Checking In [Mental Health Monday]

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve had a Mental Health Monday. A lot of things have changed within the past couple of months and, instead of writing an article about mental health, I figured we can use this time as a check-in.

Mental Health Monday: Checking In | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Self-Care | RachelPoli.com

What’s going on with me

It’s no secret I’ve been in hiding the past year or so. I felt awful putting my blog on hiatus but there was no sense in me continuing to write blog posts when I had no ideas, no motivation, and no means to interact in the comments. Everything felt like a chore. I’ve missed you guys and I mean no offense to anyone who reads and supports my work, but it was hard to keep up with it all for a while.

I tried to come back a couple of times, but those times only resulted in me writing a, “I’m Back!” post and then disappearing for another month or two. I eventually decided to save it for January – new month, new year, a new decade. Makes sense, right?

Except life doesn’t exactly take into account the date. If you’re having a rough time, it’s not all going to go away simply because a month or the year has come to an end. What you put off today will still be there tomorrow. Bottled up feelings and energy will be there when you wake up the next morning.

It’s easy to say, “There are three days left of the month and it’s been a wash. Let me make plans for the following month and I’ll start fresh on the first.”

Honestly, this works sometimes. But a lot can happen in those three days whether you decide to start early or wait to begin that list. If you wait, something else might come up and you’ll find yourself saying the same thing a month from now.

I worked on stuff. I did things behind the scenes to prep the blog and my other creative projects for 2020. When 2020 came, I wasn’t ready to get back into it. There was still behind-the-scenes work to be done and I continued that instead.

Back to blogging

They always say it’s hard to get back into the swing of things after a long hiatus. For example, if you’re sick and need to miss school for a week. It’s so hard to go back the following Monday morning. Your classmates bombard you with questions, you have a ton of make-up work to do, and you need to get back into your routine of waking up early and doing homework in the afternoons.

I think that was partly my feeling when I thought of blogging again. I wasn’t ready to commit to a daily schedule again. Between brainstorming content, writing the content, creating graphics, social media scheduling, reading and replying to comments, and everything in between on top of all my other projects.

Needless to say, I changed that. I may still be creating daily content but most of it isn’t something I need to do daily. My social media schedule has lessened. If I skip a day here or there of publishing a blog post, then so be it. I won’t beat myself up over it.

Weekly Mental Health Monday

With all that said, Mental Health Monday is now a weekly feature on the blog instead of monthly. It sounds backward considering I said I was going to lessen my content and I’m moving a monthly feature to weekly, but I think this is needed.

Not just for me, but for you guys as well.

What’s happening with the world

Aside from it being hard to get back into the swing of things in January, something else happened that month (which I’ll speak about in a separate Mental Health Monday post soon – nothing too alarming, everything is okay) and also COVID-19 took over the world.

By the time the virus got to where I live, it was late February/early March. (I think. I’ve lost track of all days at this point.) The news constantly updates. Something is changing every moment of every day. It’s hard to keep track of it all and yet, there are days when I try not to keep track of it all. When this all started I found myself constantly refreshing Twitter. Every time the governor was on TV, I sat down and watched or asked my mom for an update.

I never watch the news. The news is depressing and it freaks me out.

Everything has been turned upside. I lost my nannying job since the kids aren’t in school and both parents are now working from home for the time being. I miss the kids, of course, and it is nice to have those extra hours added to my day so I can work on my business and creative projects. However, I’m a freelance writer, I’m in business for myself. I still nanny because it’s a steady stream of income for me and I’ve lost that.

My two closest friends got laid off from their jobs. My mom is home but my sister and dad are considered “essential” workers. Who knows what they’re coming in contact with or what they’re bringing home. Our routines are totally up in the air right now.

We’re lucky enough that no one is sick and we don’t know anyone who is sick, but we’re still staying away from each other as much as possible. My cousins can no longer come over for dinner. My uncle gave my mom flowers the other day but he didn’t come inside the house.

