When you’re standing on the outside, looking in on book bloggers, or any kind of blogger for that matter, looking through that fence, it’s so easy to feel like book blogging is easy. Even I, when I first started blogging, before and these first few days of getting into the grove, I thought book blogging would be a piece of cake.
Turns out I was completely fooling myself.
It’s one of the most common misconceptions about blogging, but the truth is completely different. Blogging takes a whole lot of time and energy, and not only our physical energy from staring at the screen, typing on our keyboards to let the words out before they escape our minds. Blogging also takes a whole lot of mental energy, too and, for those of us already dealing with mental health issues, it can be, well, A LOT, at times.
I’m not used to getting personal on the blog, but today I will. I have been dealing with anxiety for a long, long time and, if blogging can be a welcome escape, a safe haven, a place I adore with all of my heart, it’s also sometimes, the very root of my anxiety problems.
The thing is, I want to do too much.
I always did and will probably always do, because when I’m passionate about something, it’s borderline obsession and I’m throwing my entire being into it all. This has happened over four years ago when I started book blogging and quickly found out that, well, I loved doing this. I love waking up on Saturday mornings and drafting blog posts. I love answering to blog comments and every day am amazed, grateful and teary-eyed while reading sweet words I don’t deserve. I love blog-hopping, I love discovering new blogs, falling back in love with blogs I started reading years and years ago, I love chatting with you all. I love it, I really do.
☂️ Yet, book blogging can, for me, be so, so very anxiety-inducing.
Despite my love for it all, my cheerful, positiveness about it all, sometimes book blogging is not that easy.
Sometimes, when I’m supposed to start scheduling my blog posts for the next week, my brain is desperately empty, grasping for an idea, something original I could do and nothing happens. Sometimes, irritation (irritation can be anxiety. In case you weren’t aware. This is how I’m anxious, like, 80% of the time), at myself, at my brain, at everything, slowly rise inside of me. I’m the kind of person that likes being organized and having a plan, at least when it comes to blogging, so when I don’t have one, this part of me comes rushing back.
Sometimes, when I didn’t manage to blog-hop like usual, got busy, got tired after a long day at work, I let the comments piling up, my own, others and I feel tired and stressed out just thinking about catching up. Since I’m trying my best to be honest about it all, at the moment, I have 35 comments pending and, most likely (I haven’t counted that precisely) about 30 blogs to check out. I don’t know if that’s a lot or nothing at all, I guess it will all depend on everyone’s point of view. No matter what, I know that, if I let this rise, I will start getting a little more stressed out. I wish I could help it or do something about it.
I can’t. It’s just who I am.
Nowadays and especially in the book blogging community, I feel like there’s this need to be constantly connected and aware. I know it’s just an expectation I am putting on myself. I know it’s just something that I’m doing to myself and yet, when twitter notifications pile up, I’m a little nervous. When I haven’t checked twitter for a little while, I feel like I missed out on something big (and I probably did).
When I’m not reading the hyped books, I feel like I’m missing out. (Sometimes I am. I mean, Evelyn Hugo. Sorry. I’m obsessed and this is completely out of topic). When I’m not on top of all the new releases, I feel a little anxious and, when I see my TBR books piling up and up and up, I feel anxious and mad that I’m not reading as much as I should be. I mean, if some people can read 200 books a year, why can’t I?
These are all feelings we can get every now and then, but the truth is, these feelings are multipling ten, a hundred, a billion times in intensity when you’re dealing with anxiety, the need to do it all overwhelmingly taking over, the irritability spiking way more, the stress making you stare at these comments, these blogs, these twitter notifications pending and yet not doing a single thing because anxiety. Then self-doubt creeps in and you’re done for the day.
I know what it feels like and, reading this, you’re probably asking yourself this question: why the heck are you continuing this if it just makes you anxious?
Isn’t book blogging supposed to make you happy and, if it doesn’t, then let it go?
You are absolutely right. Yet, I think it’s also important to recongnize the complexity of it all. Blogging is not all black and white, just like life. You’re not going to love it all the time, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, just like other things, other passions you might let go and come back to. The thing is: book blogging might make me anxious at times. Book blogging might take a toll on my mental health and I know I need to be careful about that.
☂️ Then, how can I practice self-care while book blogging?
I am probably one of the worst person when it comes to self-care, because I just suck at it. I need my sister to take the computer away from me when I feel like I’m going to tear my hair out of something, because on my own, sometimes I just can’t do it. Yet, slowly but surely, I’ve learned to let certain things go. I’m still learning and I’m definitely not in that relaxing place about blogging that I am dreaming of. But I’m on the way.
- I have learned to take breaks. It’s hard. It’s complicated because it feels like you’re missing out on everything and, the truth is, you probably are. But it’s okay. No one is going to forget about you and this book blogging thing is not a job. It’s okay to step back for a day, a week, a month. I’ve learned to take breaks and to take it easier on myself step by step. By taking my time with comments, for instance. By, not deleting the WordPress App from my phone because I’m not there yet, but deleting all of the notifications, which is a start. Small or big, even if it’s just one evening or one weekend, I’ve learned to let go a little bit.
- I remind myself of the little things.
- These things that made me start blogging, like my love for books,
- These things that make me continue on blogging, like these books on my shelves I wouldn’t have read or ever known about if it weren’t for all of you and these books I have yet to find. These friendships I’ve made. This small comment that makes me feel like I’m doing something right and that my voice matter. This moment when I get on WordPress and feel a tiny, teeny pride about how long I’ve been doing this and how I just love it more and more.
Book blogging has brought me so, so, so much more than I ever thought it would. Books, friends, recommendations, skills I can use personally and professionally, incredible opportunities I’ve dreamed of and a whole lot of happiness and confidence I never thought I had, somewhere deep inside.
From now on, all I want to do is keep that feeling always. Take better care of myself? Yes, obviously. But keep on blogging, too, because I love it.
☂️ You might also be interested in: How to stay positive while book blogging.
My lovely friend Christine wrote a beautiful post about “Is Blogging Bad for My Mental Health?” that inspired me to write about my own experience and that I would 200% recommend reading.
Can you relate to some of these anxious feelings I have, when it comes to book blogging?
Do you have any self-care tips you’d like to share? I’d love to know your thoughts in comments!