Millions of people turn to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks daily to read the news, engage with brands, discover new products, and connect and network.
The nearly Social Media Statics of combined social media use by gen Z and millennials, as determined by Statista, points to a sizable chunk of the day spent on the various platforms.
But, as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing. While these technologies make our lives easier, they can also lead to stress, depression, social media burnout, and feelings of loneliness.
The numbers back it up. According to another survey by Statista, over 30% of internet users have reported symptoms of anxiety disorders arising from the rampant use of social media.
So, social media burnout is a prevalent problem, and tech professionals cannot afford to overlook its impact. The best thing you can do is prevent it from happening in the first place, so you continue to meet your goals and still stop to smell the roses.
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Is Social Media Burnout a Real Thing?
The World Health Organization defines burnout as an occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress. Low energy, fatigue, tiredness, loss of motion, negative thinking, and diminished work performance are elements of this burnout. Over time, it can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and relationships.
According to clinical research published in Frontiers in Public Health, excessive social media use can contribute to burnout and worsen things. Among other fallouts, social media fuels perfectionism, affecting self-esteem and body image.
Also, Lensa’s research shows that certain states exhibit a higher risk of burnout, including Texas and Florida.
Consider those Instagram influencers who seem to have it all. Thousands of people browse their feeds, setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. As a result, users start focusing on the FOMO instead of having a realistic view of their accomplishments.
At the workplace, boundaries can quickly blur. Heavy social media use can increase the risk of depression and negative thinking, especially among social media marketers who spend most of their workday on online platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.
As an occupational phenomenon, social media burnout can also affect digital marketers, content writers, and other professionals in tech.
Signs You May Be Dealing With Social Media Burnout
Social media burnout has subtle signs and can often be confused with general stress or tiredness.
But, unlike stress, burnout doesn’t necessarily occur in response to a challenging or demanding situation, such as completing a major project. Instead, it’s characterized by a gradual buildup of tension and anxiety that leads to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, among other symptoms.
Regardless of its cause, burnout can affect your energy levels, immune function, and mental focus. Burnout symptoms may also include
- Digestive problems
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness
- A constant need to check your social media feeds
- Diminished motivation
- Behavioral changes, such as anger outbursts
- Recurring illnesses
- Feeling overwhelmed
Job burnout and stress go hand in hand, particularly common in those with a lot on their plates. If you’re a social media marketer or other professional focussed on social media platforms, you’d be familiar with the feeling of spending hours glued to a screen, juggling multiple tasks. Over time, this pattern can lead to fatigue and loss of interest.
However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the burnout and start enjoying your work again, which brings us to…
Strategies to Avoid Social Media Burnout
As a social media marketer, drawing a line between work and leisure can be challenging.
In this role, you must stay abreast of the latest social media trends, engage with prospects on different channels, reach out to journalists and influencers, and so on. You’ll also want to check your social media feeds in your spare time. As a result, you’re always “on,” which can lead to burnout, eye strain, and impaired sleep.
A break from technology would help, but that’s only sometimes an option. So, here are a few strategies to fight social media burnout which will help you return to being productive and happy at your job.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
In this competitive era, many professionals feel they can or should do it all. Think about solopreneurs and those working at startups, often wearing multiple hats. In addition to their daily social media tasks, they may be in charge of customer service, content creation, admin work, and other activities.
To counter burnout and daily drain, set definite expectations for yourself and others. Be realistic about what you can do and avoid taking too much on your plate.
A social media planning tool like SocialPilot can help you prepare a viable social media calendar and automate a number of your daily tasks while you work seamlessly with others.
2. Learn to Say “No”
Social media marketers typically spend hours scrolling through comments (helpful or otherwise) and dealing with trolls on social networks. On top of that, they’re often required to fulfill additional tasks, such as keyword research, copywriting, and editing.
You may sometimes need to go above and beyond and prove yourself. But this can’t become your business as usual. As we all have the same 24 hours a day, it’s important to set boundaries, put away the superhero cape, and learn to say “no.”
