Chatterbox: Pressure – It’s All In Our Heads

April 4, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Chatterbox, Features, Reflections

Like everyone else, I’ve been feeling the pressures of blogging and book reviewing which I’ve covered in several of my previous discussion posts.Steph @ These Paper Hearts also shared a post on bloggers needing to take a chill pill. It turned out I wasn’t only feeling this way about blogging, but about everything in my personal life as well.

Such as where I am in life, in comparison to my friends who own houses, are engaged or married. Why I haven’t seemed to complete all of my work priorities. Why my TBR pile is so large. Why I can’t seem to lose that last bit of weight. It’s always a question of “why aren’t I doing things better” and there’s 2 things I can attribute to it 1) comparing ourselves unnecessarily to others, and 2) the only ones placing us under this amount of pressure is ourselves. 

It seems quite simple that we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others. After all, we all have people we aspire to become or look up to as a measure of success. It’s a healthy thing to work harder with that goal in mind. What it shouldn’t be however is feeling bad or sorry for myself because I can’t do everything and I’m not someone else. Everyone’s journey is different, everyone has completely different circumstances to me. The only person I should be comparison myself to is the person I was yesterday or even a year ago, because as my work team’s mantra is: Focus on Progression and not Perfection. That is the more realistic path.


No one else is placing this amount of pressure on myself. And no one else is placing this amount of pressure on anyone out there for blogging, reading, exercising, or whatever it is. Even if they are, you are in control of how you react, whether you stress about it, do something about it, or ignore it. When your head is too deep in self pity, it’s hard to pull your head out and realise that you are in control of your life. You are the one who chooses to feel this way. You are the one who can take the steps to achieve what you have in mind. And you can make mistakes. No one is there calling you out.

Thank you to two amazing friends who realised I haven’t been myself lately and helping to pull me out of my funk. I learnt that the pressure was all in my head and got a good wake up call and now I can focus on what’s important.

I hope this post helps someone out there! Here’s some motivations to tie off:

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others? How do you cope with the pressures of life? 

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: ,

58 responses to “Chatterbox: Pressure – It’s All In Our Heads

  1. This is a truly great post, Jeann. Like Bec said, this is something you don't realize is true until you read it and realize how far we all have fallen into this "hobby" we started for fun. Great reminder!
    Alise recently posted…Do You Watch Book Trailers?My Profile

  2. This is a very true post! Comparing yourself to others is what it really falls down to. Sometimes it's healthy because you can use other peoples blogs as inspiration but you never feel good enough. Your blog is definitely one I look up to and I hope to gain as many followers and be as sophisticated as you.

    But you're right. It's all in our minds and I think it's hard to stop comparing yourself to others.
    Francoise recently posted…Two Diva’s Bookish Discussions – My love for Sci FiMy Profile

  3. I know exactly what you mean. It's hard though, not to compare yourself against others, because that's the easiest way to measure. Sometimes I get into the mind set of "I know I'm better than I was before, but that is not good enough. I need to reach this ridiculous level of better". And then I would need some stress reliving activities to get me back to reality instead of going down the spiral. Thanks for the post, Jeann! We all need a little reminder.
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (3)My Profile

  4. awww I'm sorry you have to go through this. I completely understand how you feel you are not alone out there. I need a better system when it comes to reviewing I think and I should take a step back and re-evaluate that myself. There is no need to be stressing over this, it's a hobby not a job and something you should really be enjoying when you are doing!

    As for weight, I am struggling with the same issue. This summer I am going to walk a lot, hoping to go hiking. so many beautiful parks near by, just need to make time for them.
    Lily B recently posted…Review: Evening Stars (Blackberry Island #3) by Susan MalleryMy Profile

    • Thanks Laura, I've seen the same as well! Good on you for sticking to your guns, it's hard to do that sometimes but that means you'll be the stable rock for everyone else in your life <3

  5. Hmm… I'm usually compared by my parents to my friends, which is pretty annoying in my humble opinion. But in bloggy world, I sort of do what I want and try from different angles… without doing anything I would do to embarrass myself in real life (certainly I wouldn't be talking about… underwear.)

    That was the first random thing that popped in my head that I wouldn't do. I wouldn't jump off a building either. o_o

    *feels awkward*
    Sophia @ Bookwyrming recently posted…Blogging + Real Life: How Do You Balance Both? ~ Part 1My Profile

  6. I love that you expanded this topic and brought a new depth to it. College finals are coming up for me in the next couple weeks and I'm so nervous for it! I've always put a lot of pressure on myself to get good grades and sometimes it can be so overwhelming. Whenever I fill out those work surveys for "how well do you do under pressure" I always think NOT WELL.

