If you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been posting as frequently (AND I'm on a new site again... whoops!). I used to post twice, sometimes three times a week, then slipped to one (which is healthier, in my opinion) but besides my weight loss journey post, I hadn’t really posted for nearly two months. This break wasn’t planned. I remember one week realizing I had forgotten to upload anything the previous Sunday (my usual uploading day), but when I sat down to write, I felt completely dry of ideas. I decided to wait until that next Sunday to write something, but when that Sunday came and went, I still had no new ideas. At least, not any authentic ideas. I decided to focus on other priorities (check out my latest post, The Pie of Life, to read more on priority setting) and for a long time, forgot about my blog altogether (minus my weight loss journey post).
That was until a little over a week ago.
I vividly remember driving home, my hands relaxed around the steering wheel, feeling content, confident, safe, happy. Briefly, I noticed my mood, then remembered I was alone. I had been alone all day, hadn’t really texted anyone, and yet, I was so, overwhelmingly… okay. For the past month and a half, I had been feeling much better than I had in a long time. I remember also mentioning this to my boyfriend, and he said he had noticed it, too.
Let’s backtrack a bit.
For a while, I had been struggling with extreme lows that were primarily centered around feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, and the fear that I would be left. I determined that this was a result of unresolved trauma, which triggered anxious attachment symptoms. I had never really felt this way before, so it frightened me as well as frustrated me beyond end. I would feel myself begin to slip, and I’d try everything in my power to resist it; reading blog posts, listening to podcasts, asking everyone I knew to hang out, etc.. And yet, I’d slip anyway, and for a day or two, I’d feel unbelievably sad, and some days, I couldn’t even find the strength to leave my bed. It was quite... annoying, to say the least, haha.
So, having not slipped for two months now (*knock on wood*) is a huge accomplishment for me! But, the crazy thing is, I have absolutely no idea why I feel so good. Nothing in my life has changed; I still work out, spend time with loved ones, read, write, and all for the same duration as I did before, when I felt occasionally yucky. When I really thought about it, my food intake has improved (more yummy salads, less sugar, fueling carbohydrates, and increased proteins) and I had been taking an intentional break from blogging.
To really dive into why I think not blogging improved my life, we should backtrack a little more.
My blogging journey
My relationship with blogging has been interesting. Fascinating at times, as well as toxic and overwhelming. It's a love/hate relationship, just like creative writing is to me as well. You could probably tell all of this by the way I spontaneously shift between websites... and the fact that I'm writing this post.
I first began blogging in 2014 when I read somewhere that all authors needed blogs. I started my blog shortly after the release of Forsaken and wrote about topics such as writing music recommendations, writing advice, and my favorite books. When I entered college, my interest in blogging grew, especially when I began to dabble in psychology (my major), mental health, and the truth of college life. For a while, it was all just for fun, a way for me to explore new topics and express myself (in cringe ways, I might add, haha), and grow my author platform. Then, last year (2020), I not only discovered minimalism, but mindfulness, and boy, did I become obsessed. So obsessed, that I decided to create a new blog, Mindfully Brittney, and wrote solely about mindfulness, minimalism, and mental health. For a while, it was the most fun I ever had, writing those posts up to three times a week. All I wanted to do was read about mindfulness and simple living, and then I’d regurgitate it into my own words and onto a blog post for all to read. This was also incredibly therapeutic for me, and oftentimes I’d use my personal experiences (friend problems, intense emotions, laziness) to fuel my inspiration. I’d take real occurrences in my own life and use those as examples in my posts, and in a way, I was able to dive deep into myself and come out feeling lighter and happier. (My mood swings had started going on around this time, and a lot of the time, I used my blog to cope with them.)
Like all obsessions, this one began to fade last fall and, being the hummingbird that I am, I soon felt restrained to one topic: simple living. While I continued writing posts on mindfulness and my personal experiences, I began to grow tired of the practice, especially when I realized the truth behind the self-help community. (I’m planning on writing a blog post about this next week… stay tuned for that craziness, haha.) With Mindfully Brittney, I was so keen on creating a giant, well-known mindfulness blog, and when I eventually realized I didn’t want that at all, didn’t want to depend on a few categories to talk about solely for the rest of my life, I changed gears. In time, I decided to transfer back to a self-named site, this one, Brittney Kristina, with the intention to have a more relaxed blog where I could write about whatever I wanted.
After once again accidentally boxing myself in with a calming, mindfulness-centered website, I chose this website with hopes of staying firm and present. Finally. It's a journey, figuring yourself out.
I went on writing as usual, but I had a much harder time finding new ideas. The “Mindfully” in Mindfully Brittney was a bumper in a way, a guide; if I couldn’t find an idea, I’d look up something related to mindfulness, and there I had it. But with this blog… it was just me. It was built on my interests, all of them, not just mental health and writing. It was meant as a way to implement all my strange yet interesting ideas. However, I had a lot less ideas than I expected, especially without a guide. Also, I began to work on my third novel pretty consistently, so I didn’t have as much creative fuel. A combination of all this eventually led to my little break.
Why not blogging improved my life
Now that you’ve read my blogging journey… Well, why do I think not blogging made me a happier human?
Well, remember when I mentioned that blogging about mindfulness and minimalism and mental health was my main way of coping? That’s just it--they were coping mechanisms. I wasn’t actually solving anything. I was going around and around in circles, reading up on self-help practices, theories, solutions, then immediately writing about them before logging off and pretending nothing ever happened. I may have been writing about my emotions and offering solutions, but rarely did I ever actually practice those solutions myself. It was the strangest thing--I’d find a strategy, write about it, but never, ever implement it.
