Discussion Post : Blogging With Care

A few months ago, I disappeared. I stopped blogging, stopped using social media, stopped talking to family and friends unless they called me. I even stopped reading. Books–which are usually such a comfort to me, also became a burden of sorts. This was more than just a slump.

I was not okay.

There are a lot of reasons why this happened. One is a personal sorrow, which I am not yet ready to talk about. Another was the increasingly hostile and nasty political and social climate at the time–it was just before the US elections. I was away from home, not a US citizen who could vote and make any kind of difference; not even a full-fledged immigrant–just a visitor on a visa. All of it was scary, and I felt like I had no control over anything. The third was simply that I had been away from home too long–I needed my people. Being an introvert, I do not and cannot open up to too many people, and eventually I need my family and friends with me physically, to feel like me. I needed my support group, and they were on the other side of the world. Β My health went for a toss– I stopped exercising, put on enormous weight and compounded existing health issues.

I was a physical, mental, emotional wreck. I did not know who I was anymore.

From there to here, from then to now has been a huge, difficult journey, and it has taught me the importance of self-care.

Fadwa at Word Wonders recently wrote a blog post about the responsibilities of bloggers towards their readers. I’m taking that a little bit forward and talking about the responsibilities that we have towards ourselves and towards our fellow bloggers.

Each one of us has a lot going on with our lives. TheΒ My Beautiful Truth hashtag on Twitter is testimony to the fact that each of us has multiple identities, and each one of us has our own struggles. Life isn’t easy, and none of us are exempt.

Blogging itself can get pretty stressful. There is the pressure to read the right books, to write and post the reviews, to participate in the tags and memes,to get as many numbers and stats as possible. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s easy for negativity to creep in, easy to wonder if there is any point to this and doubt if we’re making any difference at all.

And this is where our responsibilities to ourselves and the rest of the blogging community come in. Our responsibility to ourselves is self-care. Our responsibility to others is caring for them.

Picture1

Self-care, seems to have become sort of commercial enterprise these days. There is so much being spoken about it, and it seems to involve so much; cost so much. But it isn’t really. It’s just a few simple things. Below, I’m sharing the things that helped me get better. Not all of these are necessarily applicable to every person reading this. I’m just sharing what helped me, in the hope that it may help someone else :

  1. Nourishing oneself – It’s easy to get lost with everything that happens and to forget to eat. Or eat only junk. But we need to take care to nourish ourselves, because really, we need the fuel πŸ™‚ Eat well –get your proteins, vitamins and minerals; a controlled amount of carbs. Stay hydrated. Go see a nutritionist, if you find it difficult to make a diet plan. It’s the first thing I did on my road to recovery. I stopped sugar completely. Stopped drinking coffee. Managed my carbs.
  2. Exercise– Exercise keeps us fit and more importantly, releases “happy chemicals” in the brain. It doesn’t even have to be something strenuous–just a walk or a bit of yoga would do. I started by walking for half-an-hour each day, and slowly increased it to two hours a day; an hour at a time. Thanks to the above two steps I’ve lost about 14 kilos in the past 6 months. I’m still have a lot more to lose, but at least I’m on my way to my goal. It’s not about being thin, it’s just about being fit and happy.
  3. Reach out– Things became much better and much more easier once I came home to India. I’ve given myself time here to be with the people who know me and who can help me.
  4. Medication-Β I have some medical issues and I addressed those. I got the medication I needed and am taking it regularly without fail. This seems like a simple thing to do, but it’s also very easy to overlook and forget.
  5. Get help-Β  I had trouble with this one and kept insisting I didn’t need professional help even when those near me thought that I should. Eventually, I did get help –not formally, but just through a chat with my college professor (a psychologist). She held up a mirror and showed me what I used to be, and it was after this that I found myself again. The amount of clarity it gave me with regards to what I needed and how I should go about getting it was incredible. So really, if you need it, get help.
  6. Get off social media; take Β a hiatus– While this started off for me as a negative reaction to the online environment, I realized that being offline was helping me recover, and find myself. The internet can get real toxic, and if you feel it’s getting to you, its okay to take a break. I love how the blogger community let me take this hiatus, and welcomed me back when I was ready to be back. Thanks ya’ll!

And that brings me to what we can do for each other as part of the blogging community. I have to say here, that Β many of you already do all the stuff mentioned below. This isn’t meant as a criticism of anyone; it’s not personal. You are all pretty awesome. Hugs!