If a client contacts you after business hours, remember your response can wait till the next day. Better still, initiate clear communication protocols from the get-go. Likewise, it’s okay to disconnect from social media after hours and while at home and turn down any requests that will cause unnecessary stress or burnout.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
When you love what you do, you give it your all. While that approach is great, hard work only sometimes equals better results.
Imagine this scenario: A client asks you to share a bunch of product photos on social media, add relevant descriptions, and reply to comments.
On seeing the photos, you realize they require a lot of editing. For example, you must remove or change the background and add other small touches.
One way to get the task done is to edit one photo at a time, but this process would take hours. Alternatively, you can use an online background remover to speed things up without compromising quality. You can even batch-edit photos with the right tools to simplify your work and avoid social media burnout.
The whole point is to think outside the box and find ways to do things smarter.
4. Batch-Create Your Social Media Content
Except for time-sensitive topics, you can draft and schedule your content ahead of time. So, instead of spending 30 minutes writing, editing, and posting individual threads on Twitter (or other platforms), you can spend six or seven hours creating a week’s content.
You can also categorize your social media posts into specific buckets, such as company updates, blog content, infographics, etc. You can then use pre-designed templates to streamline and complete your work more quickly.
This approach allows you to focus on the task at hand, which may help prevent burnout. Multitasking is found to decrease productivity by a whopping 40%, and fewer than 2.5% of people can switch between tasks seamlessly.
So, it would make better sense to check off one task at a time and batch-create your content for social media.
5. Start Delegating Tasks
Social media burnout is particularly common among solopreneurs, freelancers, and other independent professionals. If you’re one of them, it’s time to start outsourcing instead of trying to do everything yourself.
First, think about your daily tasks as a social media marketer. Write them down and highlight those that consume most of your time. These may include
- Content scheduling and publishing
- Data reporting
- Image selection
- Photo editing
- Conversation management
- Social listening
- Media outreach
- Keyword research
While these tasks may be part of your job description, learn to prioritize those that require your full attention and delegate or outsource the rest.
For example, you may draft the content calendar and create the posts while delegating resource-agnostic tasks like keyword research. This approach will free up your time and allow you to focus on what matters most.
6. Automate as Much as Possible
If you’re a dedicated and full-time employee or a solopreneur, you may be unable to delegate or outsource work. But you can always leverage automation to simplify things, save time, and up the ROI.
There are a number of automation tools in the market that could save you hours of grunt work in managing campaigns at scale and multiple accounts, each with its unique features and benefits.
SocialPilot, for example, enables users to schedule and publish social media posts across platforms. It also features cutting-edge tools for content curation, collaboration, team management, and other activities.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
A 2022 survey found 5% of professionals spend over 20 hours in weekly meetings. About 12% of respondents said they spend 12 to 20 hours in meetings during a typical work week, and nearly 40% reported spending 4 to 12 hours in meetings.
Whether you’re an employee or a solopreneur, attending regular meetings can hurt your productivity and morale. This practice disrupts your workflow, making it hard to regain focus and get things done.
To circumvent the time drain, switch to a collaboration tool like Bubbles, Slack, or Trello that can help bring all your communication and tools onto one platform. Freelance social media marketers, too, can use these tools to answer clients’ questions, share reports, and present the content strategy.
8. Bundle Similar Tasks
As mentioned earlier, multitasking is a major contributing factor to social media burnout. One way to address this issue is to create content in batches and plan things ahead.
You can also bundle similar tasks, such as image curation, media outreach, and keyword research, into specific time slots in your calendar. For example, draft your Instagram posts and captions every Monday morning for the week ahead and set aside time for keyword research once a month or so.
This way, you will have a steady content flow and cut the time spent on repetitive tasks. Plus, you can give your full attention to the task at hand and tackle upcoming projects without feeling burned out.
9. Repurpose Your Best Content
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel to make an impact on social media. While publishing fresh content is important, you can also repurpose existing content periodically. This strategy will free up your time and boost your social media efforts. In addition, it can increase website traffic, engagement, and brand exposure with minimal effort.
