The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Self-care tips for book bloggers

on April 7, 2017

Hello, you lovely people, and a happy Friday to you!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been struggling with blogging recently, and with reading too. I’m feeling burned-out and tired, which prevents me from enjoying reading as much as I normally do, and as for blogging… that feels impossible.

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A lot of the way I’m feeling is due to my anxiety, but all of us can feel this way at times, regardless of mental health issues, because book-blogging, though we love it, can be stressful and overwhelming.

FOR EXAMPLE…

Sometimes we find ourselves drowning in a sea of ARCs, and, although ARCs are an honour and a privilege, drowning isn’t fun for anyone.

Sometimes we have a million things we WANT to read, but can’t, because of all the books we HAVE to read, so we spend hours staring at our shelves in a state of panic, not reading anything at all.

Sometimes, we don’t want to read, and we just want to watch Netflix, y’know?

All of these things make it pretty damn difficult to keep up with our blogs, and feel calm.

But, there are lots of little things we can do to help ourselves when we feel like we’re crumbling under this pressure.

Those little things are small, but vital, acts of self-care.

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As somebody who suffers from anxiety and depression, I have come to appreciate just how important self-care is when I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted. Self-care can be anything from scheduling time for relaxation, to saying ‘no’ to things when I’m not feeling well enough to do them.

But looking after yourself is important no matter what the state of your mental health might be. Putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s not weak, and your health is entirely more important than your blog, at the end of the day.

If you are finding book-blogging stressful and overwhelming in any way right now, here are some self-care tips (with a bookish/blogging slant) that you might find helpful. 😊


GIVE YOURELF TIME TO RELAX

Get into a blanket/onesie/cosy get-up of you choosing, surround yourself with snacks and beverages, turn off your phone, ignore your loved ones(!), and spend some quality time with a book. Reading a book just for fun – one that you have no intention of reviewing – removes all pressure from your reading experience.

If you decide, afterwards, that you want to review the book, you can, but go in telling yourself that this is for pure enjoyment, nothing more, and you’ll find the whole thing so much more relaxing.

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SAY NO

Learning to say no is extremely important if you are feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to put yourself, and your health, first.

It’s okay to say no to review requests, and if you have ALL THE ARCS stacked on top of you, Buckaroo stylee, however tempting it may be, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, REQUEST ANY MORE. It’s extra pressure that you don’t need right now, and that book will be there waiting for you later down the line, once it has been released, and you actually have the time and energy to read it.

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STOP BUYING BOOKS

I know, I know, this sounds like sacrilege. But, similarly to being approved for a bunch of ARCs you don’t have the time or inclination to read, having lots of unread books on your shelf can be really overwhelming if you’re feeling low. And, if you’re buying more books every week, no matter how gloriously shiny their covers may be, you’re just adding to the problem.

Ban yourself from buying books, and focus on reading the ones you’ve got. If you don’t feel like reading any of them at the moment, do something else – it will be healthier for you to watch a bit of TV, or have a relaxing bath, than try to struggle through a book you’re not into, feeling increasingly guiltier about it with every page. And, if you want to treat yourself to a pick-me-up,  you can always spend your money on something other than a book; chocolate, wine, bubble bath, stationary… basically comforting things that you don’t have to read.

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So, if you find yourself drawn to a bookshop, wrench yourself away; you’ll feel far better about yourself, and your shelves, if you do.


DITCH THE NEW RELEASES

As book-bloggers, we constantly feel pressure to read the books that EVERYONE is talking about. But we don’t HAVE to read them RIGHT NOW if the pressure is getting to us. Those books don’t have a sell-by date. We’ll get to them when we’re ready.

Re-reading an old favourite book instead can be a real treat, and there is no pressure involved, because we don’t need to decide how we feel about the book, and what star rating to give it – we already know we adore it, and that it will do our mental health the world of good.

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DO A BOOK TAG

Book tags are fun, and approx. a million times less pressurised than writing a book review where you have to analyse the crap out of everything.

If book tags are too much for you right now, that’s absolutely fine, but if you sit down and give one a go, just for fun, you might find yourself getting back into the swing of things.

