Musings from a Week Off.

Musings from a Week Off

Musings from a Week Off

I took last week off, which to be honest, felt so much longer than a week. You probably noticed that a lot of influencers take the week off. In our industry, the week between Christmas and New Years is the best week to take a break. Pretty much all of my brand partners are off for the week, so email was silent. No deadlines, no waiting for approvals, no brands reaching out… radio silence! I know it is different in other industries but in the worlds of advertising and publishing, this was a nice, quiet week. No one needed anything!

I let myself get bored. I let myself really, relax, be a bit of a slob, and really bond with the couch. And I barely socialized. My boyfriend visited through Christmas, and besides that I barely saw people outside of my immediate family. Part of that was voluntary anti-socialness and part was isolation from a COVID scare… but regardless, it was nice to just slow down and think. I had a girlfriend over for al fresco champagne and cheese and another friend invited me over for a New Year’s Day brunch, and that was it! There were times where I had no idea what day it was, and that was kind of glorious?

Omicron has had me on edge.

I don’t even want to talk about it as any time I do, it elicits wild messages from either side. (I’m either a sheep, not being responsible enough, or hoarding tests.) Over the past couple weeks I would say a solid 50% of my friends have had it. I had my own little scare – in the week before Christmas, my boyfriend and I had dinner with two friends. The next day, one of those friends called to say he’d tested positive. We all took tests (negative) and continued to test for 5 days (all negative).

We got lucky? It’s so hard to understand this thing, you just have to do the best you can to be safe and responsible. My family and I canceled our Christmas Eve plans, we had an outdoor Christmas celebration, and (the silver lining), my boyfriend stayed a couple extra days and we got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together.

I have COVID fatigue. I had a funny exchange with a girlfriend, a small part in an hour long vent session about COVID-induced stress and loneliness. She said, “I’m so goddamn sick of seeing everyone posting their negative tests to social media.” I replied, “I’m sick of feeling like I HAVE to post my negative test to social media.” We both exploded in laughter. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh!

I reorganized my bookshelves.

I decluttered, a LOT. Those things, and sticking with my workouts were the only truly productive things I did.

I read a lot of books.

(everything I read last month will be in tomorrow’s blog post). I watched a TON of movies. Most days I watched two movies. This was the most fun. I have a running list of all the movies I want to watch so this was a really a big catch up (if this is interesting to you, I have saved both my “watch list” and mini reviews to my “Movies” highlight on Instagram.) My favorites so far have been The Last Duel (truly didn’t think I’d like it but LOVED it), Don’t Look Up, The Truffle Hunters, Mass, and C’Mon C’Mon.

I watched The Great, which I loved. I watched Emily in Paris (which I kind of hate but can’t stop watching). Then I caught up on And Just Like That (meh, but getting better). I started (and quickly abandoned, not in the headspace for it!) Station Eleven.

I honestly just moped around a bit? At times, I felt like a college student, home for winter break, aimlessly wandering around the house in pajamas. I slept a lot. It was as though once I let myself sit still, I didn’t want to move. Inertia. I thought about the past year: the good parts and the bad parts. I mourned friendships that I have let slip – some unintentionally, some intentionally. This year has had so much change, all while moving so quickly with work projects and life stuff… I don’t know that I fully processed all of it until I could sit down and take a real break.

The last big thing that has been on my mind: my relationship with social media, particularly Instagram.

My boyfriend said something to me that really stuck. I don’t remember his exact comment but it was something to the effect of how much my instagram engagement impacts my mood. Like, if I have a post that gets really great engagement, I am in a great mood. But if I get a nasty message (or if a post tanks), my mood suffers. I’ve had the thought before, but it was jarring to see someone else point it out to me. I didn’t realize it was noticeable to others.

