I’ve been working on some presentations for an international conference on debunking the “work-life balance” myth and implementing professional boundaries. This got me thinking about how I can improve my own self-care when it comes to blogging. For many of us, creating blog and social media content is not a full-time job and so it sneakily takes over much of our personal lives, sometimes with negative consequences. When I first started this blog, I was so glued to my social media to make sure I was building my engagement that I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was straying. My social engagement was steady, but was I fully in-tune at home?
A boundary is a limit you set for yourself so as not to burn yourself out or let others take advantage of you. It’s knowing when to say yes and how to say no. As a psychologist, I help many people work on their boundaries, usually when they have too much on their plates resulting in severe stress. Here are my tips for setting boundaries as a blogger or influencer:
1. Finding Purpose
Research shows that finding meaning and purpose in your work will result in more optimism and longevity. Creating content about something that you believe in and can be excited about week after week is the key to not resenting the time and effort that goes into your product. This is great not only for your product but for your own personal wellness.
However, research also supports that once you start doing what you love for compensation, personal satisfaction in the activity decreases (because it starts to feel more like “work”). Kind of a bummer for individuals who come to rely on their blogging for income. Hence the reason that I believe that those of us who do this as a creative outlet, and don’t expect to fully support ourselves blogging, continue to have the most fun and motivation.
2. The Perfect Blend
Blog life and personal life will never be in perfect balance. One will always demand more of you at any given time, but it is important to not allow them to become one in the same or for blogging to bleed over into your personal life so much that you start experiencing negative consequences (strained relationships, loss of sleep, excessive worry). Take some time to reflect on how you feel when you are overwhelmed in order to know when you may have to change your blogging patterns for your personal life’s benefit.
Life and work seem to be merging more these days with technology strapped to our wrists and the emergence of workspaces like WeWork. I see nothing wrong with grabbing a coffee or a drink in the same space as your office in order to give yourself a little break. However, you need some detachment throughout the day to feel energized to continue loving your work. A vacation (even if it’s just a full day) from your craft is even better!
3. Prep & Prioritize
This is all about doing work on the front end to give you more time later or to have content at your fingertips in a pinch. I’m someone who constantly jots down ideas, so I usually have a list going in my notes app on my phone filled with blog ideas. Additionally, when I have some material for a particular idea, I will make a draft blog post for it so I can find it faster. This can serve as back up material for those weeks in which I feel like I’ve got nothing and want to give myself a little break (tip#5).
Take the free time you are blessed with to do some of the legwork ahead of time. Edit photos, dictate some commentary, or just browse to find inspiration. These habits will ensure top-notch output each and every time, rather than trying to fit this all into some self-made deadline.
4. Check in with Others
Make sure you are communicating with those in your life who support you in your creative outlet. Start by asking them if they feel like your blogging is taking time away from them or if they have felt taken for granted in any way. They may not be on board with a full-on photo shoot every time you go somewhere or planning getaways around the best color palette for your feed. On the flip side, they may 100% support your adventures and want to improve their photog skills, or just be down for whatever. But you will never know unless you talk about it.
5. Give yourself a break
Do not put crazy pressure on yourself to produce, produce, produce. If you are feeling overwhelmed, go back to your purpose and give it some thought. Don’t force some crappy content that will turn people off. You are better off taking some time for yourself and coming back to it when you are motivated. For instance, I haven’t posted an article in two weeks. I had a sick kid, it’s been really rainy here in So Cal (we don’t go anywhere in the rain), and work has been rather busy. The last thing I need is bog myself down with another task. My personal minimum is posting every day on IG, which I even paused for a couple of days when I needed to focus on other things.
We all got into this for a reason, whether it was to share our knowledge, showcase our adventures, or to connect with others. In order to get those needs met, you need to take care of yourself first and know when to pump the breaks to avoid burnout. If you want to read more about my self-care routine, check out this post.