I’m back! And with a new look to my blog, I hope you like it 🙂
I did miss being on this blog and on my little pieces of the internet, but I am so glad I took this hiatus. It truly cleared my head, helped me resettle and gave me some insights into destructive behaviour patterns I’d started to form.
In truth, I went into this hiatus thinking it would give me back my energy, nothing more. Not really surprising as I had started to have negative thought. But instead, I gained so much more.
Acknowledging the Priorities
The first week of my hiatus was just chilling (the rule from my partner) and wow, it’s been a LONG time since I just sat and chilled for an extended period of time.
A lot of emotional outbursts occurred that left me hollowed out and raw. Most likely a few years of crap I had just been pushing down in order to carry on.
After that cathartic week, I found myself bubbling with ideas and a thirst for creativity which I thought I’d lost.
So I took the time to really think about everything and decide what were truly my priorities.
What I realised was the “extra” stuff (eg social media and other minutiae of life) was taking precedence over everything.
I slotted in the things that really mattered AROUND those, rather than the other way around. Not sure when the hell that happened but it had.
So I re-established my priorities and kept it to 3 main things:
- Connections (family & friends)
- Writing (my novels)
- Business (my shop)
Everything else, no matter how much I enjoyed doing it, was not a task priority. In the past, I have had like 6 priority markers but that is not healthy. So I’m focusing on just these three.
Cutting myself some Slack
I have always had high expectations of what I need to do, what others expect of me and what I should be completing.
I have also been able to manage these well, but the problem is when something trips me up and I stumble, even if it’s totally out of my control (eg ending up in the hospital, death of a family member) it throws me completely.
I end up punishing myself for “failing” to keep going and it’s become more intense over the last few months.
So I need to remind myself (frequently) that I don’t need to do everything, that I don’t need to keep pace with everyone else or even my own warped expectations.
Quiet Head Space
It’s shocking to realise just how little “quiet head space” we give ourselves. Even when I did yoga I found I had a list of things trawling through my head.
When I sat watching movies, I’d grab my phone or tablet throughout just to “check” something before I forgot.
I never just gave myself some real time off. During the hiatus, I did just that and yes it’s actually a little scary giving yourself time with your thoughts.
But after a few days, the noise quietens and you realise all these distractions you keep throwing into your path aren’t necessary.
So now I plan to give myself real “quiet” time, whether that’s just meditating, daydreaming, reading or watching movies. But it will be done without the need for additional distractions.
You will probably notice that my blog theme and page layout is different.
For years I’ve been contemplating a new look to this blog, new theme, new layout style but I would tweak something and carry on, then tweak something else later.
This left my blog with an inconsistent look, so then I’d go back through and “fix” the old posts.
However, I hadn’t fully decided on the look so I was wasting my time with all these changes without even being sure they were what I wanted.
During the hiatus, I did some deep focus on several things, one of them being this blog. I really thought about what I wanted it to look like, the style of the layout, the images etc.
Then I spent time actually working on it – I checked dozens of themes until I found the right one. I tested it (normally I don’t do that), to make sure it worked how I wanted.
I looked at my pages and my layout and my schedule. It allowed me to create a working cheatsheet for my blog and a stronger, more streamlined schedule.
Without that deep focus, I would never have managed it. I did the same thing with my business, and not only has it helped me work out the kinks and make it better for my customers, but it has also reignited my enjoyment for working it.
By doing this I gave everything an overhaul and I’m so much happy with them.
Routine is Important
One thing I’ve always known (but that fell to the wayside) is that routine is important to me. I work best with a structured system.
The reason this fell apart was I set up a routine and then new things needed to be added in and instead of taking the time to make sure I wasn’t overloaded, I just dumped new tasks in.
All this did was scramble my brain, overfill my days and leave me exhausted and grumpy. Not a great combo.
So I had to start from scratch. Cut away everything and decide what really needed to be done, the best days for me to do them regarding time and energy levels.
I also made sure to schedule in break time. Such as acknowledging to myself that I don’t work weekends. Just because I work for myself doesn’t mean I should be working all the time as this leads to burnout.
So I made a more reasonable schedule. Which meant cutting time on certain things, but that’s okay. The things that were cut were not my priorities and I reminded myself I couldn’t do everything.
It was shocking how often I had to remind myself of that!
This month off was exactly what I needed and my partner enjoyed his moment of “I told you so” 😀 which he really deserved.
However, I don’t want to end up taking a month off again because I become overwhelmed and stressed and depressed. I want to AVOID that in the first place.
So with that in mind, I have scheduled in four weeks off a year to give myself a full rest. Each quarter, for one week, I will step away from the computer, the novels, the business and just focus on giving myself some time.
The week will be an Unwind Week where I just read, watch movies, go for walks and don’t think about anything else during that period.
I will be starting with a week at the end of September and I have already set a reminder in my phone so I can’t forget.
What do you do to make sure you don’t overstretch yourself or suffer from burnout?