    The blogging community seems to be growing more and more everyday. Sometimes it's hard not to feel lost in such a large community. It can be very frustrating for bloggers who first start off and don't know what to do or where to start. I also tend to be really competitive in most things so that probably doesn't help lol.
    Stephanie@ThesePaper recently posted…Review: Pivot PointMy Profile

    • Yeah, I thought it would be perfect to post because you got me thinking. Good luck with your exams! I totally agree with the blogging community, but as long as we learn to pace ourselves we should be fine.

  7. Oh gosh – sums up life so well! I always tend to put too much pressure on myself . You are on the ball when you say it's because we compare ourselves to others.

    I put so much pressure on myself when it comes to school, weight, blogging, clothes (that is so vain, but true, sadly), social life… just about anything and everything there is to compare myself with! But school and weight are probably the biggest, most damaging ones. I've had a least one severe eating disorder and a couple of breakdowns when it came to school. I finally came into myself in year 12, thankfully.

    I guess sometimes we fall into that self-doubt hole and it's hard to climb out. You have some awesome friends for helping you out. And comparing ourself to our previous self is probably the best advice ever. Only we control our actions, so we should focus on making that better, not how to be more like someone else.
    Brea @ Breezy Reads recently posted…Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnelMy Profile

    • Absolutely! It's so true and it's good to get some clarity as to why we feel that way. And not just about blogging but you're right, if we compare ourselves on a basic level, it can be motivating but otherwise it can get damaging. I'm glad you've realised the damaging behaviour and pulled yourself out of it, really proud of you. It's true about the self doubt, and the best thing we can do is surround ourselves with people who aren't afraid to tell you when it's happening. Thanks for your lovely comment Brea!

  8. BEAUTIFUL post Jeann. I agree, it's human nature to compare yourself to others – it's how growth and progression works especially, by pushing yourself to become better than others. But unfortunately, there are so many negatives, as you've mentioned, to basing off your success on others. It's definitely an unhealthy way of influence. Thank you so much for this post – there are so many pressures in life, but you're totally right. How you interpret these pressures are all in your own head.

    You have such wonderful friends, I'm so glad they noticed you were feeling off. I hope you're feeling better now! I'll always be here to listen if you need anything too. 🙂
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle MeadMy Profile

    • Thank you Joy, it's good to compare yourself as a healthy way to push yourself, as you said, but not if it becomes an obsession or self reflection on yourself. Thanks for offering, that is so sweet of you! x

  9. Can I just say how much I love this post Jeann? <3 As bloggers, it's natural to want to compare ourselves. Who gets the most ARCs? Most comments? Most page views? And this is definitely when blogging really starts to feel more like a chore than a passion. I think you've given some really great tips on how to cope with this – definitely going to have to try them out sometime!

    Thanks so much for sharing Jeann, and, as always, brilliant post! 😀
    Zoe @ The Infinite T recently posted…SalvageMy Profile

    • Thank you Zoe! That means a lot, I found it to be quite a personal post and wasn't sure how it'd go but I've gotten some great feedback. That's totally true that we'd compare ourselves as blogging, but then that means we have less fun! And blogging is about fun, otherwise we shouldn't be doing it. Thank you lovely 🙂

  10. I don't compare myself to anyone. I do what I want or else I'd hate blogging. I do know that my moods and stress levels off the blog will impact what I do on it. Like if something frustrating is happening in my life, I don't even want to deal with this stuff. I listen to a lot of NIN, Avenged Sevenfold, Rammstein to help me cope. 😀
    Christy recently posted…True by Erin McCarthyMy Profile

    • Good on you, I totally know what you mean about hating blogging. I actually listen to some of Avenged Sevenfold stuff too (haha you'd never expect it huh?) I do like them at times 🙂

  11. I agree with you completely, but that doesn't mean that comparison goes away, yeah? It'll always be on the back of my mind nagging at me how everyone else does so much better, how they manage school and work and still get to all their arcs and schedule etc, how they manage to blog every day and I manage to do only 2-3 times per week. It's one of the parts of blogging I don't like. But agreed, it's all in my head and it's not about others but ME. Just as this is about YOU and I hope that you never forget that you're your own boss. YOU set your goals and only you can make blogging and reading be fun to yourself 🙂 even though the constant pressure that's pushing us to self-doubt and whatnot never goes away, but I hope we manage to deal with it better. Great post, Jeann!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: One Tiny Lie by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

    • I think some form of comparison is good, but not when it gets unhealthy. It's really difficult to blog over 5 days a week I think, because just think of all the comments you would have to keep up with! I guess it depends, because the bigger blogs have multiple bloggers and people to do stuff. You are absolutely right Siiri, thank you!

