Written by Michelle Norton
Jelly’s Social Media Coordinator turned Psychology Grad Student
You’ve come to the right place. No, seriously. As a fellow creative, I have experienced “feed fatigue” and social media burnout a few times over the years. It can feel completely overwhelming and draining. Not to mention, it can be isolating when you feel like everyone else is pouring out a never ending waterfall of creative content. Maybe you have not felt this way at all. Lucky you! But, chances are you have felt the twinge of negative side effects if you are an avid social media user like myself. In that case, here are some proactive ways to avoid burnout.
I’m no expert in mental health or social media. I’m just someone who cares about wellness and wants to look out for her fellow creative community. As an artist, I can think of a few things that have led to my burnout, and maybe one of these hits home for you too.
This is the age-old monster that lives in the minds of most creatives. I mentioned it earlier when I said social media feels lonely. In fact, it’s like a mirror that exposes our own shortcomings while magnifying the beauty and excellence of others. But let’s remember, social media is a crafted illusion. We can project what we want people to see and hide what we deem as bad. It can feel dangerous when we second guess ourselves by asking… is this post authentic enough to share? Am I showing enough that people value my authenticity, but not too much that it actually hurts if I don’t get as many views as that other creative?
Imposter syndrome is another thing that can make even the “most real” social media user feel unequipped. This solicits the checklist of points that your inner critic runs through to make sure you know your place as a phony. Do I even really belong here? I can’t keep up with this. I’m unequipped. I suck, I suck, I suck.
You might start to feel angry. At this point, social media burnout has gotten you to this low point and now you want to avenge the computer wizards who made these apps in the first place. You want to throw in the towel and go on a hiatus forever because nothing is working anyway. Perhaps you are having visions of throwing your phone against a wall or better yet getting a flip phone once and for all. Am I being dramatic?
Anyway, now that I’ve named a few things that can lead to burnout you’re probably wondering, well what now? Here are a few things that I’ve tried when I’m feeling exhausted from this troublesome cycle.
Take a break. No really. Take a break! Burnout happens when we are overworked. So take your vacation and delete the apps off your phone if you must. Ask for help and advocate for yourself if you feel like your wellness is at risk.
Time to stretch out and play. What is a list of things that bring you joy and peace? You deserve to have a sense of calm. No, really. You do! You don’t have to earn rest or a break, you require it. Take more naps. Get your hands on some clay and make a pot. Get out Modge Podge and collage your little heart out. Join a rock-climbing gym. Bake your sister cupcakes. Take your dog to the park with a friend.
Okay, so you’ve taken time off and you’ve allowed yourself to refuel. As a small biz owner or freelancer, you may have decided you aren’t going to destroy your phone or go off the grid permanently after all. This time you are promising to yourself to have better boundaries. Way to go! Setting boundaries is like putting up a fence to protect your wellness. Writing out a list of the positives and negatives of social media may be helpful. Turning off notifications and only checking in on your account at scheduled times can bring a sense of control. In the same way, scheduling future social media breaks can also bring relief. Lastly, deciding on an ongoing plan and routine of posts on a monthly basis can provide a structure that prevents daily overwhelm. You know how to take care of yourself the best. Do what feels right for you. And if you don’t know how to care for yourself, reach out for support.
All in all, thanks for being here. Coming up with a plan to avoid burnout shows your resilience. Social media can feel like the absolute worst, but it can also provide a sense of belonging and inspiration. Not to mention, it can yield exposure for your creative outlet and kick-ass business. I wish you luck in this arena and I am rooting for you.