Today is the day!
Today from 3:35-4:20PM Central you can join me right here as I live blog about this session hosted by Jessica (from Bliss and Balance), Becki (Fighting for Wellness), and Elizabeth (My Neon Running Shoes) while they discuss how important self-care is to health and wellbeing. They will also be sharing strategies and tips for self-care for both bloggers and non-bloggers.
I will be posting, in real time, tips-tricks-strategies I’ve learned from the session. My blog will update every few minutes with added information, so it will be like you are sitting right next to me in the session.
If you want to learn more about the session, including more about these lovely ladies – check out the session page on the HLS website.
Live Blogging: Blogger Self-Care
Let’s get the ball rolling on this session today – any questions I can ask the ladies for any of you? How do you ensure you are taking time for self-care?
The theme for today is Staying Happy, Healthy and Sane Under Pressure
We are all so busy, so self-care is so important not just for bloggers but for everyone. We can feel overwhelmed and bogged down in life – which can impact our blogging.
What is self-care? Research is showing that stress can increase the likelihood of professional burn-out. Even if you aren’t using a blog as a way to earn a living, we can all still experience this type of burn-out.
Research suggests that self-care can help prevent burn-out.
1) Self Awareness – paying attention to how your body feels is very important.
A quick exercise for self-awareness is to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and pay close attention to how your breathing feels. As you keep focusing on your breathing, focus on how your body feels. Start with your head – maybe you can hear something in the room you didn’t hear before? Do you have a slight headache? Do your shoulders feel tight? Use this time to take some time to stretch out your shoulders. Move down your arms focusing on your fingertips. Continue to move down your body and focus on your breathing, especially in your stomach. Continue to move down to your feet – notice your toes and how your feet feel on the floor. Continue to take deep breaths and then open your eyes when you are ready.
We often don’t pay attention to how we feel because there are so many pressures throughout the day. There is definitely a fine line between being busy and productive vs. over-burdening yourselves.
Often we focus on “blogging musts” such as: blogging every day, loving every new trend, being careful not to offend others, constantly interacting with bloggers. These can over-burden us, especially with all the other things going on in our lives.
We don’t have to follow all the other trends as other bloggers. Jessica reports that she felt pressured to try overnight oats, or zumba, or crossfit. She has learned to take that pressure off herself and just be her own person – not blog every day and find her own interests and her own rhythm. The stress has gone away for Jess after taking these steps.
Research talks about balancing the stress of others vs. the needs of yourself. Even if someone is emailing about not liking the content on our blogs, or wanting to read more about “X”. The key is to be authentic and accept people where they are, rather than worry about other people’s opinions about your writing.
If you are always blogging for yourself and following your own style, the negative comments from others can not hold as much weight as it could otherwise. When you try to fit a mold, the negative comments can hurt and they can be exposing that you really don’t love what you are talking about.
One struggle for Elizabeth is not always responding to comments on her blog that her readers leave. She sometimes uses negative comments or questions comments to inspire blog posts that are authentic and come from the heart – which helped her to feel less pressure or stress about blogging. Controversy is not always a bad thing.
Jess reports looking inwards when she can’t shake a negative comment and see if there really is something that she is missing. Otherwise, she will talk to someone 1 on 1, rather than addressing it on the blog.
Elizabeth thinks that at the end of the day, blog for yourself and your family. If someone doesn’t like you, or your content, there may be 3-4 people who do like what you are posting or who you are.
Everyone is doing the best they can in the moment. Even if someone is being snarky or rude, we don’t know exactly what is going on in their lives.
Even if you don’t work out 7 days every week because you are exhausted, you are doing the best that you can.
Unfortunately, technology can sometimes bring on stress – but it can also be used to lessen stress. A few ideas:
Happiness Highlights post: Even if you had a bad week the previous week, if you sit down on Mondays and write about 5 things that went really well in the last week. It could be something as simple as, “I got to sleep in one day”
Happier: This is an app where you set your phone to remind you to write something happy. You can set this to post to private, which Jess recommends so you can share something without judgment. It could be something as simple as, “I got coffee this afternoon”
Gratitude Journal: This is also an app and you can put a picture in for the day. Elizabeth lists 5 things every day that she is gracious about. Research says that feeling grateful and acknowledging those feelings can change your brain to be more gracious or happy.
