OK, this title is a little more dramatic than intended. The blogging break was only about two weeks, but so many things happened in that time I felt it warranted a post. Also, this is… I think… the longest break I’ve taken since launching Blue Jay of Happiness on January 1st 2017.
I’ve spoken on Instagram about why I decided to take the break, but for those who don’t follow me over there, here are the two reasons.
1. I had some ‘big-picture’ / admin / behind the scenes jobs I really wanted to do.
Nothing too major, some general career / life planning (OK, that was kinda major), some website page updates and additions (have you spotted the new featured page?) and some content brainstorming (blog ideas were running thin).
When I was trying to get two blog posts out a week, work at my day-job, promote my coaching services and, you know, have a social life, spend time with my partner, keep the flat clean, have downtime… unsurprisingly I didn’t find time to do these types of jobs.
2. Anxiety was kicking my ASS.
I’ve been having my biggest anxiety flare-up since getting CBT last summer and it’s not been fun. Almost every day in October saw me experiencing chest pain, headaches, palpitations and a tight throat. I didn’t have any head space, and the pressure I was putting on myself to blog twice a week wasn’t helping matters.
So I decided to take a short break – just a couple of weeks – to give me the space I needed to do the big-picture jobs and stay on top of this anxiety flare-up. Here’s what happened.
My anxiety eased, immediately
Literally the day after I made this decision, I felt better. It didn’t magically disappear, but it was SO much better and I feel like I’m now coming out the other side. I had more time to rest and more space to feel calm.
It’s amazing what can happen when we take one obligation off our to-do list – something I’m going to remember for future flare-ups.
I didn’t get all my ‘big-picture’ jobs done
Of course I didn’t, those kind of jobs are never-ending when you’re trying to carve a new career. But, I did get some done and I feel like I’m now moving forward rather than treading water. I’ve manipulated my holiday at my day-job so that I’ll only work three-day weeks in December, giving me even more space to work on big-picture stuff (or relax, depending on what I need.)
I took some pictures I’m really happy with
I actually had the time and creative energy to take some pictures for Instagram – something I’d really been struggling with. With no pressure to produce content, I felt inspired and free… and as it turns out that’s exactly what you need to be creative and produce content.
I was featured on other people’s blogs
I may not have been writing here, but I was writing. I was interviewed by the lovely Sarah Bristow for her series, The Simple Now. I also shared some general mental health tips, advice for coping with Christmas stress and a few thoughts on self-care.
Just goes to show you can take up space while taking some space 😉
I did an Instagram live with my bestie
I’m really enjoying collaborating with other people at the moment (if you want to collaborate, just shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org) but I love it when I get to collaborate with my friends. Last Friday, Zoe and I did an Instagram live talking about the pitfalls of starting your own business and it was so fun.
It’s reminded me how much I enjoy Instagram lives so I definitely plan on doing these a little more regularly.
I felt inspired to write again
After a couple of weeks not writing here, I feel full of energy and ideas again, and that’s such a precious thing. I think when we’re in the process of turning a passion into a business it can be very easy to lose the passion bit. It can become ‘work’ and that’s exactly how I was starting to feel. I felt obligated and resentful.
Then I realised, I’m my own boss here. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. I’m steering this ship and if I want to pull over to look at the map and take a break, I can.
Oh and by the way, I feel like I should mention that despite what I (and many of us) fear when taking a break from blogging, my traffic was fine. Of course it wasn’t as high as it would have been if I was posting, but I continued to get consistent traffic. This is mainly down to certain posts performing well SEO-wise, Pinterest traffic and the guest posts pointing people my way.
So, the world won’t stop turning if you take a break. You can still be present if you take a break (if that’s what you want). You can prioritise what you need to, when you need to. Everything you’re working towards will be there when you get back.
I’m going to be exploring the idea of space and how it affects us in this month’s newsletter which is going out Sunday the 25th November. So if you want to read more on this subject, make sure you subscribe before then.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this – when did you last take a break from something? How did it affect you?
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