On Self-Care, Clearing Backlogs, and Taking a Break

It’s a known fact that many women have a tendency to put themselves last. They expend the majority of their time and energy taking care of other people, such that they can become totally depleted and have nothing left to give to themselves. This phenomenon is common among mothers of young children and members of the “sandwich generation,” but it can happen to all of us.   And for those of us who struggle with compulsive shopping or other addictive behaviors, not taking care of our own needs can set us up for exacerbating those issues.

This has been the case for me in recent months.   No, I don’t have small children or elderly parents with failing health, but I also don’t really have a lot to give at this point.   I have been struggling more so than usual with my health over the past few months and have also been investing a great deal of energy in trying to help a sick friend who is really in a bad way.  I have also been spending many hours each week going to various medical and holistic practitioner appointments, which only seem to be eating up my time and money without doing much good.   And I often lose entire days or partial days as a result of feeling just plain awful.

lake tahoe clouds

Beautiful Lake Tahoe, where I will visit during September (my dad’s photo). 

Low Productivity and Many Backlogs…

My productivity is terrible.  I frequently stay up too late trying to catch up on email, blog comments, and other tasks that I’ve fallen behind on given all of the above.  I’ve managed to keep up with the blog, but I have a long list of projects – both blog-related and otherwise – that keep getting pushed out.   I have many backlogs that keeping getting longer and longer, and I just can’t seem to keep up with even the modest number of responsibilities I have in my life.   I have beaten myself up about all of this more than I can adequately convey here. I feel like such a failure for not living up to my expectations and having to continually lower the bar for what I hope to accomplish in my life.

My frustration about my ongoing health struggles, social isolation, task backlogs, and lack of productivity has driven me to shop more over the past two months, especially last month.  I should know better and be able to manage my stress in more positive ways, but I didn’t do that.  I slid back into overshopping and I feel ashamed about it.   Although I maintain that recovery is not a linear process, I have experienced probably one of the biggest setbacks I’ve had since starting the blog almost three years ago and I’m not proud of that at all.

Some readers have commented that they feel I spend too much time and energy on my clothing and wardrobe – and they’re right.   While I do spend some time every day tracking what I wear and writing in my outfit journal, that generally amounts to ten minutes or less on average. The bulk of the time I spend focused on my clothes is in writing posts for this blog.   I enjoy doing it and I’m always profoundly touched when I learn that my blog is helping others, but I agree that it probably isn’t the best thing for my recovery sometimes.  Plus, it takes a really long time to write many of my blog posts, particularly those with photos and statistics.  Most non-bloggers probably have no idea how time-consuming it can be to run a blog…

A September “Modified Break”

It was suggested by a few people that I take a month or two off from blogging so I can concentrate on recovering from my recent setback and cultivating a fuller life for myself.   I have decided that I want and need such a break, so I’m going to take some time off from the blog during the month of September.  However, it’s going to be a modified break. I’m not going to go away entirely. I will still do some posts, but they won’t be posts focused on me, my shopping, and my wardrobe.  Instead, I plan to share some of my photographs, as well as some “useful links” posts on topics that I feel will be helpful to you (I’m open to suggestions).   I may also do a “Throwback Thursday” post or two focusing on some of the previous articles on the blog (I have almost 300 now!) that you may have missed the first time around or may benefit from reading again now.

What am I going to do with the extra time?  Well, for one, I’m going to take a week to visit my mom and brother in beautiful Lake Tahoe towards the end of the month (I hope to take lots of photos and meet up with Mo of “MOderate Wardrobe” while I’m there).  I’m also going to work on clearing all of the backlogs I have – papers (I have tons of those), emails, blog posts and articles to read, etc. And more than that, I’m going to cut down on the amount of information I consume.  I don’t need to read every single article that comes my way and I could also stand to pare down my blog list in Feedly.   I also plan to remove myself from some mailing lists and Facebook groups (I’m in far too many and am spending most of my Facebook time these days in the “End Closet Chaos” group anyway).

In addition to clearing my backlogs and visiting family, I also plan to catch up on a few projects related to the blog, including updating the Resources and Recovery Tips pages and switching to a mobile-friendly theme (I hope that won’t be as difficult as I fear).   I also want to spend some time thinking about – and writing about – how I want to proceed with the blog moving forward.  As I come up on the three year mark, I feel that it’s important to reflect back on how things have gone with the blog thus far and to consider a future vision for it. That vision looks pretty foggy right now, but that’s all the more reason why I should take a step back and ponder the matter.

During and After the Break…

If you want to interact with me during my “soft break,” come on over to the “End Closet Chaos” Facebook group.  You’ll not only be able to mingle with me there, but you can also chat with the other 168 members of the group, many of whom are far more active than I am.   Group members have been sharing “outfit of the day” photos, asking style and wardrobe management questions, and keeping each other accountable with their shopping and closet goals.   It’s such a great group, I can’t speak highly enough about it! In less than two weeks, it has already surpassed my wildest dreams for what I thought it would be.

When I return to “regularly scheduled blogging” in October, I will do combined posts for my August and September accountability updates and “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) recaps.  I will definitely stick with both of these projects/commitments through the end of the year as planned.  As for everything else, we shall see…   In the meantime, stay tuned for some theme-based photography and links posts, coming soon.   Thanks for all of your support and I wish you the best of luck with your shopping, wardrobe management, and style during the month of September.  And above all, I wish you full and happy lives, which is really what matters most of all anyway.

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