Plus, book tags generally contain more gif-usage and more fangirling than reviews, both of which are highly efficient at boosting your endorphin levels. FACT.

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DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP

This is easier said than done – I beat myself up constantly – but remind yourself that NOBODY IS JUDGING YOU EXCEPT FOR YOURSELF. Nobody is looking at your blog and thinking ‘what a failure, she never posts anymore, compared to I, superwoman, who whacks out a post every day of the week.’

Superwoman is too busy doing Superwoman to notice, so you just do you… whatever you have to offer is enough for now, and makes you Superwoman/man in my eyes.

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HAVE A BREAK

Take a hiatus if you need one. You can announce it, if that makes you feel more comfortable, but if you don’t want to, there is no shame in going off-road for a while, without telling anyone. YOU DO NOT NEED TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF.

The blogging community isn’t going anywhere, and you will not be forgotten, but if you’re worried about disappearing, you can always keep in contact with everyone by liking or commenting on their posts (which is a lot easier than writing your own when you’re feeling burned out.)

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LOOK AFTER YOURSELF IN GENERAL

This is not related to books or blogging, but if you are feeling low, basic things can feel impossible, let alone keeping up with a hobby. Eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, getting some exercise, and breathing fresh air are all vital, and do as much good for your mental health as they do your physical health.

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I hope these tips have been helpful, and that some of them work for you! 😊 Do you have any self-care tips for when you’re feeling overwhelmed? I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend filled with books and cake!

Gif credit: Giphy

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43 responses to “Self-care tips for book bloggers

  1. Great post and lots of useful tips I really should be following given I’m drowning in ARCs and library books. Unfortunately when I get stressed and anxious I immediately go to NetGalley or the bookshop 😣 I swear I have some kind of addiction.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much Ali! 🙂 I know exactly how you feel – I always go to the bookshop when I’m feeling anxious too – I always feel like I *need* a new book when I’ve had a bad day, and I crave the feeling of being in a bookshop. I’m trying really hard to stop myself at the moment though!

  2. I’m not a book blogger, but the general tips you gave are still useful! Well written, the cute gifs make it so fun and relaxing to read!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much 🙂 I couldn’t resist those gifs! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found the tips helpful. I think the underlying principles are important just for generally looking after yourself – e.g. saying no when you’ve take on too much, scheduling time for relaxation, etc. 🙂 Wish I was better at taking my own advice though!

  3. deborahkehoe says:

    All of these things are the truth! I try to read two books a month solely for pleasure, but at doesn’t always happen. Great advice!

  4. Fictionophile says:

    So true. Love this post!

  5. Marie says:

    This was such a lovely post, thank you for writing it ❤ Book blogging is kind of crazy at times and I'm anxious just as well so I might have to follow these tips ahah ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much Marie 🙂 I’m really glad you found the tips helpful. I know exactly what you mean about the crazyness – sometimes it get so overwhelming! Hope you are feeling less anxious soon ❤