Also, I pushed myself to write every single Sunday, or at least once a week. The problem with this? If I wanted to work on my book, or write something creative for fun, I’d spend that time writing a blog post instead (as I’m doing now, haha) or use up all my creative energy on a blog post called “10 ways to be a happier human” and end up with maybe 30 views. I thought I was going somewhere. I read all the blogging tips online (“4 ways to build your blog traffic today!!!!!”) but my blog stayed still, only improved a little bit over a span of a year.
Where was I going? Why wasn’t I working on a novel, or even just going out, living life? When I asked myself these hard questions, I realized just how much time I had spent on my blog (I don’t want to say waste because my readers did enjoy my posts, and still do, and for the most part, I had a lot of fun writing them). And because I had to write every Sunday, a lot of Sundays, I didn’t have content and, like I mentioned before, I’d just look up something random regarding mental health, make it my own, and write about it. Then, publish. My content became increasingly less authentic, more like a chore than a hobby.
But, I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted to write genuine, real posts, such as this one I’m writing here, and my weight loss journey, and I wanted to write about topics that not only interested me, but worked. If I found a mindfulness technique, I wanted to implement it, not just talk about it.
So, I did just that.
I started soaking things up like a sponge and not releasing them right away. I held onto them, experimented with them (ex. Morning meditation, bullet journal layouts, writing advice I found online) and didn’t immediately make them my own. In fact, I never made them my own. I gave credit where it was due, something I didn’t do because other blogs didn’t do it, either. But oh, how wrong that was. I've realized that now.
Not blogging improved my life because I wasn’t focusing on my mental health as much. Yes, mental health should always be a priority, and I’m not saying to not focus on it. What I’m saying is, I stopped looking at my mental health as something that needed to be fixed, something I could use for click-bait (“How I overcome loneliness”) and allowed myself to experience it for what it was. If a wave hit, I’d allow it, but I’d also admire it, thank it, and remember that with every low, came a high, and between the two, I’d try to balance on my ocean as best as I could. I stopped focusing on my “lack of friends” and used gratitude to feel appreciative for what I did have. I created my own theories and helpful strategies based off of my fluctuating emotions and didn’t share them with anyone until I used it for a while, and it worked (ex. The Pie of Life).
I put my mental health first, and my blog last. I wrote when I wanted to, when I felt creative, when I had an idea (like this one) and if I didn’t have an idea, I’d write my novel, or work on another creative project. I constantly leaned into my interests, my callings, my passions, and I didn’t worry if they weren’t writing related or didn’t make great content. I just… lived.
And not only did I find myself, in one way or another, reach a true place of equilibrium, contentment, but I had so much more time to explore all the other areas of my life.
I lived. And I stopped writing about what that looked like, what that meant.
What happens now? (My problem with blogging.)
Will I stop blogging now? No, of course not. I love having a platform to express my ideas and loves.
However, my style will change. You may have noticed; it already has. This is because I have a little problem with blogging.
My problem with blogging is that, for the most part, it’s not authentic. None of it. All of it (I’ll emphasize, for the most part) belongs to someone else in that it’s been said before, perhaps many times, and by this point, it’s a polished and refined, brand new and not new at all idea to help with a problem that has already been solved many times before.
I hope that makes sense.
I’m planning on exploring this topic much more in a later post, but I’ll go ahead and give a very brief example here: I was listening to a brand new podcast episode (basically auditory blog posts) called “3 ways to improve confidence”. I didn’t feel unconfident, but I decided to listen to it anyway. The three tips were: Stop comparing yourself to others, Practice Self-Compassion, and Say Affirmations.
I think I screamed.
Perhaps this is new, helpful information to many people out there, and I'm in the wrong. However, having ventured into the self-help community for a while now, I have heard these words of advice many times before, and personally, I don't know many people who haven't (if you haven't, though, that's okay). Though, this exact moment when the idea of this blog post hit me, because I’ll admit something to you: I’ve done the exact same thing. Many times before. Knowing the information isn’t known, isn’t authentic, I’d write about it anyway for the sole purpose of content, tell myself that maybe it'd help a few people. And it was easier, much easier to recycle old advice than to experiment with personal theories or write extensive, personal posts that came straight from my heart, from my vastly strange mind.
Blogging was made to be a way to express new ideas, unique opinions, be creative in your writing style, vent, explore, venture, share… and yet, it’s turned into this competitive race to that top in which you are regurgitating old information to make it sound new in order to sound original. Gosh, I sound sort of mean right now, but then again, isn’t that the point, to be real, authentic, honest? Isn’t it better to express your ideas as they come rather than sanding them down into cookie-cutter blog posts that everyone will enjoy?
I fell victim to this way of blogging, but I’m done writing that way. I’m ready to take life, emotions, problems, nature, as they come, and write about it if I want to, if I’m ready. Because in my opinion, that’s what blogging should be.
Of course, if you disagree with me, that’s okay. I’d rather someone disagree with me than have everyone agree with me because there’s no way not to. (*explosion goes off behind me*)
What happens now? Well, I keep writing, but I start writing for me, and for those interested in listening. And if you’ve made it this far, that you kindly, for listening. I hope I have inspired you, in some way.