I didn’t plan on it, but over the last 30 days, my whole life and routine have gone completely haywire. My life has changed dramatically and in the midst of it all, I stopped working for a month. Don’t get me wrong, I did my best to keep up here and there. I would spend some time on Pinterest or throw up an Instagram post, but for the most part, I just totally stopped my . I want to tell you what brought about this month long vacation and be totally candid about the bad things that happened and the good things that happened when I stopped blogging for a month.
A little over a month ago (beginning of March) I got word that my stepdad who had been battling brain cancer was being put on hospice care. My family and I had already planned a trip to see him at the end of March on our way to California. Now I found myself scrambling to rearrange plans, tweak our budget and try to figure out how I could get out to Idaho to see my stepdad during his final days.
I spent a full week in Idaho visiting him, helping him and saying my goodbyes.
When I came home, I went into
Then, like I always do, after a week, I crashed. I stopped functioning. I couldn’t think and I spent most of my days crying and sleeping.
On top of it all, we still had our 2-week family vacation/road trip planned. I needed to make all the arrangements knowing that our trip would no longer include a stop in Idaho.
Honestly, no one else in my family is capable of arranging this kind of stuff. It all fell on me. As did the same old “mom duties.” Cooking, cleaning, school…
I was barely getting by and the blog definitely fell by the wayside.
Thankfully, I have gotten to a point in life that I recognize my unhealthy patterns and have started taking more initiative when it comes to taking care of my mental and physical health during times of high stress.
That meant, instead of pushing myself to be better, or do more, or work harder, I accepted the fact that most days I would not be performing at 100%. Just getting by was going to have to be enough.
On the last day of March, we took off
Tom knew the stress I was under and repeatedly told me we didn’t have to make the trip. However, more than ever, I had a renewed sense of how important it is to maintain these relationships. There was no way we were cancelling.
If you follow me on any form of social media, you have probably heard me say over and over again how important people are in life. We only get one of them. There is no replacing the people in our lives and there is no way to get back any time we might lose with them.
So we headed off on our trip.
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One of the things I love most about running the blog is that I can do it from anywhere. That’s why I made sure to bring my laptop along with me on our roadtrip. I wanted to make sure that during any downtime I would be able to get some work done.
The two mornings I spent in Wyoming, I got up early (or should I say my regular time) and managed to fit a little work in. At night, when we’d watch TV, I would do some of the more “mindless” work like re-pinning on Pinterest or scheduling pins to Tailwind.
Even though we were now one hour ahead thanks to the time zone change, I still managed to stay close to my same blogging schedule.
The days following wouldn’t be as easy.
As we traveled through Utah and Nevada into California, we switched time zones yet again and our schedule got a little more hectic.
To avoid traffic most mornings, we were getting up early to make it to our hiking or beach destinations.
Let me tell you, in case you didn’t know, this whole parenting gig can be kind of a drag. Having two older girls, they often had a different agenda of how they wanted to spend their days that were very different from the activities we had planned for us and our little ones. Trying to find an even ground wasn’t always easy.
With all this chaos and early schedule, it was rare that I got any of my morning work in. I would still go to bed earlier to try and get some work done (maybe an hour or so) before I would actually go to bed to prepare for another early morning the next day.
In all honesty, I didn’t do much blogging on vacation at all.
So what did I do with my time?
We got to meet our great nieces who we’ve never really met. Our kids got to play their cousins that they never see. We threw my daughter a birthday party at Mission Beach and had Dominoes pizza and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake.
We took family hikes along the ocean. Spent days relaxing on the beach. We made PB&Js in the back of our rented mini van and took morning walks together around the suburbs of Southern California.
I saw new, amazing sights and re-visited old California favorites.
I got a tan.
Basically, I lived a life without a schedule, without stress and I was actually able to soak up the moments completely.
So how did this time off affect me? What impact did it have on the blog?
Traffic went down
Because I was not consistently promoting and sharing my content, there was a dip in my blog traffic. Normally, this would send me into a stressed-out panic, but this time I accepted the decline in traffic just like I accepted my mental health state.
I completely fell out of working mode
Now, I love working mode. I love that feeling I get when I’m just “flowing.” When I can write all day, create graphics, answer emails and operate social media flawlessly while throwing in a YouTube video here and there.
This easy flowing drive has just been almost completely gone. My brain feels like it can’t even begin to fathom how I will get back into that state of mind again. But I know it will.
Income went down slightly
With a decrease in traffic, naturally, my income went down a little this month. In fact, I haven’t even had a chance to really track my income. And that’s ok. I know I will get right back into the swing of things soon after we get home.
Totally forgot blog posts…or what day it is
Today’s blog post is being brought to you last minute because…I totally forgot to write it!! I woke up this morning and actually realized it was Tuesday…a day I normally post…and realized I didn’t have any post scheduled! Yikes! This kind of forced me back into creative mode for the day and I am currently writing in the car on our way to Colorado!
Got behind on my schedule
Normally, I have a few blog posts written and scheduled, so I don’t feel overwhelmed or feel obligated to write something at the last minute. Because I haven’t been keeping up on my writing, my schedule has definitely fallen behind. Perhaps I will get a chance to catch up a little over the next few days. But then again, maybe not.
I still made an income
Although my income did decrease along with my traffic, I still have an income coming in! I can’t express enough how great this is! Sure, it could be more, but considering that I have basically stopped blogging for a month, it’s pretty exciting to know that I’m still getting paid!
I gave my brain a break
More than anything, this month-long break from blogging has allowed me to give my brain a much-needed break.
Running the blog is something I do for me (and for my family.) Because I don’t have anyone to answer to, and I haven’t been carrying the stress of deadlines with me. My brain has been able to fully unwind and it was much needed.
Renewed my relationships
Like I said, the relationships in my life are far more important than anything else and over the last few weeks, I have really had a chance to build on those relationships and soak up the people who mean the most to me.
I have never spent any time in Wyoming or Utah before and during our road trip, I got to explore both and can’t wait to go back and explore more some day. I have gone to places in California that I never got the chance to see and am now making my way to Colorado…my favorite place in the whole world. (Or at least out of the world that I’ve seen so far.)
Remembered why I started blogging in the first place
Although there were downsides when I stopped blogging for a month, it has been a great reminder as to why I started in the first place.
I wanted to create an income that was flexible and allowed me the ability to set my own hours and take vacations when I need them.
Not only have we been able to travel for 2 weeks, but I was also able to drop everything for a full week in order to spend time with my stepdad before he passed away.
I’m so thankful every day that I made the leap into blogging 2 years ago and only hope to keep growing it from here.
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