2020 has been a year!
It has brought about fundamental shifts, both socially and politically, that social media has helped to make it impossible to ignore. The global pandemic, followed by the social justice movement in support of Black Lives Matter, has drastically changed the social media landscape.
Many of us are choosing to use our platforms to address the issues we are passionate about. However, participating in activism can open you up to the dark side of social media…the trolls, harsh criticism, personal insults, negative comments, cyberbullying, and harassment; all of that can take a tremendous toll on your overall well being.
Activism is important work, but finding the balance between caring for your self and serving your audience is often a struggle for influencer activists.
You are often found guilty of prioritizing your work over self-care. But, in order to effectively continue to do this work, you must make self-care a priority.
Practicing self-care will allow you to maintain a level of resilience, remain engaged and impactful in your work, and sustain your work over the long haul.
So what exactly can you do? Self-care is about taking consistent, proactive actions to maintain your mental, physical, social, spiritual, and emotional health.
There are many ways to implement self-care into your life and not everything works for everybody. But, here are some ways you can practice self-care as an influencer activist.
Do the basics.
Basic self-care practices are so easy to toss to the wayside. The importance of eating regular meals, getting enough sleep, drinking water, and participating in physical activity is often overlooked. Stop yourself from working through lunch, get off your butt and move your body, try not to regularly short yourself on sleep, and drink water throughout the day. These basics are the essential building blocks of your self-care practice.
Build a support team.
Your support team should include a variety of people. First and foremost, it’s important to have people close to you that know you and care for you outside of your social media persona. These are the people that you don’t have to be “on” for and who love and accept you for the multi-dimensional person you are. Secondly, it would be of great benefit to join a blogging/influencer group and surround yourself with colleagues and peers that understand the work that you do. And a bonus is having a mentor or coach that can support and guide you as you navigate this work!
Find activities that you can scatter throughout your day that can recharge you mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually. These activities can help you calm your mind, process feelings, rest, and reset your mood. Don’t overthink it. Just set aside 10-15 minutes breaks throughout your day. Do things like call a friend, stretch, take a walk, sit outside, journal, pray, meditate, eat a snack, dance it out. Whatever floats your boat…the possibilities are endless.<
Take time off.
Take time off…like “full days off” on a regular basis. No writing, no planning, no posting. Make it a part of your regular schedule to take time off and stick to it. And maybe you can even go so far as planning weekend getaways or vacations free from any influencer activities (insert audible gasp). It is not only possible but necessary.
You don’t need to write for every outlet or join every campaign or collaboration that reaches out to you. You will quickly spread yourself too thin and get overwhelmed. So, make sure you understand your why and let that guide you. Focus on doing what serves you and your audience. If a project doesn’t align with your agenda…Just say no.
Utilize the Block Button.
When you use your platform for activism in any way you are sure to have people that will disagree with you. And that’s fine. As an influencer activist, you want to initiate healthy discussions with different perspectives. But, with the anonymity of social media, the cyberbullies are sure to find a reason to start harassing you. You don’t have to allow yourself to become the target of abuse. Know when to draw the line and block people from your social media platforms. Just click a few buttons and move on with no guilt.
It is easy to get sucked into your work as an influencer and spend hours and hours online. But you need to acknowledge that the stream of information is nonstop; consuming all of that information impacts you in so many different ways. So for as much time as you spend online, you should also engage in your life offline. Put your phone down and close your computer. It’s good for your mind and your eyes could probably use the break.
Recognize signs of burnout.
Burnout is a thing for influencers. You have to be aware of it so that you can address it before it gets out of hand. If you find that you are not wanting to engage with your audience, have difficulty finding joy or satisfaction in your work, or you feel a lack of inspiration (i.e. writer’s block)… you are probably experiencing some level of burn out. Know what burnout looks like for you and don’t ignore the signs.
Plan Your Self Care.
Plan your self-care like you plan your content. Knowing what you need to do ahead of time will help you stick to a regular practice of self-care and be proactive with your overall well being. Be sure to include activities that address your emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual health and implement them into your daily life.
Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessary component of your work. The key is to be proactive and consistent. Actively caring for yourself as much as you care for others will give you the ability to continually serve your audience at your highest capacity and keep up the good fight.
Elisha Beach is a birth mom of 3, adoptive mom of 1, and a stepmom of 4 step-“adults.”. Yes, you read that right… 8 kids a.k.a a professional mom complete with a B.A. in Child Development. She is also a wife, home cook, terrible housekeeper, laundry avoider, blogger of mom truth at TheMom-Forum.com, host of The Mom Forum Podcast, and self-care strategist, and advocate for moms.