We cannot stress this enough: mental health matters. It should never be compromised. We dare say it rings especially true for content creators, who, by the nature of their chosen profession, are constantly subjected to pressure that may lead to the deterioration of their mental health – and even clinical depression.
Maintaining your mental health as a content creator is the most important thing you should do.
As we have repeatedly said in our previous posts, we here at so.fa.dog believe that prioritizing your wellbeing and mental health as a content creator should and must be a cornerstone in the creator and passion economy spheres.
While being a content creator – an influencer, for example – may be seen as glamorous and exciting by many, it’s also a stressful job. The content creation space is a cutthroat environment that demands a lot from its workers — the creators themselves. Most of the time, it takes a lot of strength, courage, and grit to survive in this highly-competitive and ever-dynamic industry.
How Content Creation Impacts the Creator’s Wellbeing
Unfortunately, there are instances that the whole process of content creation takes a toll on the creator’s mental health.
Content creators, by the nature of the path they chose to take, are constantly told to be “their true selves,” to always be authentic, and to always connect with their audience. It’s demanding to be present, approachable and good-hearted at all times, especially as trolling and online hate are spreading like wildfire. This level of negative yet highly prevalent audience behaviour understandably impacts the psyche and well-being of the creator.
Pressure alone can adversely affect the creator’s psyche. The pressure to create great content and the industry’s demand from the creator to post daily or on a set of schedule can lead content creators to exhaustion, burnout, and struggles with their mental health. In the long run, this pressure can induce serious and damaging problems to the creator.
Unfortunately, content creation and depression has become an increasingly common pairing.
For social media influencers, being conflicted with the requirements of the job and what they truly feel could become a major problem. There are times when influencers find themselves in limbo: they have to post what society wants to see — the creators’ “true authentic selves” — but in the process, they slip into an inauthentic identity. Creators do not have the full freedom to put out or say what they want to post because this might not sit well with their audiences. This, in turn, might tarnish their image, and worse — hurt their earning potential.
This dilemma has been seen on Instagram one too many times. Influencers have always maintained that their mission is to provide nothing but “real content,”, but more often than not, what they put out are products of curation — pictures that people want to see; pictures that are meant to please audiences. This repetitive process has burnt out a number of Instagram influencers, leaving them unmotivated. Some Instagrammers, namely those whose mental wellbeing has been affected, have decided to quit the platform altogether.
There are also instances when creators are misguided about the phenomenon that is “hustle culture.” Yes, it’s important to work hard, but doing so in excess can be harmful not only from the physical aspect, but also for emotional and mental levels. Creators tend to overwork because for them, the grind, the hustle — as millennials put it — is life. Well, the sad truth is, it’s not. (Related: The Sad Truth About Hustle Culture)
The motivation to create content has shifted. Before the time when monetization was not in anyone’s vocabulary, creators produced content as a hobby, pastime, or as part of their passion projects. Bloggers, for instance, took to writing to have a respite from the monotony of their day jobs. Early YouTubers, on the other hand, wanted to post videos just for fun.
Content creation in the early days was a means to chill out, unwind, and disconnect from the daily rigors of life. Now, with the pressure of the hustle culture and the need to monetize both your content and passion, the content creation game has become a constant race to earn money. It has become an overbearing demand for many budding and even seasoned creators.
Here’s another thing: The content creation and posting process has become repetitive, naturally stunting creators’ creativity and creative efforts. For some, content creation has become an automation of sorts. The algorithm requires the creators to always be in front of the camera, depriving them from the reflection and restful isolation all humans need. This leaves no room for growth for the creator.
Here’s What You Need To Do To Keep Your Sanity Intact
Money aside, the essence of creating content is for the creator to connect with their audiences. Content creators share their lives, feelings, and thoughts with their subscribers and fans. But along with fans come the haters, and sometimes the unnecessary and unhealthy comments or criticisms that may affect the creator’s wellbeing.
Creators, thus, have to understand that investing in mental health is a very important ingredient for their success. Having a stable psyche and healthy mental state will keep creators going.
So what exactly should they need to do? Here are a few suggestions.
Curate Properly: Focus on the Things You Can Control
No one wants to have their life become the talk of the town. Now, regardless of the number of your followers or subscribers, it pays to exercise control of what you put out there online. Be conscious about the information you decide to share or highlight.
Sometimes, oversharing or having a say on almost everything may get you in trouble. So it may be great to just choose the things you want to share. Being an open book could be dangerous. Oversharing may expose you to unnecessary hate and rude feedback. Remember, you do not have to invite people into every aspect and detail of your life.
