By Reon Janse van Rensburg
To take care of your mental health is always important. At any given day it may be challenging to find the balance between work and your personal life, but it is especially challenging the past year. The unknown times where are currently living and working in can easily result in us spending more time on work than we should, but for those working with social media there is often little escape.
When your work requires you to be actively involved in social media, it can often be impossible to take a break from the online world and to switch off.
The fuse of a person working in social media is often burning from both sides. Most people experience burnout and chronic fatigue at some point in the workplace, but those in charge of matters on social media experience social media burnout and chronic fatigue at the same time, which may lead to larger problems when extra stress is placed on these employees.
This all amidst a worldwide pandemic and the high demand for digital content, new setups, claims for childcare and everyday anxiety can be spiritually and emotionally draining.
Thus, it is more important than ever to take the time to protect your mental health and build on your endurance for the future.
Burnout is something that can happen to anyone and is not a sign of weakness. It does not matter how passionate or committed you are to your job; the symptoms of burnout can still occur without your own doing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) categorises it as chronic work stress that is not managed successfully”, with the most important symptom that the affected person do not have energy and that you are giving up on your job emotionally, and that your professional effectiveness is declining.
Burnout can occur in any occupation, but it is especially prevalent in the social media industry where it is often difficult to switch off.
Factors unique to the burnout caused by social media, according to a study conducted by the University of West Virginia, includes the necessity to always be online because these staff are paid small salaries and not appreciated, and due to the lack of support by leadership.
Causes of burnout on social media include the following:
- Unmanageable workload
- Unclear expectations
- Stigma associated with social media
- Lack of support from leadership
- Limited autonomy or control
- Negative workplace environment
- Imbalance between work and private life
How do I prevent social media burnout?
Set boundaries and expectations
Even though social media is always “online” does not mean you have to be. To be on social media 24/7 is not only unrealistic but it is also unhealthy. One should set expectations, including set workhours because the balance between work and people’s private lives are truly important.
To set healthy boundaries, it is smart to keep your social media accounts for work away from your personal phone.
Know your tone and worth
A lot of employees working on social media are often underpaid and undervalued. Misconceptions about the industry is rife and although the expectation is that employees in this role should be skilled in several aspects, interns are often used to fill this role.
This job is not always easy, and one often has to deal with false information and people who hate or harass others.
Know your worth!
Work smarter, not harder
People who are overworked place themselves on the road to quick burnout. Instead of taking on extra hours you need to apply tactics that makes you more efficient.
Divide your day into segments to set boundaries for the amount of time you are going to spend on notifications and comments. Allow time for your battery to recharge and continue later.
There are also handy programmes and apps that make the task and process easier, especially when you have to monitor more than one platform.
Recognise your warning signs
The quicker you learn to notice signs of burnout, the quicker you can equip yourself to prevent this downward spiral.
Treat your spiritual and emotional strengths like a muscle that must be exercised and conditioned. When things become too much it is good to be still and take care of your wellbeing. You should always be your first priority.
How do I notice the signs of burnout?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you negative or cynical at work?
- Are you lacking energy or motivation to finish your work?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Have you become more isolated?
- Have your sleeping habits changed?
- Are you still satisfied with your career?
Consider your answers seriously. If a walk around the block or other mechanisms of dealing with this is not working, it might be time to look for help. Also pay attention to a colleague who is experiencing burnout and offer your support – you may be the only one who does.
Ask for help
No one has to deal with the management of mental health issues or mental health issues alone. Notify your managers when it becomes too difficult for you.
We need to normalise people asking for help so that they do not have to carry the burden alone. Employees need to ask for help before reaching a breaking point and before it becomes a matter of emergency. However, it is never too late to ask for help.
Take a day or two for your metal wellbeing to recover. Build a support network or seek professional help.
Plead for mental health resources
There is still a negative stigma that exists around mental health even if people are talking about the topic more easily. Most people, however, still hides the problem and especially do not discuss it with colleagues.
If you are managing a team, it is important that you create a climate which promotes the wellbeing of employees instead of just measuring their success to the data regarding the sales and all other aspects of a social media page. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that employees who are able to talk to their managers about depression are more productive at work. Normalise talking about depression and anxiety and discuss solutions and handling mechanisms.
Employers can, for example, offer safe spaces for employees to share shared experiences and supporting each other so that employees feel less isolated.
It is important to realise that nothing is as important as your health and wellbeing. It is easy to give in under pressure that leads to social media overwhelming you, as well as the tension and anxiety that often accompanies the difficult task of monitoring social media at your best.
Top marketers use simple, yet effective methods such as keeping the content simple and diversified, focusing on priorities, sticking to a schedule and most important, taking a breather when necessary!
The key to success on social media is to get a stable routine, that takes up minimal time and delivers optimal results.
Working in Social Media: 7 Tips to Protect Your Mental Health – https://later.com/blog/social-media-mental-health-tips/
How top marketers avoid social media overwhelm – https://www.postplanner.com/blog/how-top-marketers-avoid-social-media-overwhelm/
5 Ways To Overcome Online Social Media Fatigue For Mental Well-Being – https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2018/07/30/5-ways-to-overcome-online-social-media-fatigue-for-mental-well-being/?sh=29d058701cfa
10 Ways for Social Marketers to Avoid Social Media Burnout – https://blog.hootsuite.com/ways-to-avoid-social-media-burnout/