As this is Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m going to be publishing a few posts on the theme of mental health this week, starting with this one, all about blogging.
For something that was originally supposed to be fun, blogging can’t half be the source of an awful lot of stress. I’ve been blogging since 2007 (AKA the dark days before avocados were a thing), so here are my thoughts on what can help and hinder your mental health as a blogger.
All in all I think that blogging can be great for mental health – it gives you a voice when you may feel powerless; a creative space to call your own. It can connect you with your tribe – the people who like the things you like, or have been through the things you’re going through. It can give purpose to the tough times in life, as sharing your challenges can inspire others.
But blogging can be a source of stress too. Please don’t let it be like that for you. Life provides enough stress all by itself already. If your blog isn’t lifting you up, think about why that is and don’t let it drag you down.
- Comparison is the thief of joy
Don’t fall for FOMO. Value what you bring to the party and don’t get distracted by what somebody else has got, or where they are on their blogging journey. There will always be someone with a shinier, apparently more successful blog than yours. This is just the way of the world. You can’t really get tied up in that. You do you. Believe that your voice, your blog, is valuable. Think about what success means to you, and make that your standard to live up to. I always think that a successful blog is the one that you enjoy enough to want to keep returning to.
- Always online?
There can be a pressure in blogging to be omnipresent at all times. Writing your latest blog post is only the half of it – then you’ve got to tweet it, then schedule lots more tweets cos one is never enough, put an image on Instagram and change the clickable link in your insta bio, then link to it on Facebook (not forgetting the multiple Facebook groups you belong to), join in a linky to promote it (and comment on a bunch of other posts in said linky) etc etc. And that’s only the start of it. Exhausting, isn’t it? Put your phone down sometimes. Don’t feel you have to be everywhere at once.
- Set your own schedule
Don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t post every day or week. Don’t feel you have to apologise if you take an extended break from your blog, or even stop blogging altogether, for whatever reason.
- Don’t get too hung up on stats
Stats have got their place, as long as that place isn’t crushing down on your heart like a lump of concrete fallen from the sky.
- Take your online friendships into the real world
This is something I have been really guilty of not doing and would like to rectify. I’ve ‘met’ some really great people through blogging, without ever having met them face to face. I very rarely go to blogging meet ups now. I’m scared that I’ll be too old, too fat, too dull, too disappointing in the flesh. But there is a limit to the extent to which friendships can develop if you never meet people face to face. So I need to do it. Human connection is a big part of what makes life worth living, and online connection only goes so far.
- Live your life, be fully present (and don’t blog about it)
This might sound like strange advice – not to blog about your life. After all, that’s what the blog’s for, right? But when you plan to blog about something, you’re never fully 100% in the experience, are you? Part of your brain is occupied with what to write, what to photograph, what will play well on Instagram etc. So take a day off from blogging and go on holiday in your own life.