Speaking of control, you can block certain words or comments that you think are outright rude, offensive or distasteful. In social media, you can use the built-in filter settings to protect your mental health while you are engaging with your audience.
Of course as a creator, there may be times that you yourself are following certain people and accounts in your feeds. Now the advice that we can give you here is that, follow the accounts that make you feel good. We know that your job is already mentally taxing, and you would not want to see stressful things in your feed.
What about algorithms? Well, that can be a notorious source of stress, but you have to concede to the fact that metrics and algorithms are outside your control. It’s changing every moment. So instead of stressing yourself on those things, focus on the things that you can control like the ones we have already mentioned. Also, you can also channel your energy on the quality of your posts and thinking of ways on how to connect with your fans and audiences. And finally, remember that not everyone won’t like your content, and that’s totally okay.
Stick To Your Core and Don’t Dignify Online Hate
We have to admit that in one way or another, your work — and yourself as a creator — may become the subject of online hate. There are instances when haters hate just for the sake of it. So what should you do? Well, you may take the cue from Taylor Swift: Shake it off!
But as we have mentioned in one of our earlier posts, there are other ways that are as equally effective as totally ignoring mental health in a bid to keep your mental health at bay.
First, stick to your core. You are not someone who jumps on the hate train. You are a content creator. This means that whatever you do, do not become a hater or a cyberbully; don’t be the person who hurt you online. It’s normal that when you are at the receiving end of a barrage of hateful messages, you may want to retaliate. Responding to these messages angrily or viciously won’t be of no help.
And second, pretend that people who made hateful comments do not exist. Do not dignify their lies, rudeness, nasty comments, and vile behavior. Always prioritize your inner peace and mental health. Remember, haters love attention; and when you reply to them, you’re quite literally giving in to what they want and adding fuel to the fire.
Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
We know that you want to make it big or become successful the soonest time possible. But as we have pointed out, hustling too much can be dangerous. Fast growth will never be worth it if it’s at the expense of your sanity or mental health.
This means that you have to make sure that you are able to keep up with the demands of your schedules. How do you do this? Well, just set realistic goals. Do not try to accomplish so many things at once. Choose what suits you best.
Let’s say for example, many brands want to collaborate with you. The best thing that you can do is to step back and recognize and be at peace with the fact that you cannot accept them all! It means it is okay to say no to a possible brand collaboration if you are swamped with work or if you are overwhelmed. You are the only person that knows your limits. So be aware of the restrictions you have to impose on yourself so you won’t get burned out in the process.
Work-Life Balance Is a Must
Life is not always about work. You have to unplug at times and take that much-needed rest. After all, rest allows you to recharge and helps you become more creative.
However, when you are working on too many things, finding that balance between work and leisure or rest can be challenging. And we have to admit that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.
So what should you do then?
Well, it boils down to introspection. You have to know yourself. Understand your work habits and plot a schedule that revolves around it.
Unplug, eat on time, sleep on time!
Also, make sure that you allot time for hobbies and activities that have nothing — yes, zero — to do with the content you create. It’s also good to have friends that also have nothing to do with your job. It’s nice to spend your free time with people that do not talk about the work you do. And finally, some time AFK (that’s away from keyboard). Put down that phone and just rest, sleep, or do nothing.
Have some time to log off!
Always Remind Yourself: It’s Just Online
What does this mean? It’s called “online” for a reason. We circle back to the topic of online hate. When people disagree with your content or with what you post, the truth is, they do not react to a person — they react to a screen. So don’t take it personally! The amount of hate these people post on their screens is nowhere near the amount they would spew in a face-to-face setup. People often keep their hate to themselves in personal settings.
Also, the validation does not always need to come online. This means that it’s good for you to separate online validation from the progress you make in the real world. Outside the internet, there are powerful tools that will help you become successful.
Do Some Monitoring
These tips are well and good, but the human memory can falter, especially when you are too busy with creating or thinking about the content you want to produce.
Checking in with yourself is a good way to monitor yourself. There are a few ways to do this.
You can jot down your thoughts, experiences, and progress in a journal. If you are not that type who wants to use a pen, you can keep a note on your phone. Or well, you can simply stare in front of the mirror and ask yourself about how you’re doing and how your mental health has been. You can then reflect if you’re already falling into the traps of hustle culture or everything is just on the right track. You also have to ask yourself about the level of fulfilment that you’re getting from creating content. You can do these exercises of checking in with your mental health at least once or twice a month.
Happy creating and we hope that these tips will help you keep going!
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