How social media stress can ruin your online presence

During the pandemic, social media user activity increased from an average of two hours a day to seven hours a day. Social media became a lifeline for many during the lockdown and all of the social media platforms not only saw a huge increase in new users signing up but also inactive accounts being used once more.

Having access to so much information online through our social media platforms can contribute to our stress levels especially when we have so much to process which isn’t good for our mental health.

With fake news, people becoming experts in COVID-19 overnight and everyone having their own opinions on what was happening, it was a time where our mind space was taken over with things we wouldn’t normally deal with, and unfortunately we are not built to process all this information in a natural way.

Add into the mix having to deal with a new working environment such as working from home, meetings now online, children at home eating their way through the contents of the fridge like locusts, having to adapt our day to homeschool and literally having to change the way we spent our days, weeks and months. No wonder people have decided to leave social media and have an online break.

With everyday stresses and then adding the impact of what was on our social media during this time it would have had a negative effect on many of our stress levels, which isn’t healthy.

You may have not noticed any stress or felt that your social media had a negative effect on you or your health at all, but I know at times even for me I wanted to switch off from it all as it all got too much.

Here are some of the signs to see if your social media is stressing you out and/or affecting your mental health.

  • Struggling to fall asleep or waking throughout the night with an urge to look at your social media.
  • Becoming angry at posts or comments to the point you may throw your device.
  • Posting negative posts or leaving negative comments, especially if it’s something you didn’t do before the pandemic.
  • Reliving conversational posts and comments in real life with friends and family and getting worked up.
  • Damaging a friendship or removing important people from your social media connections.

If this sounds like you then maybe it’s time to think about how you can take time out or reduce your social media activity.

There is so much research into the negative effects that social media can have on us and if you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed I would highly recommend having a social media break or at least reducing your device time.

However many of us have learnt to rely on our social media over the past seven months and walking away from it isn’t an option we feel it’s something we can’t do easily.

Learning to manage our social media and not spend every waking minute on our phones, tablets or desktops is something that becomes a habit and can take time. This is something I’m passionate about and also practice myself and coach others daily.

You can still have a great social media presence and be visible without being on it for hours every day.

HOW! It’s just about time management. Also, think about turning off your notifications to the social media platforms that you use regularly or any other apps. It helps with that temptation of looking at your social media platforms constantly and getting caught up in social media activity and things that will create negative mind space or take up your time.

If you feel that your social media is causing you stress here are some simple things you can put in place or follow.

  • As I mentioned before turn your notifications off for all your social media apps.
  • Have selected times throughout the day that you check your social media. Make sure you limit your time then once you are on there and have a “get in and get out” approach. Go through your notifications, interact with others and complete other social media housekeeping tasks such as messages and accepting or declining friend and connections. Ideally, you can do this in 10/15 minutes slots 2/3 times a day.
  • Avoid areas or people within your social media that you think cause you stress.
  • If your posts are negative or causing arguments, think about not posting for a while until your mindset has changed and just watch from the sidelines and try not to comment either. Become a spectator until it feels right to start up again.
  • Have a social media cull. Get rid of those negheads that are causing you stress. There is nothing wrong with unfollowing, unfriending or unconnecting with people. You don’t need to tell them or broadcast it either all over your social media platforms. There is nothing worse than being a pity party.
  • Maybe you need to have a social media detox and take time out, even a weekend away or evening from your social media can make a difference. Turn your phone off, read a book or watch a film. Leave your phone somewhere you won’t be able to grab it and start scrolling through.

I love social media and it’s been a great way for us to stay online during these unprecedented times not just from a business point of view but to stay in touch with friends and family, as long as you feel stress-free and happy with being on there. If you feel that it’s affecting your stress levels, then implement these few changes I’ve mentioned above, and you may notice a difference in your stress and health levels. Plus you may also find that you aren’t consistently on your social media.

Here are my top tips for keeping your social simple and help towards keeping your stress levels low.

  • Plan your social media ahead of time – think of what content you are going to put for the week. Having a plan can save so much time with our social media.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you only have time for one platform then only use one platform. It’s all about baby steps and introduce a new platform once you know you are giving 100% to the ones you are using.
  • Be consistent if you are going to post daily if you are going to post 2/3 times a week and that is manageable then stick to that and build on that each week. It’s about showing up and being present.
  • Tell your audience what it is you do, what your business does and the products and services you offer. If your audience doesn’t know what it is you do how can they use you or recommend you.
  • If you are struggling with social media content idea’s then keep it simple and follow my theme plan just until you get into the habit of posting regularly: 
    • Monday as a Motivation day
    • Tuesday as a top tip from your business or industry
    • Wednesday tell people something about your business
    • Thursday’s posts could be a review or testimonial
    • Friday share some humour
    • Saturday share something about you – after all people buy people
    • Sunday ask for a recommendation, movie, book, restaurant etc. People will want to get to know the real you
  • Save time with your social media and look at scheduling tools. There are so many out there and they will allow you to plan your content, post it ahead of time and get into a routine of being more present on your social media platforms without actually going into them. 
  • Most of all have fun with your social media, be you and start switching off from that negative content that can cause social media stress.
Samantha Cameron
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Samantha Cameron

Samantha is a social media expert and for over 4 years she has been showing businesses of all sizes how they can increase their social media presence and brand simply but with effective results. She also studies and uses social media physiology to help you really understand your online brand and how to capture your audience. As well as a business owner she is a busy Mum, so knows how important it is to use time efficiently. Through her social media coaching, training and easy to follow online and group workshops, you can implement her simple methods so that you aren't spending hours a day online; avoiding feeling overwhelmed and stressed by social media.