Happy summer! I know I say this at the start of just about every Coffee Break post but… This year is completely flying by. I feel like I blinked on New Year’s Day and Easter appeared. Then I blinked again and now the 4th of July is right around the corner.
Life… Please slow down!!
Do you feel like that too?
So to kick off the summer (just a teeny bit late!), I wanted to share news about something that’s going on behind the scenes… It’s been rolling around and growing bigger in my mind for a while, and it’s time to act on these little (now huge) nudges I’ve been feeling.
So grab an iced coffee (or iced tea or water, I don’t judge!) and pretend like we’re sitting across from each other at a coffee shop.
Then here we go!
I’m taking all of July off from work.
But that’s not the big news…
The big news is why.
And before we get to that, don’t worry! I’ll still be here to answer any questions, comments, or emails that you send my way, whether here on the blog or on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!).
I’m just giving myself a break from new recipe development and photography. 🙂
So now that we’ve covered that (I promise I’ll still be around to help with your baking questions!), here’s why I’m taking July off…
In today’s society, I feel like there’s often an underlying pressure to do more. Work more. Achieve more. Be more.
I’ve seen and heard people, especially in my generation, living by the acronyms FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (you only live once). Pushing themselves to keep going, keep working, keep forging forward, stay active, never miss out on any opportunity—work, play, or otherwise—that comes their way.
I’ve found myself falling into that trap… And forgetting how to get out.
I’ve found myself working 8-10 hours on Amy’s Healthy Baking every day of the week… And turning down many opportunities to spend time with my friends and family.
I’ve found myself stressing so much over the way my baked treats look in photos… And often forgetting to sit and fully enjoy every sweet bite once I finish.
I’ve found myself spending hours and hours planning and scheduling fresh new content for my blog and social media… And failing to schedule just as much time for fun in my own life.
I’ve found myself trying to put on everyone else’s oxygen masks first with my Amy’s Healthy Baking business… And neglecting to put on my own.
As my mom says… You have to refill your own teacup before you can refill someone else’s. And you have to recharge your own batteries before you can recharge someone else’s.
So I’m taking July off to put on my oxygen mask. To refill my teacup. To recharge my batteries.
To remember what it’s like to be Amy… Not just Amy’s Healthy Baking.
I’ve felt fairly drained over the past year. I’ve felt a little sense of dread nearly every time I walk into the kitchen to start testing a new recipe.
“Will people like it?” I ask myself. “Is this what they want? Or will this fall flat? Should I try something else? Maybe play it safe so there’s a better chance they’ll love it?”
I tried to be really intentional, carefully tracking which recipes you viewed and tried the most, making meticulous notes about what flavors and baked goodies you loved, consulting those notes before I started on each new recipe brainstorming and baking session.
I still second-guessed nearly all of my recipe brainstorming and baking decisions.
And along the way…
I lost sight of why I started my blog way back in 2010.
I started Amy’s Healthy Baking as a way to encourage me to try new recipes and techniques. To learn. To grow. To experiment. And most importantly, to have fun.
No… I didn’t intend for it to become a business and my full-time job back then.
That just evolved, and I’m so truly grateful, especially for the role that you played in that. Your interest and support for Amy’s Healthy Baking is what allowed me to turn it into my full-time job. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky because of what you’ve done.
Still… When I woke up on a recipe testing day, there was a pit in my stomach. My gut was tied up in knots. My shoulders were tense. My feet felt heavy. My mind spun in circles, like a dog constantly chasing her tail.
I was afraid to try new things.
I was afraid to branch out, to experiment with exotic flavor combinations, to play around with different varieties of homemade bread, to test my hand at making fancy pastries from scratch, to learn about piping buttercream onto tall layered cakes, to play around with painting sugar cookies with royal icing, to tweak and test and try improving new recipes over and over again…
I was actually afraid to learn. To get messy. To have fun in the kitchen.
And that had spilled over into other areas of my life too.
I was afraid to take time off from work to get outside of my comfort zone. To plan coffee dates and dinners out, to schedule down time and vacations, to watch a movie or work on a puzzle with no other goals than to simply enjoy the moment.
I was afraid that doing any of those would cause me to fall behind… to produce horrible and terrible work… to offend you with taking too long to respond to comments and emails… to lose income.
And I’m ready for a break from fear.
Despite taking a vacation for the whole month, I only have two trips planned for July. One to Hawaii (I’m tagging along on my mom’s business trip!) and one back home. I’m planning on spending the rest of my month-long vacation at home. Resting. Relaxing. Reading. Starting and finishing a few jigsaw puzzles. Playing with our family’s dogs. Exploring the still-new-to-me city I now live in.
To quote one of my all-time favorite people…
I’m cooling my jets.
Somehow, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has felt exhausted. Drained. In desperate need of a break.
Maybe you feel the same way. Hopefully not quite as intensely as what I felt in the past year… But maybe there’s still some part of your life that’s been tugging on your heartstrings, weighing on your mind, or nagging for your attention.
Give yourself permission to take a break from it. Whatever it is that’s causing you stress or sadness or frustration or exhaustion…
Find the courage to let it go for a while.
It’s like slipping a bookmark in between the pages of a novel. It doesn’t mean you’re putting down the book forever… It just means you’re taking a break—maybe to grab a glass of water, maybe to take a nap, maybe to head off on a vacation—but you can still come back and find your place in that book, exactly where you left off.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m slipping a bookmark into Amy’s Healthy Baking, pausing to rest my eyes and my brain, taking some time to savor the other things my life wants to offer instead of frantically rushing through work every day.
