Hey Trish – I’m getting into content creation, and I’ve been getting some traction on social media, but it’s a lot of work and so stressful and is taking the fun out of it. Any tips?
Hi there, and thank you so much for raising this important question. First and foremost, I want to begin by validating what you’re feeling. It sounds like what you’re experiencing is (what I like to call) “content creation burnout,” and it’s absolutely a real thing (though not a medical term – again, I’m not a doctor, and none of the information in these posts is medical advice!). Indeed, in speaking to and watching many friends who are serious content creators (some with hundreds of thousands of followers!) I’ve seen firsthand how filming videos, thinking of creative trends, and always trying to look their best can take a toll. It’s especially stressful when the content you’re creating is supposed to be “relaxing” or “uplifting” – and all you’re feeling is complete exhaustion.
Which raises the question: what to do? In this post, I’m going to try to answer that question by sharing some quick tips on how to build a healthier relationship with your content-creating experience. Some of these suggestions may resonate with you more than others, but the overarching theme is this: by setting boundaries (real and psychological), being authentic, and prioritizing your mental wellbeing, you can avoid burnout and ensure content creation is fun and fulfilling. I do want to acknowledge that these tips are more geared toward those folks for whom content creation is not a full-time job or occupation (which is an entirely different context/experience and likely even more stress-inducing). If that’s you, you may still find these tips helpful, but I’d suggest you also seek support elsewhere, e.g., from a counselor.
Before I get into the tips, for those folks who are not familiar (but are curious about this topic and following along!), I want to briefly define and contextualize content creation. Content creation refers to the contribution of information to a digital media platform, often and especially a social media platform. Whether it’s sharing vlogs on YouTube, creating quick videos on TikTok (just like I do!) or filming “days in the life” to share on Instagram, it’s all content creation. If you’re thinking, Okay, Trish, does that technically mean I’ve created content?, the answer is – yes! Yes, you have. But you’re likely a more casual content creator, whereas there are some creators who have millions of followers and for whom their creativity generates tons of money. Indeed, increasingly, content creation is big business on popular platforms – which is why so many folks are interested in it and increasingly throwing their hat in the ring.
With all of that said, here are my brief tips:
- Set physical boundaries. If you’re getting into content creation, you’re probably spending a lot of time on your phone and, in particular, on popular social media platforms. While that’s totally understandable, it is important to set physical boundaries so you don’t spend all of your time on your phone (which is not only unhealthy but, I imagine, may contribute to stress and burnout). As you would with anything else (whether homework or hobby), plan the time you want to spend creating content, and then put your phone away. Set a boundary, and then honor it.
- Get in the right mindset. It’s not all about physical boundaries. It’s also about ensuring that the way you view your content creation is healthy. In particular, as I described in last week’s post, content creation – and social media – should be as much for you as for anyone else. If you’re getting into content creation, you’re probably spending a lot of time thinking about what other people think of you – and what they’ll find funny, interesting, and worthy of a like or view. That can leave you stressed and make you think your value (on social media and generally) is based solely on other people’s judgments. In fact, as I said last week, you should be using social media to express who you are (at least in part) for yourself. Building this mindset is key to establishing a healthy relationship with your content-creating experience.
- Relate, don’t curate. If you’re having a terrible day, don’t pretend or try to hide it – be honest and genuine with your followers. Put differently, rather than curate, be relatable. Not only will your followers likely appreciate your authenticity – after all, everyone has bad days, and it can be refreshing to remember that even those we look up to, like content creators, do too – I bet you’ll feel better not having to “perform” or “act.”
- On that note^, be yourself! And I say that not only because you should always be yourself but because authenticity is actually rewarded on social media. So if, as a budding content creator, you’re looking to gain traction and film videos that are personally fulfilling, use who you are and what you love as a guiding path. (See last week’s post for more details about why authenticity is a win-win.)
- Prioritize and actively support your mental health. You should be supporting your mental health each and every day. Whether it’s exercising regularly, taking time to rest, or meditating, incorporating self-care practices into your daily routine can be a powerful way to manage, mitigate, and even relieve stress and burnout. (As many of you can attest, that’s not just true for content creators, that’s true generally! All the more reason to make this tip a priority…)
I hope you found this post helpful and that these tips help you build a healthier relationship with content creation/avoid burnout. Remember, your mental health matters and is non-negotiable! Please let me know if my suggestions help you – or if you face other challenges – in the comments section. Before I wrap up this post, as always, it’s time for my weekly plug to all of you: if you’ve got thoughts, questions, or concerns about the Internet, please share them here. Your question just might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! Anything you’re wondering about is fair game – so don’t ever fear that your question isn’t “relevant.” In fact, there are almost certainly other people in our community with the same question. So don’t hesitate – fill out the form! I can’t wait to hear from you and thank you in advance for your fantastic questions.
Talk to you all again soon! Until then, wishing you a Happy Halloween,