The craziest thing happened to me when I took my maternity leave. I couldn’t stop completely, but I pulled back significantly. It was the longest break I’ve had since college and I was very, very nervous about doing it. It sounds dramatic, but I was not unconvinced that I would lose momentum and that my blog would just… fade. I’ve been blogging consistently for over a decade (over 5,000 posts in almost 13 years!!! 😱) and, while I’ve been better about taking small breaks, I haven’t stepped away for more than a week around the holidays, and even that was a more recent allowance for myself. I worried that I would personally lose momentum and not want to return… or that you guys would think I was done and forget to come back when I eventually did.
Well you haven’t forgotten about me (thank you!!!) and the surprise for me was that my stepping away re-inspired me completely. In fact, it all kind of hit me how insane the past year or so has been work-wise and I’ve been pedal to the metal for so long. I definitely didn’t realize how burnt out I was. I would definitely identify as tired, but not burnt out.
Until, that is, I suddenly felt re-inspired and only then could I recognize that I had been experiencing burn out. I think I grossly underestimated how taxing the past year had been. Even not taking into account world events, writing a book and being pregnant took its toll on me. Both of those things had sucked up all of my energy. The book took priority in terms of my work life and the pregnancy took priority in terms of my personal life. Both things were incredible life events, obviously, but they also depleted me.
Last week, I felt this surge of energy return. Maybe it’s a little ironic, definitely unexpected, that this would happen during the first month or so of caring for a newborn. But I felt back to my usual self. I feel motivated to work. I am craving exercise (crossing my fingers I’m cleared to work out at the end of this week). I’ve been pulling my camera out to take some creative photos. The note in my phone where I keep blog post ideas is completely filled. My editorial calendar no longer feels like a chore I have to complete. I’ve been bouncing business ideas around with a friend. Staying up after Jack goes to sleep to work uninterrupted feels good.
I don’t want to rush into anything necessarily– still have the baby to take care of and a book to promote and holiday campaigns to complete– but I have come up with a few goals and challenges for myself that I think I can manage. I’m just feeling really motivated and overall inspired. I’ve missed this feeling; I’ve missed this part of me!!
If nothing else, it was a great lesson for me. I usually find myself pushing through things just to stay the course and not get off the “hamster wheel” so to speak. In my mind, keeping things going is easier than picking back up after coming to a complete stop… but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I probably (um, definitely) should have been better about taking real breaks along the way. Sometimes it’s just hard to see the forest when you’re amongst the trees.