In recent years, two of the main causes of burnout and negative mental health have been work and social media. Especially during the height of the pandemic when there wasn’t much else to do, folks who were working from home found that boundaries between work and life had dissipated and they were spending far too much time on social media. For professionals in the social media space, it’s a dilemma that isn’t easily solved. Social media is absolutely crucial to their work—and social media also never stops.
The everyday duties of being a social media manager can be incredibly taxing. Not only are they the voice of a brand, but they are also the brand’s eyes and ears. They are seeing every single thing consumers and the public are saying about the brand. And the odds are, if someone is feeling passionately enough to post on social media about a brand, they most likely didn’t have a positive experience—so in many cases they’re dealing with a constant stream of negativity.
According to a study by West Virginia University, social media professionals rate their mental health and wellbeing as a 6/10 on most days (and during a crisis, that number drops to around 4.5/10). So, what are some things social media professionals can do to help with burnout or avoid it in the first place?
1. Ask your employer about mental health resources and proactive measures.
While there are certainly things individuals can do to combat and prevent burnout, employers should be putting measures in place to help as well—whether that’s mental health benefits and programs, flexible hours, or a designated space to talk about it. At Likeable, one of the things we do is give each employee a subscription to Calm.
2. Designate a screenless part of your day.
“A critical part is getting away from screens,” said Melissa Ayluardo, Social Team Supervisor at Likeable. “Seriously, get away from them. Go outside. Stand in the grass and let the sun shine on your face. Go for a walk, do anything that doesn’t involve a screen. It really helps!” Social Media Manager Dominic Andolina added, “Since we are on social media literally every day, I like to reserve a part or most of my day where I’m off socials completely. Whether that be a gym visit or a movie I watch without picking up my phone once, it’s important to take a break!”
3. Turn off notifications.
“Working in social means tons of notifications and that is what usually drives me towards feelings of spiraling or too many competing priorities,” said Ayluardo. “For me, I have disabled my work email notifications from my phone. I also disabled select notifications from social apps. This clears the clutter and noise during my workday and allows me to focus on what needs to get done. We’re already on the channels themselves all day long so if something is popping off, we will see it.”
4. Separate work social media from personal social media.
“I think what’s most difficult for me is experiencing the burnout since I’m so passionate about social media and enjoy being in it every day. Because of that, it’s kind of hard to stop and/or separate it from my personal life,” noted Clare Combs, Social Media Manager at Likeable. “Since I like to be in it but don’t want it to feel like work, something that helps me is making sure the content I’m ingesting is different than my clients! If I’m looking at kids’ content for work all day and engaging with that, it helps me to unwind by not having any of that stuff come up on my personal feeds.”
If you are experiencing extreme burnout, you can find a list of resources here.