Ahhhh, the day has come for me to write this post!!! Where do I even begin? I am excited, gleeful, hopeful, a little nervous, and even a bit HESITANT to do this, but I know deep in my soul that it’s right, so I’m going with it.
I wouldn’t be TBB if I didn’t follow my soul… we know that much at least.
Today marks the beginning of a digital detox I will be embarking on from social media, email, podcasting, and work in general for a little while. I am not putting rules or timelines on it, because as I learned from my wonderful podcast guest last week Jedidiah Jenkins, I am allowed to live in the “both / and.”
Things do not always have to be so linear. I can take a break from social media as my job, and also use social media when I feel like it to connect with the beautiful community of humans who have become like family to me far & wide over the last 5.5 years if I so choose.
Why the Detox?!
I have decided to take this digital detox for a variety of reasons. The main reason being my health. Healing from chronic Lyme disease and running a blog, brand, podcast and business full-time has been a lot. I don’t believe that stress, which inevitably comes along with even work that we absolutely love, is conducive to healing from serious disease. In fact, I feel that stress is actually very much inhibiting me from fully healing.
This year my life has looked a lot like this: wake up in extreme pain and itchiness from full body eczema/hives due to Lyme, panic about everything I need to get done that day, cancel as many things as I can in order to conserve enough energy to execute the most important tasks, perhaps disappoint a brand or two when content cannot be delivered due to me sitting in treatments / being so chronically fatigued I can’t move from bed, try to be a good fiancé / cat mom / friend / daughter / aunt / sister / blogger / etc., stick to my very rigorous healing diet which takes quite a bit of my time, take all of my various supplements and medications 4-5x a day even though my brain fog is through the roof, fear for my very own life because I am unsure if I am in fact adequately healing from this awful disease, repeat.
Not fun, right? Riddled with stress!
About a month and a half ago I realized it just wasn’t in my best interest or anyone’s best interest for me to keep up this full-time podcasting, blogging, and working schedule. My podcasts have been my saving grace because they allow me to have fun, intimate conversations every week with inspiring guests — but they’ve also been my greatest challenge to maintain because the type of energy I have right now is so LOW & drained that pulling it together to be my usual upbeat self on the podcast often feels next to impossible.
Brain fog from Lyme keeps me from having the depth of conversations I want to, and hearing my own podcasts back and the low energy in my own voice makes me realize that I want what I put into the world to be something I am so, ridiculously proud of & I want it to always come from a place of high vibes, excitement, passion, and love.
Since getting this sick, continuing my work has been more about monotony and grinding than about passion and flow. Hilariously enough, and of course things always go this way, ever since I made the decision to wrap up my work and take some time off, my passion for it all has totally quadrupled and I have been really enjoying my day to day again lately… for the first time all year!
Perhaps it’s psychological because I have known for about 7 weeks now that this break was coming, and committing to taking the break has lowered my workload immeasurably because I haven’t been able to take on new collaborations past this point, but still… making the decision to walk away for a bit has only made me realize all the more deeply how much I love, adore, and cherish this work. It is my passion.
How Am I Making This Work?
Now you may be wondering how I am able to do this, since blogging, podcasting, and social media are how I make a living. The short answer is, I have been doing this for a long time now and I have worked so hard without taking any sort of break… saying YES to every opportunity for years. I recently learned that the art of saying no is incredibly important, but I am glad I did so much hard work because it gives me the gift now of taking some well-deserved time off. I have worked with a lot of brands across various forms of social media and have saved enough money to take off as much time as my heart, soul, and body needs.
I don’t know how much time it will be, but something tells me it won’t be TOO long because now that this digital detox time has come I am feeling very bittersweet. My community on the blog, social media, and podcast have become my friends from all over the world… people I look forward to talking to and sharing my life with day in and day out. So that’s why there are no rules! If I feel like popping on, I will. The sheer freedom of having zero brand partnerships during this time and not releasing new podcast episodes makes it so that if I do use social media, it will not be for work.
Listening To My Intuition //
The truth is, my intuition has known that I’ve needed this break for a long while. For a whole year now, I have been extremely, excruciatingly BURNT OUT. I remember going to Bali last December with Jonathan and having breakdown after breakdown, realizing that going into my email and dealing with brands who (at the time) were pushing me around and diminishing my passion for my work was not something that I wanted to go back to at all.
