We’re constantly connected. 24/7.
Whether it’s our phone or our laptop, there’s often little (or no) escape from red notification bubbles and buzzing pings. This is the case even if social media isn’t your full-time job.
Social media opens up a world of possibilities for brands. But with the ever-growing list of responsibilities and expectations for social media professionals, how can you keep your mental health priority #1?
How to identify social media burnout
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from social media burnout.
- Feeling the need to constantly check your phone or computer
- Lack of interest in other activities or hobbies that you used to enjoy
- Feelings of anxiety or tenseness when at work or thinking about work
- Trouble sleeping or changes in sleeping pattern
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to identify burnout. For more in-depth descriptions on symptoms and warning signs, we suggest taking a look at Psychology Today’s article on the same subject.
However, these seven tips from our social media team at Hootsuite can help you get started with battling social media burnout.
7 ways to avoid social media burnout
1. Set boundaries
Just because your phone is always connected, doesn’t mean you have to be. Set clear boundaries between yourself and social media.
You can do this by:
- Setting ‘no social media’ times throughout the day. You can start small with half an hour. As long as you’re clearly making a space in your day that social media isn’t allowed in, your brain will benefit from the break.
- Using apps to limit your social media time on your phone. There are loads out there you can choose from.
- Not checking work streams (unless it’s an emergency) after 5 pm (or whenever your workday finishes). This is probably the toughest limit to set, but one of the most important. It creates a clear boundary between your personal and professional life.
- Turn off notifications on your devices and apps. If you don’t see a little red bubble, you don’t get the urge to check what it’s trying to tell you.
These boundaries can take a while to get used to, but they’re worth the effort.
2. Give your eyes a rest
We might sound like your mom or dad right now, telling you not to sit too close to the TV. But according to a report by The Vision Council, it only takes two hours in front of a screen for your eyes to begin suffering from “digital eye strain.”
This can lead to issues like dry and irritated eyes, neck and back pain, and headaches.
So give your eyes a rest and take five.
Apps like F.lux can also help take the strain off your eyes. They work by adapting your devices’ color and light levels to imitate the time of day.
Bonus: These apps can also block blue light, which you should avoid in the evening to help your sleeping habits. Getting better quality sleep is often cited as a way to help relieve symptoms of anxiety.
3. Get up and move
Go forth into the forest for a walk (or to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea).
Take yourself away from your desk and your devices and move, even if it’s just to have a stretch. Humans were not designed to sit for long periods of time.
Plus, studies have shown it’s better for your mental and physical health to get up every half an hour.
A brisk walk around the block can help clear your mind and get your blood flowing. This is especially helpful if you’re dealing with particularly difficult or sensitive customers on social. It gives you time to consider your response and offer a little distance from the problem too.
4. Catch some Zzzs
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. In fact, getting less than 6 hours per night can lead to serious health issues.
Do yourself a favor and get a good routine in place to help you fall asleep too. Ditch the devices for at least an hour before bedtime, and try to go to sleep around a similar time every night.
Not only will you feel refreshed when you wake up, but you’ll also be more productive, alert, and calm at work.
5. Structure your time
We’ve all been there—endlessly refreshing social channels. It’s a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed and worn down. Plus it can be a hard habit to break.
Instead, structure your time by assigning parts of your day to specific activities.
For example, set aside one hour per day to each of the following tasks:
- Review new mentions and posts, answer questions from followers, and resolve customer service inquiries
- Find and share relevant content from followers
- Post new content on each platform
- Schedule posts for the evening, the weekend, or an upcoming campaign
Structuring your time on social media will not only make you more efficient, it will keep you focussed and working with a purpose. Then you can feel even better about putting your phone away at the end of the workday and taking some time for yourself.
6. Delete the apps
Do your phone’s storage a favor, and remove social apps from it. That can also include company emails.
We know this is a tough ask. Having them on your phone means you can be productive on the go. But the flip side of this means that you can never really switch off.
You can do almost everything on social media via desktop now, especially with third party apps like Hootsuite. Take advantage of that, and leave your phone to be your personal device—not an extension of work.
7. Digital detox
Book some time off for longer than one night and ditch your devices completely. We’d recommend a white sandy beach with a coconut drink—and maybe even a book in hand—or somewhere deep in the forest with no wifi.
If you’re really committed, you may even consider attending an official digital detox retreat—sometimes referred to as “tech-free wellness retreats”—where you entrust your gadgets to certified professionals.
These are just a few tips you can use to help keep social media burnout at bay, or get back on track if you’re already experiencing it. Remember, no job is more important than your own mental health.
Hootsuite can help you stay organized, focused, and prepared to handle anything on social media. Try it for free today.