I am not proud of this – it’s unhealthy and something I am going to really have to work on this year. While instagram is an integral part of my job, I cannot let its swings and constant changes affect my mood so much. I think it will be a mix of a) working harder to create content that people want to engage with b) focusing more to the platforms I have more control over (my blog and my newsletter), and c) trying my damndest not to care so much. Instagram has really changed the way they prioritize what content we see (I know as a user I am not seeing the stuff I want to see and have to go and visit my favorite creators’ pages!).

I have been a “person of the Internet” for nearly twelve years now and I hope that this change is a temporary blip and not a lasting one.

Trends come and go and I’m not going to beg for likes or do stupid giveaways to get you to like my posts or watch my stories: this is an issue with the platform, not its users. That is why you’ve been seeing more reels from me. It’s also why I’m always posting – if you take even a day or two off, your story views and grid post engagement will drop like crazy. I don’t really know the solution other than to work harder and change my attitude.

Instagram is going to do what they want and there’s not much I can do to change it (I hate even talking about this, it is such a tired complaint) but it’s still a giant chunk of my livelihood so I have to play their games and change with the times. Like many things, the lesson (I think?) is that you can’t change a situation but you CAN change your attitude.

I am rambling a bit but had something I wanted to share – a quote from Bill Murray that I saw yesterday::

The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything; the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.”

Amen. I am going to have a post with my intentions next week but I am going to let this quote guide me this year.

Anyway, if you took last week off, I hope it was great. If you weren’t able to, I hope you get a break soon. I’m happy to be back in this space and have a lot of really fun content planned for the month ahead. Happy 2022.

Musings from a Week Off

We are all Tyrion… carefully wading into 2022…

Portrait photo by Laura Saur.

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Comments

  1. Pat Schwab says 1.3.22

    My son surprised us and came to town for a couple of weeks during the holidays. It was great to have all my kids home this year. We ate well, lol and played board games. It was a great holiday for this mom.

  2. Jessica Camerata says 1.3.22

    I have been lounging and doing absolutely nothing for a week myself. It felt so good to really not look at my computer and get out of my habit of having it on my lap at all times even if I’m doing nothing. I read several books (be proud!) and tried my hand at baking a challah. Hope you have a great start to your new year!

    xo Jessica
    an indigo day

  3. Michelle says 1.3.22

    I enjoy and appreciate all of your content and am glad you got to have a break. I also did a lot of thinking and started atomic habits!

  4. Brandi says 1.3.22

    Great post Grace! I haven’t thought about how being a visible person would be with proving/posting about pos or neg covid tests. I’m sorry that is even a issue for you- it is awful and somewhere, long ago that would have been considered private medical information. The people in this world have absolutely lost their minds. Cancel culture, judgement, no boundary nosey-ness! It’s nuts! We are just humans! Where is the grace?? It makes me sad. Covid has been scary but we are all (in the US) able to get vaccinated and boosted and that should be it, especially with what seems a milder variant. It should no longer be about “protecting others” but about people protecting themselves in my opinion. It is time to move on. If you are sick stay home like a sensible human until your symptoms are gone and then go on with life.

    I’m sorry that your job is so tied sometimes to personal opinion. That sounds super tough. I got off of socials years ago because I saw myself wondering why someone didn’t like my post and checking it more than I should. I miss MANY things but I am probably much better off mentally. I know that isn’t an option for you so I hope you find a solution to be at peace with it separate of your personal well being! It always just scares me even more when I see a successful person admit it affects them because it just drives home how scary it is for young women and teens who are likely getting their actual self worth from the internet. Goodness, heavy comment!

    Have a great 2022 and thanks for still blogging for us not social media users!

    • Heather says 1.3.22

      (Grace – I’m not trying to start a COVID argument so feel free to delete if this gets out of hand!) Brandi – I just want to provide another perspective on your point about protecting yourself vs. protecting others. I’m vaccinated (and boosted), but because I have a disability that leaves me with super weak lungs, even a mild case could be really bad for me. I am making sure to protect myself – I am staying home much, much more right now, always wear a mask, etc. But it’s impossible for me, and the people I live with, to completely avoid interacting with the rest of the world. So I still really do hope that people try to protect me as much as they protect themselves – wear masks, get tested if they’re able to and know they’ve been exposed. I fully acknowledge and understand that not everyone has to have the same precautions that I do – I am fine with needing to be more careful! But if everyone only worries about their own health, then I’m going to have to worry about my own personal health for much, much longer than everyone else. I don’t think you meant for you comment to be offensive, but it was rough for me to read, and I just wanted to offer my perspective as someone who isn’t able to just “move on.” Wishing you a happy new year.

