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The Most Important Decision I Have Made About Blogging

by Stephanie on November 22, 2011

Sorry for my absence over the past few days.  Obviously a week-long blogging break is not normal for me, as I usually post several times a week.  To be honest, I have been thinking about how to write this post for several weeks now.  It took breaking down into tears at the chiropractor’s office last week for me to realize that it was time to come clean with you, my blog readers.  Before I share the emotional details of that day, let me go back a few months and start from the beginning. 

When I launched Food and Fitness 4 Real in July of this year, my goal was to share what my life looked like 4 Real as a busy working mom with two kids who is trying to make healthy choices for my entire family.  In the beginning, I was posting almost every day and was really enjoying the positive impact that the healthy choices were making in my life.  Around that time I also started training for a half marathon (which turned into three half marathons this fall) and loved every minute of blogging.  It was fun to try new recipes each weekend, to plan my workouts each week and to take pictures of the healthy produce from our co-op.

Since blogging is not my full-time job, I spent a lot of lunch breaks and evenings writing and sharing my life with my readers.  However, my job in Petroleum Engineering has a busy season every year that leads to me putting in more hours at the office and having less free time to spend on my hobbies and other part-time pursuits.  Like writing and blogging

Around the beginning of October, when I returned from my business trip to London, things really started to pick up at work.  Like every year at this time, I started working late about two nights a week and my kids started to miss me.  Weekends were focused on family time to make up for the lack of time I saw my husband and kids during the week.   

Even though I was spending extra hours at work, I was still trying to maintain the same effort on my blog.  I was also still trying to cook healthy meals, keep up with the daily demands of two kids, pick out Halloween costumes, plan a birthday celebration and run TWO half marathons just two weeks apart.  As a result, stress and anxiety were a daily part of my routine…

Instead of sharing what my life looked like 4 Real, I just blogged about the happy things and tried not to let the cracks in my life show.  I knew I was stressed and overwhelmed but I have such a superwoman complex that I don’t like to admit that I CAN”T DO IT ALL! 

One day last week, I planned to go in to work late since I had to take my kids to pre-school and daycare because my husband was out-of-town.  After dropping off the kids, I headed to the chiropractor which is about 15 minutes from my house.  As he attempted to adjust my upper back and shoulders, he commented that I was so tense and tight that he was having trouble getting any movement.  He asked if I was working out, going to yoga, or sitting in the jacuzzi at the gym (all things he recommends that I do to take care of my body).  He also asked why I wait so long between visits when it is obvious that I need to see him more often.  

All I could hear was him giving me a list of things I needed to be doing – on top of my already overcrowded schedule.  I told him that I was working so much that barely had time to see my kids, so there was no way I that I could justify leaving work 40 minutes early just to get a back adjustment.  Then I felt the hot tears well up in my eyes and my vision blurred as they started to flow down my face.

After he apologized over and over for making me cry, the doctor reminded me that the most important thing I can do when I am stressed and overwhelmed is to take care of myself.  I know we talked for a few more minutes and he said lots of nice things about me, but honestly I was just trying to dry up my tears so I could walk out of his office with some dignity. 

Once I got in the car, the tears came back again and I cried the entire way home.  4 Real

I did finally make it to work that day and worked late again that night.  But I knew that some other areas of my life needed to change  Over the weekend, I took some time to reflect aand make some decisions about the direction for my blog.  I also got two good nights of rest, got a massage, and took some time off from cooking (since we are traveling for the holidays).  So this is what the future looks like for Food and Fitness 4 Real:

  1. My family is my first priority for the remainder of the year and will get most of my attention when I am not spending time at work
  2. For the next 1-2 months, I will blog when I feel inspired, when I have something healthy to share, or when I am feeling stressed and need to be real
  3. I will return to blogging on a regular basis once this busy season passes (usually in January)
  4. I plan on updating the blog in February (I am on the wait list with a friend who does blog design and I am excited to work with her)
  5. Once I do get back to regular blogging, I promise to be REAL with my readers.  Trying to do it all is impossible and unhealthy, so I will be working on tips on how to deal with the stress.  I welcome any feedback or tips from others who are experiencing the same stress (which often happens around the holidays).

