I was literally ecstatic at keeping up with blogging and vlogging from the start of this year, then I have disappeared for the most month. This is what has happened…

So well Simply Stacey anxiety

So you may have remembered the point of my rebrand the beginning of the year, I was ashamed of my blog beforehand and rarely blogged. Then really got into my blogging since rebranding to this blog, not only successfully blogging twice a week I also started a YouTube Channel and uploading twice a week. Then came March, which simply was a blur, I don’t know where March went.

It started I had upped my working days to having just one day off, this meant my blog routine would have to change as I didn’t want to spend each week on my day off doing blog/vlog prep as this is my time with just Rowan. Before I even had the chance to start planning a new routine I started struggling in the evenings with exhaustion and headaches starting. I talked myself that this was due to time of month, but this carried on. My anxiety started kicking in again with was making me panic and procrastinate. Work wise I am extremely busy at the moment, it will be worth it in the end from having the chance to implement a system designed by myself and will be rewarding to know I can do this when this is implemented, but currently it is also extremely hectic.

Then also having germs lingering most weekends with one of us, Rowan with chickenpox it felt like we were housebound. I got to the point of trying to juggle being a working mummy, the house and being a mummy and felt completely exhausted. I felt so deflated that I had missed a few of my routine planned days, which I was really hard on myself at the time.

Then in March I had to go away for 2 nights on a course and thats when it all came to a head. Beforehand I could feel my anxiety kicking in, worrying over the smallest things about going away. But at the time these seemed enormous to me. I was already out of my comfort zone as I dread the courses I need to attend. I panic when put on the spot, and each course I feel I am always picked on to answer most questions. I must have one of those faces or radiate my fear and self doubt. Actually the course was good and the people had been the nicest people on any course I have attended so far. But that night I started one of my headaches. The only way I can describe this is pain from thinking. As soon as I concentrate I can’t think, I can’t organise or plan and being the person I am and normally in control, this was making me worse. The headache that night turned into the most awful migrane, to the point I was being sick and had to phone reception for tablets as I forgot mine.

I managed to get through the next days course with keeping tablets topped up, but again the pain started. This is how I could not even contemplate turning the laptop on and blogging. I couldn’t even face looking at my phone at night from the pain of concentrating. With all of this going on I realised how much I had put on myself and was physically exhausted.

I decided to go to the doctors about the headaches as also was having minimal sleep and up most nights, in the meantime before my appointment my ears started playing up and both went blocked. I always have had trouble with my lugholes and when this happens I get them syringed and all is good with the world again. This time one wouldn’t clear, this has never happened. The nurse said to leave it a week and see and keep adding oil. I tried the opticians as my eye test was due and all was ok, my eyes have got slightly worse but nothing out of the ordinary.

By the time my doctors appointment came I was in awful pain with my head, sickness and kept going extremely dizzy.  After 3 appointments in a week, it turns out I had labyrinthitis which also started vertigo. So I was put on anti sickness tablets, which helped slightly and was told about exercises to relieve the symptoms. I was given tablets for the headaches as this was shown as separate from being on the anti sickness tablets. The anxiety made it all worse from being unable to be in control and think. The tablets I have at night as they knock me out and they have really helped. When I forgot one at night, i couldn’t sleep and the pain started. I am also awaiting a head scan to check everything is ok.

So that is where I have been, obviously I started taking new blog photos again and planned this post and Rowan is coming out in a cold and I have a sore throat starting, so you can see what I am putting up with. Always something going on. I am able to think now though which is helping and still having off days but hoping they can unblock this ear next week as tinnitus has started now, then I should be back to myself.

simply stacey

 One thing this past month has brought me is a mini self care journey. I have made the time to do hobbies I enjoy and take some much needed time out. I have also got back into watching vlogs and channels. One in particular which is tanks to my bestie Estelle who brought me ‘Vlog Like A Boss’ for my birthday, which is an awesome book and I highly recommend it if you are thinking of starting a channel.

Anyhow I started watching Amy (the author) on YouTube and I have literally binge watched most of her channel. I love the help tips of time management, self care and recommendations which has led me on to listen to the audiobook 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins which has really helped with anxiety. I have really found Amy’s channel helpful and started me on a self care journey which has made a massive difference on my outlook. I have really eased up on myself of trying to be everywhere at once and be more organised and not so hard on myself.

I now have a goal list of inspirational people and speakers I wish to read and watch, as these videos for me have really motivated me. I feel already more in control again and glad the anxiety didn’t have a massive effect and I was able to slow it down in it’s tracks. I am good at knowing when it is kicking in and can normally sort this, very rarely it has left me how it had this time. I am now able to concentrate more now which again has made a difference as even thinking about what to do for dinner, what time I needed to be somewhere was hurting my head.

