Nothing ever goes to plan and so didn’t my blogging schedule that I had carefully crafted for my 5 week trip to Europe. Initially I managed to write a couple of posts but the last one I published was on July 25th. Shame on me! Or maybe not?
I am currently trying to analyse how and why this happened. I have to admit that the moment I genuinely allowed myself to quit writing I felt no more urgency to write about blogging. Had I at that stage come to ‘real’ relaxation? Were there so many more interesting things to do or could I just not be bothered anymore? Will I ever know and furthermore does it matter?
Funnily after having returned home for less than a week, having caught up with friends and after fighting my way through mountains of washing and sorting, I now feel that old urgency coming back. I even feel inspiration to report on this chain of events….
Guilt versus acceptance
Maybe that is how it should be – after all I was on holiday. If you are an accountant and you are off to some exotic place, you won’t take a pile of business statements to analyse. So I assume the same counts for us bloggers. Somehow it feels different though. Blogging does not feel like work so therefore there does not seem to be a reason to stop when on holiday. At least that is what I thought but reality has shown me a different story.
After a couple of weeks into my holiday I felt I no longer wanted to research and write about blogging. I basically did not feel like doing anything at all on my computer. Admittedly what did not help was the fact that internet connections were on occasions very basic or pretty much non-existent with the result that researching and publishing blog posts were not without hiccups.
Usually when I write about a certain aspect of blogging I research books, articles and other blogs and so on. I like to explore what others write and what kind of issues people come across when blogging. Having no internet access makes that side of the process rather difficult. I could have just reflected on experiencing this but instead I opted for doing nothing.
This is almost a month ago. The first week of my break was with a sense of guilt and I almost felt obliged to do something. The longer I did nothing the easier it became. I suppose that is what generally happens when people go on holiday. It takes a while to relax and to totally ‘let go’ and indulge in doing nothing. Most of us find this hard to do and find that their mind remains busy. It is bizarre but the hardest thing is to rid ourselves from that annoying feeling of accountability. The best relaxation for me is to feeling that I don’t need to do anything. But it seems that not being needed to do things is also the hardest to accept.
The other day I stumbled upon a blog post about ‘blogging as therapy’. This particular lady had started blogging as an outlet for certain emotional issues. She had found great support in expressing herself through the medium of a blog. What helped her even more was the fact that many other people were reading what she was writing about. Her statistics were impressive and she must have inspired many others to start blogging or at least take in what she writes about.
A group of researchers in Israel have conducted a study amongst teenagers who were struggling with issues such as social- and emotional well-being. None of the teenagers were bloggers before. Half of the teenagers were asked to blog regularly about their problems while the other half did not. And again half of these bloggers were allowed to receive comments while the other half was not. All of them were tested regarding their self -esteem and interaction with other peers before and after the blogging period. The results showed that those participants who wrote the blog significantly improved on all measures. And the teenagers, whose blogs were open to comments, gained the most.
Blogs, diaries and therapy…
Blogging can indeed be a great way of getting rid of baggage if that is what you need. It somehow feels more ‘real’ that it is being published although you don’t know who will read it. It is an exciting awareness that anyone could read your words. A diary on the other hand is just written by and for you and probably never read by anyone. That‘s what it is supposed to be at least.
Blogging is different. You initially write for yourself but deep down you are aware that someone might read about your issues and even come up with a comment. While blogging you may think about the way you phrase whatever you like to say because you don’t want to come across as dumb or short-sighted. To come to the point writing a blog is an effective way to reflect on your issues and that is essentially what you do. You express, write, edit and correct and then you publish it – almost as if it is someone else’s stuff.
‘Therapeutic value’ of a blog
From a psychological point of view this is indeed therapeutic, because while you are writing you take distance and reflect on whatever is in your mind. In a nutshell that is what a therapist wants you to achieve. That you are able to ‘step back’, look at your issues and hopefully see the path to a solution. Therapists are not supposed to do that for you – you’ll have to do this yourself. They are only supposed to guide you in the process! If you are made to believe differently, consider changing your therapist!
Blogs can attract comments and those comments can be eye openers. They can act as a mirror, be critical or supportive. Sometimes they are insulting but if indeed such remarks are enticing you to explore a different avenue than you are used to – listen and explore. Who knows where it might lead you.
Albert Einstein had a great view on that:
You cannot solve the problem with the same level of thinking that created it!