Life as a content creator can be sweet – there aren’t too many other jobs that offer such flexibility and creativity. It’s a world with a huge opportunity for growth; as such, content creators are wired to aim for more… more views, more clicks, more articles, more revenue. One thing about making a living in the blogging world, however, is that the focus on moving upward can unintentionally come at the expense of something extremely important: your mental health.
May is World Mental Health Month, and we wanted to take a moment to write a piece that acknowledges your success and hard work, but also encourages you to pause and think about how you’re doing, and what changes, if any, might help you take better care of yourself.
Why this is important
According to a study by Our World in Data, around 1 in 7 people globally experience one or more mental health issues. Within the content creating community, we can see the toll this takes. A 2021 study by Vibely, an online platform for monetizing communities, showed that 90% of content creators are burnt out. In the social media content community alone, 71% of people have even thought about quitting social media altogether.
Compared to some fields, content creators can see pretty quickly how they are performing, reflected in lines of data and cells. When data is so prevalent as a metric for success, it’s stressful to always be trying to gain more followers, create more videos, send more emails, see more clicks, and more.
Furthermore, many content creators are balancing multiple priorities. While some content creators do it full time, many may even have a different full-time job, making it even more difficult to get a break.
When we’re constantly working toward goals but not pausing to even appreciate how far we’ve come, what are we really working towards? As one of our own publishers Stefan Rows puts it in his own blog about avoiding burnout as a programmer: “What is success and money worth if you are unhappy? For me, nothing.”
What you can do
First of all, it’s great that you’re already here taking time to read this article. The first step in the process of keeping yourself mentally healthy is simply caring about the concept of your own mental health.
Let’s face it – content creators are often high-achievers, even perfectionists. But we’re here to make the case that good mental health matters just as much as any other definition of “success,” because you can only get so far in your publishing career if you cannot continue it sustainably.
So, here are 6 practical tips you can use to keep yourself and your mental health in good shape.
- Set your boundaries
- Set working hours
- Call up your friends
- Take care of your physical health
- Treat yourself
Set your boundaries
Don’t be afraid to say no. Oftentimes, content creators are hopping from one project to the next, but if it doesn’t work for your schedule, it’s okay to say no every once in a while in order to avoid stress and burnout. For example, you might elect to turn down an opportunity to speak on a panel in order to spend time with your family.
Give yourself set working hours
Another tip we recommend, especially in a world where many creators work from home, is to set working hours. When you’re working for yourself the lines between personal time and business hours tend to blur. Be sure to schedule working hours and breaks so you can take care of business and yourself.
Gmail lets you set working hours so that you can make it easier for yourself to stick to a consistent schedule.
The average American adult spends over 7 hours a day looking at digital screens (Business Insider). One of the biggest challenges cited for people who work from home is “shutting off” in the evenings – according to a study by Forbes, 4 out of 5 workers find it hard to “shut off” in the evenings. Unplugging is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, for a couple reasons.
First, like giving yourself set working hours, unplugging makes sure you stop working and don’t get sucked in. It also gives your eyes (and the rest of you) a break from screens and uncomfortable working positions. In the long term, spending too much time looking at digital screens hurts our physical health and mental health. Excessive screen time can give us issues with vision, headaches, neck and back pain, and increased feelings of depression or anxiety.
So shut your laptop, mute your phone, and get outside! Being hooked to your computer might be great for building your business, but give yourself permission to get up and get outside, and get moving. The sun, sounds and movement tend to make us more relaxed and in turn ready to take on whatever the rest of the day has in store.
Some tips to help yourself unplug more often via the Jed Foundation.
Call up your friends
Another issue that hard workers – especially those who are working remote – experience is loneliness. Forbes found that nearly two-thirds of people working from home feel isolated or lonely at least sometimes, and 17% do all the time. We are wired as social creatures, so getting to spend time with your friends and family is absolutely essential.
There’s no need to hit the clubs, but spending time with other people, especially if you work mostly by yourself, can bring you a breath of fresh air.
The Mayo Clinic has an even better case than we do for socializing – “Socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but also it helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer.”
What does this mean? Socializing will only help you stay sharper to grow your online presence.
Take care of your physical health
We’ve been hinting at this one throughout our other tips, but you absolutely cannot neglect your physical health if you’re looking to keep your mental health strong.
Your physical health and mental health are inextricably linked, so if one is off, the other is more likely to suffer as well.
Make sure you eat right, take time away from screens, get exercise when you can, and keep an eye on your physical health in general. Take care of yourself!
You’re already crushing it by owning and operating a site. When you set goals, be sure to take time to honor those and reward yourself for reaching important milestones. Did you reach a goal of earning 50,000 pageviews, 10,000 followers, or even just $100? If so, do something that makes you happy – take a trip, go out with a friend, whatever the reward is, remind yourself that you earned it!
Wrapping it all up
Keep your eyes on the end goal, don’t take life too seriously, and take care of yourself.
One Ezoic publisher, Shaun Marrs, shared with us how he keeps up with his mental health as a content creator:
“Lift weights, drink whisky, and watch videos of puppies howling on YouTube. Sounds basic but it gets the job done. Visualizing the end goal helps too.”
We loved that because it encompasses one more thing we believe helps: do things that make you happy. If you need to watch a funny video in between writing sessions, do it! Letting yourself have fun can be an important part of being a successful publisher.
Have any thoughts? Let us know what you do to keep tabs on your mental health as a content creator!
Check out the links below for more best practices in publishing