Thanks to all of my regular readers who have been so supportive and to all of my friends (especially those at work) who have watched me struggle these past few weeks.  I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family in my life.  This includes my chiropractor, who is a personal friend and helped me realize that I needed to give myself this break.  I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

4 Real,
Stephanie

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caitlin November 22, 2011 at 12:42 PM

That is totally understandable! Put yourself first :) I hope that you de-stress in time for the holidays. Blogging shouldn’t be a chore – whenever you are feeling inspired to write, your readers will be here!

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2 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Thank you. Just making the decision to give myself a break made me feel so much better.

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3 Caree November 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I was wondering how you did it all!! I was thinking that you just have more in you to blog and do all that you do than I am able to do!! It is tough to try to fit everything in while working full time. Thanks for being real bc its nice to see I’m not the only one that gets maxed out!

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4 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:38 PM

I enjoy writing which is why I liked to blog every day. However it was becoming a chore instead of something I enjoyed and I could not justify the time it was taking from my husband and kids. Work is still busy but I am glad I gave myself a break from other responsibilities. Running is another part of my life that has been put on the back-burner.

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5 wymberley November 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

I will be waiting for you on the other side :)
Have a great holiday!

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6 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Thank you, it really helps to know that I have support in the blogosphere.

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7 Brittney November 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I feel a lot of the same things you are feeling, I think probably most bloggers with busy lives do. I did a month long blog challenge where I blogged every day and that was too much for me, even though I enjoyed it at times. I want to blog when I feel inspired, when I want to remember something fun, if I need to vent, or if I have something to share that seems worthwhile. I think we as bloggers are constantly reevaulating our blogs and what we want them to be though! I enjoy your blog and hope you’ll do it when you want to, but not feel like you HAVE to :)

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8 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:41 PM

I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself and just adding to my stress. I think my blog will benefit from writing only when I have time to focus on it. I am glad to know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

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9 Erin @ The Grass Skirt November 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM

So sorry that you’ve been stressed, but you are juggling a lot! Stepping back and giving yourself some breathing room is a great idea. Your readers will all be here waiting when you do have the time to blog, and it is quality over quantity anyway, right? :) Happy Thanksgiving!

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10 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Thanks for the kind words. I miss all of you Charlotte bloggers! I am excited to see how much my Blogging improves after I take time to get inspired again.

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11 Tanya @ Vegan Faith November 22, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Stephanie, what a great post and a great reminder to all remember to stay healthy and balanced. I will be praying for you during this time. I know you are making the right decision!

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12 Stephanie November 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM

It was hard to blog about balancing a career with a healthy lifestyle when I was struggling to make it through each day. Thank you for the prayers, that is exactly what I need during this time.

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13 Holly @ Pink-Runner.com November 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM

I had to take the blogging down a notch. There is no way I can keep up with it while doing so much. I want to blog when I feel like it… even if that means taking a couple days/weeks off every once in awhile! Enjoy the break! :)

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14 Karen November 24, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Thank you for the real post. My life is just like yours – kids, job that is very demanding, house, exercise, healthy living. I don’t know how people add a blog on top of that. I hope you have a great vacation from regular blogging. I really appreciate your blog.

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15 Corey @ Learning Patience November 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Hi girl! You are so amazing and you must take care of yourself first and foremost! We will be here when you feel like blogging…we aren’t going anywhere girl! :-) Relax and enjoy the holiday season…things can get hectic at times!

xoxo from Trinidad

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16 Stephanie December 14, 2011 at 5:06 PM

It is so interesting. i feel this way too. i feel so pulled in every direction. in one way i love blogging. in another way it seems very stressful. there is so much going on besides blogging and it is hard not to be overwhelmed…i have been struggling a lot with this and it is really catching up with me. i am really happy that you were able to find a good medium

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