  6. Donna says:

    I need to say this first: I love your post! Thank you for reminding the world that self-care is important, whether we suffer from mental health issues or not. Everyone feels like ARCs are a burden at times, everyone feels hopeless when checking the backlog of reviews they have, everyone feels down when looking at their books without mustering the strength to pick one up.
    I am learning to say no, especially after a couple of reviews I wrote that were deemed nice brought me lots and lots of emails with requests! I still have issues not buying books but it’s only because I fear of running out, haha, with more than 150 in store, I should be okay, especially when I only managed to read 80books in 2016! But I know there will come a time when I can’t buy them at all, so I’m hoarding 🙂
    After my Orenda Month, I took a three-day break and read two books in a row, without thinking I’d have to review them (although I will) and it felt really good to be away from the Internet for a while, but I was happy to come back to my friends 🙂
    I also realized I stopped panicking over reviews and stressing out like crazy that people wouldn’t like them. I am now fully aware I write for myself first, and whatever feels good is good enough 🙂
    Loved this post! I hope your slump won’t stay around too long and you’ll feel better to read ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much Donna! Sorry it took me so long to respond. I’m glad you are learning how to say no too – it can be so difficult at times, especially when authors contact you directly. I feel really bad because I said yes to some authors earlier this year, and I haven’t managed to read or review their books yet because I feel anxious just thinking about it. So I am going to be saying a polite but firm no from now on. I know exactly how you feel with the running out of books thing, although I have a similar number of unread books on my shelf too – I think it would probably take us at least a year, if not more, to run out, if we weren’t buying any more books haha. But the temptation to hoard can be so strong sometimes. The other problem I have is that I treat books like drugs. If I have had a bad day, I feel I *need* to buy a book, even if I’m depressed and can’t read, because in some small way it makes me feel better. But then when I look at my shelves, I start to regret it!
      Absolutely agree with you on how good it feels to be away from the internet. I need to practice this more often. I love being active on WordPress and Twitter, but sometimes it is nice just to have some headspace.
      That’s so awesome that you have managed to stop stressing out over reviews. Writing for yourself is the most important thing, because when you’re keeping a blog, your enjoyment of it is what keeps it going. I hope I manage to get to that place someday too! I’m just terrible at beating myself up over everything I post, or don’t post, as is usually the case!!
      My slump is improving a little bit. I’m still in a blogging slump, but I have been doing some reading and managed to finish 2 books, so I’m really pleased about that ❤ Hope you are doing well – I saw on Twitter that you applied for your publishing course – congratulations, that’s amazing! ❤

      • No worries, I sometimes take so long to reply! 🙂 Author requests are so much more pressuring, we must be very careful when accepting them that it’s something we really want to read, it’s not always easy. I have the same issue! Whenever I feel down or something is wrong, I feel the urge to buy books, just like a drug. It makes me feel better for a while. Then I have to do it again! I’m happy my budget is limited or my Kindle and bookcases would explode… I hope you find the rhythm and peace to write your reviews without any pressure and just for the fun of it, it takes some times and blog tours are currently testing me!!! I’m happy you got to read a little, don’t force the blogging, it’ll come back eventually 🙂 ❤ Thank you so much!! I'm excited and scared witless but it's done, and I just have to wait for the next steps now.

      • mudandstars says:

        I know exactly what you mean – I find it so hard to say no to personal requests from authors. I have ended up accepting things in the past just to be polite, even though they really weren’t my kind of books. Thanks so much – I managed to write a couple of posts this week, so I’m hoping that means I’m getting my groove back 🙂 That’s so exciting – what’s the next step? The first one is always the hardest, so it’s extremely awesome that you have sent off your application! I wish you the best of luck! ❤

      • Sometimes we just want to be kind and it ends up with us being swamped! Yay for writing a few posts, it’s great! The next step is to know whether or not I am eligible, I’ll have an answer by May 15th, and if I am, there are admission tests at the end of the month… Scary stuff! ❤ Thank you so so much! I'm starting to feel the pressure of the thing I set in motion…

      • mudandstars says:

        Hiiii sorry for the late reply again – how did it go on May 15th? Hope all went well 🙂 xxx

      • Hi 🙂 no worries! Actually May 15th brought me bad news as I wasn’t selected for the big publishing degree. Now I’m waiting to know if I’m eligible for the basics Publishing course… xxxx

      • mudandstars says:

        Aww I’m sorry to hear that. Really hope it will be good news for you regarding the other publishing course 🙂 When will you find out? xxxx

      • June 1st, fingers crossed 🙂 xxxx

      • mudandstars says:

        Good luck! Got my fingers crossed for you 😊😊 xxxx

  7. hahaha love the gifs!!! Awesome tips- so helpful!!

