This is a guest post by Lea Woodward from modern nomad.
Some people find blogging relaxing, a release and an outlet; many others don’t. It often depends upon your reason for blogging.
I’m guessing that most of you who read ProBlogger do so because you’d like your blog to become something more than just a personal monologue of your life. If so, then it’s likely that you take your blogging seriously…seriously enough to get stressed about it sometimes.
Before I go any further, I’m going to define “stress” as anything that takes your body of homeostasis (normal, balanced state of functioning). This means then that even when you don’t ‘feel’ stressed, your body might be.
Some of the things I personally find stressful about blogging are…
- The pressure to earn something – for me, this is mostly indirectly rather than directly from my blogs
- Receiving unpleasant and negative comments
- Meeting deadlines for writing posts (my own and others)
- Constantly coming up with killer content
- An unhealthy obsession with stats and figures
The thing about stress is that you can be stressed and not even know it…
Your body has some subtle and not-so subtle signs to tell you all is not right in its world.
Typical symptoms of acute stress are:
- Rapid heart beat
- Rise in temperature
- Short, shallow breathing
Typical symptoms of chronic stress are:
- High blood pressure
- Increased allergies
- Weight gain or loss
- PMS and hormonal disturbances
Unfortunately, you can’t remove all stress from your life – a small amount is good for you – but you can help your body better deal with stress and create strategies to lessen the common blogging stressors that have you reaching for a hammer.
If blogging is causing you more stress than joy at the moment, here are 5 things that can help…
1) Treat blogging like a business not a hobby.
If the pressure to generate an income is the cause of your blogging stress, then make sure that you’re treating your blogging like a proper business and not just a hobby.
This means creating a blog business plan, a marketing strategy and setting financial (and other) targets to achieve.
Get proactive about what’s going on with your blog and rather than sit and hope that that affiliate program wil start generating an income this month, go out and take some action to ensure it will.
Simply working according to a plan can help relieve the stress of not feeling in control; it can help you be proactive rather than reactive and ensure that you remain specifically focused on the end game.
2) Get things in perspective.
Unpleasant and downright nasty comments left on a blog that you pour your heart and soul in to every day, are not only stressful but can be emotionally upsetting. If you want to see my personal experience of this, check out some of the comments on this post – eeek!
If, like Kathy Sierra, the comments are threatening or somehow violate your personal safety, then serious measures should be considered. On the other hand if the comments are merely just others disagreeing with you, expressing their own opinions or sounding off, then a measure of perspective is called for.
If you let them unpleasant comments can knock your confidence, make you question what you’re doing and even put you off blogging for a while.
To help put things into perspective, try removing yourself from cyberspace for a while and taking a look at what’s going on in the outside world. Go play with your kids, meet a friend for coffee or do some exercise and you’ll find it’s amazing how the sting of those comments can fade to nothing.
3) Know when to walk away.
It might sound strange that a post on ProBlogger is advising you to walk away from your blog when it’s all about becoming a better blogger, but there are times when it is best to just walk away….at least from a blog that’s not working in the way you intended it to.
If you are blogging for money but the topic/niche/market you’ve chosen hasn’t yielded any success – despite your best efforts; and if you’re no longer enjoying it and it feels like more hassle than it’s worth, then perhaps sometimes it is and it’s time to move on.
Knowing when to cut your losses is part of exercising good business sense and making the right decision at the time. Greater opportunities will come when you take your learnings and apply them to your next blogging venture.
4) Proactively plan your downtime.
Removing the stress of blogging may sometimes require you to extract yourself from the computer.
If you, like me, are a bit of a laptop addict then this is harder said than done. One of the more successful strategies I’ve found is to not only plan time away from your computer but plan specific activities to do away from your computer.
If you just plan time away from the screen, then more often than not time will run away with itself. Before you know it you’re saying to yourself, “Oh well I may as well just keep going now. There’s no point in stopping”.
The more attractive, fun, compelling, exciting and appealing the activity you plan, the better.
5) Stay off the caffeine and sugar.
Ouch…the last thing many bloggers want to hear, I’m sure. But if you are currently stressed (chronically or acutely), then neither caffeine nor sugar will do you any good at all.
Sugar suppresses the immune system which in turn lowers your resistance to bugs and germs. Combine this with elevated stress levels from the effect that caffeine has on your nervous system (it stimulates it to create a manufactured ‘stress’ response) and your body could simply go on strike, succumbing to an illness which prevents you from blogging even if you want to.
If going cold turkey and cutting out caffeine and sugar isn’t an option for you, then at least consider restricting your consumption – especially when you’re feeling stressed.
I’m sure you’ll all agree…blogging can be great but there are times when it’s not so great and times when it’s downright stressful. You can’t always plan for these times and you can’t always prevent them but you can certainly help yourself cope better when they arrive.