      • Brandi says 1.3.22

        Heather,
        Thank you for bringing this up to me. I did not mean that comment toward someone like you with such a situation. I meant it towards someone who chooses not to get vaccinated to protect themselves. I generally meant that covid prevention as a whole has to shift from a blanket solution with mandates, etc to a personal choice at some point for the world to get back to normal. I am so sorry that covid will affect you in this way and I didn’t mean any disrespect towards that. I would assume that most respiratory illnesses are a danger to you too as well? I just think it is time for the world to get back to normal and for covid to be treated like the flu in that way (as long as future variants continue to be mild). I also do hope people always continue to think of their neighbor as much as themselves in every way… in fact, I think it would solve every problem in our country!
        Regards,
        Brandi

  5. Laura says 1.3.22

    Love this post Grace. Glad you had a nice break and look forward to your book reviews!

  6. Kayla says 1.3.22

    I feel so much of this, from feeling like a college student last week (I reverted back to my schedule from when I was 20 — stay up until 3AM sleep until 10AM.) and social media deeply impacting my mood. I wish there was some easy solution to the second one. But I do think awareness and acknowledging it is a start. Thank you for sharing these thoughts — I’m sure many others can relate too

    • SAME. My sleep schedule is so off, getting up at 8am today felt like such a struggle – I’m embarrassed by myself!

  7. ElizWayman says 1.3.22

    I love that you got to have a feral week – I had one too and it’s hard to go back to the grind. I think it’s totally natural that social media has some impact on your mood, all those studies have shown we get a dopamine reaction from likes and engagement so even if you’re super chill and grounded the noise is going to get through. I think you’re doing great, and acknowledging it is huge, most influencers wouldn’t even be vulnerable enough to talk about it. Happy New Year!

  8. Joanna says 1.3.22

    Grace,
    I am happy you brought back your newsletter and must say I found myself coming to The Stripe this past week just to make sure I hadn’t missed any recent posts. I am not enjoying Instagram pushing to only reels/videos and have tried to find more blogs/newsletters of creators I love to follow with the idea that I will eventually get off of the app completely. Thanks for spending your time putting your content in other places besides Instagram! <3

  9. Heidi says 1.3.22

    I love your blog/website. I found myself not following my favorites on Instagram as much because the content does not feel as organized and sometimes too much media is just too much. I am completely content following here. Just wanted to offer support in that regard. I don’t think you have to be on all platforms all the time to have a loyal following. Also, I think people on Insta have worse manners!

    • Sarah says 1.3.22

      I agree with this soooo much! I don’t use social media and still follow…I find it quite ironic that all of the bloggers I’ve followed for so long (not many!) post several times a year about how unhappy IG makes them but insist that they “need” it…I can’t help but elicit an eye roll when I hear “influencers” constantly complaining about how social media is so terrible…on social media. No one needs it! Best decision I ever made. I still like the handful of blogs I follow (including this one) and hope you find some peace with your relationship with social and how it plays a role in your business model.

  10. Hillary Edwards says 1.3.22

    Love this post, Grace! I also took a break and did a lot of the same things you did and it was GLORIOUS. It felt weird at times, but I’m so happy I had the opportunity to rest and declutter. Happy New Year!

