. I made a massive mistake. I’m chronically sick and disabled, and I neglected properly caring for myself all because I was trying to earn money to alleviate guilt of being too sick to work. Unsurprisingly, I got sicker and failed. Even when I wasn’t working my head was still in work mode. Total rest was impossible due to my perfectionist (daft) nature. The need for regular breaks isn’t just physical (my illnesses forced that part) but also mentally and emotionally.
The best decision for me was to stop. I had lost my love of writing and was looking at writing to help others (to make money) and forgot about my needs. I used to write purely for me and that enriched my life. When my mindset switched enrichment was swapped for exhaustion. After about a year of writing nothing I did start to write my journal blog again. I went back to a free platform and removed adsense (as I hate it’s overuse). Now I just write for me as it helps to get my head around ideas. No pressure, no stress. I like writing again. In hindsight, I should have always done this and if it became popular, then maybe do something with it. I wouldn’t have become obsessed with stats then. I don’t even care about them any more! You are very sensible to keep it in perspective. I wish I had.
Keep up the writing. I’ve only just found you and am enjoying your posts. Lovely to have another UK perspective too. I’ve been pinning your posts all morning! Take care xx
Kath | The Life Spotters
Thank you so much Cath, this is truly lovely to read! I’m sorry about your ill health, sounds like you’ve been through a tough time, but I’m glad you recognised the need to stop pushing yourself so hard and put your own personal needs before money and (unfounded) guilt. I totally understand about the niggling perfectionist, it’s so hard to overcome that part of your nature! I’m so happy you’ve found the balance and are writing for yourself again, I truly believe that is the best way to reach people in any case, it’s so much easier to relate to someone who is being their authentic self. Writing is a joy, welcome back, I look forward to reading your blog! XX