On paper, a career as an influencer may sound perfect. You get to partner with different brands, set your work hours, entertain fans, be creative and get paid for doing so. But this kind of lifestyle comes with some downsides, especially when it comes to influencer mental health.
Roughly half of all influencers say their work life impacts their mental health, reports Insider. Social media influencers may struggle with these issues for multiple reasons, including the following:
- Their lives are on display on social media and open to judgment or cyberbullying.
- Social media users often feel the need to compare their lives, deeds and physical appearances with those of others.
- They face pressure to satisfy brands, agents and fans.
- They’re exploring a non-traditional career path that friends and family members may not understand.
- Their motivated and entrepreneurial personalities may be subject to burnout.
The good news is that there are many steps influencers can take to protect their well-being. Consider these tips that can help you address mental health struggles.
Learn to Identify the Signs of Burnout
Learn to recognize when work itself is the cause of mental health issues. People who overwork themselves tend to suffer from burnout, a condition marked by physical and emotional fatigue and feelings of detachment. As burnout gradually develops, you might notice the following symptoms, says Psychology Today:
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Lack of focus
- Shortness of breath and dizziness
These symptoms could also be the result of some other condition, so you should consult a physician. However, in the case of burnout, symptoms will begin to decrease once you make lifestyle changes that reduce work stress.
Assess Your Schedule
Creating a to-do list and reviewing your weekly schedule beforehand can help you steer clear of burnout. As you jot down your tasks, keep the following questions in mind:
- Which tasks are high priority and which can wait or be removed altogether?
- Are you realistically allocating enough time for each task?
- Are there any tasks you’re unlikely to finish or any tasks that may be especially stressful?
- Will you need to ask for extended deadlines or help with completing stressful jobs?
On the weeks in which your schedule is packed, practice saying “no” to new work. You don’t need to feel guilt over the idea of turning down assignments, especially when you’re already pushing yourself.
Limit Your Social Media Time
When your job revolves around social media, it’s easy to go overboard and spend too much time online. Use apps and other online tools to track your social media usage for you. Consider setting daily or weekly time limits for yourself. Once you’ve used up that time, close the app and focus on other tasks.
When coming up with time limits, be realistic. How long will it take you to create content, schedule your posts and engage with followers? If you find yourself routinely going past your limits, you need to either use social media more efficiently or adjust your limits.
Take Regular Breaks
Whether you decide to set social media time limits or not, you should make a habit of taking routine breaks. For example, you might take a 15-minute break for every hour of work. During your break, do something that doesn’t involve staring at your computer. Go for a short walk, call a friend, grab a drink of water. You might want to even give meditation practices a try.
Designate a Work Space
Prevent work from seeping into other areas of your life by designating a work space. Or at least designate spaces where you won’t work. This could mean leaving your computer in your office or refusing to address work matters from bed. This can be especially useful if you’re worried about work popping up while you’re spending quality time with loved ones.
Clear Out the Negativity
Seeing a steady stream of negativity is likely to dampen your mood. So, consider unfollowing accounts that regularly post content that causes you to feel frustrated or anxious. If you don’t want to take the step of fully unfollowing someone, you can simply mute or hide their posts from your feed.
On some platforms, you can also choose to mute keywords, phrases or hashtags. This is especially helpful if you want to avoid certain stressful topics while you conduct your influencer work. In some cases, you might want to temporarily mute keywords, rather than make a permanent ban.
Add More Positivity
Don’t just cut out negative content on your feed. Add more content that makes you feel good. This might involve following accounts that post inspirational content or funny memes. Look for photographers, artists or vloggers who regularly share impressive and vibrant visuals. Search for bloggers who share their own mental health stories to remind you you’re not alone.
Follow professional therapists and mental health advocates who are active on social media and regularly share tips for managing depression and anxiety. Keep in mind, their posts are general advice and not a substitute for personally consulting a therapist.
Spread the Positivity
When you see content that boosts your mood, like or share it. It might be useful to your existing followers, and you might gain followers who are looking for positive content.
You can also take things a step further and make a habit of leaving positive comments on other people’s posts. Leave compliments and positive feedback when you can. Making other people feel good just might boost your mood as well.
Embrace Offline Hobbies
What do you like to do after you’ve completed your influencer work for the day? Consider prioritizing self-care activities and engaging new hobbies that don’t require staring at a screen. Hobbies that involve physical fitness, such as indoor climbing or dance lessons, can be particularly helpful. Exercise is known to release feel-good chemicals in the brain and improve your mood.
Another option is to simply spend more time with friends and family. After work, surround yourself with people who support you and make you laugh. You can even decide to pursue a new hobby together.
Form a Community
As an influencer, you might not have coworkers in the traditional sense of the word. You’re probably not working in an office where you can chat with those around you about the newest project. But you can still reach out to people who are in a similar line of work as you. Connect with influencers in your niche, not just for social media collaborations, but for actual friendship.
Start with one-on-one chats with other influencers, and then introduce them to one another. Exchange tips and memes or talk about your experiences. As your friendship circle gets bigger, you might want to move to Discord, Facebook Groups or some other platform that can handle lively group conversations.