Happy Tuesday, y’all. May is Mental Health Awareness month, so I wanted to share of my personal struggles with you. For many years, I’ve dealt with anxiety and stress and it has taken a mental and physical toll on me from time to time. As a blogger, it’s easier to write about the happier, more carefree topics, but today I wanted to share one of my biggest struggles with you.
Much of the stress and anxiety I cope with is self-induced. I consider myself a highly motivated individual, but that comes at a cost sometimes. People are always saying, “wow, you seem to get so much done each day”, and they ask me how I do it. I often joke that it’s because I don’t sleep much, but that’s partially true. Almost daily, I give myself impossibly long to-do lists. If I have a day off from work, I overload myself and try to accomplish everything in those extra eight hours I have. I find myself unable to turn my brain off, so I’m constantly working, right up until bedtime.
The truth is that I pile way too much on my plate. Between working a full-time job, blogging, publishing a book and starting to write a second, and trying to be a good wife and dog-mom, I rarely find time to sit down. Just ask Ryan. I’ve been wanting to watch Game of Thrones for months now, and we finally subscribed to HBO Go, but we’ve only watched about six episodes. Why? Because I honestly never feel as if I’m able to sit and just do nothing. It’s something I grapple with every single day, and I’m not sure how to eliminate or at least lessen the compulsion to constantly be moving and doing something. If I’m not working, I feel like I should be. I feel anxious if I’m sitting and watching TV when I know that laundry needs to be folded or dishes need to be washed.
I think another part of the the reason I feel so much stress and anxiety on a daily basis is because I’m not good at saying “no”. I overstretch myself by agreeing to do way too many things each week, and it’s especially tough in the blogging world because I feel as if I need to attend as many events as possible in an effort to get exposure. Plus, when I attend these events, I see my friends, and that’s fun. But when I’m busy on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and then again on the weekends, it’s hard to find a few spare moments to relax.
I want to be that person who sleeps in occasionally or spends an entire day binging a show on Netflix. Of course, I’m aware that because I’m a motivated, entrepreneurial-minded woman, I’m going to be busy. However, I’ve recently made up my mind that I need to start saying “NO” more. I need to value my personal time and not let others control it. Let’s be honest, when it comes to different events during the week, I get serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Plus, I’m always flattered to be included, so I hate not to attend. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to take control of my time because it’s valuable!
Another way I can reduce my day-to-day stress is by planning ahead. For example, I try to posts on my blog twice a week, but lately I’ve been waiting till the night before to scramble a hasty post up. I don’t want to do that anymore because, again, it’s creates self-induced stress. From now on, if I don’t have a post planned, I simply won’t post—I’m allowing myself some grace.
My mental health is so much more important than anything. If I’m constantly stressed out and anxious, how can I enjoy any of the wonderful things I’m working on? I can’t! So not only am I resolving to say “no” more, but I’m also resolved to start giving myself more grace. If I don’t vacuum every week, oh well! If I don’t get as many blog posts up as I want, oh well! If I don’t write a minimum of 2000 words daily, oh well! I want to allow myself some grace and spend more time living in the moment, free of stress or anxiety. I want to really focus on this for the next month or so and see how I feel—whether or not my stress levels improve.
I hope this post wasn’t too much rambling for you. If anything, I hope it helped you to understand that you’re not alone if you feel stressed often or if you deal with a lot of anxiety. If you ever need to talk or have any questions, please feel free to reach out!