The need to unplug: Becki sometimes takes blogging hiatuses to take time off. She didn’t schedule any posts to go up over this HLS weekend to make sure she wasn’t checking her blog all the time and focusing her energy on her blog – rather than enjoying her weekend.
Social Media Cleanse: Jess took a social media cleanse this winter and deleted ALL her social media apps from her phone (wow, what strength!). She also took a blogging break during this time and felt very refreshed after the process. Now that she is back on social media, she no longer checks her blog stats on her wordpress homepage. She no longer obsesses over what is on the internet.
Elizabeth once washed her phone by accident with her sheets. She stayed off social media for a week while she waited for her new phone to come in. She found she had more time for her husband and her family at night, rather than focusing on social media or blogging that night. Her family now has a rule that M/W/F after 7pm – they shut off all technology and take a break to focus on each other.
Social media isn’t always the culprit – Becki reports that she had to become mindful in other ways than running – because running became something she would struggle over and became another pressure.
Jess now takes a break and sits to reflect when she has a spare moment, rather than focusing on her phone and checking social media.
Happiness Formula: What does it take for you to feel happy? Jess developed this formula in the spring and started to reflect on the things she needed every day to feel happy. For Jess, this was getting in a workout, maybe doing some yoga, focusing on sleep and eating ~80% healthy for the day. Jess states this is her happiness formula and she shoots to get 3 out of 4 of these every day and it makes her feel happy.
Sit down and think about the happy days that are average, every day life day, and write down the things that made up that day. It is completely individual to each person – but it really helps to figure out how to make yourself feel happier and fulfilled.
We all know that we need to be taking care of our mental health, but it’s always one of the first things to go when we get busy.
1) Keep a happiness or gratitude journal
2) Daily affirmations – although it can sound cheesy, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself something great about yourself or what you did that day.
Write something in your mirror for daily affirmations and change it once a week to say whatever it needs to make you feel warm and fuzzy.
3) Find little ways to integrate self-care into your routine. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but just adding something little in your day and let it build day to day.
Ideas for self care from the group:
- Working out
- No technology
- Taking time for yourself
- Have the mindset that you are taking this time for yourself
- Make the bedroom a technology free zone – no TV, no radio, phone only for alarm
- Turning technology off 30 minutes before bed to shut your mind down
- Place your phone far enough away that it can be used for an alarm, but it can’t be reached in bed
- Turn Do-Not-Disturb on your phone
If you implement anything and let it improve your quality of life, let Jessica know. She is very intrigued to hear what works for other people.
Surrounding yourself with positive people and people who are life giving will help improve self care and your attitude and positivity in general. Don’t be around people who are life-taking.
You can just hide people from facebook feeds, especially those who are negative.
Even if you can’t “cut someone” from your life – you can validate someone and ask them to stop talking about something, or doing whatever it is that is upsetting you. By giving yourself power, it will bother you less.
People don’t even realize how they can make you feel – so asking others for what you want can be very powerful.
Saying “you hurt my feelings” can be cheesy at first, but it gets easier the more you do it.
Sometimes relationships can be solved with just opening lines of communication.
Just practicing forgiveness and letting go of things that someone else does that upsets you can help you to feel better.
Becki says in life we all have 2 buckets – one of water and one gasoline. When someone throws a fire your way, you can either throw water on it or you can throw gasoline on it.
Focus on your breathing and make sure that your breaths are “life-sustaining” breaths. Think of a characteristic you need (such as: courage) and focus on bringing that into your body, and breathing out any negativity you have.
A smile is the gift that keeps on giving
Jess reports feeling much happier when she focused on self-care, which in turn made her focus on herself. She was a happier employee, sister, girlfriend, blogger, etc.