  11. April Gaskell says 1.3.22

    Had this week off too (between Christmas and New Years) for the first time in I can’t remember how long. Did some similar things; decluttering, organizing, sleeping and being one with my couch. I needed the down time and break from people & things. Happy 2022. Here’s to living, loving and being in good health! XO

  12. Heather says 1.3.22

    I have SO MANY THOUGHTS on the Instagram algorithm!! The constant “need” to post is the most frustrating for me – because of my life and caregiving schedule, I’m not “Instagram ready” every day (aka I don’t change out of my pajamas, have dirty/messy hair, etc.). And shooting multiple outfits a day isn’t something I can realistically do either. So I’m feel like I’m stuck sometimes – I KNOW how important disability representation is online, but it feels like I’ll never be able to the play the game the way it needs to be played to really win at it. I’ve come to terms with it mostly but every so often the frustration crops up again.

    (PS – I’m catching up on Season 2 of The Great right now and forgot how much I love it. Such a hidden gem!!)

  13. Clare says 1.3.22

    Can’t wait to keep reading and following along in 2022!

  14. Heidi says 1.3.22

    Happy New Year, Grace. I’m grateful for your blog. Posts like this, along with your monthly reading roundups, are my favorite. Thank you for cultivating this safe, vulnerable, and relatable space for us (off Instagram!).

    • Allysa says 1.4.22

      ^^^ what she said 🙂

  15. Katie says 1.3.22

    Ah to be so privileged to say, “it’s time to move on”, it’s not about protecting others. I work in healthcare, I would love to move on.

    I get to see sick people, I get to be part of the corrupt gigantic system that doesn’t value outcomes or safety instead $$$$. If your spouse has a heart attack and needs emergent treatment, yet all beds are full in your area (it’s not the bed- it’s the lack of nurse to admin meds), well good luck. Move on right!

    The hospital workers that currently are supposed to stay home sick means.. 45min wait to order patient food, 3 housekeepers for 125 beds in the building (sprinkle a little infection in!) add some patients to nurse assignments (increase mortality by 1.7 for each additional patient), bring in NICU/surgical nurses to stock supplies… And so on. Show me a CEO, manager wiping a butt. They will change the regulations so sick workers can come in and work. It was already bad and it’s worse- round 2 baby. Do your best to not get sick.

    Healthcare workers are easy to “other” like service workers, de humanize them and feel better about yourself. If only it was that easy to move on, Brandi. The bullshit jobs like many corporate America roles start to become appealing, although pointless, they pay. They don’t bear witness to suffering much designed into the system itself. Please trade all those people working for $15-38/hr so they can move on.

    It’s very complicated. SDesignedto make your brain crave that dopamine hit, like tv shows and other media. Blogs are also social media

    • Brandi says 1.3.22

      I will reply to this just to say that maybe the way that I worded that led to some confusion about what I meant. I also would like to say that you certainly have no idea what my job is or my background or privilege. I feel like that was alot to assume. I respect your opinion and agree with many things you said about the healthcare situation and corporate greed. I HATE the situation for medical workers/hospitals right now but we’ve been going about this problem the same way for almost 2 years with very little changing or being solved. You are right- we are right back with Round 2 (or actually 3 or 4 in many areas)! In my opinion we just can’t continue to sacrifice the mental health of children with virtual learning, have families quarantine for extended days with no extended sick leave pay, etc., etc., when these efforts are not really changing the fact that the hospitals are full and the staff is overworked and understaffed.
      Regards,
      Brandi

    • Judy Holmes says 1.3.22

      Thank you, Katie, for your work during the pandemic. I know it has to be isolating, exhausting & crazy-making. My thoughts & prayers are with you.

  16. Robyn says 1.3.22

    I’m so glad you took some time for yourself! Your content brings me so much joy and comfort year round. I appreciate you and Tyrion! If I’m ever having a not great day-Bad on Paper is my comfort. Listening to you and Becca makes me feel like I’m with friends! Your blog is also always really wonderful. Basically just want to say thank you for being YOU! And happy new year!