  12. This is a great post! When I started blogging, I was always jealous of other blogs and felt like I should post as much as I can to get to their level. But I have been trying to work on just focusing on what I want to post and read the books and actually enjoy them withouot all the pressure

  13. No truer words have ever been spoken Jeann (sending a huge huge your way).

    I think we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves as women, without even realising until it all comes crashing down. With blogging, in the past I've looked at book blogs with these incredible designs and just kept changing mine because it felt inferior. Mine has always been purely aesthetic.

    But away from blogging, I'm at the point in my life we're I've never been happier and it reflects in the way I go about blogging.

    • Thank you Kelly! You're absolutely right about women wanting to do everything, family, work, home and everything in between. That is a great thing Kelly, you're an inspiration!

  14. When you're new to doing something, you couldn't help but compare yourself to others, but then, how are you ever going to find your own niche if you keep putting pressure on yourself to be somebody else? Sometimes you have to experiment with different tactics in order to find out where you're good at, right?

    Here's another personal thing, my sister recently got married, I'm older than her. Now everyone's been pushing me to get married, too. I chose to not put that pressure on me, because THIS THING CAN'T BE RUSHED. Besides, I am single, how am I going to get married? I don't want to set unrealistic goals in order to fulfill THEIR idea of MY fulfillment. Sometimes, it's hard being in a culture where you're pressured to marry at a certain age.
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 153: Sunshine by Robin McKinleyMy Profile

    • You're absolutely right, it's all a learning process and when we compare ourselves to established bloggers that have been around for years that isn't really a realistic goal. I totally know what you mean about the marriage thing! It's your life and people just need to butt out 🙂

  15. I'm right there with you my friend! When I first started blogging I compared myself to every blogger in the blogosphere and then it hit me. I mean it really hit me like a ton of bricks…I do this for fun whether I'm good at it or not because I started doing this to make friends and that was my main goal, to find others just like me. 😉

    I've come to realize that I was doing this in my personal life and too and finally said…SCREW IT and I move at my own pace by my own standards. Jeann you are definitely not alone and thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂
    Cristina recently posted…Glitterland (Glitterland #1) by Alexis HallMy Profile

    • Absolutely, it's for fun and even though sometimes you can get blogger jealousy (I know I have), this is YOUR own space and what you choose to do with it. I totally agree with you Cristina! Thank you.

  16. I agree so much with this.

    We all place an unrealistic amount of pressure on ourselves sometimes, and I think a lot of the time we even convince ourselves that it's because of other people's expectations. But actually, what I've learned, is other people aren't expecting you to do all that much. They just want you to be happy, so if you stress yourself out, you're not benefiting them and you're definitely not benefiting yourself. I learned a long time ago to just relax and stop putting pressure on myself, because I knew there was no way I'd be happy if I did.

    Sometimes I do still struggle, especially with comparing myself. I'll be worried that 'that person is smarter or more successful' and 'that person is prettier or slimer'. But that person, who ever they happen to be at that moment, aren't me. They'll never be me. And the more I compare myself to them, the more I lose who I am by trying to emulate them.

    No, I may not be as good at some things as other people, but they also may not be as good at some things as I am. It's all a matter of perspective. And it's important to remember that the world would suck pretty bad if we were all similar.
    Allie @ Little Birdi recently posted…Review: Reboot {Amt Tintera}My Profile

    • That's so true Allie, you've learnt a really good lesson already. No one wants us to stress out so much. It's so true and natural for us to compare ourselves to others, but it's an unrealistic goal I think. And you're totally right about us being all similar! How boring would that be?

  17. Awwww, this was such a lovely post, Jeann. Perfect timing, too. I just recently graduated, and all my friends have their careers already laid out for them, but I, until now, can't seem to find what I really want to do with my life and it's been pressuring me a lot. I always compare myself to them and it brings my confidence down so much and it eventually leads to even darker thoughts. Thank you for reminding me of what's important <3
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne BlankmanMy Profile

    • Thanks Faye, it was a bit personal so I wasn't sure how it would go but I'm glad everyone has given some positive feedback. I totally remember that time in my life after graduating, and for the first time you have to go out on your own and fend for yourself. Hang in there Faye, be confident and enjoy the time off for now until you decide what you want <3

  18. It's hard to maintain balance, but good friends who recognize when you need help are priceless. I'm glad to hear that you have a good support system in place; we all need one of those. I've had a bad week blogging-wise, and i'm hoping the next one will be better. I blame my current read, it has dragged my whole week down. So, on that note, TGIF!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Audiobook Review: Trapped by Kevin HearneMy Profile

    • Absolutely, I don't know what we would do without them! I hope you have a better blogging week, I've had a few of those. But it makes you appreciate the good reads too. Thanks for visiting Carmel!

