7 Mental Health Tips for Social Media Managers
October 10th is #WorldMentalHealthDay, which is a cause that is close to our hearts here at Later, because of you!
Social media managers, entrepreneurs, and influencers have a unique set of mental health challenges because they spend their days in the trenches of the internet.
Self-care is an important part of mental health, and sometimes that means taking a break from social media, our phones, and technology.
Think about it: when was the last time you went a day without checking your phone? Taking time to decompress, step outside, and give your mind a break from our screens is important for everyone’s health.
But what if social media is your job?
When your job requires you to be online, all the time, it can be hard to simply “unplug,” especially during news cycles that can be divisive, triggering, or simply depressing.
To help you balance your health and social media, today we wanted to share some free resources that you can use to seek knowledge about your mental health, take care of yourself, or ask for help in your job.
Social Media and Mental Health
Our relationship with social media is constantly evolving. And for people working in the industry, being ‘online’ 24/7 really can impact your overall health.
For example: a University of Michigan study asked students to read Facebook posts for just 10 minutes each day. Researchers found those that did were in a worse mood at final bell than students asked to write posts or talk to friends on Facebook.
Another study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average social media user, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than the average user.
So what could a full-time job in social media, and keeping up with our own personal online lives, be doing to our mental health?
As my friend Thea Neal wrote in her article Should You Ask Your Social Media Manager if They’re Okay?, there is a direct relation to increased depression and negative social media experiences, according to research on adults aged 18-30 at the University of Pittsburgh.
Similarly, for every 10% increase in reported negative experiences on social media, there was a 20% leap in the person’s odds of reporting depressive symptoms.
Another study by the Royal Society of Public Health revealed that 70% of young people think “social media should come with a pop-up disclaimer that it could negatively affect your mental health.”
Since “quitting” social media isn’t an option, what can you do to stay mentally healthy as a social media manager? Here are 7 tips to help you in your day-to-day job:
Tip #1: 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.
If you find there are moments in your day which 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.
Tip #2: Control Your Social Media Feeds
Just like it’s okay to take social media breaks, it’s okay to keep your 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’s making you feel bad, you can 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.
This feature is only available on Twitter, but if there’s something that makes you constantly feel drained or depressed, it’s okay to not see it.
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 hard to read.
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.
Personally, I found that by adding in some body positivity babes to my Instagram feed, it made me feel a lot more confident about myself.
View this post on Instagram
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
And by following yummy, healthy food accounts, I noticed that it really would inspire me to eat better, and I would collect different healthy recipes in a “saved” collection on Instagram.
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.
Control your comments.
As a social media manager, having to hide, block, or deal with negative online comments all the time can negatively affect 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.
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 centre 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 it’s impact, is step one to managing my mental health.”
Tip #3: Monitor Your Screen Time and Set Limits
And I’m sure any social media manager will agree, that number could easily be quadrupled 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 latest version of iOS 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.
Tip #4: Set Self-Care Goals
When life feels stressful, 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, 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.
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.
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.
Tip #7: Ask For Help When You Need It
Every job will have its busy periods, but constantly feeling like you’re struggling to keep your head above water is not okay.
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 creating 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 world, especially if you’re working in social media! So take some time for self-care, look after your mind and body, and get back to doing the things you love!
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 #WorldMentalHealthDay, 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
If you’re located outside the US, you can find all international crisis lines here.