Today I have something way more personal to share with you all. Frankly, I’m very anxious about it. I am not sure how it will sound, but I don’t want to overthink it. I want to talk about the concept of book blog-aholic.
The Evolution of This Problem
I need to address the elephant in the room: the combination of my workaholic tendencies and my book blogging. I have always had an intense personality in terms of working. Always obsessed with pushing myself further, being ever more organized and achieving high results. This helped me in school and university, but I felt I was missing out at the same time. While I was getting results I desperately wanted, and that gratified me, it left me obsessed with work and productivity. Some could say that I missed out on social experiences in order to pursue my work ethic.
All of this had been fairly standard until I began book blogging. Now I need to take a quick step back and explain that I began this blog over a year ago when I was writing my Masters Thesis. This was my outlet, a way for me to ‘schedule’ in ‘play’ and reading time. It encouraged me to keep up reading for fun books. (I do mean schedule, I schedule in everything: showering, exercise, walking, vitamins). At the time I was only blogging about once a week and not doing any extra content. But after my Masters ended, this spiraled out of control.
Even when I got an internship, I pushed myself to keep up my intense reading schedule. Coming up against deadlines, like going on vacation, my honeymoon, only exacerbated this process. I became obsessed with maintaining a schedule, reading a book per day, writing reviews everyday. It wore me out, but I kept my eye on this magical vague prize, of being successful doing what I am doing.
In the US, I pushed myself and it was no vacation at all. And I was the only one to blame. I put unreal expectations on myself and I cut myself short. I gave up sleep, exercising time, all to be more productive. Obsessed with squeezing every productive second out of every minute, forced me onwards. Then I came back here and had to do even more work, since in the US I didn’t read any books that I would review in the next month.
Since then, I’ve spiraled even further. Working from waking up, to sleeping, with no moment of breaks, or play. Even the times when I have played, I have felt intensely guilty, worried about this distracting from my main goal. It’s caused me to neglect my self, my mental health, and sleep. I need sleep like a koala or panda. But it forced me to put myself last: to the point where I would cry myself to sleep and stay up all night planning, getting up even earlier.
Why now? I’ve used book blogging as a way to escape from reality: my future. Having no certain plans for myself is new to me. This is the first time I have no set plan or path and it’s driving me into this working frenzy. Unable to cope, I threw, am throwing, myself into this destructive spiral, trying to be the most productive I can. Not solving the problem that the future remains closer, looms always in my immediate distance when I look up from my book.
I had these vague goals in my head: to be successful. They had no end points, and I kept trying to do more and more, convinced if I didn’t I would lose out. Lose followers, lose recognition, lose what little control I have over my life. Frankly, when I think about it, it just throws me into a depression where I want to never leave my bed.
Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love what I do. I love the reading, the new worlds, the blogging relationships I have. I even, sometimes, enjoy writing reviews. But it’s all a matter of scale and the acknowledgement of this for what it is: an escape.
This is not to say that I’m quitting, or even necessarily taking a break. But I’m trying to focus on my mental health. How can I get myself back on track?
- Going to bed earlier
- Exercising frequently (without audiobooks)
- Regular good meals
- Taking my Vitamins
These may seem like straightforward steps, but this is far from easy. I don’t want to promise a break, or a hiatus, or anything, because that could just add to the stress, the cycle, and the guilt. All I can say is that I am going to try to take my mental health and self more seriously, to schedule a little less, and to focus on my future, even though I want to run away from it.
I don’t mean to post this, to de-value the real problems of the world, or others who suffer. I merely want to share the challenge I am taking on and what it means for this blog. It is incredibly difficult for me to post this, but maybe others who have encountered this challenge want to know they’re not alone. I would like to feel that way.