  17. Cy says 1.3.22

    I think many of us can to relate to so much in this post. Currently cleaning out and going through my dad’s home, as construction ( minor facelift) will start the 1ast week of February and we put the house up for sale in the Spring. It’s hard work and very emotional. I have no time to declutter my own apartment which needs it desperately. Breathing deep and taking it a day at a time. I’m taking that Bill Murray quote to heart( normally the way I live anyway)and sharing it with my super type A sister who needs it badly. I am loving “The Great”, so original and fun. I watch a lot of dark crime etc, so I really enjoy “Emily in Paris “ when I need something short and sweet. Also Paris so..
    We had a lovely last cozy Christmas at my Dad’s. Reading more so will be checking out your list. My sister got me the Stanley Tucci memoir “taste” which is great. Happy New Year! and now back to decluttering the office……..

  18. katie says 1.3.22

    I took last week off for the 1st time EVER in my working life and, WOW, it felt amazing! Yes, my inbox and to do list are burying me on this first Monday of the year, but I am in such a better headspace from having a lazy, fun time off. And the best part is I have about zero guilt for taking that time off!!

  19. Theodora says 1.3.22

    Inertia is the exact word I was thinking yesterday! I had rested enough, finally, that I wasn’t really tired…but I’d been doing so little for the past few days that I felt really lost about what I wanted to do, so I just took a drive ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    My therapist reminded me that last week would be the calm before the storm so to do my best to appreciate that!

  20. Elizabeth says 1.3.22

    YES! agreed. I want to delete Instagram too, but I would miss the voice of some of the influencers I respect, including you Grace. I mean, my god i think i’ve been reading some blogs for 10 years at this point! Looking for that link to the newsletter right now 🙂

    • Susan says 1.3.22

      Elizabeth, so I am replying to *you* but I mean this for anyone other than—sorry, Grace!—influencers or people that use social media for work purposes. A few years back I got really burned out from social media: the family members posting unfortunate political opinions, old high school people being annoying, MLMs, coworkers I secretly hate, friends posting things without me, etc. That being said—I love Grace, cat videos, influencers, fashion, memes, etc. So what I did was delete my “name” IG page and I have one for just me—my interests, my influencers, etc. No one who knows me(other than a few very close friends) knows about this account but I am able to interact with *only* things that make me happy. No vacation pressure, no “I wasn’t invited to their night out” sadness, nothing. Just a thought….

  21. dana says 1.3.22

    I wanted to share a book that isn’t on the radar of many but it is excellent. It is a memoir called Swell by Liz Clark. She sailed and surfed her way around the world. It is more of a human/spiritual journey filled with lessons.

    • Tara says 1.3.22

      Thanks, just requested this book from the library!

  22. Judy Holmes says 1.3.22

    This is a fabulous post! I readily relate because I have been off for 12 days. I don’t understand how Instagram works but I send my hugs of support. I know that for me the hardest career lesson has been boundaries between work and home, especially when you love your job.

  23. Katie says 1.3.22

    This post resonated with me so deeply, Grace! As a long time reader and follower I find myself on your same wavelength. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have your livelihood tied to Instagram, as only a user I’m constantly trying to “break up” with it, so to have financial ties to it sounds so tough. When I think about deleting Instagram, the people I would miss following most would be Ashley Spivey , Becca and you! My selfish request would be more personal posts on your blog so I could still feel like I kind of know what’s going on with your life (I realize how creepy that sounds, but I’m invested after all of these years!), hehe.

  24. Katie says 1.3.22

    Happy 2022, Grace! Loved reading this honest and relatable reflection and hearing about your well-deserved week off. Just wanted to say how much I love your site, and that I visit your Instagram page every day to make sure I don’t miss posts. Your positive attitude, your sense of humor, and most of all just your commitment to being so real and honest makes you feel like a real friend on the internet.

  25. Allie N. says 1.3.22

    Hi, Grace! Just wanted to say that I love your blog. A lot. You share interesting, fun content with a voice that reads like a chat with a friend. It has to be a ton of work, and I just want you to know that reading your posts is always a highlight of my morning. Thank you! <3

  26. Michelle says 1.3.22

    Did a lot of lounging and nothingness as well. It was so therapeutic and needed. I’ve been loving your movie reviews!