We’re living in weird times. It’s unnerving and it’s sad.

I don’t know how long this is going to last. I do know that even when the virus has had enough, the effects from it will linger on for a while. I hope we’ll be much better, kinder people when this is all over.

Welcome back, Mental Health Monday

With that said, this feature needed to come back. We need to stick together, be kind to one another, and check in on our friends (real-life and internet), family, and neighbors.

I’m thinking the first Mental Health Monday of each month will be a short and sweet check-in post. Similar to this one, but much shorter and less of a rant. (I felt the need to explain myself about where I’ve been and what I want to do with this feature.)

I’d like for everyone to keep in touch and keep each other’s spirits up. I want this all the time too, not just because a virus has been spreading through the world. Hopefully, this will help someone out there.

How are you guys?

So, let’s check in with one another. How are you guys doing? What have you been up to? I hope you’re all safe and healthy. Let me know in the comments below and we’ll catch up. If you need to talk, I’m here.

Take care of yourselves.

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What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like [Mental Health Mondays]

Thankfully, I haven’t had an anxiety attack in a while. I used to get them frequently when I was in school and, on occasion, I’ll get the feeling that I’m going to have one, but tend to talk myself out of it. If I do have an anxiety attack though, this is what it typically feels like for me.

Mental Health Mondays: What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Hot Flash

Usually, when I begin to have an anxiety attack, I start to get a hot flash everywhere. I get clammy hands, sweaty everywhere, it’s gross. And it’s not a nice feeling either. I think I start to feel this way when I get overwhelmed and my body is trying to tell me to step outside and just get some air. When I begin to feel this way, I try my best to find a bathroom just to splash some cold water on my face or anything to cool myself down.

I love the summer, it’s my favorite season. I also would rather be hot than cold. However, that doesn’t help when I’m out in public and get hot. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the weather or I’m about to have an anxiety attack… in which case, I often work myself up to have an attack.

Shaking and Dizziness

These two go hand in hand sometimes. I’ll feel shaky and unsteady on my feet or get the feeling that the floor is moving or uneven. Then I’ll get dizzy and start to feel claustrophobic. I normally get this way in stores or restaurants. I felt this way all the time when I was in school. If I’m in a place that has little to no windows, then forget it. The entire room will be spinning for me.

I normally try to find a way out of where ever I am when I start to feel this way. Depending on the situation, I can sometimes stick it out, but I usually need to leave.

No Vision

If the anxiety attack gets far enough, I’ll lose my vision. I’ll basically blackout, but I’m not passed out. I’m still conscious and can hear things going on and such, but I just can’t see. It’s a weird thing and I don’t know if that happens to anyone else or not. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened in a while, but when it does, I just have to sit and let it pass. Once it does, I’ll be dizzy for a few moments while my body gets back to normal.

Shortness of Breath

This usually happens at any time, but mostly if the anxiety attack gets bad enough that I need to just let it pass and get through it. A million things can go through my head when I have an attack because it feels like I’m dying. Thus, shortness of breath. I also have asthma so mix that in with thinking I’m dying and… yeah.

Exhaustion

Once all of this is over, I’m down for the count for the rest of the day. It puts such a strain on my mind and body that I am super tired. The last thing I want to do is work, socialize, go anywhere, or do anything. It’s not fun.

Of course, tiredness comes with the package as a whole. Anxiety makes me feel tired all the time and having an attack just makes it worse.

Overall, anxiety attacks aren’t fun and I know people experience different things when they have an attack. I also know some are more severe than others. This is what I usually go through when I have an anxiety attack. Luckily, as I said before, I haven’t had one in a while. Usually, I tend to get them in the middle of the night too so at least it doesn’t interfere with work or anything else during the day. It doesn’t make it any less annoying though.

Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Going To The Movies [Mental Health Mondays]

When it comes to anxiety, some triggers for myself are known and some aren’t. Going to the movies is one of those known triggers for me. In fact, movies, in general, can be a trigger for me. However, I finally went to the movie theater for the first time in forever a few months ago.

Mental Health Monday: Going To The Movies | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health Matters | RachelPoli.com

Why Movies?

Honestly, I have no idea why movies are a trigger for me. I’m not one for blood and gore and, I think, with the more serious kinds of movies, not knowing what to expect or what will happen throws me off. I used to be able to watch superhero movies like Iron Man with ease and now that kind of stuff bothers me. I still watch them though because I love those movies, but I can only take one or two movies at a time.

I can watch PG-13 movies to a certain point, but I’ve never watched a rated R movie before (not willingly, at least). Needless to say, I can’t and will never do horror. There are exceptions, of course, though when watching a movie for the first time, it can be rough for me.

Why they’re a trigger for me, I don’t know. I think a lot of it stems from school. We’d watch movies that, I personally believe, were not age-appropriate. In ninth grade, my biology teacher gave the substitute a movie for us to watch and it was similar to America’s Funniest Home Videos but it was called That’s Gotta Hurt and was totally bloody and people were getting hurt and screaming. It was not entertaining in the least bit. The sub happened to be the most infamous one among all the students and he refused to let me go to the nurse thinking I was trying to get out of class… because we were totally busy, right?

Long story short, I had an anxiety attack and passed out in front of the class.

More Examples

In eighth grade, we watched a rated R movie about some war and I have certain bloody scenes embedded in my mind.

In fifth grade, we watched Pirates of the Carribean. I love that movie now, but at the time, I was deathly afraid of the pirates and skeletons. I spent that whole time with my eyes closed.

In third grade, that was when 9/11 tragically happened. My teachers were in a panic and, rightfully so, couldn’t focus on work. They brought in the TVs to the classrooms and we watched it all happen on live TV. Their reasoning was that it was “history in the making.” Of course, they didn’t mean that in a good way. I can’t begin to imagine what people went through who were actually present and had loved ones pass away. However, for an eight-year-old watching that live on TV… it was pretty scarring.

Needless to say, whenever I saw a TV in the classroom, I immediately felt anxiety to the point where I would fake being sick or lie to my teachers and tell them my parents didn’t allow me to watch whatever it was we were watching.

I Shied Away From Movies

Throughout the years, I became more and more distant to movies. Cartoon movies and such are totally fine but rated R and some rated PG-13 movies along with live-action or even CGI are tough for me to watch. Despite all that I just said, I still don’t entirely understand why. Again, I think it may be the unknown of what’s going to happen in the movie but I haven’t pinpointed the exact reasoning.

This grew to affect the movie theater as well. I was never one for loud noises, crowds, or the dark – all of which can describe a movie theater. I stopped going to the theater when Fantastic Four came out in 2015. I went with Kris and our friend and I ended up leaving in the middle of the previews. I never went back to the theater after that. Only on the occasion when a new Disney movie came out or something. Then I might go, but I usually waited for the DVD. That way, I could pause and walk away if I needed a break.

Aside from the occasionally Disney movie exception, there was one movie in particular that I was determined to see.

Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu came out in May 2019 and I couldn’t resist not seeing it. It’s Pokemon, which I adore, and I’ve been waiting for this movie for so long. CGI and live-action have been daunting to me because there can be some scary or trippy scenes. (And there was.) But, I made it work.

I’ve never forced myself to work on going to the movie theater. One thing I learned from therapy was to pick and choose my battles. School gave me anxiety, but I needed to work through that as it was stopping me from doing something important in my life. Going to the movies is just a fun activity that I could live without. Plus, there are DVDs and streaming. In fact, it saves me money in the long run.

I didn’t want my anxiety to stop me from seeing a Pokemon movie though. It was something I looked forward to for so long. Being in the gaming community, I would have sorely missed out on Twitter conversations talking about the movie. It’s not the same watching it on a DVD for the first time months after everyone has stopped talking about it.

