Mental Health

Shifting Things to the Back Burner as a Coping Strategy

back burner - gas stove burners
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

At any given time, I usually have multiple projects on the go.  Some of these are attached to specific goals, while others are in support of overarching goals, e.g. developing as a writer and growing my online presence.

No longer manageable

These projects include my blog, books that I’m reading to review, several other platforms on which I write, and a couple of books in progress.  It’s a fair bit going on, but usually it’s manageable.

Except lately it hasn’t been.  I’ve been struggling with my illness, and my productivity has really taken a hit.  Often ,these significant drops in productivity last about a week and then I’m able to start getting back on track; however, this current dip has been more sustained.

My standard practice since I started blogging has been to have a store of content written ahead of time and scheduled so that I can be unproductive for a while without it affecting the output that’s seen by my readers.  That has served me quite well, but it only works for so long. Right now, my prewritten reserves have dwindled below my comfortable buffer level.

Focusing resources

That means that, at least for the time being, I have to focus my limited resources on what matters the most, and shift everything else over to the back burner.  My number one priority is and always has been my blog, but beyond that picking and choosing what else should be front of mind requires some more thought.

The key is to push myself to make those prioritizing decisions anyway, and give myself permission to let other things go for the time being.  Just before I started writing this, I closed a browser tab for an article in progress on another site.  While that sounds minor, I don’t do well with remembering things that aren’t in front of me; by closing that tab, I was symbolically acknowledging that I won’t be able to think about that article until I’m mentally more on the ball.

Taking a much-needed break isn’t always easy, but sometimes it’s important to allow yourself to shift things to the back burner.  The various goals and projectswill still be there waiting once there’s a bit more fuel in the mental gas tank.

COVID-19/mental health coping toolkit

The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.

32 thoughts on “Shifting Things to the Back Burner as a Coping Strategy”

  1. You definitely need to take care of yourself first and foremost. A couple of mental health days would not hurt you… Heck, I have felt refreshed when I stepped away for a day or two.
    You’re only human, recharge your batteries and take care of you! 💗

  2. Thanks for this post, Ashley, it’s a message I needed to hear. I’m putting too much pressure on myself to write blog posts, for example, instead of taking a day or 2 off even though I have several posts scheduled.

  3. Same here. I keep beating myself up about not writing enough or searching for places to send things already written… and then I remember… I HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB. It doesn’t help that one of my writing friends constantly pesters me about writing more, doing an audio book, etc. Anyway, yes. We have to take care. ❤️❤️❤️

  4. I agree. It’s important to find balance and shift your priorities as things change. I am constantly shifting my priorities too! 🙂

  5. I feel like my whole life is on the back burner right now. Just surviving is the priority. I hope one day it will change, but I’m not sure that it will.

  6. We truly don’t know what’s going on in any blogger’s life on any given day. Sometimes we have personal things that keep us from being able to do our work and other times were feeling sick and not up to it p, so yes I think it’s important that sometimes we just take a break, recharge and come back stronger!!

  7. This is me at home after a long day at work most days. I just want to lay in bed and watch TV. The only time I feel productive is when I am on vacations because I all the time to do what I want

  8. I completely agree! I often find myself feeling guilty for putting this off as a result of my illness. This post is a great little reminder to say it’s ok to put things on hold to look after yourself!

  9. I can totally relate. I often open browser tabs to read multiple blogs (all opened from my email), and then I’ll totally blank out and close the tabs without having accomplished it. I know that’s not exactly what you did, but it ties into the whole, “I’m forgetting all about it” theme. Out of sight, out of mind–the mentally ill memory can be horrible.

    I am so glad you keep your blog going every day! I always look forward to starting my day here! Your content is entertaining and informative!! Keep it coming!! I have every hope you’ll pick back up the other projects as well!! You’re a great internet presence, so I hope you’re not too discouraged!!

  10. Yes you deserve to take care of yourself 💗 Rest lovely. Do what feels good to you. The rest can wait. Your health always comes first

  11. I started out with the expectation of posting everyday, however that didn’t last long. I want to devote more time to blogging, but some days I am too exhausted and just want to relax. I feel ya..

  12. Absolutely – you have to find the balance that works for you, your audience will wait and be thrilled when they see you post something new, but no-one would want you to make yourself exhausted or ill over this <3

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