A discussion; blogging burnout – what to do when it all gets to be too much.

Please excuse the audaciously long title, but my creative juices are running dry. Although, perhaps the title gave that away.
So, another discussion type/life post coming your way ladies and gentlemen, something that I’m going through this very moment; blogging burnout – when it all gets to be too much.
I’m sure, like me, blogging is not your number 1 priority in life. You adore it, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve probably got school/college/university work, or a job (or 2!) that’s either part-time or full-time. Then there’s all the reading you need to catch up on, your TV shows, your films, your music. You may have other hobbies and interests, besides your blog, so you have to fit that in too.
And sometimes, there’s just not enough hours in the day, and it all becomes a tad overwhelming.

That’s where I am right now, that’s my headspace. Overwhelmed, overworked, and just exceptionally tired. I love blogging, I love that this outlet is available and for the most part, free. I love that I am able to combine my passion for writing, with my passion for reading. And I definitely still can’t get over the fact that people legitimately read this blog. It blows my mind everyday. I couldn’t be more grateful that people, even somewhat, value my thoughts and find my posts on the spectrum of decent.
Yet recently, it’s felt more like a chore to blog. Perhaps I’ve simply put too much pressure on myself, which wouldn’t be surprising. But the need to put content on my blog has taken away some of my enjoyment of the act of blogging. I still get into grooves where I can get lost in the post I’m writing, but other times I’m sat staring at blank screen willing the words to appear.
I scroll through all your posts, but in reality all I want to do in curl up with my dog and binge-watch Netflix whilst eating terrible food. Although even that will lead me to worry I’m putting too much weight on and should probably join a gym and there I am, heading down a dark spiral. That dark spiral will lead me to question why I even run a blog and that I might as well delete it now and save myself the hassle. Honestly, I exhaust myself.

I always wish there was a reason for all of this but your mind can be your biggest enemy. I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience this internal struggle, the monologue that incessantly digs at you and never knows when to shut the fuck up.
So how do I get out of the whole I dig myself?

First of all, I cuddle my dog. He’s soft and warm and incredibly gentle in nature, and my favourite to snuggle with.  I’ll step away from my laptop for awhile, I’ll walk said doggo (he’s name is Barney and he’s a Spaniel mix in case you wanted to know) and tune out the world. Maybe I’ll sit downstairs with my Mum or cuddle up with my boyfriend and forget that I even run a blog for awhile. I’ll ensure I’m in a positive mental state before I even glance at my laptop. Then when I do inevitably glance that way, I’ll pick up a book. The subject that caused this all to begin. Once I remember just how much I love reading, how much passion and drive I have for writing, how much inspiration and creativity I surround myself with everyday, suddenly, that weighted feeling that comes with looking at WordPress, doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.

Inevitably, this will not be the last time this happens, but I know, I’m in such an open community, the book blogging world is courageous and understanding and I’m happy to be a part of it. I also want everyone to know that you are not alone, blogging is first and foremost, a community, one with people always willing to listen. Sometimes venting to an unbiased stranger is incredibly relieving.

And if blogging really does get too much and you need to step away. Then step away. Honestly, your blog will still be there when you get back. Even if it’s not blogging that is the cause of your negative head-space, your stress, whatever, letting go of some of your everyday pressures can do wonders.

Blogging burnout happens to all of us, it’s just writers block plus the networking and the planning and all the other activities that come as part of the package. It’s important to remember that it does happen to all of us, and it’s not that big a deal as your mind may make it out to be! Because I sure know mine makes it’s feel like such a big thing.

What are the ways you deal with blogging burnout? What are your go-to tactics to help you on your way to back to blogging? Please share away!

A discussion: Anxiety in YA & beyond – representation and relatability.

I haven’t done a discussion post on my blog in a while, and the idea for this one has been floating around in my brain for awhile. It became especially prevalent recently, as a string of book that I read had a main character that suffered from different forms of anxiety. It’s becoming a far more frequent occurrence in YA and beyond these days. And for that, I am so thankful.

For a very long time, I didn’t realise that the thoughts going through my head, and the emotions that I had been feeling were basic signs of anxiety. I’m not even that old! It’s not as though I didn’t know what anxiety was, and it was definitely (and finally) getting talked about more, becoming ever so slightly less taboo. However, I just never put two and two together. I never really spoke to anyone  – a red flag in itself. And although my anxiety isn’t as debilitating as I’ve known others to be, it still affected me and my day-to-day life. I skipped out on many a social event through the fear; fear that I’d just be left out, fear that no-one really wanted me there, fear that I was really just a pity invite.
These thoughts still plague me now, at 24. I still struggle even though I have the most solid of foundations beneath me. I still struggle, and that’s okay, I’ve come so far.

Whilst in this period of my life I found sanctuary every Saturday morning in our city library. What I didn’t find in my haven – was anxiety represented in any of the books I read. I never saw myself there. It may have existed in books I never read, who knows there are a lot of books in the world. It may have existed in adult fiction, but I rarely ventured there, I still don’t now that I’m classified as a fully-fledged adult. All I know is that it didn’t exist in the books I read, but this is changing.
Although everybody’s anxiety is different – any form of positive representation is welcome. That small slice of relatability might mean the world to someone. This representation hopefully means that more people will recognise anxiety for the mental health issue it is. This representation hopefully means that someone out there, feeling lost and alone, might recognise themselves within the pages. This is what I have found myself doing more and more in recent reads. I have found myself amongst the pages.

I saw myself in Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I saw myself in her minute actions that might be over-looked and her feelings.

“And then it happens. The panic. It’s slow at first, creeping through the cracks in my thoughts until everything starts to feel heavy. It builds; it becomes something physical that clutches at my insides and squeezes out the air and the blood.”

I saw myself in Libby from Holding Up The Universe. I saw myself in her fears and her worries.

“It is 3:38 a.m., and the time of night when my mind starts running around all wild and out of control, like my cat, George, when he was a kitten.”

I saw myself in Cather from Fangirl. I saw myself in her isolation and her escapism.

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

I saw myself. I saw my anxiety. Nowadays, using the phrase my anxiety is somewhat empowering and not half as scary as it used to be. These books helped me there. These books helped me be empowered. And more and more are getting published. These aren’t the only books that helped me, however, they are the three that instantly stuck in my mind whilst writing this post.
I really hope authors continue to positively represent mental health in YA and beyond. As the smallest similarity could be the reason someone gets the help the need. It could be the help someone needs after a bad day. It could be the reason someone realises they are not alone.

You are not alone.

Please know, you are not alone.