Before we begin: if your mental health is suffering, know you’re not alone and there are ways to manage it and people to turn to for support.
We’re not going to list down the ways social media and mental health are connected. We know they are. You know they are. What we’re gonna talk about is why it is important to build better mental health, and how you can balance both, especially when you are a content creator and budding influencer.
Why you should work towards better mental health?
When your car breaks down, you take it to the mechanic. When you break a bone, you visit your doctor. So, when you are struggling with your mental health, why not book an appointment with a specialist. But what’s the “point” of seeing a therapist, anyway? Why not just talk to a friend?
Because therapy can help in ways that a friend cannot.
But how do you know when is the right time to talk to a therapist? Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:
- You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
- Your problems don’t seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
- You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities.
- You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
Tips to balance social media and mental health
To say COVID-19 increased our time on social media is an understatement. And if you are a creator, or a social media strategist or someone whose work includes social media, that time has become near constant. For many, it’s led to depression or anxiety. Here’s how you manage it.
1. Take a break from social media
This is the most simple yet ultimate solution for a mental health problem related to social media. We know that when your work is being on social media this becomes really difficult. But get a reality check if you have unknowingly become addicted to Reddit, Instagram, Twitter or any other social. It can result in bad sleep cycle, increased anxiety and stress levels. Follow these steps to correct your habit:
- Track how much time you spend on social media each day and then set a goal and DON’T exceed it.
- Just turn off your phone at certain times of day like when you are in a meeting, or working out or having dinner, etc.
- Keep your phone in another room while you are sleeping. Don’t bring it to bed.
- Disabling social media notifications really helps because I know it’s hard to resist those dings and beeps. But this definitely helped me increase my focus.
2. Follow positive accounts
We are aware of the fact that there is a lot of negativity on social media. While you can’t stop those people, but you can definitely control what you are consuming. Follow pages that make you happy like memes or inspirational pages and unfollow those that don’t!
If you can’t unfollow some people because they are your friends or colleagues, mute them on Instagram and Twitter while you can unfollow them on Facebook and still be friends.
You can also follow people who are honest in their feeds and make you feel like one of them, those who talk about mental health or body positivity.
3. Handle trolls and those who bully
Content creators and social media influencers are constantly told to be authentic or be themselves. It is a wonderful way to get to know your followers and have engaging conversations with them. However, there are always some people who try to bring you down, which can negatively impact your mental health
So, how do you deal with this aspect of social media and mental health? There are number of ways like turning off comments on your posts. Here are some more way content creators can improve their mental health while still using social media
Check and edit your followers if and when required
It is best to follow only the accounts and people who make you feel happy and good. If the content posted on any of the accounts you are following is triggering you in a negative way. It is best to unfollow them. You should do the same if someone is posting such things on the comment section of Social Media platforms.
Decide how you will respond to trolls ahead of time
It is evident that you will receive negative feedback, which may make you feel sad and terrible. In some cases, you may have the urge to respond scathingly to them. However, you need to make up your mind whether you want to block such users, respond to them, or report them. This will prevent you from making rash mistakes.
Block certain words
Most social media platforms allow users to block certain comments or words. You will be able to make use of this feature to easily filter out offensive words and comments (and hence trolls) from your feed.
4. Be realistic and understand your limits
A reason social media often impacts mental health of creators is the relentless pace it demands. You need to come up with a monthly content creation plan that is well within your limits. Be realistic while preparing the monthly content calendar. If you are pressuring yourself to create content for fast growth, then it may put your mental health at risk.
5. Find and talk to other content creators
No one knows the impact content creation has on mental health than fellow content creators. Try to reach out and talk to them. if DMs on Twitter or Instagram don’t work, use the chat feature on the DYT App. Talking to other influencers will not help get in contact with people who truly understand what you are going through , but also enable you to learn new #thngs and grow as a creator.
Self care is not only a trending word in the mental health world
A lot of you might be talking about self-care on your respective accounts but don’t forget to follow it yourself. And this doesn’t have to be an expensive retreat. A self-care regime can be watching The Office (or Friends), eating favourite food, or dancing to old Bollywood songs. Here are a few self-care ideas you can try at home to help your mental health when social media gets to you:
- Watch these comedies! Not only these will make you laugh but you might also feel nostalgic and have an hour of gossip call with your colleague.
- Meditate. The problem is we don’t actually know what it really means. It’s not “doing nothing” but focusing and calming down your mind and body. 10 minutes can make a huge difference in your life. If you are new to it, you can take help from apps like Headspace, Spotify, etc.
- Have ‘casual’ and ‘fun’ zoom calls with people. Here at Do Your Thng, we have been doing these meetings since the lockdown began, and trust me, there’s something therapeutic about connecting with our peers after a stressful week and these meetings are one of those elements which keep us going through the next week.
If you are in India and facing any mental health issues or distress please reach out to a loved one, a therapist or mental health hotline at 1800-599-0019. Your mental health matters.