I Was Prepared

We got our tickets early and went opening weekend so we could get the special Detective Pikachu Pokemon cards (another incentive for me to go). So, I knew it was coming for a few weeks. I was mentally preparing myself.

When I go to the movies, I have my worry stone and bring a cold drink and a snack. The food helps me focus on something else if I need a distraction from the big screen in front of me. For Detective Pikachu, I hid an entire bag of cheese pretzels in my backpack – they were so good!

I sat in between Kris and our friend Nickie and we were also in the back, which I prefer if I need to step outside for some air. I also had two other friends with me to cuddle with – Detective Pikachu himself and Psyduck.

Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks before the movie and I found plush toys from the movie. Psyduck talks and Detective Pikachu, oddly enough, doesn’t. I got both of them though because Psyduck is one of my favorite Pokemon and Detective Pikachu is the title character. ($40 later…)

I had both plushes in my lap throughout the movie (I even brought them into the restaurant with us for dinner before the movie). I had anxiety, yes. That was to be expected. However, when the movie actually started, all of that seemed to go away.

I’m Still Anti-Movie Theaters

After that, I’ve gone back to the theater to see Toy Story 4 and that’s it. I had a good time at Detective Pikachu, but I’m still not thrilled of the idea of going to a movie theater. As fun as seeing Detective Pikachu was, it took a lot out of me. I’m going to continue picking and choosing my battles.

But at least I can say I won that one.

Mental Health Monday: Going To The Movies | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health Matters | RachelPoli.com

Can you relate to any of this? What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

We’re back with another Mental Health Month talking about getting out of a funk. I’ve been absent for a bit so I thought I’d share some things I did to get out of my funk.

Mental Health Monday: Getting Out Of A Funk | Anxiety | Mental Health Matters | Mental Health Awareness | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | RachelPoli.com

Getting Out Of A Funk

An Accidental Break

I didn’t mean to take a hiatus. I knew I needed to take a step back but I didn’t mean to disappear for a bit. I was still working off and on but not nearly as much as I normally do. This isn’t a complaint – it’s definitely something I needed. It’s interesting to me how your mind and body just seem to know what’s best for you. I had no motivation, no inspiration, and honestly, I didn’t care that I wasn’t blogging or writing. I took the hint and, even though I still tried to work, the rest of me shied away from it.

So, yeah. I disappeared for about a month. Actually, I think it was over a month. I think my hiatus had started before I announced it because I didn’t realize I was on a hiatus. Even when I announced it, I’m pretty sure I said, “I’m not taking a hiatus.” Well… that turned out well.

Giving Up Social Media

One of the things I needed to do to get away from it all and take a break was to get away from social media. Sure, I still occasionally scrolled through Twitter and Instagram. I checked my personal Facebook from time to time. I never posted though. (My feed on Twitter and Instagram look really weird.) I stuck to the shadows, never engaged in conversation, and didn’t bother to post so people would start a conversation. I didn’t have any blog posts to promote at the time, so that was one less thing I needed to worry about as well. While it was weird to be watching my social media from afar, not posting or replying, it was a nice break. I wasn’t using it as much and it freed up so much more of my time.

What I’m Doing Now

With all that said, I’m back. I’m back to posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram. I’m engaging in conversations again. I’m participating and co-hosting #TheMerryWriter again with my good, patient friend, Ari Meghlen, as well as helping out with the #85K90 Twitter. I’m promoting my blog posts again as well as my writing. I’m talking about everyday life. I’m reading and engaging in other posts. So, what exactly has changed other than the fact that I took a break from all this for a month?