I am just putting this out there, and would love to get your suggestions on what else we can do.

  1. Spread the love-Β We love getting shares, likes and comments on our posts, so in the spirit of treating others the way we want to be treated, go ahead and share, like and comment on the posts of others. It hardly takes any effort, and it shows the blogger that what they do matters. It can be a huge pick me up to know that someone cares enough to engage with one’s work. Especially Β when it comes to reviews, into which a blogger puts in more work for comparatively less returns, every engagement, every word of appreciation helps.
  2. Help outΒ The best thing about blogging is that it’s not a zero sum game. We can all succeed together. So help out in any way you can. Think you can help get someone get some review copies–do it. Someone needs a guest post–offer to write one. Someone needs a person to bounce ideas off–be that person. At the very least, if you think someone has a problem, if someone is ranting on Twitter, or explicitly saying that they feel down, just offer a word of support. They may or may not take your help, but it never hurts to ask.
  3. Disagree with gentleness– I’ve never actually witnessed a bad disagreement, and most of us are pretty sweet about it when we do disagree. But I know for a fact that we are a diverse community, and with that comes diversity in thoughts. So it always helps to keep in mind that disagreement on one issue does not mean disagreement on everything else as well. Similarly, just because a person agrees with you on one issue, it doesn’t mean that they’ll agree with everything else as well. In general, it is best to separate the person from the issue at hand. That said, personally, I would love to know if and when you disagree with me.

Just to clarify, once again, most bloggers I’ve come across are pretty good about these things. The diverse book bloggers community has been, and continues to be a great source of inspiration and support to me. I want every member of this community to feel cared for and loved, and hence this post.

I am also not saying that any of this is foolproof; that this will not happen to me again. But if it does, I feel a bit more equipped to deal with it.

What do you think about this post? How do you take care of yourself? How can we as a community make life better for each other?

Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Discussion Post : Blogging With Care

  1. Vijayalakshmi, you’re right. The least we can do for each other is to be kind. It’s wonderful that you have battled your demons and emerged victorious. Like you correctly mentioned, we are all dealing with different issues and it’s always heartening to get affirmation from another blogger. Loved your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel like this is an excellent addition to Fadwa’s post. I am trying to watch out for more new diverse book bloggers, so that they have encouragement from the early days and not give up. The most important self-care that I often forget about is just sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah! See, I forgot to mention sleep in my post too!
      It’s lovely to see how much the community is growing, and yes, yes we all need encouragement, especially when we’re just starting out!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more! In the grand scheme of things, I will probably never make a big difference, but what I can do is spread the love to people I care about. Even if that only makes a tiny little difference in one person’s life, then it’s been worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t realise how much I needed to read something like this. I think that I’m right in the middle of everything being a jumbled mess for me–emotionally, mentally, and physically. There are some things in my personal life that are not great, to say the least, which contributes to mental and emotional stress (aggravates my mental health too), and my physical health has been not a good bedfellow the past few months. I’ve been trying to maintain the happy demeanour and send out good vibes because I don’t want other people to feel the way that I do, but maybe taking a step back and fully focusing on myself wouldn’t be a bad thing. I have noticed that the social media climate definitely adds to my stress levels; not from the book community but just all of the political stuff going on that’s affecting the lives of people I really care about. Thank you so much sharing this. It’s really helped me feel better. β™₯β™₯ I think as far as self-care, I definitely suck at eating regularly (or enough sometimes) and getting sleep. Sleep does not like me, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know you’ve been struggling and I’m so sorry that you are. If this post has made you feel even a little bit okay, then I’m glad for it. Never, ever hesitate to take care of yourself. It’s okay to step back,and get what one needs. If stuff gets toxic, it’s okay to get out. I really hope you’ll find a way to get the nourishment and rest you need. I love having you around, and I’m sure so do many others. Take care, and let me know if I can help 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I second you in eveything you have said and I hope you are feeling well again.

    I always tell people to seek help when they think things are getting out of control and they are loaing grip over their mind. In this stressed condition, ot is very easy to fell prey to depression – a silent killer.

