9 Secrets of Self-Care for Content Creators
Whether you’re a content creator full-time, part-time, or on weekends in between your regular job, being a content creator often comes with a significant emotional burden. While the topics content creators choose to focus on are usually ones they love, the nature of content creation requires us to engage through social media, which can often be toxic, dangerous, and unpredictable. For those of us who happen to be in one or more minority groups, the emotional effort it takes just to show up can sometimes be exhausting.
As a queer influencer and creator, I have to navigate the planet differently. I have to be on my guard because there are very real people, both on social media and in real life who want me to fail or worse. The solution for me can not be to throw up my hands and walk away from social media. I have to find ways to be a content creator and be on social without doing harm to my spirit, myself, or my family. I have to do all this while still being mindful of maximizing the positive potential of each platform. On the plus side, we have these engaging outlets where we can reach our audiences and make meaningful connections. On the downside, we can lose everything overnight, or even our own lives.
If you’re a content creator, even though you’re making what you love, it can still be hard to carry on. I want you to know that you are not alone. What you’re doing matters. You matter. I want you to take care of yourself and find ways to balance your life and protect yourself so you can continue to create sustainably. Your voice is needed. Your work is valid. If you’re a minority content creator especially, I want you to succeed. We need you especially.
Here are some of my personal survival secrets and tips that have helped me continue to thrive as a creator, while keeping me firmly grounded in who I am and the life I want to live.
1. Adjust Your Mindset
The first step to gaining control, (and a sense of sanity) over your social media interactions is to adjust your mindset. When it comes to your work as a creator, you have to think of social media as a tool. You can no longer afford to let social media be your daily, (hourly), dopamine fix, or hangout with mutuals. Social media, for you as a creator, is a tool. Make it work for you. If a platform is no longer working for you, either stop using it or find ways to make it work on your terms.
2. Separate Your Personal Social from Your Professional
If you haven’t already done so, disconnect your public creator account personas from all of your private social media accounts. If you need to create a “public professional account” on some platforms, do it. This will make it easier for you to stay connected to IRL family and friends without getting the notifications and distractions that keep you “always on” as a creator.
3. Treat it Like a 9 to 5 Job
I’m serious when I say this; social media, while it may look fun and shiny, is a job and as a creator you need to clock out at the end of the day. Your day may start at 3:00pm and end at 9:00pm, but have a limit. Take days off. Make time to have a life outside of social media, otherwise it will creep into every second of your waking life. Pre-schedule content on the days you are unavailable. Stop being available on social media 24/7. You don’t owe anyone that kind of time except yourself.
4. Truly Unplug for Days at a Time
This is unimaginable for many of us. I had always planned to take some time off, put my phone away, and hang out with my family, but that time could never be “now.” There was always too much to do, another like to acquire, or comment to reply to, often at the expense of my personal well-being. And my family and friends have been trying to get me to step away for a while now. Then, recently, they staged an intervention where they expressed their legitimate concern for my health and shared what they observed happening to me during those times that I couldn’t step away.
I hate that it took this to resonate with me, but I immediately deleted the apps for a week. I also plan to take a longer hiatus soon. I’m so glad they did. That time off helped me reevaluate my priorities, my life, and how I want to navigate my life as a creator going forward. I know it sounds impossible, but look at your calendar, and take a chunk of days where you will do no social media whatsoever. Do it every few months if you can. Your brain and spirit will thank you.
5. Find Other Ways to Connect and Fill Your Social Cup
When social media first came out, it was addicting. We could see what all our friends were up to in realtime. We could talk to them at any time, connect with them, and we still can. But now, social media also includes influencers, companies, creators like yourself, as well as a host of trolls and others who want to take your time and attention. It’s all in the mix, and meaningful connection is becoming harder to find on social media, especially as a creator.
Find IRL or virtual ways to make meaningful connections with people you care about that are outside of social media. Whether it’s a weekly zoom with your friends, a craft guild, a local charity, or even a regular phone call with your friends, take the time, and make the time, to have a full, connected life outside of social media.
6. Make a “Help, I’m Overwhelmed” List of Activities You Can Do
In those times when you’re in the throngs of social media and something becomes emotionally heated, or too much, take some real time away from your screen, even if only for a half hour. Here are some reset-tasks to help your brain gain some time away and perspective:
– Take a walk. Even if it’s just around your house, or around your yard, or down the street, get away from your desk and observe something outside of a screen.
– Care for something. Pet your dog or cat. Water your plants. Go get the mail, if you don’t have anything to care for.
– Ask yourself what you need. Maybe you need a snack, a bio-break, a nap. Look after yourself for a few minutes and see what you need.
– Go talk to someone. Talking to others can be a good way to get your mind off your work.
7. Have a Hard Limit for Topics You’ll Publicly Discuss & Debate
Your public social media is personal and the content you create is just that; yours. You get to decide what topics you want to talk about and engage your audience with. You don’t have to field every question, or engage everyone who does not agree with you. Especially if you’re a minority creator; you owe no one anything. If you’re a person of color, if you’re a woman, if you’re trans, if you’re gay; you don’t owe anyone an explanation of yourself. Your identity is yours and while you may choose to talk about it, you do not have to take any crap that anyone gives you about it. You are free to block those people, to have your admins block those people. Have zero tolerance for any “would be fan” who “just wants to debate or make a point” that you personally find phobic to your identity.
8. Keep Your Private Life Private
Setting boundaries with your audience is a good way to regain a sense of control. You don’t have to tell them what you don’t want to talk about, but you should be very aware of what you won’t discuss. Decide what about your private life you don’t need to talk about. Consider topics like your personal history, your family, your kids, your mental health, your physical health, your struggles, etc. It’s your life. You don’t owe anyone a private window into your inner self. If you’re sharing information about your spouse, partner, kids, or friends, make sure you have their permission.
9. Have a Platform Where Fans Can Support You Financially
Especially if you have lean months, having a platform like Patreon, where your real fans can send you a couple bucks a month, can make a big difference. Find creative ways to incentivise your fans, with fan-only content that is relevant to your content and brand.
Remember, being a creator can be a long haul. Conscious self-care can mean the difference between success and burnout. I hope you actively choose self-care. I hope you find these tips useful and I wish you the best on your content creator journey.
Originally published on Mister Domestic. Reprinted here with permission.