Believe it or not, I don’t post in “real time.” I use Buffer, like most bloggers, to set up scheduled Twitter and Instagram content to promote blog posts, books, and more. I have the Buffer Pro Plan in which I can schedule 100 posts per social media account at a time. I had my Twitter set up that I needed to sit down each week and set up my posts. This took up a lot of my time. I now have it set up so that I can sit down once a month and get my Twitter set up for the upcoming month. This has saved me so much time and sanity.

Of course, that’s just general promotion. I’m still on social media in real time talking engaging with others and talking about my day and things like that. But that’s another difference – I actually have time to do that now.

Blogging Break

I didn’t mean to stop blogging and I certainly didn’t mean to stop writing. However, there were so many things overwhelming me at the time and I felt like I was going to explode. I publish a blog post every day and that eventually takes a toll on you. I love publishing every day and toyed with the idea of cutting back on posting, but I honestly really like having content every day. So, where do I go from here? How can I continue this without burning myself out?

I’ve always wanted to be a month ahead. My Short Story Sunday and Writing Prompts are always done the year before. So, really, I only have five posts to write each week. I have a few monthly features – the quotes, mental health, healthy writer, and more – that I can write ahead of time as well. If you think about it, it’s only 12 posts a year. I actually got a good chunk of it done already. I just need to create the graphics, schedule it on WordPress, and figure out a sharing plan. So, instead of sitting down one day a week and doing the posts weekly and trying to squeeze in an extra here and there (I never end up sitting down each week – I’m constantly working on the blog). I said, screw June and got to work on July instead.

What I’m Doing Now

I’m actually blogging a month ahead. I made a list of “Summer Goals” for myself of things I want to get done in June, July, and August. During the month of June, even though I wasn’t posting on the blog, I was setting up the blog for July. I wrote the blog posts, gave my pages a make-over, and more. Of course, there’s still some work to be done that I’m working on, but for the most part, July is all set. Now I can start working on August’s content so that, I’ll be ahead.

In addition, different kinds of posts will be coming. During this break, I thought of so many other ideas for blog posts. This will no longer be a strictly writing and reading blog, but some lifestyle posts sprinkled in along with other things. I hope this keeps the content fresh and interesting for all of us.

Creative Block

No, I didn’t exactly have writer’s block. I still wanted to write, but I just didn’t want to write anything I was working on. Plus, I wanted to be creative, but I didn’t want to use the written word to do so. I wanted to work on my photography or find some DIY crafts to try. I wanted to create new skills for myself, try and learn something new and different. I flip-flopped so many times wondering what I wanted to do. Did I want to try something completely new? Or work on something I already had? The DIY section on Pinterest was y best friend for quite a while.

The thing is, I never actually did any of it. I bought some things to create something, but I never ended up doing anything with it. I still plan to in the near future, but I actually ran out of time to use it due to real life happenings. With that said, the planning was fun and I have that as a fall back if I ever get stressed and need a break from my other creative projects. In the end, though, it somehow put me back into the writing mood.

What I’m Doing Now

I don’t know why or how – maybe it was just the fact I took a month off. Maybe it’s because it’s Camp NaNo time this month. Maybe my characters have been impatient with me and are finally giving me a kick in the pants. Or maybe it’s all the Marvel movies I’ve been watching lately. Whatever it is, I’m writing again. And I have so many new ideas as well.

The thing is, even though I had been writing and going through the motions, I haven’t had any new novel ideas in a really long time. Normally, I start many projects and don’t know what to work on. But it’s been at least a year since I’ve come up with a new novel idea. Which is totally unlike me. Now, I’m rolling in ideas. I sat down and created a brand new novel timeline for myself for the rest of this year and into 2020.

I explained it to my sister through Discord, sending her a huge, long paragraph explaining my plans. Her response? “Wow, that’s a lot… Glad you’re starting to sound like yourself again.”

We all know I plan and over-plan things and this has felt good. It’s made me get back my mojo and I’m eager to get back to work.

Getting Out Of A Funk – What’d I Actually Do?

