Taking Time Out

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My blog means the world to me and is something I am unbelievably proud of. It's a project, however, that I have always worked on alone. I built up my following from scratch, I am responsible for all my web design, template design, photography and writing... I think sometimes it is easy to look at bloggers, with their thousands of followers and enviable lifestyles and fail to understand the time and effort that they put into maintaining their brand. It isn't just about receiving free gifts and getting hundreds of likes; it's about writing genuine and relatable content, investing in high quality photography equipment, taking time to edit photographs, maintaining social media channels, responding to emails and comments and continually thinking up new and innovative post ideas. It is pretty much a full time job that I, and the majority of other bloggers, do on the side for very little income and often more stress than it's worth. Why? Because I truly love owning something that was solely created by me. Something that is 100% mine.

However, as much as my blog is my sole passion, and would love if I actually COULD make enough income to class it as my full time job, unfortunately at the minute that is far from viable, and it is for that reason that time off is important. The past four years have been some of the hardest, but equally the best of my life. From moving from home to London, back to Manchester, back home, doing degree work, juggling full time jobs with rush hour commutes, being struck with illness and committing to numerous other extra-curricular activities, it's been rare that I've ever had time to myself to think about nothing other than what I can binge watch on Netflix. I used to sit in work and listen in awe to the girls talk about how they watched a whole series of pretty little liars over the course of a week, thinking that I struggle to find an hour a week to catch up on the Great British Bake off. I'm a busy person, and it's how I've always liked to be. I feel like my time is not being used to its full advantage if I'm not working towards bettering my career, friendships or health. Even over the long university summers I worked, interned and blogged myself silly, to the extent that I never really had time off at all. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change any of that for the world... completing the number of internships I have and working as hard on my degree work as I have will no doubt benefit me hugely upon graduation, and working hard on my blog is what got me my followers and the success of my Highly Commended UK Blog Award earlier this year (my proudest achievement to date). However, in April this year, when I finished my university placement year, I was completely burnt out, and I made a conscious effort to actually allow myself five months to relax and fully dedicate to myself. Yes, I still intended to work hard on my blog, and I still had some university deadlines to complete, but I knew that once I was back in final year the stressed and overcommitted Amy would creep back out, and following graduation and entry into the 'real world' it would be rare that I would ever actually find this time for myself again.

Was taking that five months selfish? No. Prioritising our own health and happiness is not selfish, it is essential for living a mentally and physically fulfilling life. And now I am preparing to return to university next week, I will be sticking to a far more frequent blogging schedule and I am ready and excited for the challenges ahead because I feel mentally and physically REFRESHED having allowed myself time off to breathe.