Balancing Your Life: Online and Offline
Hello bookworms and welcome back! It’s Thursday and that means it is time for another installment of Thursday Ramblings!
Thursday Ramblings is a casual feature/meme here on Josie’s Book Corner where I pick a topic and discuss it with you. This is a casual post, filled with rambling and chatting! So basically, we are simply having a conversation about the topic at hand!
This week I’ve decided to focus on a topic that many of us deal with in our lives and I’m sure, being bloggers, things can get challenging when trying to balance your online life with all the shenanigans of your offline life.
As many of you know, I went on a hiatus last Thursday in which I claimed I was going to be away for the rest of the month. Obviously I didn’t even last a week. First of all, I want to thank you all for your monumental support and love. You guys are amazing and I just want to squeeze you all and bake you cookies!
Second of all, I came back because I felt much better (thank the Lord!) and I realized that I needed to better balance and manage my time for effectively and that is what led the inspiration for this week’s ramblings!
In conjunction with my blogging, which has become a very dominant part of my online life, I must also deal with the craziness of being in my last year of high school and the hectic assignments and studying that comes along with it. Add onto that my outside commitments to church and youth activities, my reading commitments that also get influenced by my blogging, my life was pretty much filled up!
Isn’t it ironic that I started this blog the year that I would have the most pressure and the most work to do in school?
Thinking about it, I can’t believe I started this blog during my last year of high school, the year of studying like a madman for exams and doing assignments at the last moment possible (oops). But I do not regret starting this blog at this time in my life one bit. It’s been a great source of joy and happiness in which I met all you lovely people!
But there comes a time when things get too hard to handle and your grip on everything begins to crumble. In the last two months, this happened to me. My school life with assignments and the ever looming darkness and evil that is exams pressed upon me, commitments outside of school started to rise, blogging became a much bigger commitment. Slowly, I started losing purpose. I started to constantly think about my life; about life in general and I would think to myself: “What’s the point in doing anything?In the end we all die.” Dark thoughts, I know.
Things got even worse when I started to contemplate suicide. And let me point out that all these feelings came on gradually but reached a peak last month. And they came out of no where. Getting out of bed became even more difficult and most of my nights were spent feeling anxious and depressed. I could not concentrate enough to do any of my assignments and school work. It was horrible. And the added pressure of being a top student did not help one bit.
When I couldn’t handle the pain of tearing myself apart any longer, I went to see my school psychologist. It felt good to release all the thoughts and pain. And all of you who messaged me on Twitter, you know who you are – you guys are amazing and really helped me! Of course, I didn’t get better right away, and I ended up having to reduce my church and youth commitments and my blogging commitments.
I know many of you who blog are students, but even if you’re not, I want to give you all some tips that I believe have helped me recently – as I have just recovered from my previous state – to keep my head in times when every part of my life has just been falling apart.
I want to give you all some tips to manage your life online, while also balancing the demands of your life outside of blogging and reading and such. Because taking a break from blogging is just NOT an option (well, it is, but for me, I simply cannot stay away). So if you are having trouble with balancing everything, but loathe the idea of leaving the blogosphere, keep reading!
Don’t be afraid to be less active on the blogosphere!
Now this is one that I really want to drill into those lovely brains of yours, especially if the idea of leaving the blogosphere for a certain amount of time – whether it be one week or a month – makes you want to cry. Don’t be scared to be a little less active. Don’t fear that if you don’t interact, comment of blog posts or post every day or as frequently as normal, you will lose followers and eyes on your blog. You won’t! These people comment and like your posts for a reason – because they like your blog! They will not be so easily lost.
Loosen up your blogging schedule, dedicate certain days for blogging
Instead of going on a full on hiatus, all you have to do is loosen up your blogging schedule a bit. This could be posting something every second day, or even only posting two or three times a week. This is totally okay. Something else that might help is setting a certain time of day that is purely dedicated to blogging business. Or schedule a day when you can get multiple blog posts written and ready for future days.
Dedicate a time in your day solely for blogging
For me this is during the evening from around 8pm and onwards. Having a set time for things makes your life so much easier. Maybe you’ve never been the kind of person to have set times for things in your day, maybe you like the spontaneity. But when there is so much going on in your life, it will be a big benefit to you to organize your time.
Let your blogger friends know your situation, connect through social media
Bloggers are so supportive. You’ll see it right away. It blew me away to the point of tears at how compassionate and caring you guys are, you never fail to make me smile and never fail to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! If you are in a bad situation, let your followers and fellow bloggers know. They’ll support you, full throttle.
Prioritize and make the most of organisation strategies
School can be one heck of a ride and when things seem to be getting out of hand, you need to take a step back and organize your thoughts and all the tasks you need to complete. Consider starting to use a planner, or plan a “week in review” page on a piece of paper, outlining everything you plan to do that week. Then in a small blank-paged, unlined notebook, list your to-dos for the day, for school and for life. Colour code them to make it more fun and interesting! However, be careful not to delegate to many tasks in one day! That leads me to my next point…
Don’t give yourself too many tasks to complete in one day!
You are only one person and there are only twenty-four hours in a day! Especially when stress hits, it can get hard to concentrate and you may find that it takes you longer to complete a task than usual. Take baby steps! Point out your most pressing task, the one that needs to be done the most and put that in today’s to-do list. Anything else goes into your week in review sheet.
Take small breaks by reading a chapter of your current book
Of course, OF COURSE I am mentioning books! I like to work in thirty minute intervals with breaks in between. If you are a bookworm, which, if you are here on my blog, you MUST be (you better be…) then use your breaks to grab a cup of tea and read ONE chapter from your current read. Do your best not to read more than one, I know it’s tempting!
Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks
This is something I’m very passionate about. Especially due to school, our mental states can get damaged with all the stress and pressure. It is crucial that we are allowed to have down time every now and then. If school is getting too hard, don’t be afraid to take a break for a day or so. My school allowed me to have a day where I didn’t have to go to any of my classes, but to have an unscheduled day of finishing work without any pressure. IT WAS AMAZING. If your school or university or your boss at work wont allow this kind of “mental day break”, then take a break at home by calling in sick! Your health is the most important thing here.
Have days where you go out with friends and forget about all the pressures
I discovered how crucial and beneficial days with friends can be. Not all the time but when you are feeling stressed and under pressure, if your friends ask you to go out with them, give yourself the down time. You’ll find that you’ll feel much better afterwards.