  27. Irene says 1.3.22

    Grace, enjoy your lounging time! And I laughed when I saw the Bill Murray quote since he too lives in Charleston!

  28. Katie says 1.4.22

    We took a trip abroad as a family over Christmas that was thrice postponed bc of COVID and it was amazing! Now that we’re back, though, I’m like “man I really could’ve used a full slob week too.” The trip was amazing and soooo worth it and I’m going to just try to incorporate my own slob time in the coming days.

  29. Katie says 1.4.22

    Great post! This is my week off and really enjoying having no plans and staying away for the news. Thanks for sharing the quote! I don’t make resolutions, but the quote gave me a great focus for 2022. There are things that help me relax including stretching, reading , seeing the ocean as much ad I can and getting outside. Those are my goals! As a recovering runner, I used to focys so much on my time, etc. As I age, my fitness focus is what would make me feel good today?

  30. Maya Viswanath says 1.4.22

    Happy New Year, Grace!

  31. Shannon says 1.6.22

    I am genuinely wondering – and please don’t take this as someone from any “side” – but I am wondering why people are still so afraid to get COVID? Literally everyone I know now has had it – including myself. I hadn’t had a chance to get boosted yet, but I had the first two. I was sick for about two days, very tired. I just really wonder if real life will ever return. (Im glad you didn’t get it!) There seems to be a shifting consensus that cloth and even surgical masks never worked and don’t work – but an increasing hysteria to put toddlers in N95’s. Europeans thinks we’re crazy. Anyways, I feel the tide turning but am still honestly confused.

    • Jenny B says 1.7.22

      Shannon, I get it, my son had Covid and was fine. But I think why people are still so afraid to get Covid is they don’t want to be one of the unlucky millions that have died from it. Many people have always gotten it and survived, many more will now with vaccines, but there are still so many dying, hospitalized, and overwhelming the health care system. Hopefully we are on the way to it being endemic like the flu, but it is still currently a pandemic. Toddlers are dying too! And in Europe they are requiring N95’s, cloth masks are no longer acceptable.

      • Shannon says 1.7.22

        I totally get that, but it’s so age stratified (overwhelmingly affects the elderly) and so related to comorbidities. Like you’re wayyyy more likely to die in a car accident than by COVID as a child. An unvaccinated child is less at risk than a vaccinated 25yo. On masks – N95’s in Germany and Austria – most countries, any mask is still fine. (none in Sweden, still) And no European country ever masked kids under 6. The U.S. (liberal blue areas) is very unique in masking toddlers. Coming from a liberal blue voter who is trying to read the nuance!

  32. Robyn says 1.7.22

    Thanks for sharing this, Grace! It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone struggling to get back to “normal” life. I was lucky in that my company closes for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but every year I feel compelled to make a list of all the things I don’t usually have time to do throughout the year that I want/need to do and then to try to do them throughout this “free” week off. None of them got done this time, but there was a lot of sitting on the couch staring blankly ahead After the past two years, I think we all need some rest. I’m glad you were able to!

  33. Mia says 1.7.22

    Hi Grace! I just wanted to encourage you not to beat yourself up too much about your Instagram engagement impacting your mood. To your point, it’s a big part of your job! Everyone’s job impacts their mood. If I have a bad day at the office, I’m a little bit more crabby at home that night. I’m sure I could work on it, too, but I wonder if it’s harder for people in your life to recognize that it’s not just silly little Instagram messing with your head? For them it’s “just” Instagram, but for you it’s work!

    We can all grow and work on things, but you deserve to be patient with yourself.

  34. Nina says 1.9.22

    So many great photos of you and your home in this post! I love your transparency with your community and makes sense why you have such an amazing community also feeling the same way. Hopefully you’re getting out of your slump and enjoying 2022!

    P.S. We had the shortened version of your same cold – and it was awful