  8. This was so great and I appreciated the pusheen gifs so much!

  9. I love this post so much, Jess!! So many important tips and things to remember on here. I always put a ton of pressure on myself with blogging especially in regards to posting. I’m slowly learning to ease up on myself though and now when I need to take a break and have a few days or even a week off posting I take it. I definitely need to slow down on the ARCs too because I can’t resist them 😂 but then I have the problem I have now which is like a pile on my desk and me feeling guilty. I’m slowly making my way through them though and fortunately most of the publishers I’ve dealt with have been understanding if I’m taking a bit longer than usual.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much Lauren 🙂 I’m glad you found the tips helpful. I am constantly reading lists of general self care tips online, so I thought I’d try and apply them to book blogging, as it’s an area that, despite loving, I can find overwhelming at times. I’m really glad you’re learning to be kinder to yourself and take breaks – I’m trying really hard to do the same at the moment. I know how you feel about being unable to resist ARCs – I am literally deleting emails from Netgalley every time they pop up now, because I know if I look, I’ll be too tempted. I haven’t tried requesting any physical books from publishers yet, because I don’t think I would be consistent enough to read them right now – I’d probably end up with my entire desk covered haha. I feel really guilty when it’s taking me a long time to review them too – I’ve still got three books authors sent me that I haven’t read or reviewed, and I feel so bad about it. Its’s really good to know that the publishers you’ve dealt with have been understanding! 🙂

  10. This is AWESOME, Jess. Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling a bit rubbish recently – big hugs! I feel you on the anxiety front though, especially when it comes to ARCs and wanting to stay up to date with new releases and what everyone else is doing. Your tips and great and so are you! Big ‘ol hugs and reader love xx

    • mudandstars says:

      Hi Sammie! How are you and how is newly engaged life going?! 😊 Thank you so much. I’m still feeling a bit rubbish, but I have managed to read and finish a few books since I wrote this, so I’m happy about that ❤ I’m sorry that you feel that anxiety too ☹ It really isn’t fun. Trying to keep up to date with all the new releases can indeed be stressful – I’ve basically given up now and I’m just going to read exactly what I want 😊 Thank you for the hugs and reader love, they are muchly appreciated, and the same to youuu xxx

  11. Ahhhh Jess I love this post SOOOOO much!

    “however tempting it may be, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, REQUEST ANY MORE.”

    Where was this piece of advice last year when I went on my request binge?! lol

    “Ban yourself from buying books, and focus on reading the ones you’ve got.”

    ….. is that an option?! lol

    “Nobody is looking at your blog and thinking ‘what a failure, she never posts anymore, compared to I, superwoman, who whacks out a post every day of the week.’”

    While this is NOT what I think at all when someone goes on a hiatus, I do wonder about them and worry if they are ok.

    I agree with all of these. You are so right, at the end of the day your mental well-being trumps everything else. For me personally, if I am not taking care of my health (eating healthy, working out, sleeping enough, etc…) then it throws everything else in my life off.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much Amanda ❤ Hahahaha I’m sorry I was a little late on the advice front! How ARE you doing with your gazillion Netgalley books?! It’s really nice to know that you wonder/worry about people when they go on hiatus – I do the same, so I don’t really know why I assume that nobody will notice if I’m gone myself! I completely agree with you – health is so important, and so strongly tied to your mental health too. Doing all of those things can really help when you’re in a bad place, and when I’m not doing them, my mental health starts slipping. I wish I was better at taking my own advice, but I’m trying really hard to look after myself at the moment, and it’s definitely helping 😊

  12. Jess, this post was perfect!!! You rocked with the tips and you’re more than right ❤ And don't forget to follow your own advice!!! ❤ Love you!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you so much ❤ I am pretty bad at following my own advice, but I have been doing some of the things on this list recently, and I definitely think it's helping. I still feel guilty that I haven't posted in ages though. My brain is so annoying!

      • I’m happy that you’re slowly learning to cope with things in a way that leaves you in a sweet spot *–* This is the most important step towards peace of mind, even for people like us that are plagued by anxiety on a daily basis ❤

      • mudandstars says:

        Absolutely, it’s all about learning the little tips and tricks which make life easier to cope with, an make us feel more peaceful ❤

  13. […] » Jess @the mud and stars book blog shares some self-care tips for book bloggers → Self-care tips for book bloggers […]

  14. […] Shruti/Maddie/Bri/Eileen/Nicole/Darque/Lee/The Hogwarts Bibliophile/Natasha/Lola/Aldana/The Sassy Book Geek/Debby/Grace/Live to Read/Misty/Casey/Sam/Mud and Stars/Alex/Mandy/Jasmine/Rina/Mandy […]

  15. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve definitely been struggling lately (both personal matters and blogging wise) so this was very helpful ❤

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