Social media is not a career for the timid. Managing social media networks that run 24/7, creating and publishing content that is in real-time and being viewed by thousands, and having your entire career in the public spotlight is not a carefree life. Social media professionals have an interesting role in the fact that it is one of the only jobs where every ounce of their work is out there on public display, ready for public criticism. It is not a ‘behind closed doors’ job, and the stress level that comes with knowing every mistake you make could be called out by thousands of observers is intense. In a world that is begging us to unplug and get back to basics, we can do anything but that. In fact, the moment we unplug is when a crisis seems to strike. This can lead to stress levels that seem unmanageable and make us want to reevaluate our career choice. It leads to broken dates, late night calls with colleagues and missing out on some pretty important life events.
In order for us to stay sane in a crazy social world, we have to find ways that we can find stress relief while delivering on our commitment to our job at the same time. Here are some ways that I find immediately bring me back to peace, and semi-rational thinking ;):
This has been one of my #1 lifesavers. Even just 10 minutes of meditation can redirect your thinking and bring you back down to earth. I find that after I meditate everything seems a lot more manageable, even though it’s all still right there in front of me. My perception completely changes and I emerged refreshed and able to tackle matters from a different angle. There are thousands of apps and videos online to help you get started with meditation, but my favorites are found at the Chopra Center. You can choose meditations from nine minutes to an hour long, depending on just how much distance you need from your stress.
Join a Support Group
There are great private groups online full of social media pros that are facing the same challenges you are. I joined my first one a few years ago and it has been a true Godsend.It’s amazing how quickly stress can dissipate when you realize there are other people out there experiencing the exact same things you are AND have helpful tips from their own experience to help you navigate yours. There’s nothing more stress relieving than someone saying, “Hey, you’re not crazy. I’ve been in the exact same place you are, and here’s how I got to the other side. ”
This sounds ridiculous, but it actually works! When I was in the hospital last year, I could not eat for three days for surgery prep. My roommate got me hooked on Juicy Fruit gum because it was one of the only things I could have. Since then, I always keep a pack with me. I’ve noticed in super stressful moments, I start chewing it without a second thought and all of a sudden feel a bit better. Then, I read an article recently that said chewing gum actually helps you divert some of that stressful energy throughout the day. Who knew?!
Keep Healthy Snacks EVERYWHERE
As social media pros, we are always on the go and rarely have time to sit down for a real meal or think about what we are eating. This can lead to many ‘hangry’ moments, and/or eating foods that are super unhealthy and feed our stress. Take some time on the weekends to stock up on some healthy snacks that you can have in your bag, desk drawer and at home for those moments when you just don’t even have time to think of what you need to eat. Anothing thing that has helped me is proactively planning out healthy meals for the week and bringing them with me to work. This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of picking up some fast food during a quick lunch break.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
This one is SUPER important for all of us. Our mistakes seem to be amplified compared to mistakes of others because every piece of copy we write, every image we create, is pushed out in real-time to a large group of criticizers. Yes, we need to learn from our mistakes and be extra careful that we are producing top-notch work for the networks we manage. However, we also need to give ourselves a break when we are creating multiple shareables and other content in a fast-paced environment with a million different people giving us their opinions on how the work should be created. We are human, and we should give ourselves the compassion and understanding every human being deserves.
I have aromatherapy rollerballs all over the place that I find to be invaluable. One of my favorites is Aveda’s Stress-Fix Concentrate. Aveda claims their stress-fix mix is science-backed and proven to reduce stress. I use it every night before I meditate. Origin’s Peace of Mind is also one of my perennial favorites. It’s perfect for a shot of energy and clarity when you are at the office.
Now, we all have our own views and ways of grounding ourselves so you will need to figure out what yours is for this one. Mine is my faith. I would absolutely not be able to manage a career in social media without my foundation in God. Prayer and an overall dedication to do what is right, morally and ethically, helps ground me when everything seems to be going a thousand miles an hour. For you, this might be a different type of faith or your family or your significant other. Find something that grounds you and hold onto it tightly when you start to feel like the world is spinning.
Try implementing some of these tips this week when stress starts to creep in, and share your own tips that have helped you in your social media career in the comments below!
– Marji J. Sherman