I don’t really know. I explained it all. I feel good. I don’t know what I did along the way to caused me to bounce back. This past month has been horrendous for my anxiety and, for a while, I thought all of this hard work – everything I’ve built since 2012 – was done. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back at all.

But, I think, deep down, something inside me has other plans. I’m glad I was able to work through this on my own (with some support from family, of course) and I’m happy to be back to my normal self.

How’s my anxiety? Still present. But I feel much better than I have been.

How do you do when getting out of a funk? Also, tell me how you’ve been lately. Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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An Update On Life & My Mental Health

For someone who publishes a post daily, I practically missed the entire month of May. I haven’t even been reading and replying to the comments. I apologize for the silence and lack of content.

The truth is, this post has been coming for the past couple of weeks – I was just having trouble wording what I wanted to say.

A lot happened in the month of May. A lot that affected me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I will not go into great detail though I will explain a bit so you guys can somewhat understand.

First – I’m okay. Things have been rough, but I’m doing okay. There’s just been so much going on that it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I need to re-evaluate some things in my life.

Second – There are stressors absolutely everywhere. Everything seemed to want to happen all at once. There’s been stuff going on with my friends that I’m trying to support them with but it’s been hard for reasons. My family has had some ups and downs with health issues and the like, but that’s just the circle of life, unfortunately. (And no, no one has passed away, thankfully, but it’s still been tough.) There are also basic stressors that come with the “adult” status and such.

Third – Social media. Social media can be your friend or foe and lately, it’s definitely been an enemy. Something happened about a month ago that affected me deeply. No, I do not know these people personally but I’ve looked up to them as a person and as a creator. Some of the work I do was inspired by them. It turns out they were not the person I thought they were and, after looking up to them for years – I even met this person in real life – it’s a hard pill to swallow.

And, if you know who/what I’m talking about, please do not mention any names or go into detail about it. I will delete any comments about it or turn off comments completely. I’m not writing this to open a can of worms.

It puts things into perspective though. This is something I always knew but it was proven on that day – I have no idea who any of you are. I have more friends through the Internet in various parts of the world than I do in real life, in my hometown. I enjoy these connections and I appreciate each and every one of you.

However, the hate and nasty comments that were spread throughout social media about this incident and the creator really bothered me. These were all people who enjoyed their work and in an instant immediately turned on them, judging and condemning them – a stranger, no less. It bothered me and it still bothers me. It made me wonder why I want my name on the Internet in the first place – what am I doing and why? Lord knows I would never do what they did, but people are mean. They’re harsh and quick to judge.

I’ve grown thick skin over the years and I’m lucky enough that, in the 13 years I’ve been sharing my writing and work online, I’ve never had someone say something mean or hateful to me. To be honest, I got a lot of that in real life at school so being online was my sanctuary. How reversed is that?

This also all happened a week after I released my debut book which, in turn, made me realize something else about myself, my work, and the Internet. This is something I won’t go into detail about, but it’s something I’m trying to figure out. The good news is, I can only go up from here.

Fourth – Speaking of work, that’s been another huge stressor. Mostly because of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph but there are other factors involved that I don’t want to go into detail with for reasons.

I did get a freelance writing job that’s been good. It’s less creative than I would like, but the people are nice, the pay has been the best since any freelance job I’ve ever had, I’ve been learning new things, and it’s been something different. It does take up quite a bit of my time though, which means other things (like my own creative writing) have taken to the back burner. So, I need to figure something out about that.

Fifth – Everything I mentioned above has taken a great toll on my mental health. Things I already knew about life on the Internet were proven. Not just about my third point in this post, but that also helped me realize something about myself and relationships on the Internet and, believe it or not, in real life.

I’ve been so busy helping and supporting others that I haven’t been focused on myself. Not my mental or physical well-being and not my work. My work – writing, blogging, and other things – have taken a back seat to support other authors, bloggers, etc. There have been quite a few people (not everyone – there are definitely some people in particular who have gone above and beyond for me and I hope you know who you are!) who have said they’d help me in return but it was just empty promises.

