So my post the other day was a bit... melodramatic. I want to say thank you to everyone who has commented. I know I'm not the only one who has gone through crazy burn-out/quarter life crisis/less than fun life stuff, but it was still nice to hear advice from everyone who has dealt with similar things in the past. I am not really in a position to stop sewing for others at this point (for a variety of reasons), but there does tend to be a bit of a slow down after nationals. The breathing room is good. And I think I am in the position to be a bit more... discerning in choosing clients in the future. Which, honestly, is probably where 9/10s of my frustrations lie, so that should help. I hope.
In regards to the whole "bloggers want to become famous/make money" statement - yeah, that was more of a reaction to an offhand comment made to me (IRL) at the wrong time. That is definitely not my personal belief, especially in regards to the sewing community, which tends to be one of the nicest, most supportive groups on the internet. I was sort of throwing a hissyfit over people telling me how to run "my business." (Which, while I am getting paid for services rendered, I really don't consider what I am doing to be a business. And, according to the instructions on my tax form last year, neither does the IRS. So there.) It also feels that, recently, a large number of bloggers I have enjoyed following are starting to sell their own patterns/team up with various fabric or pattern companies/turn their blog into more of an advertisement than a personal review. This has also been happening to a lot of the podcasts I have been listening to for quite a while. I think I am just getting fed up with everyone trying to sell me something, and expecting me to do the same. Sorry if I ruffled any feathers - I started blogging as an extension of my creative outlet, and never had any desire to make this blog more than it is (well, the background and such could do with a little sprucing up I suppose, and I really need to curate my sidebars and blog links page... Though at some point I must face the fact that however bad my OCD I will never be able to organize the internet), and so I was rather off-put by the insinuation that I was "doing it wrong." Clearly, based on the response from my readers, I'm not the only one who felt that way.
Anyway, yes, I'm still feeling tired and very burnt out. It used to be that coming home after Nationals I would be energized and excited to start a new season. This year wasn't like that at all. I'm wasn't particularly excited to get back to skating, and I'm only just feeling twinges of the sewing mojo coming on. On the whole I just feel tired and icky, and I really need to come up with a plan to avoid this overwhelming sense of burnout in the coming year, or I might not make it to the end. I haven't really come up with a full plan yet, but there are a few changes I think need to be made:
1. I need to spend less time on the computer. Yes, I know, everyone says this. But I think I really need to do it. I didn't bring a computer with me to nationals this year, and it was the first time in almost a decade I didn't have steady, continuous internet access. I was able to keep the email manageable using my phone, and everything else I dealt with when I got back. Granted, this resulted in me spending a week attached to my laptop, but I realized there are a lot of things I really don't need to be spending time on every day. In fact, limiting my internet surfing time to one or two days a week would probably be incredibly beneficial for my productivity.
2. I need to schedule time to sew for me. Finding the motivation to sew was very difficult this year. Granted, a new job didn't help much, and changing my diet meant more time in front of the stove and less time in front of the sewing machine, but really my main problem was lack of motivation. What I really need to do is treat sewing for others like my job (because now it sort of is), and have work time scheduled, at least 3 days a week. But I need to take at least one day a week just to sew for me, because I really need to find the motivation and joy that I've lost over this past year. Otherwise there isn't any sewing for anybody.
3. I need to spend more time outside. Between work, the hours I'm logging at the rink, and the time sewing inside, I didn't see much sun this year. And as much as everyone tries to tell me that avoiding the sun is a good thing for my super pale skin, I know I was feeling much better during the 2-3 weeks that I spent taking short naps outside (I was trying to mellow out some tan-lines from a bizarre and unexpected sunburn). I definitely had more energy on days where I spent a little time outside, as opposed to the ones where I went from one enclosure to the next. Sign of a vitamin D deficiency? Perhaps. Sign that I should spend more time outdoors? Definitely.
4. Keep going with my dietary changes, but increase my vegetable intake. I started following an autoimmune diet protocol at the start of the year, and it has done wonders for my joints and back pain. I was actually losing weight the first few months, but when the stress of sewing went up, so did my comfort food/carb consumption, and so did my weight. I was eating a lot more fruit and starch (aka sweet potatoes) than I really should be, and it has been showing. I feel better when I don't eat as much sugar too - less tired and less grumpy. I plan to continue with the AIP, because I have been feeling much better, but I need to start increasing my vegetable intake and reducing my fruit intake again.
5. I need to read (at least a little bit) every day. While I was at nationals I finished five books! It was sort of insane. And nice. I have so many books I want to read, but I often spend more time using the computer, although I find it less intellectually stimulating. I used to always read before bed, and it is a practice I want to get back to. I miss it.
I know it is trendy for people to make resolutions at New Year's, but I'm not really looking at these changes as resolutions. They are lifestyle changes that need to be made, partially because I feel like I need a change, but mostly as an attempt to keep me sane during the upcoming skating season. Reducing my computer time will probably be the most difficult adjustment, and maybe sorting out my schedule in the next few months as work picks back up. But, overall, I think these changes should help to alleviate the stress that led to my melodramatic emo crash this year. Or, at the very least, allow me to keep sewing garments for myself year round instead of only during the fall. I just need to find the joy again. Hopefully a few thoughtful changes can help with that.