7 Mental Health Tips for Social Media Managers
May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is a cause close to our hearts here at Later.
Looking after your mental health is always important, but COVID-19 and the uncertainty that comes with it, means we’re facing a unique set of mental health challenges.
And this can be especially true for those who spend most of their working day on the internet, where there is little escape from negative news.
But what if social media is your job?
When your work requires you to be scrolling social media, it can feel impossible to “unplug” and take a break from the online world.
In this blog post, we’re sharing some of the best free resources and mental health tips for social media managers so you can protect your mental health and take care of your wellbeing:
Social Media and Mental Health During COVID-19
There’s no denying that social media managers have an “always-on” attitude. Whether that’s for work or play, social media managers have their fingers (specifically thumbs!) on the pulse of what’s trending right now.
And that’s what makes them so great that their job!
But pair this with a global pandemic (and the hyper-demand for digital content, new working setups, childcare demands, and everyday anxieties that come with it) and the result can be mentally exhausting at best.
So it’s more important than ever to take the time to protect your mental health and build resilience for the future.
“COVID-19 has been overwhelming, to say the least,” shares Later’s Social Media Strategist, Mel Brittner.
“Some of our team have faced struggles of isolation, while some have had to pivot to working from home after being used to a vibrant co-work space and office structure. For me, it meant finding a new way to work while looking after a toddler!”
But it’s not just social media managers who need to be mindful of the toll COVID-19 and working online can take. In fact, screen time across the board has risen, with views on Instagram Live doubling in one week and Facebook and Instagram Facebook and Instagram seeing a 40% increase in usage.
At Later, we’ve introduced several new initiatives in an effort to help combat the challenges that COVID-19 brings. From mental health recharge days to Facemask Friday video calls, and virtual happy hours, small efforts are made each day to lighten the load.
We’ve also spent a lot of time refreshing our working from home best practices, so being away from the office doesn’t feel so isolating.
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Okay, deep breath. How are you really doing? Stressed? Trying to find a new normal? No matter what, you’re not alone. Most of us are spending extra time on social media lately, so we thought we'd share a few tips to help you protect your mental health, too. 𝙏𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙡 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙎𝙤𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙈𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙖 𝙁𝙚𝙚𝙙𝙨 📲 Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good. If you’re constantly comparing yourself or the content a profile is sharing isn't providing value for you in this new normal, it might be time to hit the unfollow or mute button. 𝙎𝙚𝙩 𝙎𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙂𝙤𝙖𝙡𝙨 🌱 The free app @aloebud helps you track your self-care goals, and will send you gentle reminders to help you stay on track, without making you feel bad for not completing them yet. 𝙂𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙀𝙮𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝘽𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙒𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙚 𝙋𝙤𝙙𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙨 🎧 Some great mental health podcasts to check out: 👉 Holding Space with @drcassidy 👉 @jengotch is Okay…Sometimes 👉 @selfiepodcast If you want more tips and tools to support your mental health through this, we have a couple blogs to offer some inspiration for those of us who can't always unplug. ⤴ Link in bio: 7 Mental Health Tips for Social Media Managers ⤴
The goal is simple: to create a supportive and caring community through an emotionally challenging time.
“With increased vulnerability and empathy for one another, little shifts soon emerged,” explains Mel.
“For example, instead of saying “lunch break” on our stand-up channel, our VP of Marketing would say “mental health break to go for a walk with my daughters”.
All these small changes go towards helping the team better support each other through COVID-19. So whether you’re a social media manager, or not, it’s essential to make time to check in on yourself and your coworkers, and find the support you need when and where you can.
To help you find moments of calm and build positive mental health habits, here are 7 tips to help restore your mental wellbeing during a difficult time:
Social Media Mental Health Tip #1: Control Your Social Media Feeds
Just like it’s okay to take social media breaks, it’s okay to keep your social media feeds as positive and happy as they can be, if that’s what you need.
If you’re starting to feel like social media is affecting your mental health, do a quick audit of what your personal feeds look like before you take a break.
Here are some ways to curate a social media feed that is right for you:
Unfollow Accounts That Don’t Make You Feel Good
If you’re comparing your body, house, or lifestyle to those perfect Instagram influencers and it doesn’t make you feel good, unfollow them.
Make sure that the people and brands you follow on Instagram are aligned with what’s important to you, and you’re getting value or positivity from following them.
If you can’t unfollow someone because of work or friendship, use the mute button on Instagram or Twitter to hide them from your feed, and you can “unfollow” someone on Facebook while still remaining friends with them, too.
Mute Keywords That Trigger or Upset You.
If there’s something that makes you constantly feel drained or depressed, it’s okay to hide it from your timeline.