  19. It's quite important that this is said and reminded of Jeann. We all put lots of pressure on ourselves as bloggers and reviewers and I can relaly affect the enjoyment of things, but I'm happy to say I'm pretty okay with it all at the moment. I take regular breaks, don't put 'too' much pressure on myself and feel comfortable to not review or dnf books if I must. I always think about the negative person I once was, and think more positively about myself now 🙂
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Five Friday Favourites #9 – Favourite Books of 2014 So FarMy Profile

    • Definitely, good on you for being able to manage it at the moment. I love your final comment, that in itself is a reflection of the positive journey you've had 🙂

  20. I've always had problems with pressure, and blogging is no different. All through high school and now uni, I have pressured myself. For grades, and in high school especially: involvement in extra-curricular activities.

    But, even so, I try to apply what you said. Everyone is different. We all have different capacities. Someone might be able to read 10 books a week and never fall behind in their reviews. And I am just not that person. YES, I have reviews that have been waiting for months, and YES I feel guilty and pressure to read them, but there are things that require my attention more than them (*gasp*), like uni work, and family.

    I do compare myself to others sometimes, it's just one of those things. But I try not to dwell on it. Everyone has different capabilities, and strengths and weaknesses, so we shouldn't compare ourselves to another person. For all we know, that person that we're comparing ourselves to (and thus thinking are better than we are) may not survive one day in our shoes!

    I just think that pressure is one of those things that comes and goes, at least for me. Sometimes, I really worry about the blog and whether or not it's where I want it to be, or whether it's where other blogs were when they were as old as mine. But then other days, I don't care. I love my blog, I think it's at a really good place, and I know that people like it. And I'm content.

    I guess there are just on and off days. But I think I am getting better (ish). Unfortunately, I don't really have any coping mechanisms, except maybe shutting things out, and trying not to think about them. :S
    Chiara @ Books for a recently posted…Book Review: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick YanceyMy Profile

    • I've always been the same all my life, at school, uni and work. It's a great mechanism for meeting your goals and being a high achiever but the older I've gotten, the older I've realised it's not viable if you don't have a healthy coping mechanism. You'll learn that as you start working and trying to balance other priorities. Even with balancing the blogging, reading with work, family is really difficult. My coping mechanism is food, alone time and gym classes, which I need to remind myself to do.

  21. I didn't realise I needed this post until I read it. Especially now. There's so much pressure on me, most of it put on by myself. I am always comparing myself to others, getting caught up in my perfectionism and where I want to be and not focusing on how far I've come. And usually I think I cope well. I can work well under pressure. But recently… things have made it harder and I've been putting myself under more pressure than usual and it's starting to hurt my focus and wellbeing which really isn't good.

    Thank you for this. I needed to hear these words I knew in my heart said by someone else 🙂
    Bec @ Ransom Reads recently posted…King’s Ransom: KinslayerMy Profile

    • I've kinda been feeling everyone's stress and pressure in general lately, so I'm glad to have shared what was on my mind. You're so right, we constantly compare ourselves and we never stop and think about our own achievements. No problems Bec, I'm really glad that my words reached you!

  22. This came at a perfect time. I have been having chest pain (don't worry getting it checked out) and a lot of anxiety attacks but I have come to realize I was putting the pressure on myself. A friend of mine who knows how stressed out I have been spoke to me last night and we talked about some things I can do to ease the pressure I am putting on myself. Also he reaffirmed I am a good person and deserve good things and certain things take time. Thank you I needed a positive message to start my day. Glad you have good friends.
    Mollydee recently posted…BOOK BLITZ!!My Profile

    • Oh dear, I'm glad to share this post with you to reevaluate your priorities Mollydee. No one else is making you feel that way but yourself, it's how you choose to react. .I'm glad you got to talk to a good friend too. Hope you get the chest pains sorted and some relaxation time.

  23. I think we all need to hear this sometimes. Occasionally it's nice to re-evaluate and think, you know, I'm actually doing pretty well. But it's hard to have this perspective when everything is overwhelming. And being stressed does no good for reading and blogging, so I'd much rather take a break than lose my love of the bookish world.

    Great post <3
    Emily @ The Loony Te recently posted…When books are more than books: Harry PotterMy Profile

    • Absolutely, it's so easy to get caught up in what you are doing that you forget that you have control over stress and pressure and how you are feeling sometimes. Thanks Emily 🙂

  24. Oh I love this post so much. THANK YOU. I've been feeling a bit of blogging stage-fright at the moment…(but I'm also contributing that to the fact that I've been crook) but it gets so overwhelming to want to read all the blogs and read all the books and do all the blogging…gah. I wish I didn't compare myself to all the blogs I loved. Blogging isn't fun when it's so much pressure. This is such an awesome post, Jeann!!
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…Notebook Sisters Approved: Writing StylesMy Profile

    • Happy to share Cait, I've honestly been feeling so much better after the wake up call. We have to just be realistic and not put so much pressure on ourselves. I hope you get well soon!