When your job requires you to be online all the time, especially using social media, digital fatigue is not just likely — it’s inevitable. In fact, research shows that fatigue could lead to much worse problems, including increased risk of anxiety and depression. The blurred lines between personal and client social management just compounds these problems.
After staring into a screen for hours every day, enduring the assault of messages pelting your eyeballs without end, it’s easy to understand why your mind feels dulled, your memory fuzzy, and your attention span depleted. With all of the content we’re exposed to as marketers, it’s no wonder that all of the visuals and copy can eventually dissolve into noise.
If you’ve found yourself in the mind-numbing cycle of infinite scrolling, eyes glazed and jaw agape, hearing your loved ones’ warbling speech but comprehending no meaning, it’s time for some digital self-care. Here are our steps to avoiding digital burnout and reestablishing digital wellness:
1. Schedule time to engage with non-digital activities.
It might be hard to put down the phone when you pride yourself on fast response times or superb engagement, but perhaps the best way is to immerse yourself in something else. Reading, working in the yard, going for a walk, playing volleyball, painting — anything that sucks you into the experience and requires your focus is a great way to shift your focus into the present and the physical. Save the selfies of the experience — you are here for you.
Set some time (an hour or two, if you can spare it) each day or a few times per week to do something you really enjoy, especially if it’s away from a screen. First do it three times in a row, then consistently for three weeks, then for three months, and you’ll be well on your way to starting a new habit.
2. Set specific times to engage with social
Just because you want to reduce social media doesn’t mean that you have to avoid it entirely (and for some, their job renders that impossible anyway). Start by setting certain times that you check, post, and respond on the social platforms you manage. It could be as simple as between 10 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 3 p.m. If you need more, set aside that time, but make sure that you take care of business during those windows. While there may be client-related emergencies and exceptions, remember, the world does not end if you don’t respond.
3. Set times to avoid digital media.
While it’s helpful to set times where you purposefully use social media, there is bound to be some wiggle room. Another trick is to plan times when your phone or computer is completely off-limits.
Researchers suggest removing blue light sources at least an hour before bed to help your brain begin its uptick in melatonin production to help you get to sleep, especially REM sleep, which aids in the regulation of the stress hormone cortisol. It might take some willpower, but setting an arbitrary time before bed to shut everything off will help your body’s regulation and give you more time to be in the present. Plus, you can better focus on finishing up those outstanding digital tasks if you’re working against the clock.
4. Use an intermediary social media tool
In order to stick to business when you need to use social for client work, try using a social scheduling and management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer (if you’re not already). As long as you’re sticking to your content strategy, you can knock out your content ahead of time and reserve engagement and community management for your predetermined social time.
5. Practice daily mindfulness techniques
Although this piece is more general, checking in with yourself throughout your day, especially when you’re using social, is a great way to see what digital behaviors might be causing you stress or other negative responses. Whenever you find yourself engaging in digital media, ask yourself: How did you get there? How do you feel? Is this building me up or distracting me from the present? In any case, mindfulness isn’t about judging how you feel in that moment — just observing. If you want to go a step further, incorporating journaling or meditation might also help to ground and center your attention on yourself and the present, away from social and digital media.
What strategies do you use when it comes to practicing digital wellness? Sound off on social and let us know how you beat social burnout.