In an over saturated community, it can sometimes be challenging to stay ahead of the curve and bring something new to the table which can, in turn, cause feelings of overwhelming stress and comparison.
I can't tell you how many hours I've spent procrastinating over the layout of Relatable Miss Renton or the colour scheme best suited to represent my brand when all I really want to do is share some thoughts with you about the ways to improve your mental health. Simple.
I mean sure, SEO counts for something and the site can't look like my dog designed it, nor can my pages take too long to load or you'll get bored and head back to watching Stranger Things 2 (how good?!). But I miss the days when blogs were a raw space for people to share some of their most inner thoughts and feelings, all wrapped up with a splash of personality and a pinch of originality. The sort of posts that made you happy to share because it's like a tiny piece of you just went out into the world and you didn't care how many people liked or shared - you simply felt a little bit cool for writing it.
When I took my break from social media I was writing behind the scenes, just for myself, and I felt so free. I realised I'd felt shackled to my blog and pressured to provide content that was easy to find on search engines or ranked highly in the world of mental health. But the funny thing is, it was ME who was putting all the pressure on! No one else was expecting me to perform or trolling me if I didn't meet my weekly blogging quota.
When I read a great blog piece, chances are it's because I've searched for it in the moment. Perhaps I've been feeling low about losing my Dad and googled grief, only to find someone else's words so beautifully arranged they've sat with me to this very day. And I've remembered this person not for their sharp clever click bait title, but for the way they were able to connect with me on an emotional level.
And I believe that is what a good blog is all about. The rest is just secondary fluff in a busy meat market of blogs that's only getting bigger by the day.
Recently I trialled out the Instagram Managers River, a service claiming to grow your audience organically and act on your behalf. I allowed them to like pictures for me based on hashtags I provided for a month although they can also follow and unfollow should you choose. Whilst my followers crept up at a decent rate and my photos were getting LOADS more likes, I actually didn't like it. Once again it all felt forced, conveyor belt like and the exact opposite of why I got into blogging in the first place.
Chances are if you want to improve your mental health, you'll be more interested in what I have to say than how many likes I have on my photos.
So with that in mind, here are 5 tips to help you reclaim your mental health as a blogger if you've ever come close to packing it all in or in desperate need of a fresh outlook.
1) Remember why it is you got into blogging in the first place. What is your blog's goal and how are you helping people? Does this come across to your audience with each post that you share? If you have a clear message each time you post with a takeaway for your audience, people are going to want to come back because they've come to expect a certain standard from you about a particular topic.
2) Don't be afraid to hide who you are. You don't have to be a well educated, rich, globe trotting skinny sensation to have something of value worth saying. Nor do you have to know it all when it comes to blogging and be a marketing guru. Share parts of you with world because people want to connect, to relate and to have those moments when they feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
3) Set allocated time frames to spend on your blog and social media with slots for content creation and online engaging. Have a diary and treat it like you would any of your other appointments. Dedicate time to your passion to enable growth but don't let it consume you. Your best work comes from a place of peace, not FML stress and overwhelm.
4) Set aside regular time for self care and you time to remind yourself of the fact that you are NOT your brand. You are a human being who, when he/she shuts down that Mac, has commitments to exercise or see friends or make a slap up meal for your family.
5) Reach out to other bloggers - network and share horror stories about the time you forgot to post on a Friday and thought the world might implode. Take comfort in the fact you're not the only one who feels like their blog isn't good enough sometimes or that you could be doing more.
There’s no question that blogging has turned every day people into millionaire sensations who need a dedicated team of people to manage their social and make sure they’re at the top of Google on a daily basis. But for the little fish, the likes of us who love to write or share our photos because we get a kick out of a stranger saying “Wow, I needed this. Thank you,” we could do with taking the pressure off a little bit.