I struggled & struggled with this all year… attempting to take a break during my solo trip back to Bali in April, then during my water fast, and on and on during this entire year of being extremely and terrifyingly sick.
But somehow the lure of work kept pulling me back in, and the truth is I was scared to walk away from it. When I was in Bali in April I knew that coming back and taking 2 months off the podcast is what my soul wanted and needed. I knew it would open me up to create a new project I have been dying to work on, and it would save me from having to muster up my non-existent energy to have conversations I wasn’t feeling like having while being so sick.
And what did I do when I came back from Bali? The exact opposite of that! I kept on podcasting, every single week to no avail. I also kept on taking new brand partnerships, sharing so much of my life and letting in scrutiny (which comes with the territory but when you’re sick it’s just not the best thing to be doing so much of), and working myself into the ground.
About 8 weeks ago I had a session with the beautiful healer Mama Medicine, Deborah Hanekamp (who you can listen to here on the podcast), and she picked up on the fact that I was getting extremely burnt out. That my body was sick and begging me to step away from social media and work. That I was only going to keep breaking down internally and my sickness was only going to get worse physically if I didn’t shut it down and draw inward and truly give myself the great gift of healing.
She asked me point blank if I wanted to continue my brand, or if I wanted to shut it down. The thought alone of shutting it down sent me into a depressive panic. But I wasn’t sure at first if that was because it was so scary and new to me, or if my initial thought was how I really felt, so I sat with that feeling for several days. After reflecting on it and talking it out with those closest to me, it was clear to me that I in no way wanted to walk away permanently from this brand that I have built.
All I needed was a digital detox, a hiatus, a place to put a pin in it all and give myself the chance to PIVOT, a.k.a come back to my brand with a renewed sense of self and a renewed direction for my brand.
Facing Those Fears & Going With It //
When your brand is YOU, you don’t ever get a break. That is not a complaint, but merely a fact. My brand has taken on so many shapes and forms over the years, from food blog to lifestyle to yoga to wellness to all of it and back again really, and now back to sharing the love and message of veganism which is so deeply important to me.
Ultimately I think it’s so important and so healthy to take breaks. We all need them, and a lot of the time us entrepreneurs and especially social media entrepreneurs don’t really get them. We’re afraid we’ll be left behind or forgotten or all of the brands who support us will no longer want to work with us or that we’ll be letting our audience down — or all of the above. Trust me, I have had all of those fears and then some.
But I also know that it’s important to face those fears, and I am committed to my spiritual path of expansion and breaking through the limits that bind me to doing only what’s comfortable. I have a deep knowing that I am meant for SO MUCH MORE than the things I am doing right now. I am very proud of everything I do with The Balanced Blonde, but there are new projects & creations that are brewing in my mind for you guys & the entire TBB community, and right now I feel that the only way I can bring them to life is by taking a step back from my day to day and really allowing them to flourish.
Spiritual Elements of Digital Detoxing //
On a spiritual note, every time I sit & meditate I get the same message over and over and over again, which goes something like this: “You use technology as a distraction. If you let go of your distractions, you will connect with yourself much deeper and will reach a new level of power within yourself.” I KNOW that is a message from beyond about my ability to channel, write poetry, heal, and be as connected and centered as possible. I am totally aware that social media is a massive distraction to me in that sense… I am addicted to it — technology is wildly addicting!
There is nothing wrong with using social media and technology to connect. It’s a beautiful thing and I am so very grateful for it. I also think it’s incredibly healthy to take a step back from social media whenever possible. Digital detoxing is a huge element of wellness that doesn’t really get talked about. I think especially during this holiday season, it’s a great time to step back, be with our loved ones, reflect, and recharge.
If you feel inspired to digital detox this season, please do it with me! It can be for the entire season, or month, or once a week, or a few hours a day, or whatever feels right to YOU.
What to Expect & Where You Can Find Me //
First things first, I do plan to continue to blog here whenever I feel inspired to. When I am not sharing my heart on Instagram captions, something tells me I will be even more inspired to share here on the blog and keep you guys updated on my journey & my life. I am not sure what that will look like or how often I will be blogging, but please do sign up for my newsletter here so you will get my blog posts straight to your inbox & we can stay connected.
