DISCLAIMER: The following is strictly an opinion based on my personal experience and ideas. I have not been clinically diagnosed with anxiety.
Ok now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about blogger anxiety.
Anxiety is one of those terms that is loosely used today or perhaps it’s not loosely used at all and it’s something that is increasingly becoming an issue in our society.
And I 100% think technology/social media is part of the problem. We can now do everything in the comfort of our homes and in the palm of our hands through our phones. We don’t have to go shopping thanks to Amazon, we don’t have to go to parties thanks to Houseparty, and we don’t have to meet someone in person to hear them speak thanks to Snapchat and YouTube. And because of this, we could go as long as we want without real human interaction. And for a blogger whose main purpose is to connect with people, that can be a little bit of a problem.
When you start a blog you automatically sign up to have your life in the public eye. I mean you’re literally putting your story, your creative baby, and your vulnerabilities into the world for everyone to see. And because of this, people get this idea of you in their heads of what you’re supposed to be like, look like, act like, etc. And if you don’t meet those requirements you’re judged at best and bullied at worst – neither of which are fun – but hey it comes with the territory. Personally, my anxiety “flares up” whenever I encounter the 3 scenarios below…
When you’re a blogger people just assume you have this sky-high confidence. Well, you don’t. I mean, I’m sure some do, but I certainly have moments of insecurity just as much as anyone else.
Anyway, my anxiety started long before I was a blogger. I was in college giving a presentation and all of a sudden I heard people start to laugh. Did I have something in my teeth? Was my fly down? Did I mess up my slideshow? What was it?!
Normally I would be able to acknowledge what happened and laugh it off but because I didn’t know, and I’ll never know, I just assumed the class was laughing at me. Yes, I’m well aware it could have had nothing to do with me, but I was convinced it did.
Anyway, prior to this I was a very engaged student, I always sat at the front of the class, raised my hand to answer every question, took the lead in small groups, but after that one tiny incident, I became very withdrawn. I then had digestive issues (which I saw a doctor about) and experienced hot flashing which resulted in me sitting in the back of the room next to the door (in case I had to leave because of my anxiety) for every single class. Sounds fun right?
I think I was so drawn to blogging because I could express myself without actually having to face anyone. No one could laugh at me, I was relaxed, and I could sit wherever I wanted. Plus I was able to really be myself and let my true personality shine through – none of that quiet, nervous girl nonsense from college. It’s super easy to be confident behind a computer screen.
But like I’ve talked about before, bloggers aren’t just bloggers anymore. There is so much more involved – a lot more human interaction from meetings to speaking events to hosting launch parties. Most of which I’ve had to face and experienced anxiety every single time.
The more I do it and the more I encounter uncomfortable situations, the easier it get. I’m not sure I’ll ever not feel uncomfortable for those types of things, but I’m hopeful which is why I keep forcing myself to face them. In fact, I’m speaking about blogging at a career fair in the next few days and my anxiety is through the roof, but I’m doing it anyway because I have to.
Unless you’re a total bore with zero personality, you will most likely offend someone at some point in your blogging career. I’ve “offended” people several times. And here’s what I say to that: if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Stop following me, stop consuming my content, stop talking to me if you have a problem with my opinions.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a filter which has gotten me into trouble a few times, but here’s the thing, I’m not malicious. I don’t sit here thinking of a master plan to offend anyone. Sometimes I’m very blunt and sometimes my jokes get taken out of context, but at the end of the day, it’s my blog and my platform and I can choose to say and do whatever I want and it’s not my fault if you choose to interpret something differently than how it was intended. Boom.
Even though I write that with strong conviction, I still get anxious over every Facebook post, Instagram caption, Snapchat, and blog post; like “Oh geez, I hope I phrased this right” or “Man, I don’t know if I should say that”. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t suck.
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with what I want to do, what I should be doing, and what I need to do, that I become paralyzed and don’t do anything. I never realized the importance of taking time for yourself and taking a vacation, but it is SO important.
I don’t think I’ve ever needed a vacation more in my life than I do right now. And I have yet to take one because I’m so anxious over “falling behind”. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, yet ironically I end up missing more due to my stress. When really if I take a vacation or unplug for a few days, I’ll end up refreshed, inspired, and ready to create all kinds of kick-ass content! Even though the signs are there that I’m burning my candle at both ends, I just can’t let go of the hustle.
My holistic approach to anxiety
Since I haven’t been clinically diagnosed with anxiety, I’m not on any medication. Even if I was diagnosed I wouldn’t take anything because I believe my anxiety is 100% controllable (not saying this is the case for everyone, but for me it is). I have learned to deal with it through meditating, yoga, limiting my alcohol consumption, using an oil diffuser, and getting a Himalayan salt lamp (if you watch my Instastories, you know I swear by my lamp). I also try not to eat a lot of sugar or caffeine because both of those things intensify my anxiety.
I think what helps the most is convincing myself that it’s not the end of the world. It’s mind over matter. When I really try to focus on my purpose – why I’m doing something – that anxious pit in my stomach subsides.
Going to an event isn’t about me, it’s about the person hosting it. Telling my story how I see fit isn’t for people who oppose my views, it’s for the people who feel inspired by them. And it’s not about what I’m not doing, it’s about what I am doing and as long as I’m doing something, I won’t fall behind.
I really hope you take something away from this post because I know how debilitating anxiety can be and it’s a conversation that should be addressed… especially in blogging.
Do you suffer from blogger anxiety? If you feel comfortable please share your story in the comments below.