Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dealing With, And Overcoming, My Blogger Burnout

Lately I've been struggling with Blogger Burnout. 

I can't seem to come up with post ideas that excite me, I'm not working on my Instagram account, I'm being a bad participant in my blogger Facebook groups (for which I feel very guilty).

There have been a few times in recent weeks where I wondered if maybe it was time to call it quits. Cook, Wine and Thinker is about a year-and-a-half old and I've lost sight of it a little bit.

Here's the thing though: I love blogging. I love the community, I love writing, I love coming up with new recipes and trying new things so I can post about them. I even love tracking analytics (because apparently I'm a sadist), so why then did I sink into Blogger Burnout?

Settle in for a bit of a read...

Recognizing the signs of Blogger Burnout

For me, I first started to notice that I was burned out at the end of September (I actually mentioned it in this Wine Down post). I wasn't feeling myself, I was getting sick, I was feeling frazzled. So I made the decision to take a bit of a step back from blogging.

"I think I need to reevaluate my content, what I love to blog about, and also make sure I'm prioritizing the rest of my life well. So I'm not on a full hiatus, just a lighter more relaxed schedule for now! "

Symptoms of my blogger burnout were pretty standard. 

First, I stopped staying on top of my editorial calendar. Instead of having a week or so of written posts ready, I was writing posts hurriedly the night before (or morning of). This was stressing me out further and leading to some not-so-great behaviour with regard to posting and keeping up with other bloggers.

It's not all that shocking then that the second symptom was that I stopped feeling inspired to write. Everything was so hurried that I wasn't excited to write any type of post. There never seemed to be time to sit down and research or really think about what I wanted.

Finally, I stopped being excited about it all together. I started to think about closing up shop for good. I was exhausted.

Reevaluating and Re-prioritizing

Last week, I didn't post at all. This is the first time since April 2014 that I've done that, and it was great, both for my mind and for my resolve.

I missed it, I really missed blogging, so I knew that stopping wasn't an option. What I needed to do was think about everything else in my life to see where blogging fit.

Work - crazy busy these days, taking up a lot of my mental capacity, plus I sit at a computer all day so strain on the eyes during the day makes me want to stay off the computer at night

Home - It's been messy around here! I've been getting on top of it since summer ended, but there's been a few helpless feelings about the general state of the apartment

Personal time - I try to get to the gym 4 nights a week after work, and study twice a week. Carving out what is essentially 6 hours of time for myself (and self improvement) is difficult at best. It's creating stress for me to try and do the things that are supposed to de-stress me.

The Mr. - Kris and I live together, so I see him every day. But lately I've been all-over the map with my time and activities, that I haven't been getting enough time with him. He's incredibly understanding and helpful, but I feel I need to be doing better.

So there are 4 areas of my life, outside of blogging, where I felt like I was letting myself go. Each is incredibly important in their own way, so what to do?

Getting back to blogging

The first step was to tell myself that it was OKAY that I was feeling overwhelmed. My week off helped me calm my head, re prioritize and decide how to proceed.

Next, was to reestablish my editorial calendar. I love to keep everything in planners, but forcing myself to sit down and plan out the next few weeks really helped put everything into perspective about what needed to be done.

Next, was to decide what to do with the other Big-4 ticket items in my life. I used my week off to create a bit of a schedule, focusing on doing things I need to do for my home, my relationship and for me. I also started more effectively planning my time at work to relieve stress, started saying no when I was too overwhelmed, or delegating as needed.

With time a bit more on my side, the final thing to do was to remind myself of parts of the blog I'm PROUD of. I re read some of my favourite posts I've written, cooked some of my recipes, and poured over comments that have made me smile. The cherry on top was on Friday when my friend reached out when there was no Wine Down, to check if I was ok. 

Not only is she reading the blog, but checking up on me when it's not moving forward. This was the final push I needed to re energize.

Some Thoughts.

I haven't beat my blogger burnout, not by a long shot, but I feel that I'm moving forward with more confidence. In two weeks I'll be hitting the beaches in Cuba for a week to unwind with Kris, and I think that's the final thing I'll need to jump back into blogging head first.

If you're struggling at all with blogger burnout, don't be afraid to take a step back and think about what's going on: Is it the blog? Is it everything else? Do you just need a break?

Blogger burnout is very real, but can be overcome! Thanks to my friends, as well as the blogging community, for being so wonderful and understanding. The secret to overcoming this is really your love and support.