I hope you’re able to find a bookmark and a break of your own. Because you deserve it. You deserve a break from the constant go-go-going and stressors in your life.
Maybe it feels a little scary to you to try taking a break… Or to even admit you might need one.
I get it. It took me over a year to finally find the courage to admit that I needed a break. And it took me another month of debating whether that was actually a good idea to act on my realization.
If you’re feeling a little nervous or hesitant… If you’re feeling a little doubtful or worried… If you’re terrified your whole life will shatter like a wine glass dropped on the kitchen floor if you pause and take a break for one month, one week, one day, one moment…
Then I’m inviting you to join my special group here.
With my special group, I’m sharing what I’ve learned throughout the past year about doubt, fear, and burnout… And what helped me find the courage I needed to take a break. To put my oxygen mask on first. To replace the exhaustion and dread I felt in the mornings and throughout the days with peace and joy.
You truly deserve the peace, self-love, and rest that usually comes from taking a moment, however brief or long it may be, to pause. To breathe. To remember who you are.
So find your bookmark. Take your break. And, if you’re willing, join my special group here. I’d love for you to be a part of this journey with me and to hear what happens in your life when you take a break too. ♡
I absolutely understand this, it happens to me at least twice a year and I’m learning to say “no” to more things that don’t serve me. I’m so proud of you for taking a step back to reflect and recharge, sending you all the love. ❤️ Hawaii will be incredible!!
I’m SO proud of you, Marina!!! I know how similar we are… And with how hard it is for me to say “no,” I imagine it must feel just as difficult to you. To have the courage to say that not just once, but multiple times, instead of trying to people-please and do what others think is the “right” thing is so incredible. You’re truly inspiring! ♡
Good for you! We are farmers and have had the hardest farm year in the 42 we have been in business. So ready for a break but it just isn’t possible any time soon. When we are done harvesting we are planning on some major R and R. We all need to pull back and refresh sometimes-so happy that yours includes Hawaii! Enjoy!
Thank you so much for sharing Sheila! After visiting a few dairy farms last fall, I have the biggest appreciation for what you do as farmers and just how hard you work. Your farming makes such a HUGE difference in our daily lives, and I’m truly grateful for what you do! ♡ I really hope you’re able to enjoy as much rest and relaxation as you can once the season ends!!
Enjoy every second of your break, Amy! You are such a prolific recipe developer that we have plenty to bake while you are away so have fun, relax, and all of your fans will be happy to see you when you return. Take care. 🙂
Susan, your sweet comment made my entire day! Thank you SO much!! ❤️ I’m so honored that you’d say such kind things. My heart is so full right now! 🙂 And if you make any of my recipes while I’m on my little break, I’d still love to hear what you think of them!
I second all of these comments. Couldn’t say it better and can certainly keep busy with all the recipes you’ve got in the archives. But as we take our own opportunities to restore and refresh, I am intensely aware of the privilege embedded in our ability to take a breather. a sabbatical. a retreat. And of the need to keep working for a world where that privilege is available to all women. Thank you, Amy
I truly appreciate your kind words! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. I agree — this ability is definitely a privilege! 🙂 And of course, I’d love to hear what you think of any of my recipes you decide to try, too!
I pick up what I can from time to time from your recipes and do enjoy what I reap, but haven’t commented before. For that I’m sorry, but @ the same time I’m impressed that you would take this time to refresh yourself. Good for you, girlfriend! 🙂 LOL! Go for it! God doesn’t want us to live in fear! 🙂
Absolutely no need to apologize Lori! It means the world to me that you’ve been enjoying my recipes — thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! 🙂 I really appreciate your kind words about my summer break, too. You’re so sweet!!
Carla Hollingsworth says...
Amy, I’m praying for your rejuvenation! We all need to slow down and “smell the roses “ ????
You’re so sweet — thank you Carla! I truly appreciate your thoughtful comment and kind prayers! ♡ I hope you have many moments in your own life where you’re able to stop and smell the roses as well!
Carla Hollingsworth says...
Of course Carla! 🙂
Shika Jones Pollard says...
Don’t respond to this because then you are worrying about responding to comments instead of just enjoying reading them. It’s so important to take take. Time for yourself. Time for your brain, your heart, your soul. Time to rejuvenate and journey and meditate and just breathe. I’m so happy for you that you discovered this before you completely crashed. Thank you so much for all that you do for your healthly-minded foodie fans, Amy! I am sure I speak for many when I say we are all so very grateful to find a fellow foodie who loves to bake, cares about what goes into what we eat but still wants it to be low-calorie, low-additive, pure and filled with love and great taste!!! Enjoy your rest and jig-saw puzzles and most of all spending time with your family and pup-pups. Thank you with big warm hugs! See you on Instagram!
Thank you so much for your incredibly sweet comment, Shika! It completely made my day! 🙂 I took a break from all blog comments while on my Hawaii vacation this past week, but it’s still fun (and so rewarding!) to come back and read what people write. I feel truly blessed to have such a kind, loving, and supportive community here at Amy’s Healthy Baking — and you’re the epitome of that! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!
I’m way late to this, but I LOVE that you did this for yourself. I hope your trips were amazing (I’ll go read those next) and that this unplug of sorts was just what you needed. It can be easy I’m sure to not prioritize rest when you work for yourself, but it’s just as important, if not MORE important than when you work for someone else. I hope you continue to take vacations for yourself in the future, you deserve it!
Thank you SO much Brittany!! Reading all about your adventures actually helped me find the courage to do this. I love seeing how you don’t fit yourself into a typical 9-to-5 mold, how much you prioritize yourself and your interests, and how often you follow your heart. So proud of and happy for you!! ❤️