By Jane Lucas
Social media is a pretty dominant force right now, with many around the world interacting with it on some level. Whether it's to connect with celebrities on Twitter, share photos on Instagram, connect with colleagues on LinkedIn, or just to have a nose on Facebook, it increasingly grabs our time and attention. And, because of social media’s global reach, huge user base, and marketing potential, many jobs have sprung up in the field of social media management. Unfortunately, despite the many benefits, heavy use of this online tool can also bring negative health impacts, especially as it relates to mental health.
For those working with social media regularly, it may seem like there’s no escape. You spend all day working on social media only to go home and read through your own accounts. It’s never ending. If you are experiencing this frustration, here are some tips to help. They may not all apply to you, but through a little trial and error you might be able to lessen the negative impact and ensure you keep a good mental and physical health. And remember, if you think the toll on your health is edging to unmanageable, whether with anxiety, depression or a physical ailment, be sure to seek the council of a medical expert.
Limit your time on a platform by knowing exactly how it works. If you work with a platform daily, you might know most of the shortcuts. But, if you’re in SEO for example, and are working on a long social media project, you may soon realize you don't know all the tips and tricks which could make your working day a little easier. Taking a little time to learn these could potentially ensure you don’t spend near as much time on the platform. For example, learn how to see likes on instagram or how to choose who you see online on Facebook?
There are many things you can do on each and every platform. However, the "tricks" that work on one might not work on another. It will benefit you to spend a little bit of time getting to know all aspects of the platform that you’re going to use, rather than staying narrowly focused in your areas of comfort, such as sharing posts or contacting group users. If you know the intricacies of the platform, it will be a lot easier for you. There are some great online courses that can help you out, as well as free resources on sites like YouTube. And a lot of it will come from simply playing with the platforms; but if you want a bit of a running start, then there’s no harm in reaching out for expert direction.
If you spend all day staring at social media at work, and then come home and do the same, it isn’t going to do you any good. Get outside for some much needed fresh air, like taking a long walk, or run, or go play some team sports. If you constantly spend your time looking at a screen, it could end up affecting your health and sight sooner than later, with you needing eyeglasses or even getting laser eye surgery to help you even when you're not using a computer, such as just to see properly while driving. To avoid this, set limitations on your screen time. When you're at work, this can be a lot harder, of course. But it’s important to get up from time to time and stretch your legs. Even just looking away from the screen and allowing your eyes to refocus can give you a much needed break. Not only does it help physically, but getting a little 'breathing space' from your work can enable you to come back to it with a fresh mind. This is pretty powerful when you’re trying to figure out a particular problem and can’t find a solution. That break from your desk can often give you what you need to solve it.
Putting your smartphone out of reach for breaks helps too, as it’s so easy to just want to reach for it and check your accounts. Also, set a smartphone cutoff time for yourself, where you simply stop using it at a certain time in the night. It can really help you get a much better sleep, but you have to be consistent with it.
Social media has been shown to increase dissatisfaction and mental health issues with increased use of it, as those who observe or engage often walk away feeling bad that they’re not living as good a life that others seem to live. To counter this, it’s important to remember that these lives are heavily curated. You only see what they want you to see. Remembering this is important in the grand scheme of things, especially if you’re using social media every day. Social media often paints the best picture. Feeling down because of what other people are doing doesn’t make sense when you realize they’re only putting forward around 10% of their lives. Even so, a lot of it may be suggestive of "more", but you must realize you won’t know the full story.
If you find yourself constantly feeling bad because you’re benchmarking your whole life against the "best" and tiniest segment of someone else's, it’s time to really grasp the reality that social media is totally unreal. If it's something constantly or increasingly bothering you, it might be time to take a break.
If social media comprises most of your work or revenue stream, then you’ll likely find yourself looking for ways to manage around it or find another solution. Perhaps you’re an influencer who uses social media religiously, or maybe you own a website and get a huge chunk of your traffic from social media. Consider outsourcing this element of social media management to a different person or company. For starters, it keeps you away from constantly being online, and it can also help you become more productive.
On the flip side, no one will care about your business as much as you do. If you are a business owner who often interacts with customers on social media, then delegating that task to someone else may not be the idea for you. If that’s the case, outsource something else. Perhaps a freelancer could give you a hand doing your taxes or handling HR issues. Whatever you can delegate will then free you up to keep handling social media, but not be so stressed about it.
Whatever your position, proper task delegation to a colleague or someone working freelance, can free up your time and allow you to allocate it elsewhere, allowing you to focus where you find the highest energy and revenue for your work.
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