As far as Instagram, I will be hopping on and off however & whenever I am inspired to do so. I definitely want a bit of a break from Instagram as I do feel pretty addicted to it after all these years of using it all day every day for work, so I have a feeling I will give myself at least a few weeks of detox entirely. Then I envision myself hopping back on & sharing little tidbits that inspire me, photos and words, per usual. Just much less frequently, and without the pressure to comment back, post for brands, etc.
The holiday season is perfect for this, and heading into the New Year I feel that I may end up coming back on Instagram and using it for fun but not for work. I am not committing myself to anything work related until February, so as long as my health progresses well then you can expect me to be back to my usual schedule by Feb.
On the podcast, you can expect something fun & different! I have specifically curated 8 different “Best of the Show” episodes that will be released every Wednesday morning as usual, with new intros explaining why they are favorites of mine / episodes that have radically changed my life, & with some fun giveaways interspersed throughout. These episodes are some of your & my own favorites from the last few years, reaching back to two years ago so they will be episodes some of you may have never heard. As far as which episodes they are… I am keeping that a surprise so you will see each and every week!
In terms of fun seasonal things like holiday gift guides, what I learned this year (a post I write every year reflecting back), etc… I believe I will still be blogging those here so stay tuned! They just won’t be promoted on IG they way they usually would be which is why signing up for the newsletter is the best idea if you wanna stay in the know!
One of my poems.
What Will I Do With My Time?!
Another thing you may be wondering is what I plan to do with my time. Honestly, it’s going to be very new and uncomfortable for me to not be working! I have been a certified workaholic ever since I started this blog right out of college. Working is my hobby and my passion, because it means I get to be on here creating and connecting with you guys. But my soul knows that disconnecting from it all for a while is calling me, and I trust that calling of my soul.
At this stage my plan is to first and foremost go with the flow. I want to be an open vessel for whatever comes through from the universe. Whether that be my next book, a Lyme memoir, fiction, poetry, a Kundalini training, a course I am so ready and wanting to create, or whether that be full blown HEALING, resting, Netflix & chilling, spending time in Sacramento with family, the list goes on.
I know I want to do a bit of traveling if I am feeling a little bit better and it won’t be too taxing on my body. I would love to go to Kauai during this time and/or New York — two places where I feel the absolute most inspired and connected to my soul. I will be going to Santa Cruz for an ayahuasca retreat in early January which is something I have been wanting to do for a very, very long time.
I will also be connecting deeply with the people in my life, in a way I haven’t been able to for the last few years with work being such an absolute constant for so long. I also want to get stronger physically again, and do it for ME so that I can be the best version of myself when I come back to you guys in full.
I want to spend a lot of time in Malibu writing, basically being like the writers I love and admire and look up to like Joan Didion & Zelda Fitzgerald… who didn’t have social media to distract them and they could run wild with their thoughts and imagination!!!
Lastly I will be studying things I loooove like Human Design, kundalini, reiki, and Kabbalah… so that when I come back I have all sorts of new info and fun to share with you guys.
Okay now that I’m writing about it I am getting excited about it again! I know that only good things will come from this. It’s what my body needs to heal. No commitments, no stress. And please do digital detox alongside of me if you feel inspired to do so… it’s going to feel so good.
Love you guys so much! Would love to hear what you think of all of this. Do me a favor & comment below telling me how long you’ve been reading my blog and how you originally found me!!! I LOVE hearing about those of you who have been here since the beginning, and learning also how newer readers have found me and all of your thoughts / who you are. It means so much to me to have you here.
Thank you endlessly for your support & I cannot wait to check in here when the timing feels right! Listen to the podcast each week for those best of the show episodes, and scroll through all of the old content here — 5.5 years’ worth. I promise I will come back feeling refreshed and more ME than ever… I am ready to BRING IT… AND TO KICK LYME’S ASS. MUAH!
Every day I learn about a new symptom of Lyme disease… the newest being severe panic attacks, of which I had the pleasure of experiencing in full force this weekend.
Anyone who has had a panic attack knows that it’s a terrifying feeling. I thought I had had them in my life before this but after having one on Saturday night I realized… all of the panic attacks I had had in the past were very minor compared to this.
I walked into my friend’s birthday party with J, all dressed up in my new boots & feeling like a million bucks, excited to be with everyone yet tired AF from Lyme. when it hit me. I could see a few of my best friends standing right in front of me but it felt like there was a thick film or wall between us that was holding me back from being able to speak, or see, or be in my body. It felt like the walls were closing in on me and I started to see dark black spots in front of my eyes until eventually I blacked out completely. I could hear everything around me but I couldn’t speak, I tried, but the smallest words would come out, as my heart pounded wildly out of my chest.
