R U OK Day? Social media managers and mental health…
When social media is your job, there is an expectation to be “always on”. As the pandemic rolls on into its third year, the digital industry as a whole is changing its perception of this 24/7 approach – as are we. It can often mean we are ‘THAT’ person in our friendship group, and it can be an actual strain on our mental health. In the spirit of RUOK? Day, we want to share the Dark Horse team’s top tips to ‘switch off’, how we manage our stress and look after our mental health…
It continues to be a strange time on our third rock from the sun… COVID still has its claws in our daily life and most of us have had to revisit how we work while keeping our homelives on track. Moving from an IRL (in real life) approach to a virtual one, has meant a lot more Zoom meetings, at-home or hybrid working models, social media overwhelm and a reassessment of our life priorities as a whole.
For those of us working in digital, things got a WHOLE lot busier – and very quickly. We had to pivot our strategies, adapt communication methods, activate online sales methods, change our social media messaging at the drop of a hat and be responsive to the ever-changing social climate that COVID created.
When social media is your job, there is an expectation to be “always on”. As the pandemic rolls on into its third year, the digital industry as a whole is changing its perception of this 24/7 approach – as are we. With that in mind, we also pride ourselves for our responsiveness and are trying to work that balance between 24/7 and 9 to 5 – as unlike iPhones, we aren’t machines and require time away from technology. While we work THAT out, you’ll still hear us at social events utter phrases like
“I just have to post something”; or
“Hang on, we have a troll; or
“COVID restrictions have changed – see ya guys, I have to go change all my posts” *sigh*.
It can often mean we are ‘THAT’ person in our friendship group, and it can be an actual strain on our mental health. We’re talking: screen fatigue, burn out, anxiety from notifications and disinterest in our own personal social media. Snappy chappies who are tired all the time…
So, in the spirit of RUOK? Day, we want to share the Dark Horse team’s top tips to ‘switch off’, how we manage our stress and look after our mental health…
It’s tempting to be on the socials all day every day… they are actually designed to keep you in them, so it’s a hard battle to fight. Making rules or restrictions around your use can be the barrier you need to get out of the endless scroll.
“I keep my phone and all tech devices out of my bedroom – this stops any temptation to mindlessly pick up my phone or to wake up and immediately looking at social media, emails or the news (my husband does the same). This also sets a positive example to our kids. I’ll quickly check for any urgent messages once I’m up and in the kitchen, then I don’t look at it again until 8am. I have two kids to organise in the mornings, so it helps me to be more present with them too” - Nicole, Director
Find moments for digital detox
After typing away all day, sometimes all we need is half an hour to ourselves where we’re not interrupted by an email, Facebook notification or phone call. Many of us enjoy activities in the afternoon like walking, an exercise class, or catching up with friends to relax, de stress and enjoy screen free time.
“I love reading a good book. I find it’s an easy way to put my phone on silent and have a set amount of time with no distractions. After being on a computer screen and phone throughout my workday, I find this easy on my eyes and an easy way to wind down. I also enjoy getting outside and enjoy a walk to move my body.” Anna – Digital Marketing Officer
Take up hobbies that don’t include screens
We all finish the workday and head home to our families, partners and lives that are filled with all sorts of things. Some of us love cooking, others play team sport or enjoy a long walk along the river with the dog. For some, after work is gym time or an opportunity to socialise. Whatever it is, switching off where possible is crucial to keeping us sane!
“I don’t take my phone with me when I go to my exercise classes. This is my hour to zone out, sweat and focus all my attention to what I’m doing. If I go for a walk, I’ll put it in my pocket so I can still snap a photo of the sunset if I need too…but I will have it on silent for one hour to enjoy me time!” - Amelia, Digital Marketing Manager
“Catching up with friends is one of my favourite ways to be in the present and spend quality time with those closest to me. When you’re surrounded by good food, good drinks and of course the best company, there’s no need for me to pick up my phone. Pure bliss!” – Kelly, Operations Manager
Comparison is the thief of joy
We’re often online looking at other brands and agencies to see what they’re doing online and how we stack up. The truth is, we’re all doing our best in a fast paced, ever evolving digital landscape and we only have a certain number of hours in the day. If we can’t churn out 7 Reels a week, that’s ok! We know our clients love what we produce, and we try to go home each day reminding ourselves of that.
At Dark Horse, we also encourage everyone getting out of the office as much as possible. Whether that’s a lunchtime walk around the block, a coffee run down to our local Little Way or popping in to visit clients for a screen free meeting - we’re all for it! Culture is what makes Dark Horse so special, and bolstering that with fun activities that promote wellness is key.
Social media may be 24/7, but we don’t have to be. Making space for rest and wellbeing is important (probably now more than ever) for mental health and allows us to be the most creative versions of ourselves. And remember to ask others if they are OK? Sometimes the question can be just the care and kindness they need…
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