The Mud and Stars Book Blog

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

Self-care tips for book bloggers

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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Book-blogging with anxiety (a post containing virtual hugs, and kittens.)

Hi guys! I’ve been thinking about posting this for some time, and as today is World Mental Health Day, it seems like the right time to throw these thoughts out into the blogosphere. I have a tendency to feel like I’m alone in how I’m feeling, but the truth is, lots of people within the book-blogging community struggle with mental health conditions, so this is me reaching out and saying that if you yourself feel that way, you are not alone.

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I’m not sure if I’ve ever explicitly said so on my blog, but I suffer from depression and anxiety. Sometimes the way I’m feeling gets in the way of blogging, as you can probably tell from how sporadic a blogger I’ve been over the past few months. I’m trying at the moment – it’s very hard, but I’m trying – to convince myself that I should NOT feel guilty about this.

Book-blogging can be stressful at the best of times, and I know I’m not alone in all of the anxieties I experience with this hobby. I LOVE blogging, I love the community, I love discussing books with you guys and fangirling and being part of something so awesome. But there are so many stresses and struggles that sit alongside the good stuff, which are only amplified by anxiety and depression, and I know I’m not alone in this:

I can’t be the only one who sees how many books another human is reading and reviewing per week and feels stressed that it’s been two weeks and I haven’t finished a single book because I can’t concentrate right now

I can’t be the only one who gets panicky because it’s been more than a week and I haven’t replied to my blog comments because I’m overwhelmed, and what if everyone thinks I’m rude and ignorant and lazy

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I can’t be the only one who worries that I’ll be forgotten because I haven’t posted anything in ten days and I don’t know when I’ll be able to because my brain is full of fog and just picking what to have for lunch is a challenge right now

I can’t be the only one who sees other bloggers giving advice like ‘you should try to blog every day, or a least 4 times a week’ and wants to curl up in a little ball of unworthiness because I am clearly not trying hard enough

I can’t be the only one whose heart starts beating faster when somebody says they want to read a book I’ve reviewed, because what if they hate it? What if they never trust my opinion again? And worse still, what if they find it problematic and get offended by it and hate me for encouraging them to read it?

I can’t be the only one who gets anxious when everyone around me is reviewing a new release and I haven’t even read it yet, because reading books is hard when you’re so tired you’re barely alive

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And I certainly can’t be the only one who thinks what I’ve written is a pile of crap when my stats aren’t very good. That I’m a big fat failure full stop.

In fact, I know I’m not the only one.


I’ve decided it’s high time we stopped feeling so guilty. Blogging is supposed to be enjoyable, but sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes, anxiety and depression can make blogging feel like climbing a mountain. But it’s okay:

It’s okay if it takes us two weeks, three weeks, a month, to read one book.

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It’s okay if it takes us a while to get back to people who’ve commented on our posts – they’ll understand. They won’t throw rocks at us.

It’s okay if we don’t blog for a month – everyone takes hiatuses.

It’s okay not to blog every single day. It’s enough that we’re getting up and getting through the day. We matter more than our blogs, at the end of the day.

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In fact, it’s perfectly okay to do something OTHER than blogging when we get home from a mentally exhausting day at work/school/other gruelling reality thing. It’s okay to binge-watch something on Netflix instead of reading. It’s okay to get into bed at 9.30, even if that is earlier than our Granny retires to hers.

It’s okay if we like a book and somebody else doesn’t – everyone has different opinions, and nobody is going to throw rocks at us for expressing ours.

It’s okay if we don’t review a new release; we can read and review whatever we want, it’s our blog! And we don’t even HAVE to review a book – we could just read it for fun and not worry about it. Nobody is going to throw rocks at us if we don’t come up with 1,000 sparklingly witty and insightful words about Empire of Storms. (In fact, nobody throws rocks in the book blogging community full stop. We’re all lovely human beings.)

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It’s also okay if we don’t get a gazillion views on one of our blog posts. We’re blogging because we enjoy it, and stats don’t matter. Oh and while we’re at it, our blog is not crap, and neither are we.

Basically, it’s okay to give ourselves a break. STOP BEATING OURSELVES UP. We deserve to be happy, and blogging isn’t going anywhere. It’ll still be there when we feel up to it again. And so will all the wonderful people in this community, who understand, and may even feel the same way. 🙂


Much love to you all and hope you have a lovely week. And if any of the above is familiar to you, I am always here for anyone who needs a virtual hug right now.

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Image source: Giphy

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