This idea has been troubling me for a while. I started my blog because I was no longer writing. And I wanted to find a sustainable way to write more and improve. It began as a hobby. But as I’ve continued and my blog has evolved it’s taken up increasingly more time. And as the time burden grows, so does the pressure to succeed. I’m no longer writing for the joy of creativity. The upkeep on a blog is huge. And now I’m wondering, is blogging an act of self care?
On the one hand, my blog ensures that I keep writing. And I’ve definitely seen an improvement in not only my ability to write. But my editing skills. And my knowledge base as I research different topics. My knowledge of SEO, keywords and social media has also grown. I’m always learning and improving. And that’s all really positive for my mental health. But I wonder about the repercussions of such a time intensive hobby. Often I’m stressed about my blog. Am I update to date with all my content? Have I scheduled my social media posts? Am I interacting on social media platforms? Have I responded to the comments? Because, I can’t do it all. Not with the other pressures on my time. So, how do I balance the positives of blogging for my mental health with the inevitable pitfalls?
For 5 Amazing Benefits of Blogging about Mental Health read here.
#1 Start Small
There’s no way my blog could have grown in the way it did if I’d tried to do everything at once. I started with the desire to write. And once I’d found consistency I started advertising my blog. First on Twitter, and eventually on Pinterest too. I’ve gradually invested in my own hosting and website. I’ve rebranded and created my own logo. And there’s still more to do.
But consistency and evolution don’t come all at once. And biting off more than you can chew can be a recipe for disaster. I have decide what’s in and what’s out. What is the reasonable next step or goal? And how am I going to make it attainable. If I move to fast, or take too much on it leads to more stress which in turn makes me less motivated. But, don’t just think on a macro level. I have to think micro too. Each week I aim to do certain tasks for more blog. But I have to acknowledge that some weeks I’m more busy and they’re not all possible all the time. So, what’s in and what’s out?
Perhaps more often than I’d like I have to accept that I can’t do it all. I have many responsibilities of which my blog is only one. There are weeks or sometimes months when I do have to scale back. I have to accept that I’m not able to make it all happen. This isn’t always easy. In an ideal world my time would be infinite and I could juggle all the requirements on my time. But the hard truth is, sometimes my blog doesn’t get to be centre stage. And I have to be okay with this. This acceptance has soothed my stress rather than causing me frustration and anger that I’m not managing to do everything.
#3 Ask for Help
The blogging community is one of the most welcoming I’ve had the privilege to be apart of. We all know how hard the struggle can be to make a blog a success. However it is you define that success. We all also know that we’re working with different resources. We all have different amounts of time, money, health etc. to give to our blog. When I was pregnant I knew I could maintain posting new content every week. So I turned to the community. And I was astounded by the number of bloggers who gave me guest posts.
With the help of the blogging community I managed to have new content every week for at least 6 months. I posted my own written content once a month, but for those other weeks I was supported by other creators giving their time and content. There’s also been times when I’ve reached out, either direct messaging or tweeting with questions. And have always been so grateful for the responses I get. I try to do the same in turn when I can. Either guest posting or answering questions. Knowing I’m part of a supportive community has helped my mental health when I’ve struggled with my blog or with lack of time.
#4 Don’t Compare
If the path to hell is pathed with good intentions. Then the path to failure is pathed with comparisons. There are possibly millions of bloggers out there; with an estimated 6 million blogs on the internet. And, as above, we are all working at different paces with access to different resources and privileges. Some of us may work more or less hours. Many don’t have money to pour into their blog; but some do. And at the end of the day, we all have different goals. I know lots of bloggers who wish to monetize their blog as a second stream of income. For others it’s about building a brand to help them become an influencer. Some use it to narrate their life or their live experiences. For me it was about writing for my own self-care.
It’s too easy to see what everyone else is doing and feel less successful or even a failure. I know I have. That’s detrimental to my mental health and my motivation to blog. So, I remind myself how different we all are and the varied goals we’re aiming for. They are not me, and I am not them. And we’re all doing our best.
#5 Press Pause
There’s a part of me that feels that if I stop, I’ll never start up again. That if I take a break, possibly for my mental health or for other reasons; that I won’t find the motivation to keep going. But even worse than that, once I stop or even take a break I’ll have wasted all the time and energy I’ve historically spent on my blog. And, to be honest, there are weeks where I’ve felt that I’ve overstretched myself to get everything done. Knowing that I feel that way I’ve had to be aware of this narrative. And think about how to change it. Because, sometimes taking a break is the most important think we can do. We live in a world of onwards and upwards; keep calm and carry on. We’re always running on that hamster wheel. Always have to be improving and gaining ground.
But increasingly I’ve become aware of the need to pause. Either to consolidate and stay steady where I am instead of taking the next step for my blog. But at other times I need to stop. And just let myself be. Release the pressure. Look after my mental health. Serve my own needs if my blog is getting in the way of them. Pressing pause can be difficult. I find it very challenging. If you do to, you may find organisation your friend. I try and schedule content and social media posts at least a month in advance. That way, if I have a busy week or need some time off to re-invest in my mental health. Or for whatever other reason. I have some flexibility to do so. Without feeling that I’m losing ground.
For 5 Crucial Mental Health Tips for Bloggers read here.
How do you ensure that blogging is an act of self care? What are your tips and tricks to stop blogging having a negative impact on your mental health? As always, let us know below!