Social Media is such an odd concept, right? When I tell my parents I’m creating an Instagram business and plan to replace my income with my blog, they go silent. It’s not that they don’t believe in me, but they don’t understand social media. In the grand scheme of things, it’s all very new.
That being said, it’s new to the world, so everyone is still figuring it out, myself included. It wasn’t until recently that I started to see things pop up about taking care of yourself when this is your game. Meaning that if you use social media a lot, for business, as an influencer, blogger, etc, then it’s so easy to let it completely overtake you. Mind, body and soul.
I haven’t been in this arena for long, I’m not a big dog yet. I know Instagram and all social media is a long game..and if you intend to stay in it, and stay on top of it, then you have to have a plan to take care of yourself and set boundaries. I’ve only been “doing” this social media thing for less than a year you guys..but i’m a health nut. I’m conscious of everything I put in my body, including my mind, so it became clear to me quickly that I had to come up with a game plan if I was going to avoid burn out (aka going crazy..er).
Here is what I do to avoid feeling like social media owns me.
Turn off time.
It didn’t take more than a week for my boyfriend to say “Hey I miss you”. I was sitting there next to him on the sofa, but I didn’t hear a word he said the last 20 minutes, because my eyes were glued to a scrolling screen. I had this gnawing fear that if I wasn’t monitoring Instagram 24/7 that I would lose followers, and gain no momentum. The fear literally gave me anxiety..all day long. Sounds really healthy right?
When I realized that my erratic behavior was affecting the people in my life and myself, I decided to set boundaries. I am on Instagram & Facebook from 9-6pm (Periodically..obviously not for that entire time). I plug my phone into the charger and leave it on my nightstand after 7pm, because that’s my time to spend with family. And on Sundays, I don’t even use social media! *GASP* It’s my refueling and unplugged time..and since I started doing that, oh my gosh have I felt better.
I urge you to set some time boundaries too, I promise that your page will not suffer. You can even let your followers know that your not reachable during those times, and i’m guessing they will love you even more. Self care is a respectable habit y’all.
Treat it like a business.
I had been running my interior design business for a few months when I decided to start my SM hustle, so for me this wasn’t very hard. However, I realized how beneficial it is to truly treat your SM like a business. What do I mean by this? Set hours: Like stated above, I set my hours 9-6, which follows my actual business hours, and allows me to get into the mind set that I need to get everything done in that time frame. It also makes it easier for communication. For example if I get a DM at 9pm, I don’t look at it until the next morning, when i’m “open for business”.
Business’s have plans and goals; financially and logistically. Now I will be the first one to admit, I can’t plan to save my life. I’m an artist at my core, and the stereotype about the messy and dysfunctional artist, I live that stereotype. However, I write my goals for the week down on post-it notes and put them on my wall near my desk. This is literally the easiest way, and least amount of effort..but it keeps me on track! You don’t have to have a business management degree, fancy planners, or pay for online book keeping if that’s not you. You do you, just make it work. Which brings me to my next point..
Be yourself, through and through.
I am a people pleaser. I hate when someone doesn’t like me, and I am kind to everyone. That’s not a bad thing..but I had to realize that in the internet world, people aren’t always kind, and you can’t please them all. I already tried that. I would comment on everything, spend hours trying to figure out what everyone else wanted to see, and try to put out this perfect image.
Where did this get me? NO WHERE. Being anyone but yourself gets you nowhere. My biggest lesson – don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Appealing to the masses? No thank you. Be you. Post genuine things, say genuine words, and be real with yourself and your followers. People can tell when you’re putting on a front. Be you, please yourself first.
Stop obsessing over numbers.
I don’t ever remember caring about numbers before SM. I despise math, and al that jazz. Now..I know my followers and the number I follow off the top of my head. That’s pretty sad right? I used to be obsessed (okay I still slightly care..but I’m consciously making progress) with how many people liked my post, the number of followers I got, or lost for that matter..etc.
It’s great to look at your analytics and figure out when the best time to post is, what type of picture performs the best, which hashtags are helping, etc. Analyze it..but do not obsess over it. Once I stopped caring every time that number when up or down, I found a new sense of freedom. I posted what felt genuine, instead of spending hours finding the cutest caption and deleting pictures that didn’t perform as well. Your tribe will find you and love you if you are doing you.
Live life away from the camera and screen.
When is the last time you went somewhere, and left your phone in your pocket? Probably doesn’t happen often. A few weeks ago I went to an event with my friend, and the entire time I was just concerned about getting the perfect picture for my post. I obsessed over it, and I came home with a ton of pictures of things at this event. But I didn’t have a single picture of my friend and I. I also realized that I had my phone in front of my face the whole time, and couldn’t recall a conversation I had with her. I was genuinely upset with myself, because I put the “perfect” post above time with the people I care about. That was the last time I ever did that.
I know how important getting that image is, especially if you are on vacation or somewhere that relates perfectly and you know your followers will love. My advice? Get out the camera/phone and snap a picture. Then put your phone away. Cool view? Take a picture. Then put the phone away. Connect with your environment and the people you are with. Another thing – this is about SELF care. So take time for yourself. You are not an exception to this rule. I don’t mean take a bubble bath and take a picture that’s perfect for your feed..forget about SM for a while. Push it out of your head. I know it seems like the PERFECT time to catch up on messages and plan your next post when you are alone, but guess what? You need to be alone with yourself. Put the phone in another room, and go be with yourself. Read, take your pup for a walk, cook, just site see without a phone. I promise just doing this a few times a week will balance your mind.
I practice all of these..and my SM accounts didn’t suffer. I didn’t lose followers. I didn’t stop making content or posting. But I enjoyed it more, and my mind and body thanked me. Life is not meant to be lived through a screen. Look up, and put the dang thing down. SM will always be there, and your loyal tribe will too. But the memories and experiences with friends, family, and most importantly, yourself, well you can’t get those back, so don’t miss them.
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