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Avoiding Burnout as a Social Media Manager

How to avoid stress and fatigue when you can't take a digital detox.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Burnout is all too real in the social media management world. From feeling “always on,” to trying not to take negative comments personally, to being thrust into crisis communications at a moment’s notice, we’re juggling a lot of responsibilities at once. To make it worse, it’s hard for people outside of the social bubble to understand that our lives are more than just fun Tweets and Snapchats. The weight of all it can take a toll and we may not realize what is happening until it’s too late. Over the past few years as a social media professional, I’ve learned some tricks to keep my mental health from sliding into unhealthy territory. Read on.

1. Schedule blocks of non-screen time! This is CRUCIAL. For so long, I was busy managing social media professionally all day long and then would come home only to scroll on my personal feeds for hours. Not only were my eyeballs sore but my brain was overloaded. I’ve learned when I come home I need at least two hours where my phone is in the other room. During this time, I try to take walks, do yoga, cook dinner or spend quality time with my fiance or friends. I always feel refueled and refreshed the next day and ready to jump back into the digital webs.

*Bonus Tip: Try to move around EVERY hour throughout the day. Even if it’s just walking to the break room or doing a few stretches. Nothing is worse than realizing you’ve been glued to your computer for three hours without moving and suddenly your body feels like a sack of potatoes.

2. Let yourself actually enjoy vacations. Repeat after me. You are allowed to take guilt-free vacations and not feel pressured to check those notifications. It used to be so hard for me to enjoy my time off without panicking there was a crisis brewing in the comments section. Before your vacation, talk to your boss and teammates about a plan for your absence. I know this is hard since a lot of us are one-person shows but try to see if someone else in the office can check the comments/messages while you are away. At the very least, make it clear you’ll only be looking at your phone once a day while you are away. Go ahead and put that out of office response up and let people know to only contact you if it’s urgent.

3. Curate your personal social media feeds carefully. Social media can be a lot of soul-sucking noise and it will benefit you to be strategic with what you are looking at during downtime. Trim the fat by curating only the accounts that you really enjoy following or find helpful. Yes, the meme accounts are hilarious but maybe follow just a couple and not 100. You’ll feel like a better human, trust me!

4. Find an online community of other social media managers. This has been the biggest lifesaver for me. I recently found #HigherEdSocial, an online group for those of us specifically managing social media in higher education. It’s been an incredible resource for content ideas and a place to vent about similar struggles. I also follow the #HESM tag on Twitter to see what others in my field are up to. Find your little niche on the internet where you can share advice with each other and offer support.

5. Have open and honest conversations with your managers about your mental health. If you feel yourself becoming irritable or more stressed than normal communicate with your manager. Talk to him or her about specific projects you need help with. In our jobs, people don’t realize how much we are actually juggling so communicate your needs and delegate any tasks you can. Everyone wins here.

What do you think of the tips above? Anything you would add to the list? Articles you’ve found helpful? I love this one on social media and mental health. Comment with your thoughts below!

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