This could be for a number of reasons: maybe they haven’t checked their email in a few months, maybe they were just trying to be nice, maybe something came up in their life, or maybe they were just saying that in hopes I would help them out. The possibilities are endless and, right or wrong, it’s discouraging for me.

It hurts and makes me feel like I’ve been taken advantage of. Which, again, brings me back to my original point: you have no idea who you’re dealing with on the Internet. Obviously, no one is obligated to help or support me in any way if they don’t want to or if they don’t believe in my work or anything. But it’s still discouraging as much as I try not to feel that way – and I feel awful for feeling this way. If anything, this has been a lesson learned and a huge eye-opener.

With that said, I’m at the point where I dread waking up in the morning which isn’t something I’ve felt since high school and certainly something I never want to feel again. I do get out of bed though and I do get to work. Why? Because I know I need to and because I enjoy the work despite certain things. My anxiety has been all over the place and the idea of certain work, which I typically enjoy, has been stressing me out.

Sixth – This has, of course, affected my creativity as well. There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of things I want to learn. I have ideas for this blog going forward – on and off the blog. The same goes for my other blog, Double Jump. My sister and I have a lot of new ideas in the works.

Obviously, my creativity isn’t going to do that well if my mental health is suffering. In fact, as soon as I skipped a few days of blogging and didn’t care, I knew something was wrong immediately. Normally that would bother me. I hate to miss a day but my mind has been trying to tell me something. I need to slow down and focus on myself.

Another way this has affected my creativity though is that I’m feeling more creative than ever. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with blogging or writing. I want to try something new. I want to have a hobby. I want to improve my photography and film editing. I want to learn how to crochet or make jewelry (that I don’t even wear, but whatever). There are a lot of DIY projects I’ve love to try. I just want to learn something new. But I want to do it for me.

This is a weird feeling for me because I’ve really only ever known writing or blogging as a creative outlet. But I need something that will relax me. Something that I’ll enjoy doing but that’s not also “work.” Even if I just set aside some time each day to color or something.

Overall – What does all this mean? Why am I writing an extremely long blog post about this? (Seriously, I didn’t think it’d be this long. Thanks for reading this far if you’re still with me.)

I’m here to say that I’m taking a step back from everything. I will still be here in some sense but not to the extent that I have been. I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of re-evaluating to do of my life and online presence. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting or leaving though. I’m proud of all the things I’ve created, the milestones I’ve hit, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, and the overall work I’ve done.

However, some hurt still lingers. Stress is strong. My mental health is taking the brunt of it all.

I don’t have the intention of giving anything up, but I need time to rebuild. I’m taking the month of June to come up with a new plan and figure things out. Things won’t be back to normal on this blog until July. Maybe sooner, but I’m going to take my time coming up with a new plan and catching up with things while taking appropriate breaks. I’m working on catching up with things on Double Jump and, at this time, I can’t do both blogs at once.

For this blog, my writing prompts and Short Story Sundays will still be published because those are already scheduled for the year. Book reviews are on hold as I haven’t read a single thing in about a month and just haven’t found the motivation for it. I’ll most likely post something here and there just to let you know I’m still here, but, as I said, I don’t expect the regular schedule to be back until July.

My social media presence will be limited until further notice. I am not going on hiatus with any of this because it’s the nature of my job. But I will be scheduling a day or two to check it each week and will not be on constantly. I need to shoo some negative vibes and take a breather from all that.

As for my writing, I need to come up with a plan for that as well. I will still be writing and editing. I will still be publishing books. It’s just going to be a bit more on the slower side for the moment.

With that said, I think this post has gone on long enough. I appreciate everyone’s patience with me and hope you understand my absence and the coming weeks as I try to figure things out and take care of myself.

I’ll talk to you all soon.