Hello, friends! It’s been a few months since my last blog post. For those wondering where I’ve been – do not fret, I am alive, healthy, and well! I decided to take a voluntary break from the blogosphere for reasons I will get into shortly, but from this break I also came back with a whole new perspective. So, in today’s post I decided to deviate from the norm and get more personal with you by sharing a few things I’ve learned from my hiatus. Opening up isn’t always easy, but I’m hoping this will be the first of more real talk to come here on WID 🙂
1. RELAX, It’s OK to Unplug
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that there’s NOTHING wrong with wanting to take a break. It may sound like a no brainer – duh, who wouldn’t want to relax? – but in today’s society where we’re inundated with must-do’s and deadlines, it’s not as easy to step away as you think. Especially for those whose livelihood depends on being on social media 24/7, the constant FOMO is hitting a new high. For example, thanks to Instagram’s new algorithm where the content you engage with the most gets prioritized over those not, there’s even more pressure now to stay plugged in. I, for one, experienced the frenzy first hand, and it began to make me dread going anywhere near WID.
On top of my full time job, each day I set aside hours to create content, plan my media calendar, edit photos and engage with my followers. It’s not the amount of work that stressed me out – I had FUN doing it. In fact, it felt extremely exhilarating to finally be doing something that I love. However, while I was present in my social media life, I wasn’t present in my real life. Every day I prioritized interacting with complete strangers over spending quality time with my husband. When we went on vacation, I was still working and coming back even more tired than ever. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, obsessing and stressing over the number of likes. All for what? WID was no longer my creative outlet, I was simply going through the motions. THAT’s when I realized it’s time to pump the brakes.
“When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Relax, breathe, let go and just live.” – Unknown
2. Learn to Say No
As a relatively new blogger in an extremely competitive and saturated industry, I often felt obliged to take on every opportunity that came my way, thinking it’ll land me something bigger and better. They say good things happen to those who hustle, right? Not always. Because of that mentality, brands feel empowered to demand free content in exchange for products. Content that they will then reuse over and over to generate additional profits, none of which will come to me. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp but many young bloggers forget that their time is actually worth something (definitely more than $0!). Why not spend it on yourself, your loved ones, or things that’d benefit your overall quality of life? Don’t just hustle hard, hustle smart.
A rule of thumb that I now go by: unless it’s something you feel passionate about or would spend your own dime on, do yourself a favor and politely decline. Just because something is free doesn’t mean your time is, especially when someone else is profiting at your expense. Channel that energy into creating meaningful content instead, which brings me to #3.
3. You do You
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde
We all know certain images resonate better than others. They’re the popular #OOTDs (Outfit Of the Day), the jaw-droppingly gorgeous travel snaps (that may seem effortless but probably took hours of planning and orchestrating), or the cool street-style girls with their IT-look. Whatever it may be, I probably guiltily took part in creating at some point in the last two years (#brunchsquad, anyone?). Sometimes I’m actually just that basic and love things that have gone mainstream. Most of the time, however, I was simply trying to fit in. There’s no shame in publically admitting it, because it also helped to pinpoint another reason why I walked away from WID: I was getting bored. My creative juices stopped flowing, and I was posting more for the likability of the photo than anything else.
Going forward – and you may have already noticed in my recent Italy photos – I’m learning to let go and just post whatever my heart desires, even if it’s a random snap of a colorful wall. Because to me, it meant a fond memory that I will forever cherish. I want to capture things that wake me up in the morning and get me excited about life. It could be travel (from my own perspective), fashion, food, colorful doors (ya’ll know I’m a sucker for those). Whatever it is, I promise you it’ll be 100% me.
4. When In Doubt, Write It Out
I will save you from another long paragraph – put quite simply, write your heart out. It’s been a while since I’ve written down my thoughts and to be honest, it’s remarkably therapeutic. You don’t need to keep a journal or share it for the world to see, but writing things down helps revisit your thoughts and find a way to organize them. Try it sometime; it’s good to be in touch with yourself 🙂
5. Have Fun
At the end of the day, no matter what you do, don’t lose sight of that original purpose. I created WID two years ago to share my love for this world and hoped that one day it’ll serve as inspiration to someone somewhere. We don’t know for sure where this will take me, but I vow to always find the fun along the journey. After all, life is too short to be boring!
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