* This is a sponsored post and gifted post, meaning I received payment and also product in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and unbiased.
Let me be clear: I love blogging. I love the creative writing process, photography, social media, and the fabulously supportive blogging network. But recently I found myself on what I can only term “the blogging hamster wheel”. It was affecting my mental health (NOT a term I use lightly) and my relationships with the most important people in my life. So I took a break. Not something I thought I would ever need to do, but here’s what I learned in the process.
Taking a break
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a little tweet I posted, where I said it hadn’t been a good week and my confidence had taken a knock. Truth be told, I’d received a comment that was the proverbial camel’s straw. It certainly wasn’t meant with any unkind intent, but it hit me much harder than it should have done. And I burst into tears. After I’d stopped howling, I realised that my emotions were completely skewed because I’d allowed myself to fall into this position where I’d become obsessed with my blog. Pretty much to the exclusion of anything else.
Why I started my blog
When I first started blogging, it was purely an outlet for me, to see if I was any good at writing. I was so clueless, I had no idea about “influencers”. Nor that anyone would want to gift me anything to write about, much less that I could be paid to write something. Fast forward 18 months and I’ve made a not inconsiderable (to me) sum of money from my blog so far this financial year. As well as having been gifted some incredibly lovely experiences and products to write about.
But while I feel very lucky to be able to write that sentence, it comes at a price. Somewhere along the way, I’ve become so used to saying, “Yes, please” that I’ve forgotten how to say “No, thank you, this isn’t for me.” And this has meant I’ve spent less time on building up my own freelance content writing and social media management business, as well as less time with Alan and Flora.
What has taking a break taught me?
One of my freelance clients is a confidence coach, and I’m very grateful she took time out to talk to me last week, it was a huge help. If you don’t have access to a client like mine, perhaps you could try talking to a counsellor at ThriveTalk.com * from the comfort of your own home. My mini blogging break has allowed me refocus and realise that I need to be more careful with what I choose to write about. If I lose opportunities from this, so be it. Family and friends have to take priority, as does my business. I don’t think I’m the only blogger to get frustrated by “offers” which reel me in and then hit me with little or no budget. Exposure does not pay the bills.
One of my favourite bloggers, Soph Hearts, wrote a post a while back about knowing your worth, and this has resonated very loudly with me of late. Creating unique content, photography, social media promotion, blogger comment swaps etc, all takes many hours. As a small business owner, I can’t afford to work for free or at a loss, so I’m going to have to become more selective. Of course, there will still be topics and products I choose to write about, like this essential oil roll on body massage oil from Kathleen Natural*. Originally, I was only going to post pictures on my social media channels, but I’ve been loving it so much, I’ve decided to write about it in a little more depth.
Kathleen Natural is dedicated to producing luxurious and high-performance skincare using sustainably sourced blends of precious plants, marine extracts and essential oils. Their entire range is free from harmful artificial chemicals, 100% natural, hypoallergenic, and cruelty free. I’m not a stranger to the skincare benefits of essential oils and another of my freelance clients is an essential oils Wellness Advocate. So I was really delighted to be offered one of Kathleen’s three aromatherapy roll on body massage oils. As a fan of citrus scents, I chose Citrus Cheer. The other blends are Sensual Rose (orange, rose and nutmeg) and Tranquil Fields (lavender, frankincense and vanilla).
Citrus Cheer has three main essential oils: lemon (antiseptic and cleansing), rosewood (a known anti-depressant), and geranium (frequently used to treat acne, reduce inflammation, alleviate anxiety and balance hormones). I’ve been using my roll on for just over two weeks now and I absolutely love it. The fragrance combination is so uplifting and while you might think an oil would be greasy, it’s not. Essential oils from plants are so light that they’re very quickly absorbed by our skin and because they’re natural, it’s very unlikely you’d suffer an adverse reaction.
Being a roll on means that there’s very little wastage so the £16 price tag is actually excellent value. My roll on is a staple in my handbag and I’ve been applying it to my pulse points throughout the day, followed by much inhaling and smiling. I’m now eyeing up a full size bottle for a Christmas treat to use after a shower and as a nail/cuticle treatment too. Maybe Santa will be kind, or maybe my invoices will be paid, maybe… 🙂
Looking ahead, I have a few more products to review and a couple of lovely blogger collabs to look forward to, but then I’ll be taking a much needed festive break. And I’m going to focus on my family and my business. Because I need to remember that blogging, for me, is not my life, nor is it my main source of income.
Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. The opportunities, friendships, and ideas like these mood-lifting tips from my fellow blogger, Maria, are giving me so much enjoyment and happiness. Fingers crossed that will all continue for a long time yet. But my recent wobble has reminded me I need a little balance. Something that essential oils are very helpful in providing. Big thank you again to Kathleen Natural for giving me another of my reasons to be cheerful (!)