When I was trying to come up with a cutesy alliterative title for this post, my first thought was “Blogger Blues.” But that didn’t quite fit. I’m feeling something, but I wouldn’t call it sad or “blue.” Generally speaking, I’m in a pretty happy & peaceful place.
You’ve heard of the Timehop app, right? Each day, it digs through your various social media accounts and shares what you were doing on that date one, two, three, etc. years ago. I love this app – it’s fun seeing how much my girls have grown and reliving good memories with family & friends. But the real eye-opener has been my Facebook status updates from 4-5 years ago.
Wow. I was grouchy. Blue, even.
I complained. A lot. I vague-booked. I posted long rants about teachers, strangers, the weather, you name it. All the things that drive me crazy about other people now? I did them too.
I would have blocked myself from my own newsfeed.
Five years ago, I was a full-time SAHM of a toddler and a “spirited” preschooler. I hadn’t started running or blogging yet. I was tired, frazzled, and felt like I never got a break. Of course I was grouchy. Of course I was sad sometimes.
So what’s changed? Because let’s be honest – I’m still tired & frazzled, and I still feel like I rarely get a break. First and foremost, my kids are older and (slightly) more independent now. They can operate a remote control (as long as it’s not “lost”) and wipe their own butts (usually). And second, I’ve discovered two great joys outside of my family – running and blogging.
But the bigger thing, the one that’s even harder to see, is that I’ve changed the way I approach the world.
Today, I do my best to embrace acceptance, gratitude, and patience that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. I seek opportunities to show kindness and to be of service to others. And I try really, really hard not to complain.
I’m not always successful. Some days are just plain crappy. And sometimes I feel like I’m doing a lousy job at – well, everything. But then…I read my old status updates, and the change in me is right there in black and white. It’s kind of remarkable.
Okay, so back to the blues. I didn’t really intend to discuss my yin & yang today, but the words were in my head, and then they were on my computer screen, so what else is there to do but hit publish?
Anyway, “Blogger Blues” didn’t work as the title of this post. So then I thought of “Blogger Burnout.”
Mayo Clinic defines burnout as, “…a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” I’ve experienced burnout, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that I don’t have it now.
If you happened to stop by my “About Me” page, you know that in the non-blogging world, I’m a licensed therapist. According to this article, various studies show that the prevalence of burnout among mental health professionals may be anywhere from 21-67%. Even if we’re conservative and go with 21%, that’s still a huge number of unhappy people.
Burnout is characterized by cynicism, depression, and lethargy. I’ve experienced all 3 as a therapist. But as a blogger? No way. I love what I do and I’m very optimistic about my professional future. Lethargy? Sleepy, maybe. But not lethargic.
Okay, Sharon, so what’s the actual point of this post?
Good question. I think I’m just trying to put a finger on how I’ve been feeling about blogging lately, and I think the best way to describe it is “blah.”
Not as bad as burnout, but not where I want to be either.
So here’s what’s going on. This was an incredible summer for me personally, emotionally, and spiritually. But as far as blogging goes (and running, for that matter), the summer was a wash.
I spent a lot of the summer traveling. And when I was home, the kids were home with me. Blogging got put on the back burner, and that was okay. I was prepared to take a break during the 9 days that I was in Israel. But I wasn’t prepared for how little I’d be able to accomplish once I got back. It was part jet lag, part emotional fatigue, part keeping a 9 year old busy for 3 weeks while her sister was at day camp…I spent hours staring at this computer screen, my fingers hovering over the keys but not typing a single word.
To compensate for my 9 day absence, I’d over-committed myself. The work was piling up. Great big piles of it. Then the kids started a new school that we all LOVE – but which has added almost 2 hours of round-trip driving to my day. My days are now 2 hours shorter. I’m adjusting – but this arrangement isn’t ideal for playing catch up. So the work continues to pile.
Some people work well under pressure, but I can’t say that I’m one of them. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t rev my engine – my engine stalls. I withdraw into myself and feel incapable of anything that requires mental focus. So what does this mean for me as a blogger? I’ve been able to keep up with some things – the things that are kind of rote, like following social media accounts and auto-scheduling tweets. But right now, things that require mental focus and creativity (i.e., writing blog posts) are difficult for me. So I put them off. And I tweet. And the work continues to pile.
So why tell you all (or any) of this? Because it’s my truth. It’s fun & easy to share my everyday foibles and mishaps – it’s much harder to admit that I’m genuinely struggling to keep up. I guess my hope is that by admitting that I’m far, far, FAR from perfect – that I’ve fallen and I can’t get up (ha) – that you will feel a little safer talking about your struggles too.
And as for me, I’ll just keep truckin’. I mean, I wrote this post, didn’t I? I’ve still got it in me somewhere…underneath the pile.