Photo by Mikayla Mallek from Unsplash
Starting my blogging journey helped me sort out my life and lean towards what matters. Since I published my first blog post, blogging became second nature to me. Every minute of the day was dedicated to sourcing for blog topics, writing blog posts, designing pins, blog marketing, and social media. I treated my blog like my start-up business from day one. I was motivated and driven to create something original and helpful to people in their twenties. I would say my life definitely has changed, in terms of habits, productivity, and character development. Blogging made me a better person.
Now that summer is here, I told myself it was time to focus on writing content now that’s school is over. Not that it’s wrong to take a short break from blogging, but it wasn’t my intention in the first place. The initial plan was to take advantage of the two-week summer break before another school year starts, but clearly, that didn’t happen. The lack of motivation completely overwhelmed me. I was stuck in a right, and there was no light in sight.
WHY DID I TAKE A BREAK?
I was drowning in anxiety at home while on lockdown. The COVID-19 crisis in my country grows even more daunting and unpredictable. There was surge after surge after surge. Lockdown after lockdown. No potential sign of cases going down. Even if I wanted to enjoy myself on social media, it wasn’t an option anymore. While scrolling through my Facebook feed, all I see were candles, RIPs, condolences. Death prevailed in my news feed and as well as my friends. So many families were devastated because they lost their parents, siblings, significant others—and that included mine. It reached the point where I became anxious every time I hear my phone ringing. For the past few months, it has occurred to me that a phone call usually comes with good or bad news, but usually the latter.
Taking a break from blogging gave me time to contemplate my goals and my state of mind. It made me pause and wonder how many months I’ve put into building Life Begins At Twenty. I thought about the sacrifices I made to put in honest, relatable and quality content for my readers. It took a lot of time and practice to shift my mind from consuming negativity to using it as a key for improvement.
WHAT I DID DURING MY TWO-WEEK BREAK FROM BLOGGING:
During my break, I didn’t plan my day. I didn’t have clear goals, aside from spoiling myself with junk food and free time. Occasionally, I convinced myself it was time to do anything blogging-related to get the momentum going. But every time I open my laptop, I feel nothing. I didn’t have the slightest bit of energy to even think about a good blog topic. I didn’t promote my previous blogs nor was I active on any of my social media platforms.
For three whole weeks, I dedicated my time to sleep and simple, temporary pleasures. At times, I would feel guilty but mostly, I don’t. Even if I wanted to be productive, my confidence, as fickle as it is, though it was impossible. Mostly, I wake up late in the morning, almost noon or even past noon. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon watching movies and doing chores. But I am glad to say I’ve been productive in other aspects of my lockdown-filled life. I’ve managed to do an elaborate cleaning of the house. I’ve relived my interest and hobby in cooking and learning new recipes.
5 THINGS I’VE REALIZED DURING MY 2-WEEK HIATUS FROM BLOGGING:
I WORK BEST UNDER PRESSURE
I tell myself I’m an adrenaline junkie because that’s how I managed through high school: beating deadlines. When I’m given a deadline, it’s like my body is set to default work mode. I didn’t procrastinate all the time, but getting the job done before the deadline was one of the reasons I still do it. Besides having a reward system, the best motivator for me is setting a deadline. One thing I realized is I work best and thrive under the right kind of pressure.
While I was taking a break, the deadline I made up in my head was what kept me going, the deadline to achieve my monthly goals. A deadline forces me to do the job because I’m battling against something that’s inevitable and powerful—time. It doesn’t wait for me nor does it care for any of my shortcomings. That alone pushes me to keep moving, no matter the outcome of my choices.
TAKING A BREAK IS NOT A ‘BLOGGING’ MISTAKE
One reason I was hesitant to take a break was because I thought it was career suicide for a blogger to take a hiatus especially for someone who wanted her blog to grow as a business. I thought taking a break meant setting yourself to lose, so until now, it was not an option for me. But to my surprise, taking a break from blogging has a lot of advantages. It makes you put things into perspective.