You can mute keywords on Twitter, which hides particular words, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags from your timeline. You can choose to mute them “forever” or just for a limited time, which is especially helpful during world events or news cycles that can be overwhelming and hard to read about.
Follow Inspiring, Happy Accounts That Make You Feel Good.
Remember, you’re in control of your feed! And just like you unfollowed any accounts that made you feel bad, it’s important to add in some accounts that make you feel good too.
You could follow funny meme accounts, motivational speakers, stunning travel accounts, or even accounts that are just inspirational quotes.
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Having a BLAST eating and walking my way through Europe, but I have to admit, I MISS @SOULCYCLE 😭 took this photo the day I left and am so excited to get back to my soul fam even though thinking about leaving the UK is making me cryyyy 😫😫😫 _ #soulgifted #soulcycle #workoutootd #fitnessfashion
But it doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, and following other people who are open and honest about their mental health can make you feel less alone, too.
And if you’re looking for more wellness content, Instagram just launched Instagram Guides.
This new scrollable content format that is currently being trialed with mental health and wellness organizations and ambassadors to share helpful resources and tips in response to COVID-19.
Discover some of the Instagram accounts sharing wellness Instagram Guides here.
Control Your Comments
As a social media manager, having to hide, block, or deal with negative online comments all the time can take its toll on your mental health. Instagram is making it easier to avoid bullying and trolls with their comment filtering feature.
You can block certain words or phrases on Instagram, so any comments including those words won’t show up on your posts. You can also turn off commenting on specific Instagram posts, too, so you can post without having to hear your followers’ opinions or negativity.
You can also filter out offensive comments and select words or phrases from your Instagram Live broadcasts too.
Instagram has also just launched a new way to delete comments in bulk, so you can quickly manage unwanted interactions on your feed.
You can also block or restrict multiple accounts at once, making it easier and quicker to handle any accounts that are bringing negativity to your feed.
If you’re feeling like social media is taking a toll on your mental health, setting intentions for your social media time may help. Instead of logging on and endlessly scrolling, think about what exact tasks you need to accomplish and use your social media time wisely.
“I prepare for engaging online by acknowledging the potential for harm, taking a moment to ground and center myself, and keeping my time online to a minimum. Get in, do your work, get out,” explains self-care advocate Rachel Ricketts.
“Taking the extra time to be intentional with when and how I engage online, and getting honest with myself about its impact, is step one to managing my mental health.”
Social Media Mental Health Tip #2: Monitor Your Screen Time and Set Limits
And I’m sure any social media manager will agree, that number could easily be doubled if you work in the social media industry.
If you feel like social media is starting to affect your mental health, and controlling the content of your social media feeds isn’t enough, you might want to try limiting the amount of time you spend on social media.
Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to quit social media altogether, setting time limits on your phone can be helpful.
With the iOS 12 and above on iPhone, you can track and monitor the time you spend on your phone and on social platforms. You can even set a time limit for using apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You’ll be notified when that time is about to run out, and you’ll be reminded to close the app.
You can also use the Moment app, which not only breaks down screen time for you and your family, but also offers insights and free coaching to help you spend less time on your phone.
It even has a 7-day intensive bootcamp course called Bored & Brilliant, which is designed to help you break those ingrained habits around your screen time! Give it a go if you’re feeling overwhelmed this week.
Social Media Mental Health Tip #3: Set Self-care Goals
Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself. Sometimes it can be hard to remember to do simple things like drink water, take your medicine, exercise, or go to bed on time.
But it’s important you make time to do these simple things!
The free app Aloe Bud helps you track your self-care goals, and will send you gentle reminders that help you achieve your goals, without making you feel bad for not completing them yet.
Being intentional and setting time aside to focus on a new hobby, exercise, hanging out with friends, or just taking care of yourself can help you find a better balance to all the time spent on social media.
Social Media Mental Health Tip #4: Find Time for Daily Meditation
You might be thinking that taking 10 minutes out of your day to do nothing is not going to help.
But meditation isn’t “doing nothing”, it’s a mind and body practice that has been proven to help with depression, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, and a whole host of different health issues.
Plus, in the world of work, employees who put aside time to meditate have become more productive, resilient, and creative!
Don’t worry if you’ve never meditated before — try an app like Headspace which has free short, simple, and fully-guided meditations to help calm and destress your thoughts at any point in your busy day.
Spotify also has a new Daily Wellness playlist, with music and wellness sounds to guide you through the day and encourage mindfulness.
If you find there are moments in your day that feel overwhelming, a few minutes of meditation and reflection can really help press the reset button and help your brain refocus.
Feeling stressed at work? Learn more about how mindfulness can help stress in the workplace.
Social Media Mental Health Tip #5: Take a Social Media Break
When all else fails, it’s okay to take a break from social media.