So hopefully I am back, I am going to try and freestyle days again but aim to do a minimum of a blog and a vlog a week, then if more then thats a bonus. If that doesn’t work then I will see when I come to that bridge. I want to say thankyou to everyone that has messaged me to see if I am ok, it has meant alot. I think mainly my batteries ran out and I got poorly, but I am currently recharging and am on my way back up.

Stacey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hands down my favourite Social Media App has to be Instagram, but why am I having a love/hate relationship with it?

Instagram algorithm love hate marmite

Most bloggers you speak to about Instagram, will all agree the main problem is the change of algorithm. This has caused many pictures in your grid to go missed on others feed, and I certainly have noticed the struggle to get views.

As a blogger/vlogger any way of reaching out to potential viewers is a must, and increasing your numbers to branch out to new followers is all part of reaching out and promoting your content. With most of my social channels, I have a steady following and find these slowly increase over time. Instagram however changes with the weather regarding followers.

Arguably there are ways of increasing your following, such as paid promotions. These have caused more views, but not a large amount follower wise. Other way is the popular trend of a perfect looking Instragram feed, I love the look of these, and admire the time it must take to achieve the pictures for the desired theme. For me personally, it would mean I would end up leaving out pictures that I originally want to add, just to achieve a themed feed. I have decided this is not the way at this current moment that I want to run my grid.

Instagram blog blogger

HATE

The part of Instagram that annoys me and really leaves myself deflated is, one second I will go on and I can have fifteen extra followers, go on again and twenty less. The drastic rollercoaster of followers is so noticeable every time I log on. Majority of the follows seems more for numbers, which undoubtably what we all would like. Out of all the available media’s I personally find Instagram is extremely fickle, the amount of followers that unfollow if I won’t follow them is unreal. The same time you want to support everyone, but same time I would miss my favourite Instagrammers posts on my feed.

I am trying not to check this as much as I was becoming obsessed checking. I try to limit this to once a week, when I write down my stats. I did have an app which shows you who has followed and unfollowed and this is where I could see the people who was after numbers solely. I had to delete the app, as again this became an obsession.

I personally prefer organic views, people who want to see my feed and I can interact with. Everyone wants to increase their followings, but you don’t want this forced, You want followers that want to follow you for your content, not just follow you for their own benefit.

 

LOVE

Not all changes over time on Instagram are negative. Hashtag Tracking is brilliant for following regular hashtags you may search. These will appear on your feed, for brands and shops this is ideal as you can follow your own hashtag and track.

Instagram Stories for me was one of the best updates, this has increased my confidence in front of the camera dramatically and along with inspiration from other vloggers this helped me start my YouTube channel last month. I have recently tried to be more creative with posts for my stories. Plus with the added Highlights, so you can save longer your favourite stories and group these. I have done covers for these to keep with my branding which you can see on my page.

I still need to experiment with the LIVE function. I haven’t really found the need for this, but I may try and add this in soon. Maybe for when brainstorming and looking for ideas. Or coming up with questions for a Q&A. Again another function is you can split screen and have other people join you so I am planning a live session and linking with my Blog Network co-founder Estelle.

Instagram blog SimplyStacey

I do hope one day I get to the 10,000 mainly so I can put a ‘swipe up’ link on a story. I am not holding my breath on anytime soon. Plus knowing my luck, you can guarantee when I eventually get to 9999 that Instagram will change it’s rules, or I will lose drastic amounts from the rollercoaster effect.

I have tried so many tips on improving your Instagram game, from number of hashtags, to style of pictures. For now I am just going to not stress about what I should post and post pictures I like. Some tips give them their dues do work, for example:

  • Add locations where available as you reach a wider audience
  • Search hashtags before and look for the ones more beneficial to your photo
  • Add hashtags in your story can boost views
  • Upload regularly, I notice my most views are in the evening
  • Spend time interacting, not only you will find great new feeds but you are helping others

Trying to be like everyone else just gets you lost in the feed. My mission is to keep my page as my style, mix of lifestyle, family and the odd instagram favourite of a pretty mug with the stragically placed biscuits and flowers distorted in the distance.

Looking on, I will still use the app. No matter how much the bots following and numbers annoy me, I won’t stop using the site as this is one of my favourites. Instagram is the first and last app I will use in a day. I love checking stories and catching up with everyone. Overall the algorithm is here, it is happening and there isn’t much we can do to change it. Yeah this sucks, but don’t let it stop you creating your Instagram how you want your profile to look.

I am contemplating on being more creative, I love watching clips on Instagram, along with looking at everyone’s photos. I want to start trying to do these once a week, a short video of an event, or something we have been up too. If you are thinking of starting a YouTube channel but are nervous or not sure of editing, Instagram clips such as this or doing more Instastories will certainly improve your confidence.

How do you find Instragram? Do you have a love and hate relationship with the site?

