The struggle is real. Now more than ever social media is getting harder. Algorithms are constantly changing, new platforms are popping up every day, and the chic and “In” trends are finding their strides. Whether you’re getting bogged down by trying to do everything, comparing ourselves to others, or the social media addiction, social media has an extremely dark side.
I’m coming to you today because I have hit that burn out. Of course when I hit it, I like to have a complete melt down on you know it – social media. AKA an instagram live on Knitatude. There were tears, there were hiccup sobs… there was… everything. What started as slight #FOMO, and not knowing if I could take a break, snowballed into comparison and downright self deprecation. (Read My experience here.)
So I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to think selfishly, and cut out the things that make you feel bad. Your mental health takes first place. Don’t ignore it. Here are 3 reasons why you may be burning yourself out, and how to fix them.
1. Can’t stop the hustle: Being small business owners means that social media is our life blood. With the funds for traditional media advertising and marketing (TV, Print & Radio) lacking, we have turned to the younger and cheaper sibling. Only issue? So have a lot of others. 700 million on Instagram alone. Which means we are working double duty to make sure we are being seen in the crowd. It means posting a minimum of 4-5 times a week, using the right hashtags, and engaging as much as we can to make sure that we pop into the feed of our clients. Did you know that you only see 30% of the people you follow on insta? Great. Now we have to work even harder. Whether that’s scrolling, liking and commenting on people that are your target market, it’s hard work. Oh and don’t forget that that’s only on one platform. You’re expected to do at least 2-3 to stay current. The hustle is fucked.
Solution: Take a break. Whether it’s a break from posting, or commenting, or taking a hiatus from one platform, or all together at once. You. Can. Do. It. We have all been told that once we stop posting, we will lose followers and yes, it’s true – but those weren’t the followers you wanted to stick around. I was floored at the amount of comments that I received like: “I will be here for you, even if you take a break”, “I will still follow you EVEN if you posted once a month”, “Take the break and think of yourself, we will be here when you get back.” They literally brought me to tears.
2. The Comparison: With social media becoming the highlight reels of our life, it’s not a wonder that when you type “Social Media and…” into Google that the first search suggestion is “Depression”. No one shows their real, somber life on social media. Simply put: no one likes sad stuff. Everything is perfect little boxes that are taken over and over again to get the perfect angle, the perfect smile, the perfect everything. Social media is not real. It’s staged. A study came out May 2017 stating that “Instagram is the most likely to cause young people to feel depressed and lonely out of major social media apps.” Another states that in their case study that people who used seven to eleven apps had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety (odds ratio of 3.08 and 3.27, respectively) than people who used the least amount (zero to 2 platforms). If you are feeling bad about yourself, know you are not alone.
Solution: Go through the accounts you are following and immediately unfollow any people that make you feel bad about yourself. Whether it’s an old friend(emy) in highschool that has the perfect bod, another company that is your competition, or someone you just like to peer into their life and dream of when you’ll have that, you need to stop. An app should not make you cry. An app should not make you feel fat, or not enough. It’s an app. A computer software that has no emotions or control over you.
3. Social Media Addiction: If you’re anything like me you live with your phone in your hand. You wake up and the first thing you do is head to your phone and start scrolling. You go through all your apps checking in and seeing what you missed and catch up. You’re scrolling when you pee, when you’re at a dinner with friends, when at work, and when your at home about to go to bed. There isn’t really any hard evidence to social media addiction, but it’s there. The fact alone that I reach for my phone every 3-7 minutes (I timed myself) is BAD. It detracts from my relationships, and I can see myself not focusing on them, and focusing more on my phone. I know that I’m also not alone in this one!
Solution: Start creating time boundaries for yourself. Put your phone in another room at a specific time before bedtime (Mine is 9pm) to get it away from you. This will help with your sleep alone. (It’s proven that the blue hue of the phone effects sleep patterns, plus it will stop you from staying up late itching for the next post). Give yourself a dedicated time of social media time – just like you would your kids. It’s hard being a small biz owner, but please know someone won’t die if you don’t respond to their message within 20 minutes. Your phone is not your leash. Be present and don’t let it lead your life.
If you are feeling the burnout, please do not feel alone. I am right there with you, as are hundreds if not thousands more. I believe in you, you can take a break. I give you permission!