While it may be impossible for you to avoid social media at your job, taking a break on weekends or evenings is still achievable.
Schedule your social media posts in advance, and reach out to a team member or co-worker to help you post Instagram Stories or monitor comments so you can take a real break during your time off.
If you’re going through a hard time right now and need to detach more, consider creating an “alt” accounts under a different name or alias.
“Creating alt accounts for social media helps me to stay in the loop with what’s going on, but makes me feel less attached or guilty to online life,” explains Amber Discko, social media manager and creator of the self-care app Aloe Bud.
You can manage your Facebook pages, groups, and ads from an alt account, and follow community members, fans, or similar brand accounts, without feeling the need to interact with your family and friends if you’re not in the right headspace.
Social Media Mental Health Tip #6: Give Your Eyes a Break With These Podcasts to Help Your Mental Health
Being pro-active about your mental health is important, and the more you learn, the more you can help yourself (and your loved ones).
Here are some great mental health podcasts:
- Holding Space with Dr. Cassidy Freitas is a space to de-mystify mental health and therapy, share stories of struggle and joy, and discover connection through our human experiences.
- Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes is a mental health podcast from the founder of Ban.do, chronicling her journey with bipolar and anxiety in an open, honest, and sometimes humorous way.
- Selfie is a self-care podcast hosted by a psychotherapist and a lifestyle blogger, which explores themes like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and balancing the body, mind, and spirit.
- Happy Place by Fearne Cotton is a podcast series about mental health with celebrity guests.
- Tiny Leaps, Big Changes is a personal development podcast focused on exploring the day-to-day behaviors we all engage in that determine the results we gain in our lives.
- Feel Better, Live More is full of easy health life-hacks and expert advice to revolutionize how you eat, sleep, move, and relax.
- Terrible, Thanks for Asking is a podcast about talking honestly about the everyday struggles we all face.
- Mentally Yours hosts Ellen Scott and Yvette Caster chat to guests about their mental health struggles in a frank and open way. Check out their most recent episode on looking after your mental health during self-isolation here.
Social Media Mental Health Tip #7: Ask For Help When You Need It
While mental health awareness is increasing in the workplace, unfortunately, many people can still face discrimination or challenges in getting the help they need.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “fear of discrimination and feelings of shame are among the top reasons people give for not telling their colleagues about their mental health problems.”
Here are some tips from their How to Support Mental Health at Work guide:
“If you’re struggling with your mental health at work, talking about it really does help.
Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
It can be hard to talk about feelings at work. If you have colleagues you can talk to, or a manager who asks how you are at supervision sessions, it can really help.
Identify someone you feel comfortable with and who will be supportive. You may want to think about what you want to disclose, who to, and when a good time and place to do this could be.
If you are open about how you feel at work, especially if you are a leader, it might encourage others to do the same.
If you don’t feel able to talk about feelings at work, make sure there’s someone you can discuss work pressures with – partners, friends, and family can all be a sounding board.”
Similarly, being a mental health advocate and ally in your workplace is also helpful to create a healthy and supportive work environment.
If you’re struggling to get the words out face-to-face, try getting your thoughts down on paper. An email is a perfectly acceptable way to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now.
No one wants to experience burnout, and no one wants to see a teammate go through it, so it’s important to catch the signs early and starting looking after yourself more.
Even if you’re feeling fine, raising awareness about mental health is important for reducing the stigma in the workplace. If you can, be a mental health advocate in your own company, or ask your colleagues how they are really doing.
Here are some physical and mental signs and symptoms to look out for in yourself, or your colleagues:
- Anxiety or feeling listless
- Low mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of creativity
- Fatigue and Exhaustion
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
- Muscle tension and general bodily pain
However you’re feeling right now about your time spent on social media, it’s always good to be aware of your thought patterns, or any signs that your body’s telling you to slow down.
We live in a fast-paced and challenging world, especially if you’re working in social media! So take some time for self-care and look after your mind and body.
We’ve even more resources to share! Check out our 14 Apps & Tools to Help Protect Your Mental Health at Work blog post for more info.
Want to Get Involved or Donate?
There are plenty of global, national, and local charities and organizations that are in need of our support.
If you would like to donate or get involved for #WorldMentalAwareness month, here are a few suggestions.
- Bring Change to Mind is an organization whose mission is to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
- NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of people affected by mental illness.
- The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders for countries especially with low- and middle-income.
- Careif (Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International Foundation) is an international mental health charity that works towards protecting and promoting mental health and resilience, to eliminate inequalities and strengthen social justice.
Do You or Someone You Know Need Immediate Help?
If you’re in the United States:
Contact the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255)
Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741
Visit Mental Health America for a full list of resources and information to aid communities and individuals during COVID-19.
If you’re located outside the US, you can find all international crisis lines here.