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Please read my full Disclaimer for more info.
I’ve had to take a break from Blogging as I started to feel the burnout.
I noticed that while every other profession is allowed time off for sickness or holidays, Book Bloggers are not afforded this grace.
Reading is a hobby for many, so how can you get burned out when you’re doing something you love?
What is a Book Blogger?
No longer the terrain of Book Clubs, Book Bloggers of any kind are now able to share and discuss their book reading choices with likeminded others and discover new books from around the world that may previously have been inaccessible or unnoticed by the narrow fields of Book Awards and Best Seller lists.
Why do Do Book Bloggers need to protect their Mental Health?
Reading is an enjoyable hobby usually done in a solitary manner so it can be incredibly lonely at times.
With the advent of virtual book clubs and the above-noted forums, readers can share their choices with others and also enter into discussions on their current reading material.
The problem starts when you start feeling pressured to keep up with the latest relesases or are not able to read as much as others, therefore making something that you used to enjoy, seem like a chore.
While no-one is forcing anyone to read, the more you read and are able to grow your account with your reviews, images and content, the more likely you are to establish yourself as an authority and get access to free books, interviews, and more.
Isn’t that a good thing?
For a lot of people, it can be a good thing, but especially for those Bloggers starting out or those with bigger accounts, it can feel exhausting because you not only have to read the book, you then have to critically analyse it, take any images or shoot videos, create content and then promote it on social media.
Add in the normal stresses of modern life, and it can all get a bit emotionally exhausting especially when you’re in the middle of a major Pandemic as we are at the time of writing.
What can you do to protect your mental health as a Book Blogger?
First of all, take a deep breath and take a break.
1. Stop reading
I know this sounds counter-intuitive especially if you have a popular account, but if you’re not enjoying reading, then you will get put off when you try and push through.
2. Take a break and let everyone know you are on a break
When you take Annual Leave from your day job, you typically put an out of office on to let people know you are away.
But if you don’t want to make it too obvious, a quick Instagram story or a note to tell people you are on a break, and an estimation on when you’ll likely be back is a good idea.
Putting an auto-responder on any related email addresses you have for your blog, youtube, instagram etc may also help manage anxiety and the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that seems to be prevalent in modern times.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget 2-factor authentication and a strong password on your social media profiles and email addresses if you are taking a break and announcing it publically!
2.1 Build in Seasonal Breaks to your Reading Routine
Make it a point to take seasonal breaks.
We are not machines that can keep going regardless, of what’s going on and for something as cerebral as Book Blogging, it’s important to take seasonal breaks to read what you want to read or not read at all and do nothing.
Reading should be fun, but if it’s making you miserable then you should take a break in line with the seasons in terms of when you’re going through a busy period of your life of when you’re in a slump and finding it hard to read and concentrate.
Anne Bogel, the host of my FAVOURITE reading Podcast, What Should I Read Next discussed this in the 101st episode about how she reads more during the lead up to Summer to recommend books for the Modern Mrs Darcy annual Summer Reading Guide, than she does any other time of year and then takes regular breaks with her personal reading.
3 Create Boundaries when you are back from your break
When you are on your break and feel up to it, or when you feel ready to come back, it’s incredibly important to create healthy boundaries and enforce them.
Jo from Mad and Sad Club did a great talk on the Grow and Glow Blogging and Business community I am part of, which helped me to establish clear boundaries going forward to look after my Mental Health as a Book Blogger.
One of the things I already have established is a Book Review Policy which is on my blog and also on my Instagram highlights (More on this below).
Unfortunately, not a lot of people read or research before contacting you in the DMs so it’s important to share and reinforce boundaries in a polite way.
3.1 You DO NOT have to respond to every message immediately.
I am literally the WORST when it comes to this, but Jo helped me to realise that Instagram in particular does this to create a set of behaviours to make you feel panic and re-instate that fear of missing out by flagging unread messages as red.
Her solution to this is to flag the messages and come back to them later.
Any message request that has no profile image or a random question is more likely not to be answered by me now.
If followers are engaging with you normally by replying to your stories and building a relationship, prioritise those messages rather than the incredibly enticing, “HEY, HOW ARE YOU?” ones.
4. Have a Book Review Policy
I’m incredibly grateful for the people who contact me asking me to review books, but I also have to protect my time and mental health to do read, review and promote as I stated above.
Having a book review policy is the best way to do this.
A Book Review Policy states what you are and aren’t willing to read and saves time for unsolicited requests (most of the time, although, some will try their luck!)
You can go one further and create an image with your Book Review Policy on your Instagram highlights and point any potential people who wish to work with you to it (I created it for free on Canva in case you wish to do the same).
Periodically I have to adjust this policy when I come across an unusual request or quite recently, an author asked me to buy their anthology which I wasn’t interested in and then got aggressive when I declined their offer.
Remember, the block and delete button is there for a reason!
5. Don’t Compare Your Reading Speed or Books Finished with Others
I did a post called, Are You Reading For Yourself or The Likes? and in that post I talked about an article which stated reading had now become a perfomative hobby.
We scrutinise each others reading choices as much as we scruitinise our sartorial choices.
The fear of not reading the right books or reading enough books can seem like you’re falling behind.
Please don’t feel that way.
Reading should be relaxing and something that you look forward to.
Reading 100 books isn’t always possible for the majority of us, but especially if you deal with mental health issues, chronic fatigue, disabilities or different circumstances that mean you cannot afford the time or money to indulge in a high book count, does not mean you should feel bad.
The ones who are able to read a lot more may have more time or resources to do so, but it’s an incredible gift to be able to read and re-read a book that you love that gives you immense pleasure.
Don’t let the pursuit of performance take that away from you.
Your opinion is valid whether you read 1 book or 100.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and let me know your strategies for coping with your mental health as a book blogger.
I’m hoping to make this a series, so do let me know if you have any thoughts of topics you want me to cover in the next post in the series in the comments below.
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