I’ve been thinking a lot lately about resilience: the ability to remain strong in the face of difficulties. The IPCC tells us that, in order to preserve prosperous and functioning societies, governments must implement strategies to bulk up their resilience to climate extremes. That way, when a bad storm inevitably hits, they won’t be totally destabilized.
But the IPCC’s resilience chapter, like most climate-related discussions about the subject, is only about how to build resilience into our systems. It says nothing about how to build resilience in ourselves. That’s fine; that’s not the IPCC’s job. But I have realized that, without personal resilience, strategies for systemic resilience are meaningless. The people running a system determine its success.
When I started HEATED in the summer of 2019, I was an incredibly resilient person. I had routines, activities, and communities outside of work that kept me energetic and strong, no matter what. Two years into this pandemic, I have lost a great deal of those things, and embarrassingly have not found a way to rebuild them. As a result, my mental health has deteriorated. My brain feels in a constant state of fog and overwhelm.
That’s why the newsletter has, frankly, sucked lately—even despite my attempt to make its system more resilient. When I switched HEATED from a daily publication to a weekly last year, I thought it was the smartest way to fix the problem, because the new schedule could withstand the inevitable days when I didn’t feel like myself. But a new system can’t fix the core problem, which is me. I am simply not doing enough to rebuild myself.
Don’t get me wrong: I am improving. Sometimes I get these big rushes of energy where I feel like my old self, where I truly believe I am a go-getter again. For the last two months, I’ve been working on a print magazine project that I think is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It’s in editing now and I’m excited to share it.
But these rushes just don’t last very long. Any setback, any negative, can send me back into a depressive state. And this is the definition of a resilience issue. So I need some time and space to rebuild my foundation.
That’s why starting today, HEATED is going on a temporary hiatus. Functionally, that means you shouldn’t expect this newsletter to hit your inbox very often, if at all, in the next few months. I’ll also be taking a big digital break, taking time to really focus on myself and my habits. I won’t likely be responding to story pitches, Twitter DMs, or interview requests during this time.
If you’re a paying subscriber, don’t worry. Your subscription has been paused, and will remain paused until I’m ready to come back. It will also remain paused for the two months after I come back, since the last two months of this newsletter have been absolute shit, and you deserve to get what you paid for. (Sorry.) In addition, any time remaining on your subscription will roll over when I come back. For example, if you have 12 days left on your monthly subscription right now, you will have 12 days left when I come back.
Whether you’re a free or paying subscriber, I hope you’ll stay on this e-mail list. This community of over 50,000 readers has the ability to make a real impact together, so I hope my leaving for a few months doesn’t dismantle it. I absolutely intend for HEATED to return. I just need a bit of time for Emily to return.
You may still get e-mails from me periodically during the hiatus—they’ll just be when I feel like it. For example, if a news event happens that I just can’t resist commenting on, I’ll send out an e-mail. Or when the magazine project I’ve been working on comes out, I’ll probably want to tell you about it. Yet another reason to remain on the list! (Please!)
I know some folks will be disappointed in this result. Believe me, I’m disappointed, too. I’ve tried everything I can to get out of this funk. This is really a last resort situation. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary.
I also know others will be worried about me. To them, I want to say, I appreciate you. The most fulfilling experience of this newsletter so far has been writing for a group of people who actually care about me as a person. I care about you, too. I don’t want you to worry. As disappointed and embarrassed as I am about all this, I’m also really excited to have identified the problem. I know what I need to do to weather this storm—and all the inevitable ones ahead.
Drink water. Eat a banana. Do some push-ups. See you soon.
Good for you to take care of yourself--you're very needed for the long haul
Emily, the only bone I have to pick with you on this (sorry for the metaphor Fish!) is your feeling of embarrassment. We all need to get over this internalized capitalist programming that says we are only as good as our last "achievement"...notably defined/constrained in meaning by the very same system. In fact it's the very same extractive mindset that has caused our climate catastrophe.
I see you as a model for being so real & transparent about the impact the grind has on you. Be proud, VERY proud, of yourself as a public figure modeling this. I am moved and an even bigger fan of you! XO, Sindri