First, identify your best-performing content (or the content published by your clients). Then, identify new ways to reuse that content to expand its reach. For example, you can turn long-form content, such as tutorials or how-to guides, into the following:
- Video tutorials
- PowerPoint presentations
- Social media posts (tips, expert insights, infographics, etc.)
Likewise, you can group and repurpose blog posts on similar topics into an eBook or online course. Photos and other visuals are ideal for creating Pinterest boards, whereas internal data can be a great starting point for case studies.
A good example of repurposed content is this Instagram post, where Wyzowl shared data from its annual research report, turning it into social media content.
10. Take Regular, Short Breaks
A recent study featured in PLOS One suggests one of the easiest ways to avoid social media burnout—or job burnout in general—is taking regular, short breaks. Disconnecting from work for as little as 10 minutes can reduce fatigue, boost productivity, and improve mental well-being.
What matters most is choosing an activity that calms your mind. The whole point is disconnecting and giving your brain a break.
Here are some ideas you can consider to ensure you’re getting those breathers:
- Go for a walk on your lunch break
- Schedule multiple mini-workouts throughout the day
- Take a power nap in your car
- Stand up and stretch every hour or so
- Treat yourself to a healthy snack or mocktail
11. Change Your Environment
We all need a change of scenery occasionally, especially when dealing with stress and burnout. This doesn’t mean you have to book a flight or go on a sabbatical. Instead, you can plan a weekend trip or visit the countryside and do something fun like horseback riding, fruit picking, or hiking.
If you’re a social media marketer working from home, head to a coffee shop for a change of surroundings. You could also go to a coworking space or rent an apartment in a nearby city for a week or two.
Think of it as stepping out of your comfort zone and gaining new experiences. It might be precisely what you need to get into a creative state and boost your mood.
12. Build A Meditation Habit
You might have heard meditation can lower stress levels, boost mental well-being, and improve sleep, among other benefits. The practice may also reduce or prevent job burnout and make coping with curveballs easier.
For example, a 2021 study found mindfulness meditation can alleviate stress and burnout in nurses. In another study, teachers who meditated for 20 minutes twice daily reported significantly reduced anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion, and fatigue within four months.
Commit to at least 10 minutes of meditation daily to reap the benefits. Do it in the morning, at lunch, after work, or whenever your schedule allows. The key is to be consistent and make a habit of it.
Social media has opened up a world of opportunities, creating new jobs and allowing small businesses to expand globally. But its overuse also contributes to social isolation, bullying, stress, and burnout, among other issues.
As an employee or solopreneur, you may be dealing with social media burnout without realizing it. Perhaps you’re constantly tired and struggling to fall asleep or no longer feel motivated to get things done.
Social media burnout, if left unaddressed, can take a toll on your life and keep you from achieving your full potential. The only way to avoid and overcome this common problem is to put your needs first and prioritize work-life balance.
This guide should give you a new perspective on achieving this. Simple changes such as batch-creating your content, bundling similar tasks, and taking time off as needed can make all the difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does social media burnout feel like?
When dealing with social media burnout, you may feel too tired to finish things and lose interest in your job, hobbies, and favorite activities.
Over time, you may experience behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, and inner emptiness. Every day will feel like a bad day, and you may end up isolating yourself from others, coming in late, or missing deadlines.
What causes burnout in social media managers?
Social media burnout usually results from multiple factors, such as heavy workloads, excessive screen time, and unclear job expectations. Spending hours on social media can also lead to cognitive fatigue and information overload, which may cause stress and burnout.
Working in a high-pressure environment and performing repetitive tasks, such as scheduling social media posts and curating images, can worsen this problem.
How does social media burnout affect your life?
If left unaddressed, social media burnout can affect your mood, energy levels, and work performance. You may also experience insomnia, get sick more often, and feel sad or anxious for no obvious reason. Over time, job burnout can put you at risk for substance abuse and chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Is social media burnout a mental health issue?
Regardless of its cause, occupational burnout is not recognized as a mental illness, but its symptoms resemble those of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. This problem is specifically related to work rather than everyday stressors and, therefore, requires a different approach than stress-related disorders, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).