We’re constantly told as online content creators to ‘show up’, ‘be ourselves’ and ‘be authentic’ but nobody ever tells you to protect your mental health while you’re doing it.
If you’re struggling right now with your mental health, please scroll to the bottom of this article for some links to help you seek help immediately.
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The fact is, with all this exposure, also comes well, exposure. Content creators share their lives, thoughts and feelings with their audience to get closer to them and open up discussion.
It’s a wonderful thing. But along with the fans comes the type of people who bring others down and have fun doing it. Not only that, but the pressure to be constantly creating and perfect in the eyes of your viewers/readers can be enough to create some very real and damaging problems.
This is exactly why so many creators online struggle with their mental health and openly talk about it too.
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are making small steps towards protecting the mental health of their average users. However, the sheer act of keeping up with their ever-changing algorithms puts a real strain on content creators in particular.
Having to post and upload daily on many platforms leaves content creators burnt out and struggling with their own mental wellbeing. These token gestures to benefit mental health from big platforms are simply not enough.
Protect your mental health as a content creator
Investing in your mental health as a content creator is worth your time and energy. So in this article, I’m going to break down what you can do to stay on top of it. Because if we don’t take care of our mental health, we can’t share what we have to offer.
If you’d like to know how you can protect your privacy as a content creator, check my previous article here.
Step 1: Control and edit your feeds
It’s classic advice. Only follow people and accounts that make you feel good. If you’re already overwhelmed with work and pressure, then there’s nothing worse than having someone’s highlight reel punch you in the face.
What you expose yourself to on social media should be curated and this goes for friends too. If you’re unsure about unfollowing certain people, message them and tell them why you’re doing it. They’ll be supportive and if they’re not, they aren’t very good friends then, are they?
Step 2: Establish ahead of time, how you’ll respond
The fact is, at some point in our content creator journeys, we’ll all get bad feedback or comments that leave us feeling terrible.
The last thing you want is to find yourself responding to these comments in the moment and when you’re angry or upset.
Instead, establish early on how you’ll respond to certain things that might come up.
- Will you report or block trolls?
- How will you respond to negative comments?
- If you find you become overwhelmed by certain things, what will you do?
Establishing this before it happens, when you’re feeling fine will save you from making rash and emotional decisions in the future.
Create a document with some responses and/or strategies for dealing with things that pop up. You’ll thank yourself later.
Step 3: Block certain words
Generally speaking, it’s easier to protect your mental health when you’re consuming content online than actually creating it.
But, due to backlash and persistent problems on social media, many platforms have created ways to help users block certain words or comments to protect themselves.
As a content creator, you can use these inbuilt settings to protect your mental health while you’re sharing and engaging with your audience.
- Instagram automatically filters out most offensive comments from your account, but sometimes things can fall through the cracks. To boost this, you can add keyword filters that will automatically hide comments that contain those words. To change these settings, follow this tutorial.
- Twitter is particularly known for being a troublesome platform and sadly, the tools it provides are pretty weak when it comes to online abuse. However, you can use a feature called advanced muting to remove tweets that contain certain words from appearing on your timeline.
- While YouTube itself has little in the way of filtering, tools like TubeBuddy exist to help. You can use its in-built filter to find comments with negative sentiment, profanity and certain words so you can deal with them in bulk.
While content creators can find themselves in an echo chamber online using these tools, they help to serve a purpose. If you can cut out the unnecessary trolls and abuse and keep in the constructive criticism and genuine comments, you’d do better for it.
Step 4: Talk to others in the same position
Us content creators need to stick together. It’s a funny online world out there and sometimes, lovely Brenda you grew up with, just doesn’t understand.
Find and connect with likeminded creators. Not only will you be able to learn and grow together, but you’ll be able to talk things through with someone who truly understands what’s going on.
Step 5: Set a realistic schedule and know your limits
Fast growth isn’t worth it if you burn out and can’t sustain the pressure you put on yourself. Make sure that you’re able to keep up with the gruelling schedule you set for yourself before you start. Or better yet, be realistic and put your mental health, above your fast growth.
Only you know what your limits are, so stay true to those by setting restrictions and limits on how much you should be creating and when.
Make sure to tell friends and family so you can be held accountable to those limits.
Step 6: Add a mental check-up to your calendar
Taking these steps is all well and good, but it’s easy to fall off the wagon. Especially if you’re so busy you can’t think of anything but the content.
Set a time every month, week or even day to check in with your mental health.
How you check in is up to you. You could:
- Keep a journal.
- Keep a note on your phone.
- Or simply have a moment to yourself and ask some simple questions…
- How has my mental health been recently?
- If less than ideal, is this because I’ve been overworking?
- If less than ideal, is this because of how others perceive my work or me?
- Or, if less than ideal, is it because my work isn’t fulfilling some kind of need?
It’s so important to take a step back regularly to think about your mental health and look at the work you produce regularly with an objective eye.
Step 7: Create balance in your life
As content creators, it’s easy to overwork and keep creating until things get pretty overwhelming. You’ve heard of the creators who keep strange work hours, struggle with insomnia and end up needing long breaks to recover from their over-productivity.
Combatting this early is essential and can be done by making sure you have a good work-life balance.
- Making time for hobbies and activities that have nothing to do with the content you create.
- Keeping and making friends that have nothing to do with your job.
- Allocating time away from your computer and phone regularly.
And here’s a big one, plan for holidays and breaks like a normal 9-5 person.
You don’t have a boss to tell you to take a break, or paid holiday or a number of days you should take off, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Plan your work around these breaks and plan them in advance so you have plenty of time to fit them in. You don’t even have to tell your followers you’re having a break. Just pre-prepare content, schedule it and go. It will be worth it, trust me.
Step 8: Ask for help
If you’re here, your mental health as a content creator might be suffering already. The above tips already mentioned in this article may well be too far removed from anything you have the energy to cope with.
If that’s the case, seeking a professional’s help, or telling a family member or friend should be your next move.
Here are some resources to help if you’re in the UK: mentalhealth.org.uk/getting-help
Alternatively, search ‘mental health help’ in Google and you should be presented with some credible sites for your specific country.
Don’t bear this burden alone, please get the help you need and deserve now, so that you can get back to being you.
Lastly, thank you for reading. If you think you know someone who would find this article useful, please pass it on. You never know who you’re helping.