Tag Archives: Photography

Do You Suffer from Blog Stress?

Can blogging, like anything else, become a chore, a requirement, a source of stress? Can the life be sucked right out of it because we’ve made it be something we have to do?

I first began thinking about this after reading a post from Melanie B. Cee of sparksfromacombustiblemind who reprinted and answered questions from Salted Caramel. You can read Salted Caramel’s original post here.

Here are the questions:

What, in your opinion, is blogger burnout?

Have you ever suffered from blog-related stress?

What steps could you suggest to prevent blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

In my opinion, burnout is extreme mental fatigue caused by stress. This fatigue can manifest in very serious physical concerns as well – insomnia, a lowered immune system, blood pressure issues, heart attacks, strokes, and lots of other health problems.

Can bloggers become burned out? I believe we can. If given the right context, anything can be mentally fatiguing, as most of us know very well.

We have such a period coming up soon; in much of the world, December can produce a lot of stress. There is pressure to produce “perfect” gifts, meals, and happy family events. A lot of this pressure comes from advertisers but there are other avenues of cause, including the pressures we place on ourselves.

If the stressors are continuous and/or intense, there’s going to be a point at which we become exhausted by them and can’t go on or are only firing on one mental cylinder. We have to take a holiday, or a stress leave, or a “mental health” day, or maybe several days. In the aftermath of extremely stressful situations, people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

I am in my second year of a very stressful job as a CEO. It’s action-packed and very fluid, no matter how much anyone tries to impose a schedule on it. We have detailed, major inspections that we have to pass. We often deal with unhappy people who might head toward wigging out. I’m not afraid to get tough and I have that card stowed in my pocket. My “office time” when I get caught up on paperwork and emails occurs when most people have long gone home.

In my first year, there were periods when I recognized that I was nearing burnout, and I had to take action on it. I reorganised, I decentralised, and I reassigned duties and tasks. Not only did I have to create space for my employees to relax, I had to create space for me to do the same.

The idea of “productivity” has produced a false economy, in my opinion. We’re supposed to make use of all kinds of tips and tricks for reducing stress while on the job (do you see a contradiction there?) when the real stress reducers are reasonably simple and mostly instinctive: spend some time away from work doing other things and being with the people who love you. Having some time to yourself to do yoga is better than squeezing in some yoga between meetings. If that’s what you have to do, then the yoga just becomes another stressor. Does that make us any more productive? Or do we just become used up and unable to have a life outside of work?

So, do you need to take more vitamin D or do whatever the latest stress-reducing fad is or do you need to draw a boundary around some space for non-work?

Some stress is good for us, of course. It can keep us on our toes, alert and ready to go. But like anything else, too much can really be too much.

Blogging is the same. There has to be a boundary around it so that you don’t burn out or find it stressful. I’ve noted lots of bloggers who step away for a while, or who close comments on their posts or who still read but don’t post any more. I’ve done the same at times. One year, I was away from my blog for four months.

For me, blogging is a stress reliever. It takes me away from work, gives me a change of scene and I get to see what my blogging friends are doing. I like watching basketball for the same reasons (well, I’m not friends with any b-ballers, but you know 🙂 ). I don’t let those things consume me, though. That would take all the life out of them.

What do you think?

Adventures in WP Land

I was away from WP for a couple days last week, but not because I wanted to be.

I wasn’t able to log on. 😳

It all started on Saturday when I tried to access my WP app on my phone. A new screen popped up and I was asked for my password. I thought, yeah, okay. Many other sites do this every so often.

So I typed in my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, okay. That password is quite old. I should change it.

This photo has nothing to do with technology. It’s just a nice photo of a local waterfall here in the Northwest Territories so that talk of technology issues doesn’t ratchet your blood pressure up too high.

So I changed my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, this is getting irritating.

I tried again, and … no dice.

But I was able to access WP on my desktop. So until I got an answer from the WP “happiness” gurus, I went there, because normally I use my phone.

Until I couldn’t access my desktop either.

Somehow, I was signed out. It was suggested that I change my password, but … you know the drill.

Yikes. No access. At all.

So there was lots of emailing with WP, and with turnaround being anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, this took a while to sort.

This is a heart attack picture. Er, technology picture. 😉

The upshot is that I sent a  screen shot of the password request loop that I was inhabiting; they came back with suggestions for a retrofit, and then everything started to work after I changed passwords once more and then tried logging in again.

The WP people were friendly and helpful.

But the whole thing got me thinking about our dependence on technology and the bugs that can infect it. In my work I rely heavily on technology, but every time I think about going completely paperless, something like this happens to remind me that it’s not a foolproof system and and then I think, yeah, maybe I’ll go paperless … at some nebulous point in the future.

So, there’s paper in my office. Lots of it. (Although a lot less than there used to be.) And I guess that makes me the worst sort of Luddite schmo because really, I’m worried that there’s going to be some sort of tech blow-up and I’m going to need it.

I also work in a part of the world that’s largely off-grid – the Northwest Territories is a massive land area with a relatively small population. Cellphones can quickly become useless up here and aircraft and vehicles need sat-phones (as well as survival kits) for emergency purposes.

Sometimes, we need to be aware of where we are and how quickly technology can abandon us.

What do you think? Have you gone completely paperless? Would you be able to survive without your cell? Do you worry about a technology collapse?

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish our American friends and neighbours a Happy Thanksgiving, and especially a Happy Thanksgiving to all the lovely bloggers whom I’ve come to know through WP.

No matter which side of the border we are on, we have a terrific lot to be thankful for.

I hope you have a good day, whether you are enjoying a feast or just eating a sandwich.

🦃

North of 60

To a Canadian,

you need to be north of 60° N latitude to be “in the north.” Canadians understand when you say, “I’m going north of 60.”

To a far north northerner, though, that’s south. You can wear shorts until it’s -20. Not an exaggeration. I’ve actually seen this.

But, to anyone in the southern US, for instance, that’s where Pere Noel lives. Going outside is for polar bears and reindeer.

I am “north of 60,” but I’m too far south for polar bears and reindeer. They aren’t a part of my landscape. And to a far north northerner, I’m a weak little southerner.

It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?