Stacey

 

I have seem some great posts also on the subject of Instagram, check them out below:

Once Upon A Blog

Eldeeable

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I have been blogging since 2015, yet still this has took me this long to find myself and to start achieving my goals regarding my blog. Read below for how I have got past The Blogging Blues

Blogging Blues Simply Stacey Blog

I am finally more confident to stand up and say…

I LOVE BLOGGING

I started blogging in 2015 and at first this was a blur of hashtags. There was so much to learn as a new blogger; setting up the blog, going self hosted, templates, blogging styles, hashtags, social media, branding, no follow links, alt tags to name a few. I was lucky as I can work my way round pretty easy anything technology based, plus with the help of good old Google and YouTube you can research help in an instant. I also have a Social Media Marketing Diploma and update the work website which helped when I first set up my blog.

As stated in previous posts I have changed names 3 times, mainly due to the learning curve from blogging. Finding my path I wish to take has been tricky… do I go Parenting, do I go Lifestyle. I have been both and now decided I am just going to do both. Why limit yourself to one genre. There is no rule book about what subject you should blog about. This is your space to say what you want to say or show.

Re branding before Christmas, which you can see more of here, has made a dramatic difference to my blog. Not just my blog name has changed, but also my layout, blog colours and more importantly my blogging routine. I have never had a routine and this has been the ultimate aid to helping my blog grow. Already 22 days into 2018, I am just under 50 views for beating my total views for the whole of 2017. For me, when I saw how much I have improved looking at my statistics, this gave me an almighty boost and made me see that I have got a passion for blogging.

I have always liked blogging, and at times it has seemed more of a chore. Since I made my blog my own by using my name, something has given me a drive to start really pushing myself to achieve set goals in where I want to take my blog. Now I have 100% got a passion for this and building up my YouTube channel. I got given a Blog Planner for Christmas, which I will be going in depth to show you in the next couple of weeks. This has helped tremendously, keeping this separate to my everyday planner means I can focus on my blog and channel solely.

I am sure most bloggers can relate to the blogging blues and most of us have thought about quitting at some point or having low morale.I nearly have closed my blog a couple of times and last year I got to the point that it was really getting me down being unable to fit this in, but last summer I gave myself a break. I say a break but I was only doing about 1 or 2 uploads a month at the time. This helped me take the time to decide I am going to try one last change and really take my blog seriously and that is when I decided to re brand. Blogging can produce such a love and hate relationship. From the moments you get writers block, to where you don’t seem to be growing any new followers. You notice other bloggers that have made themselves a large following and a success and feel you can’t live up to that level then start to doubt yourself.

The biggest advice I can give, is don’t compare yourself to others. Yes, you can research editing in videos, research writing styles. But be your own person, don’t feel you are not good enough and when you stop worrying and plan at your own pace. I am sure you will notice a difference, not only in views, but more importantly for how you feel.  I am still trying to implement this to my way of thinking but so far this has helped enormously. I do have the slight wobble thinking I am not good enough, but with support from the blog community and pushing myself, I am good enough. My personal battle is being a perfectionist, I over criticise myself and this is a personal hurdle to overcome. But I am getting there. For once I can actually feel proud of my blog and feel now is the time to push myself to regular uploads.

I am pleased my YouTube channel is slowly growing, and I am learning so much each video. My new lighting has made a complete difference to the quality of my videos. I will be shortly trying my first ‘Day In The Life’ vlog. But in the meantime, I am really enjoying building both this and my blog.

Also planning my routine further to include any home matters, such as cleaning, homework, cooking dinner etc. Plus then there is also mine and Estelle’s venture of The Blog Network, growing, which we have our first Twitter chat on Wednesday 31st January. Plus then you have the background work as a Blogger, scheduling social posts, photography, planning, joining twitter chats and threads etc. I am trying to improve my photography which I am happy with the results so far, to even take some self portraits of myself shows how much my confidence has grown. Part of this is from some great people from the blogging and vlogging community.

Another change I have implemented is, I have given myself set days for uploads. This has made me push myself and made me be organised. There is going to be times this will be impossible, like last week I was struck down with a nasty cold and then toothache and it threw all plans out. But if I can get ahead and plan, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue … I am hoping.

BLOG UPDATES : Every Monday and Thursday

YOUTUBE UPLOADS : Every Sunday and Wednesday

I know I am not the best writer out there, I never have been and never will be. I am not one for gargantuan words (yes I googled big words for ‘huge’). Yes I get excited over a new notepad of a fluffy cushion makes me do jazz hands, but I am also not ashamed of this and am not letting this stop me producing more posts and documenting on my channel. In a way I have started to think if people get to know the real you, your writing style, the way you produce uploads then they will warm to that person if they choose too. I am pleased to say this moment in time I have beaten the blogging blues and am thoroughly enjoying my journey. I hope this doesn’t wear off and change, but for now I am happy and content with how I have progressed, even if this has took me 3 years to find my blogging passion. I am in no way a blogging expert, but this is what I have found that has helped myself. I really hope this post helps boost yourself if you are suffering from the blogging blues.

Stacey

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