Oh well, hey.
Long time no chat, my friends. And by “long time” I mean about 5 weeks.
At the end of 2017, I made a decision to take a month off from blogging. Honestly, it was a sort of scary decision. In this day and age of social media, you worry about becoming irrelevant – losing pageviews and momentum you’ve spent years building up.
But, I had to listen to my gut.
This past year for me has been a very rocky road and there’s a lot going on in my life I haven’t shared with you here yet (at some point I will.) This has not only been a time suck, taking away precious hours I have to work on my blog and YouTube, but it has also been a huge emotional suck as well. I’m a big believer in the importance of “purpose” in our lives and this blog gives me a huge feeling of purpose. So, through hard times in my life, it has always made sense to continue chugging along at this blog because of the purpose it brings to my life. Even when the days are hard, when waking up early to write seems impossible, when I literally “can’t even” with social media…I’ve prescribed to the notion to “wake up, show up, and not give up.”
But, in December I had this nagging feeling that I needed a hit a “reset button.” The month was a culmination of everything that had been going on in my year. Without going into much detail, the best way I can describe it is that there were a lot of appointments, requirements, and unanswered questions. By the end of the year, I was craving quiet time like I never had in my entire life.
I’ve always been a doer. I’m a natural “get up and get movin'” kind of person. I like being busy. I like having tasks and chores and things to do. It’s part of why a blog works so well for me alongside a full-time job. It keeps me busy and acts as a much needed creative outlet. But, I was maxed out. Like a battery that literally had no juice left. And so I could choose one of two things: keep chugging along at speed and quality I wasn’t happy with, or give myself a recharge and come back (hopefully) better than ever.
I choose the latter, clearly. I made a personal decision to give up blogging for one month. I had been blogging at least once a week for well over 4 years (almost 5 this spring). At first, I worried that taking a break meant I was giving up. But, then I realized it wasn’t that at all. This blog has to come from a place of joy, and truthfulness, and creativity – and it couldn’t do that if I didn’t give myself the chance to take a break.
And so, that’s just what I did. This is what happened when I decided to take a month off from blogging.
I lounged A LOT
Like I mentioned, I’m a doer. I like being busy. And this doesn’t mean I need to be always traveling, going out, conquering the world- but I even mean it in the smaller senses. When I’m home I usually can’t sit on the sofa for more than an hour or two before I’m up doing a little craft project or cleaning this or organizing that.
On my month “off,” I lounged for ENTIRE days. Mind you, I still have my full-time job so we’re talking Sundays here, but I spent entire days in my pajamas and didn’t do a single task besides drink coffee, watch movies, and play video games (Michael and I got the Nintendo Switch for Christmas and I’m maybe obsessed with it.)
The first two weekends I slept 10+ hours each night. Waking up at 9am is usually a big party foul in my book (I’m an early riser) but I just slept through it all. Typically I have a 5am alarm on workdays too, since mornings are when I get most things done. Nope, not on my month off. I was in bed by 10 and slept until 7 like a damn baby you guys.
I think if anything was a testament to how much I needed a break it’s how much I slept on my month off.
Even though I wasn’t blogging, by about week 2 all sorts of great blog posts ideas started flooding into my brain and so I started writing. Writing without a deadline is a liberating experience. I think I’ll try that more often! I’ve got tons of draft blog posts sitting on my dashboard right now and it just feels good.
I also did some writing just for me. I’ve never been a journaler. I wish I could journal every night but it just doesn’t happen. However, I did make some time to journal every 5 days or so. Sometimes writing for no one but yourself is quite nice. I hope I can find time to continue that, even if it’s only once a month.
Side note: If you ever want to remember how bad you’ve gotten at writing by hand, take up journaling. I would get about a page in before my hand hurt and my hand-lettering was a mess. Oh, technology, what have you done to us?
I had been having an urge to do some painting and drawing for the last few months but time always slipped away from me. I told myself if I was going to take January off that I would make it a mission to find time to make art.
Now, I don’t consider myself an artist in the sense of “fine art,” but I’ve always been a creator. I like to make things and be creative with my hands. Painting and sketching is a great way for me to do that. I always think it’s funny when people say they aren’t creative. We’re all creative, it’s just a matter of if we give ourselves a chance to be creative or not.We're all creative, it's just a matter of if we give ourselves a chance to be creative or not. Click To Tweet
I like painting because I find it to be relaxing. I feel like you can “mess up” with painting and it still looks good. For many years, I only painted in oil or acrylic. I loved that if I messed up I could just paint right over it. But, for the past few years, I’ve been addicted to watercolor. The trick is to get an entire pad of watercolor paper so you can just start over whenever you want.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I put down all the social media while I was taking my month off. I was still on the ‘gram, and posting videos once a week on YouTube.
But, I definitely spent a lot LESS time on all these platforms. I posted less and spent less time scrolling through other people’s feeds. I think this is really important. There’s no doubt that social media exposure changes us – in some good ways and in some negatives ways. But, it’s always important to take a break from the “curated” life we see portrayed on social media and spend time in the real world.
What did I learn?
So, what did I learn in my month off from blogging?
Well, first I learned that you can take a month off from the online world and it’s totally and completely OK. We don’t have to be ever present online in order to be relevant. I posted a fraction of the photos I usually do on Instagram yet I grew followers and increased my reach. I didn’t post a blog post for about 5 weeks and my page views didn’t plummet to 0. I mean, I’ve learned that I can actually increase my traffic by blogging half the time in the past.
Second, I further learned the importance of time at home. I’ve written about the benefits of staying home before, but this month of recharge further proved this to me. I think time at home is so important.
Third, I learned that sometimes doing “all the things” means you’re actually doing lots of things half-assed. Sometimes, it’s worth it to cut back on what you’re doing and focus on doing a few things really well, instead of lots of things partially. Does that make sense?Sometimes doing 'all the things' means you're actually just doing lots of things half-assed. Click To Tweet
Either way, I’m excited to be back at blogging. My month off, without a doubt, was completely recharging. I feel enthusiastic and excited to write again, as opposed to overwhelmed and frazzled.
Let’s do this thing.