Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Why I Needed a Blogging Break and My Happiness Project
Despite said love, I have been experiencing blogging-block lately, and my enthusiasm for it waned around the holidays. I've read that a lot of my other favorite bloggers have been feeling the same, so at least I'm not alone. I just had to have a break, and my reasons for that were many.
The holidays. I love 'em, but oh, do they sap my energy. Unfortunately, this is also a really crucial time for DIY and home bloggers, because the pressure to post about the latest delicious Christmas cookie or variation of an advent calendar is there every time you open the computer. I added my 2 cents this year, but must admit, I just couldn't muster the time or energy to do a whole lot extra where blogging was concerned. I just loved House of Hepworth's confessions in this post. That's pretty much how we roll around here at Christmastime, too, and yes, we labeled the kids' gifts with a Sharpie this year. Not to mention, we were also gone 3 out of the 4 weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not being home to enjoy Christmas-y tasks like baking, shopping, crafting and wrapping in a leisurely way kinda didn't help. Instead, I ended up feeling like the drill sergeant of Christmas. So that's reason one.
Reason two is Sandy Hook Elementary. I know I wasn't the only one who couldn't find a good reason to post about making handmade Christmas ornaments after that happened. It all just seemed so petty and pointless. Mind you, I don't feel blogging is either of those things; but, in the wake of that tragedy, I had the desire to just press the pause button until after the holidays. That felt like the right thing to do to me.
Finally, I was having a hard time juggling it all. Truth be told, I still don't have that figured out. Although the New Year energized me as it always does, and I'm charged up with ideas and enthusiasm again, I have this odd sensation of being nervous about returning to blogging after my 3-week break. I was hoping to get a few more things organized and cross off a lot more nagging tasks before resuming the pace of blogging. For instance, I have about 4 buttons and a couple of stuffed animals that need mending. Why is it so hard to pick up a needle and thread, you may ask? I don't know, but that's an example of the type of chore that tends to pile up around here when I'm in full-on-project-mode. You guys know! Blogging takes up a ton of time. Trips to the craft store, making the recipe/gift/decorative item, taking a picture of said item, editing that picture, posting about it, and trying to keep up with social media...it's a real time commitment and I'm not even talking about answering comments or working with sponsors and giveaways. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it has to be said: I had let too many things slide around the house and needed a little breathing room to get caught up.
Sadly, after 3 weeks, I still don't feel prepared to hit the ground running. It felt great to take down all of our Christmas stuff, organize, and pack it away. But the house is still not operating like a well-oiled machine. The toilets are gross, the bath toys need sanitized, the carpets need cleaned, a TON of paperwork needs filed, we all need hair cuts, and the list goes on. Oh, and those buttons still need sewn. Geez, what DID I do with those 3 weeks, anyway? Nevertheless, I feel I've been gone long enough. If I want to continue to grow my blog (and I do), then it's time to get back to it, despite my nervousness that everything is going to pile up again.
I am going to have to rely on heavy-duty checklists, less sleep, and some good 'ol New Year's optimism, I think! One thing I hope will help is the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Month by month, Rubin tackles areas of her life that could use some improving, in an effort to enjoy her life more. She's not an UNHAPPY or depressed person by any stretch; but, she did feel that too often, she took the blessings in her life for granted because "stuff" kept getting in the way. Bad habits, inattention to herself and others, piles of laundry, demanding schedules, and too much multi-tasking took her away from moments that could've perhaps been savored. I feel much the same. While I love the life we've built, I feel there's a way to squeeze more joy out of it.
I do get bogged down in minutia sometimes. So for January, I read the first chapter on Vitality. In it, Rubin talks about the things that drain our energy, like clutter. This isn't news to me. I've always said that I can't think in a messy house or work at a disorganized desk. But still, there are definitely areas in our house that could use some attention. Rubin says, "I was also weighed down by the invisible, but even more enervating, psychic clutter of loose ends. I had a long list of neglected tasks that made me feel weary and guilty whenever I thought of them. I needed to clear away the detritus in my mind." Bingo! So those buttons...I need to get on 'em. And I'm also working on organizing the pit of doom that is our basement and filing about 4 months worth of paperwork. I'd love to organize our digital photos, too, but that could take all year.
If you've stuck with this post this far, thank you. It feels good to lay it all out there. Now that I've confessed my feelings and goals, I feel I can move forward, and maybe be held more accountable. I plan to keep up with my Happiness Project so you may see more posts about my revelations in the coming months. Here's to 2013! May it be a good one. With less mental (and physical) detritus.