Welcome back! Or should you be saying that to me?
How long can a hiatus from something go on for before it becomes neglectful? How many months, years, or decades can one spend away from something before it’s considered abandonment? Sounds like pretty complicated stuff BUT (luckily for us), the answer is in the intention. And it’s really quite simple.
But first…the explanation you’ve waited for.
I took a hiatus from this beloved blog of mine for two reasons. One, I needed to get my s*** together. I moved, I took control of my life, and I went through some serious growing pains. Sometimes it crippled me. Other times I was on top of the world. But until I settled into house and self, there is little I could speak on. And two, I couldn’t be a good writer to you all if I couldn’t think clearly. What good is a revelation if 2,000 people have already had it? That’s not what this is about.
Now that’s not to say I took a hiatus from everything. I wrote a collection of short stories, took up more serious running, finished my third book, healed a damaged arm (well kinda), and wrote many, many other things. I kept very busy. I recovered from my depression as well as my eating disorder. I pulled myself up and though I stood on shaky legs, I stood. Things felt good.
And that WITH all the other crazy stuff going on in my life.
Trust me, there was quite a lot of that.
Through the process of trying to stand up and look like Bambi I learned the answer to the aforementioned questions. Well, I learned my answer at least. The answer is:
It is NEVER neglectful to take care of yourself.
It is NEVER abandonment to pull away and fix yourself.
So long as you come back.
Really though, humor aside, personal health and wellness must always rest at the top of our priorities. Why shouldn’t it? Because we prioritize other’s happiness and health over our own? What does that teach our friends, our loved ones, our children? It teaches them that our health is not important, so they shouldn’t prioritize it. It teaches them not to prioritize their own health.
Taking a step back from something, even something you love, is okay! Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary.
It’s okay to need space from something.
“What if I never come back to it?”
Here are some tips for your hiatus.
1. Flex your willpower muscle
Willpower is not magic. Coming back to anything (yes, even work the next day) is a matter of willpower. If you don’t work the muscle then you’ll have no muscle to work. So start small. Do something every day that is hard for you. Uncomfortable. Go for a walk 4 times every week, no matter what weather. Make a running or exercise plan and stick to it no matter what. Scope out something you’ll need to stick to, do it, and then take your break. Coming back to something will be easier if you have that willpower reader to work.
2. Set a deadline
Okay, so you still don’t really trust yourself to go back. That’s okay too! Set a deadline. Write it on calendars, planners, phones and phone alarms, and the walls of your house. Never forget that deadline. Don’t let it slip out of your sight.
3. Write a promise to yourself
So this one might sound silly but it works. Say you’re taking a several month long hiatus from running because of an injury, starting is going to be hard again but when you are at a stopping point, odds are you still love it and want to do it. Write that out. Put pen to paper and promise yourself that you will pick it back up again, that you two just need some space right now.
Most importantly, do not forget you love it. You’re taking a break to keep you healthy and able.
The message here is that yes, yes, yes, YES it is okay to take a hiatus from something but if you do love it, and you do want to come back to it, realize that there will come a day where you will have to force yourself into it because passions turn into habits easily. Restarting them hurts. Picking them back up is hard. Starting the work again is tiring. But it’s okay because you love this and want it.