Finding Balance with Zaineb from Zeena Xena
Zaineb is a veteran London blogger at Zeena Xena, a freelance social media manager and the founder of Blogging Gals, an online community for influencers. Here she opens up about trying to balance stressful life events with an ambitious work ethic, the importance of taking a break and her bigger and better plans for 2018.
BLOGGING GALS: UNITING INFLUENCERS
When I started blogging, there was no real support online, particularly for small bloggers or promoting bloggers of colour. I wanted to create something that might be able to help bloggers like myself and a create an online community that would build a bigger audience for these smaller influencers, whether through advice on the website or retweeting posts on Twitter for greater exposure. My community would represent a diverse and close-knit group of influencers and help them with accessing more opportunities that they might not be able to access as a stand-alone individual. Blogging Gals was my way to bring together different females online, provide connections for them, reduce the isolation that is sometimes associated with blogging and promoting positivity online.
It’s amazing to see girls from all over the world using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, connecting with one another regardless of the team’s involvement in fostering those online relationships and I’m incredibly proud of all the work accomplished. Being personable and making friendships has always been so important to me.
THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE COMMUNITY
Sadly, my grandma passed away last May. I remember being at the hospital and yet I was still running Blogging Gals. I was pouring myself into my work and not giving myself the time to grieve properly. That went on for about a week and then I realised that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was just so emotional at that time and couldn’t think clearly. I chatted to my Mum about it and she encouraged me to keep going with the site but I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to carry on with it anymore. I decided that the best option for me was to go on a break, in order to heal properly. It gave me a bit of a wake-up call and a chance to think about where I wanted to go with Blogging Gals. I had been meaning to change it up a bit more, incorporating more events etc.., but had always felt like something was holding me back. So while an unfortunate thing happened, it gave me the spark to try something different.
Now, I’ve taken that break, I’m working on a relaunch for the site ready in February 2018. We’re growing as a team and have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure we have amazing content, events and more for this year. 2018 is going to be a great one for Blogging Gals.
BALANCING AMBITION WITH SANITY
I’ve had the most stressful few months in terms of balance. Blogging Gals is my baby and I have always worked hard to ensure I was very consistent with it, so taking a break really stressed me. I was understandably conscious of what would happen to our follower stats, whether we would still grow or see a drop in numbers because I hadn’t been tweeting or interacting with people. I thought no one would use the hashtag anymore or visit the site.
I’ll be honest - I was really worried. You work hard to create something for people and you want that to be a legacy that lasts.
However, I was at a point in my life where I had to take a step back. My health needed to be a priority, so because of the circumstances, I had to let go or else go crazy. I had to take some time to prevent myself falling ill. It’s important to take days off work, otherwise, you’ll slow yourself down, burn out and won’t be able to work anymore. So I convinced myself that I needed that break and I’m so happy I did it because it was really long overdue. Just as it’s important to allocate time for work, it’s important to plan breaks and time for yourself. I’m really strict with my time frames and limits, and as a result, I’m able to try and balance of my work and life commitments better.
BALANCING PRIVATE LIFE WITH AN ONLINE PRESENCE
I understand that it is tricky balancing how much we share about ourselves online with being truly connected with our followers online. With socials, we’re only shown what people want to show us and so that connection might not feel as authentic as a result. Personally, I like to use my platform to remind people that life isn’t always perfect regardless of my social feeds look like. I try to write about real things in my life, such as losing my nan or my experiences living with my mum’s depression. I hope that by sharing those experiences, it will help people feel more comfortable opening up and understanding mental illness or managing grief, as well as reduce any stigma attached to it.
Then again, not everything goes online and I think it’s important to hold some aspects to myself. When it comes to what I’m doing every day or who I’m dating, those are things that I don’t necessarily need to share. It’s about understanding my audience in order to create content that is relatable, adds value to my readers and keeps them in the loop without giving away all my life details.
LOVING YOURSELF EVEN WHEN THINGS DON'T GO TO PLAN
We’re all human. Looking at the big picture, social media doesn’t matter. It might matter in relation to your aspirations but really and truly, you come first. If you need to take time away or feel you might be falling behind on your work, remember that doesn’t mean it’s the end. It’s simply a chance to put you and your sanity first - to get whatever you need to sort out in your personal life in order before coming back bigger and better. When it calls for it, you need to put yourself first!