    I am glad you reached out for help. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this, Vijayalakshmi!! And I’m so glad you’re on the mend. It can be hard to be open about the personal stuff but it’s important to do it sometimes. I also took a break earlier this year (terrible morning sickness) and am slowly, slowly getting back into blogging. The internet can be pretty toxic, but the book blogging world is (for the most part) such a lovely place to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, the book blogging community is what makes the rest of the internet bearable 😊 I’m glad you’re blogging again too 😊 Do take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes to all of this! And thank you for sharing your story. It’s easy to get lost in all that we do and forget to take a breather for ourselves and/or take a moment to reach out to someone else. I did notice your absence from the internet, and am happy to hear you’re doing much better – it’s nice to see you back!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks so much for this wonderful post, Vijayalakshmi! I’m so glad you’re doing better now and I hope you can always reach out to me ❀
    I'm still trying to get used to my body not working 100% anymore, but I have a routine now which includes a lot of the points you posted, and it's been helpful. I've always taken blogging breaks when I needed and I hope everyone does and realizes we'll be waiting here until people are ready to return.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your support, Bina 😊 It means a lot to me! I’m so glad that you’ve figured out a way to take care of yourself 😊 I understand that the points I’ve mentioned may not apply to everyone, and that each person will need to find their own way.
      And yes, this is one of the most patient, and understanding communities I’ve been part of. The support one gets here is amazing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. For self-care, I usually forget about family, to be honest. My closest family is 75 miles away, which isn’t far, but when everyone has busy schedules, it can seem like a million miles away. Sometimes my parents drive me nuts, but when I go visit them, it can make a huge difference to my happiness. I forget their “world” is so much different from mine, and that I spent a long time in that “world.” I also went on my writing retreat (which you know about and have been encouraging me through–thank you!!), and I loved it so much I’m going on another one in two weeks! How much longer are you staying in India? I missed you while you were away. We definitely didn’t forget about you in Blogville.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get what you’re saying about your parents! But it really feels good to be with them. And now that they are getting older, I’m hoping to get as much time with them as possible. I’m so glad you went on the retreat. It does sound like good fun! And I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer as well. I expect to be in India till around July/August.
      I missed you too! Thank you so much for being such a source of support 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am glad u are OK. I am going through some personal issues and I can understand whatever you have gone through. Sometimes it’s difficult to see light at end of tunnel. Thanks for the tips will try some out.. I dont know what i was to know what I have become and what I will be.. Lots to ponder about

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Self-care is so important and it’s something that many of us are not always good at. I think the more prominent a person is, the more is expected of them from people who follow them. It can be easy to forget that every blogger, author, or other prominent book community figure is a real person that has every right to take a timeout from this little bookish corner of the internet and spend some time on themselves. I’m not always good at this myself, but over the last couple of months I haven’t been spending as much time on social media because as someone who is better at internalizing things rather than expressing them, it can be a draining place. Take care of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sorry to know that you were in a tough place emotionally, Vijayalakshmi, but so glad to know that you are feeling better now. So happy to see you back blogging! Welcome back! Loved your post! Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing such a person and very important post! I’m so sorry you went through such a rough patch, but so inspired that you took the steps toward recovery. I’ve struggled with depression in the past, and taking care of myself has become such a big part of keeping myself healthy. A good diet and exercise has been so crucial for my mental health! Kudos to you for getting healthy.

    Agree so much with your tips for how we can help each other in the blogosphere! I feel that for the most part, this community is so supportive and loving πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me! The little things we do for ourselves everyday do make such a huge difference to our overall well being. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I was sent a link to this by my good friend Cover 2 Cover Mom. I am feeling much the same at the moment. I feel very very lost and my precious books aren’t even bringing me joy. In the past month alone I have suffered loss and complicated health issues (both personal and within the family) and I am so overwhelmed by it all that I am struggling to find my way back onto a sturdy path! This post has helped so much thank you for putting your story out there and taking the time to write this so that people like me can remember and realise there is light but it starts from within ourselves

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time. I wish for you all the strength you need to overcome all the grief and stress that you are bearing right now. There definitely is light at the end of this tunnel and I am sure you will find it. Please take care and please do get help if you feel you need it.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: 6/12 -6/18/17

  16. This was such a wonderful, lovely post, thank you for sharing this ❀
    It is so important to take care of ourselves and I'm happy to hear you're taking steps towards recovery. I hope you're feeling better now ❀ ❀
    It's so important to be careful in the community, not to get "too" into it, too close to burn out, too close to letting things like blogging and online things consume us. It's very quick to happen, that's for sure. Thank you for sharing these lovely tips in the community, I always try and do my best to share the love and support with everyone. That's the most important thing we can do πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marie! Agree with you on all counts! Thanks for being such a wonderful part of the community.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s