Know Thyself

I didn’t fall off the horse, per-say. In a manner of speaking, I willingly got off (that horse being writing and posting) when I saw that my life was getting too stressful to attempt to manage my hobby as well.

For the last two weeks I have had a busy life. Not unmanageable, just busy and stressful. Rather than add to that stress by trying desperately to squeeze in writing, to clear my mind enough to even attempt it, I chose instead to put the pen or keyboard away, to neglect my writing in favor of keeping sane. Could I have persevered through it? Possibly. But I wasn’t going to try as it could have risked my ability to get back on it.

I’ve contemplated the choice to hang up my writing before after many run-ins with stress and life completely derailing any progress. Seeing as I always got back up, I just knew that writing was something I HAD to do. But as much as I have to write, I know that I don’t always HAVE to write.

Part of this is knowing where my limits are.

Coming up on the events that I dealt with in the last two weeks, I had a choice: deal with the anxiety, with the added work load as an isolated event that would be over soon enough, without adding to the pile, OR try to bust through it and keep writing, only compounding the anxiety if I wasn’t able to.

The first choice took into account the greater knowledge of how I behave, of how I deal with anxiety. It just made more sense for me to put aside writing and other desires until I got through it. Now I am through it, for the most part. So my writing has resumed.

Lately I have been on a greater quest not only to improve my writing, but to improve me. I’ve changed my eating habits, tried to regain my old routine of regular workouts, I’ve been reading more regularly, and listening to loads of advice through articles and podcasts, all in an effort to get better across the board. Dealing with anxiety has a large part of that effort. To do so, one should also try to learn what triggers one’s anxiety. Not only that, but also one should try to understand how they generally react to it. In doing that, I was able to realize that I often overwhelm myself, unable to let things go that I can let go, even if only temporarily, in favor trying to conquer it all.

And what happens when I start to get overwhelmed? I burnout. I stop listening. I stop communicating. I start to lose track of items. In essence I begin to shut down… a deliberate attempt of my brain to unload stressors. Depending on the length of time and severity of it, it could take a long time for me to recover, often to the detriment of things I want to do, like writing! Most often. my writing suffers the most. As has happened many times in the past. I did not want to end up killing my writing any longer than necessary to get through this.

Having that little bit of foresight that I was about to go through a stressful period in my life, I chose instead to ignore my writing. I chose to not even try. One less stressor on the pile, allowing it to be something that I quickly was able to resume when everything cleared away. And you know what? It worked.

It helps. Knowing yourself helps.

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