The time for yourself allows you keep things in order according to importance and priority. After taking a break, I encourage other bloggers who have worked tirelessly to take time to breathe, to rest, to enjoy how far you’ve come. I’m still a new blogger yet I know that I deserve a break as much as the seasoned bloggers out there. Let this be your sign to consider taking a pause. Believe you’re in the right place in your journey.
SLOWING DOWN THE PROCESS CAN BE ADVANTAGEOUS
Many insist speed is the most essential part of success. If you do things earlier, you are more ahead than the rest. If you act on your dreams quicker, you will get there first. Often we forget that life is messy and complicated. It gets in the way of our dreams all the time, and it’s just a matter of time before we get confused to where we’re heading because we’re going too fast.
I realized I was still 20 years old, still at my prime. I was thinking, “why am I such in a hurry?” Sometimes, I forget I’m still twenty years old, turning twenty-one. But I always feel like I’m running out of time. I was scared that taking a break from blogging might slow me down from achieving my goals at a certain time. I realized I was doing so much considering the circumstances but not appreciating myself for that. I realized other aspects of my life are important, and I haven’t been given enough attention in the past few months.
I DIDN’T FEEL GUILTY
We all know being a blogger takes a huge chunk of our time. A few hours of SEO and promotion in various social media channels can do so much to your audience reach and blog authority. So it’s obvious that time is precious for anyone, and bloggers are no exemption. If I were in my first or second month of blogging, I wouldn’t think about taking a break at all. It would’ve been foolish of me to think of taking a break when it was a clear way to hurt my blog standing and potential. While I was taking my time to watch movies and sleep in bed, I wasn’t feeling guilty about not getting to work.
I realized the only thing I should feel guilty about is taking away the chance to appreciate how far I’ve come as a blogger and as a person in her twenties. In fact, I didn’t have it in me to go to social media and check what the other bloggers are doing. I didn’t have the motivation nor the care in the world to compare my situation right now to theirs. Maybe the absence of guilt is the sign that there was nothing shameful about taking a hiatus from blogging. I told myself my circumstances were different from other bloggers. I convinced myself comparing my life to others is a waste of time and energy.
TIME APART FROM YOUR BLOG IS ESSENTIAL
Never in my 9 months of blogging have I thought about taking a break this long. Amidst it all, I think what I’m experiencing right now is the part where I need to trust the process. It’s harder to have faith in the future when you’re in a bad place, but that’s when you know your faith is steadfast and your hope is never-failing. In hardships, you prove to yourself you’re resilient and wise.
I realized I never lost my passion in writing and sharing my ideas to the world. Rest was necessary, not only to recharge me but also to celebrate the accomplishments I’ve made. I realized the lazy days are important. Before, I’ve learned to practice being intentional with the time I set for my priorities. But what I need to be better at is being intentional with the time I set for rest and relaxation. I should change my mindset about rest into something that should be taken seriously.
Getting back to my old routine has not been that simple, knowing that the fear and negativity still lingers. I’m happy that I’ve learned to accept my situation and I’m kinder to myself about it. I don’t plan to rush myself to producing content as frequently as the last few months. I believe taking it slow is a much better and proficient technique to getting back to my goals. The one thing that helped me get my drive back again is to appreciate where I am now.
I still have a long way to go but I’ve already done so much. Sometimes, it takes time to believe your capabilities. It’s sad to think it takes a burnout to understand your body is not a machine. When the tasks at hand get too overwhelming, it’s necessary to take a break, to step away from the things that’s causing you stress. Success won’t feel as fruitful and as rewarding if you only treat it as the next check on your list. You need to fully be grateful for every milestone you hit, big or small, for each one matters. In the long run, you will realize you’ve missed out many opportunities to celebrate the success you’ve dreamed of before.
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.”Russell Eric Dobda