Hello!  I hope all you readers are enjoying this exciting / stressful / social / refreshing time of year, and even if you’re not, I hope you’re looking after yourselves.

I have not been, for quite some time, and it is only starting to become clear to me how much that has accumulated over time.  This seems to happen often to creators, especially independent ones who are trying to do everything themselves with high expectations of near-perfection.  I’m sure a lot of you have either experienced this yourself, or have followed a creator who has–or both.

Stray Sod’s break is going to continue for now, and this is to allow me to pursue better physical and mental health.  I have made some exciting strides in this direction already, but the more I learn about my true limits and what I actually need to do to be healthy, the more I see what a long road this will be.  I still plan to do cons and shows, but new pages will be on pause for the time being.

I’ve been burning out for longer than I had noticed.  My brain is in such a state of fatigue that when I do have time and feel physically well enough to sit down and work, I cannot focus.  Much of this was surprisingly not because of my actual work load, but because of all the stress in my life, generalized anxiety, and negative self-talk I’ve come to think of as normal.  In order to really recover, I have to take as much off of my plate as possible and spend time learning new ways of thinking.  Don’t you guys worry; I have some professional support in this area.

The migraines have made some improvements since I began to adopt gut-healing habits.  Cooking and eating for digestive health requires a lot of effort in itself, but my body has made some interesting and measurable improvements.  I still get migraines several times a month, but they are a little less severe, and now medications can shorten them so I’m not down for most of a week.  As a bonus, I am now sleeping better, feeling less pain in other parts of my body, and regaining a little energy.

Or I was, until the stress of starting a new job kicked in.  But it’s good news!  I am now working in one of my many dream jobs, in a library, which means I don’t have to divide my efforts between many different and sporadic tasks to support myself financially.  With a simpler life, my stress will start to go down even more swiftly, and hopefully it won’t be too long before I can start picking up the things I’ve had to put down.

I have been so inspired by other artists who have talked about stepping back from the things they love, often with such heavy feelings of guilt and regret that it piles more stress upon them.  So I thought it might be beneficial to share some of what I’m struggling with right now.  It has been difficult for me to grasp the impact one’s feelings and habits can really have on their ability to do what they want to do, but I’m starting to see it now.  And so I urge you all to take time to look after yourselves, relax when you need it, and if possible, not to feel bad about it!

I will continue to keep you up to date on the comic’s status.  Stay well.