If you've followed me for some time, you may have realized that in the past few weeks my posts haven't been as regular as they usually are. I'm proud to say that I took a small hiatus from the blog, posting only when I was truly mentally prepared to give my best to the blog. Along with starting a new job, I'm also developing a new product and in the process of relocating once again. I've been in 4 states within the past 3 weeks, and my travel is expected to be just as intense every week.
My hiatus wasn't planned, and quite frankly it was either that or pull unproductive "all-nighters" - hence my decision for the former as opposed to the latter. Along the way there were tons of signs that I needed to slow down a bit, and I personally chose to ignore each of them until I had no choice but to choose between sleep and work.
So I thought I'd share a few of the hidden signs to help you make the decision to either stay the course, or take a step back to re-evaluate how things are going.
1. You have any major life change.
Major life changes are by far underestimated and ignored within our society. In 1967, two scientists determined that both positive and negative life changes induce stress. They claimed that by using this inventory scale you can determine the likelihood of a stress-related breakdown.
Anytime you have a life change it's important to completely clear your load, as much as possible, and slowly add tasks back on in order of importance. You'll most likely have to prioritize what you'll keep versus what you'll need to get rid of.
2. Your mental health is suffering more.
If you already suffer from anxiety or depression and you feel yourself slipping deeper or worsening, it's time to take a big step back and consult your mental health professional (or get one!).
Also, be sure to reach out to your support system and remember that they cannot support you if they do not know what is going on. Resist the urge to isolate yourself out of fear that they "will not understand". If you're feeling guilty about only contacting them in your bad times, make a note to be a more consistent friend but still contact them to ensure you get the support you need at the time.
3. Lack of focus or creativity.
For the creatives out there, you may notice that you either cannot produce the same level of content or that you can produce the same level of content but you must put forth an incredibly considerable amount of effort.
When you are stressed the chemical norepinephrine is increased and performs a similar function to adrenaline, which increases your awareness. It is also associated with long-term memory retrieval, which means your brain is already focused on what it does know as opposed to creating newer, more unique ideas.
Before I took my hiatus, my content was horrible. If it wasn't horrible, it wasn't my best and took me an extremely long time to complete.
Don't choose your blogging, business, or job over your mental health. Take the break that you need and find ways to create space that can provide you with the right level of comfort and balance. While I'm currently feeling refreshed I am still working to discover ways to fit my blog into my new lifestyle and I understand this time as a continual cycle, not a one-time deal.