I tried to breathe and get my bearings. I have leaned on yoga and meditation in the past any time I feel like my breath escapes me, so I did everything in my power to try to get back to that calm and access my breath. But it all felt out of my control. I could hear what people were saying crystal clear but I felt like I was floating in outer space, with my heart beating out of my chest and blood throbbing in my ears to the point where I felt like I was going to throw up. It was truly one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
I fell into my friend’s arms and just hugged him for a long while, trying to tell him how absolutely strange I felt. In my panic I even reached for his margarita because I wanted ANYTHING to numb the crazy amount of uncontrollable panic that was coursing through my body. I thought maybe if nothing else could help then alcohol could… and if you know me, you know I have only had one drink this entire year. Alcohol is not my usual go-to.
I spotted Jonathan in the room and motioned to him to come outside with me, miraculously because words were not really coming out of my mouth. When we got out there I put his hand on my heart so he could feel how fast it was beating — it was pounding so hard and fast I knew something was very wrong. He was very worried and suggested I call my doctor… since I have recently started a bunch of new medications for Lyme and co-infections and we had no idea what might be triggering this response.
I decided to wait to talk to her until the next day, mostly because we were in a very loud place and I already felt like I couldn’t formulate words let alone a full sentence. He and I stood out there for about 15 minutes and he talked to me while I calmed down, and eventually got my heart rate down to a pace where I could at least say more than three words in a sentence. In that moment I still didn’t know if I would be able to go back inside — it was a small party, full of people I knew, but something about the way I felt made it feel impossible to stay calm and collected let alone be in the present moment, able to formulate words and hold a conversation.
On top of it all, I was exhausted. My body was in overdrive. I had spent the entire day in bed, mostly sleeping off and on and only waking up for a few hours to get a massage because of intense joint and muscle pain. I knew I was going to get myself together for the party and usually once I get out of the house I tend to feel better with the energy of others around me for a few hours, but even before we left to go out I felt that this night was different. This night my body just didn’t feel functional.
So somehow between the raging Lyme in my body, co-infections like Bartonella which can cause dysautomonia and panic, and overall just being ridiculously exhausted in a loud environment, my body flipped. My doctor also said that one of the new meds I had started may have been causing a brain herx, which would also be another culprit. Mostly it was a bacterial response from the Borrelia (Lyme) & Bartonella, plus a massive spike in cortisol and then a huge dip.
As with all difficult things that happen (I believe), it was the perfect storm of everything coming together to make for one raging, debilitating, panic attack.
I feel LUCKY that I was able to snap out of it rather quickly… we went back into the party after 15 minutes or so and for a little while I tried hard to get past it and feel a sense of calm, and while I never went back to *perfect* normalcy I was able to function a bit and have a good time, good conversations, and feel much more in my body. Although I will never forget standing out there thinking there was no way I would be able to go back in, that we would have to go home and I didn’t even know if my heart would calm down there either.
And still the feeling of that post-panic weakness has lasted for a few days. It took a toll on my body and my voice. Yesterday I was with family all day and my brother-in-law said that he knows when I am not myself because my voice is weak and my shoulders cave in… and overall I just lack the energy I am usually bouncing off the walls with when I am healthy.
To top it all off I have not been sleeping well at all even though I have been wildly exhausted. I still feel panicky and one of my major symptoms of Lyme and other co-infections is severe insomnia.
This coming weekend I have one of my best friend in the world’s WEDDING !!!! (The same person who I hugged and grabbed a margarita from mid panic attack… My other Jordan!) I am so excited to be a part of his special day. I am taking a small break from some of my meds this week because I want to be fully present and avoid any sort of brain herx / any herx during his wedding weekend.
So all in all… it’s been a wild few days. If you can relate, I would love to hear your stories/tips & tricks for dealing with it. My doctor is amazing and made me feel much better about the experience given the meds that I am on, and mostly how common it is in Lyme patients. I cannot believe all of these different symptoms I have been experiencing for years are all related back to Lyme… it is wild. And scary. Lyme is awful.
More from me soon. Love you guys so much & happy, happy Monday. XO