Another day another bloody awareness day, penguins, vegans, sugar … it’s enough to make anyone stressed.  So it should come as no surprise that today is #StressAwarenessDay. In fact this week is #StressAwarenessWeek.  However this one is worth paying attention to (as are all the others, obviously)

It is with slight irony that the theme this year is ‘Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress’ when everything seems to be social media’s fault these days.  I’m all too well aware that social media, rather than lightening the load, is often just another thing to add in to a busy to do list.

Added to that, time spent on our phones is eating into family time, our relationships and an ability to hold a conversation without checking the latest Brexit tweets.

Whether you are running a business, marketing a business, expected to use social media as part of your role, or simply scanning Instagram in your spare time, you can suddenly realise that it’s making life difficult.

So here’s the Armadillo Handy Guide to keeping your social life stress free.

  1. Prioritise

You can’t do it all.  Don’t feel you have to be an expert on every social media platform.  Pick one that suits you, and what you’re trying to achieve, and do that one well rather than spread yourself too thinly.  Similarly, don’t feel that you have to accept every request or follow every person who follows you.  Your newsfeeds and timelines will end up overrun with rubbish and you’ll be in a permanent panic.  Streamline your Twitter feed with lists, putting certain accounts into categories which will make things easier to keep track of.  You can also get mobile notifications for people who you really don’t want to miss – meaning that you don’t have to keep checking every 5 minutes or worry that you have let something slip by.  Have a look here for more details

2. Be disciplined

We have all now heard of social media’s addictive qualities.  Those likes and shares can have the same dopamine hit just as a cigarette, so it’s important to have boundaries.  Try to check your social media at certain times of the day.  It might be over breakfast, with your mid-morning coffee, in front of The Apprentice, but having set times of the day will really help keep it all contained.  More importantly, try not to check your social media while you are also doing something else (if you learn how to do this, let me know how).  Multitasking is a fool’s errand, so if you need to focus on something TURN IT OFF.

The work like balance is even more important than ever, and even harder to maintain.  Don’t be on 24 hour call, and don’t expect those around you to be on 24 hour call either.  Remember when “I’m sorry, I was out” was enough!

You might also consider turning off your notifications.  That way you can use it when you want to, not when the world is calling.

  1. It’s all in the planning

A major cause of stress is keeping lots of plates spinning.  It can be difficult to focus if you’re constantly worrying that you haven’t put anything on Twitter this week.  There are a hundred strategic reasons why you need to plan your digital marketing, but one of the major benefits is that it removes a lot of the stress.   Sitting down and concentrating on it as one designated task can then let you forget about it for the rest of the week.  Knowing what content you need to created and when it needs creating can really streamline your time.  Scheduling important things in advance is even better. www.buffer.com has always been my scheduling tool of choice but there are plenty to choose from. In my Digital Marketing Strategy Sessions we come up with ideas and plans for a full three months, meaning you can sit back and relax.

  1. Monitor yourself

Do you know how much time you spend on your mobile phone?  Honestly?  The latest iPhone update has introduced Screentime.  This will tell you how much time you spend on each app on your phone.  You can also set limits for yourself for individual apps, and your phone as a whole.  What’s more, you can also do this for your children!  I still secretly delight at my son’s fury when his phone shuts itself down each night at 8:30.

Be realistic about how much time you are spending, and how much time you want to spend. Think hard about what effect social media is having on you.  The news is fairly depressing at the moment.  Be honest about whether reading it constantly is affecting your mood.  Is it adding to your stress levels?  In which case take a break.

Go read a book, go for a walk, have a conversation with a real life person.  We’ll all be here when you get back.

  1. Look for the helpers

Social Media gets a bad rap for its effects on mental health, bullying culture and trolling habits.   But it’s also a wonderful place, full of supportive people who will be more than happy to provide some support or light relief.  Social Media has shone a spotlight on mental health issues and provided a place where people can share, discover or just hang out.

Make sure you have identified your tribe to turn to when needed.  I have a list called The Biscuit List, of people on Twitter that I like to read when I’m feeling stressed and are guaranteed to make me feel better.

  1. Keep some perspective

We all know this, but you need to remember that not everything on social media is true.  You may be stressed about work, home, money, family and it can often look like everyone else has got it all figured out – but we really haven’t. Not everyone is making as much money as they say, or living their best lives, and those #makingmemories usually ended in a row in the car on the way home.

Get some social media perspective

  1. Haters gonna hate

There are undoubtedly, some wronguns on social media.  They may be people who annoy you, or are more actively aggressive.  Feel free to block.  There’s no law against it and you don’t need to justify it.  If that feels too severe a sanction, there are also more subtle things you can do.  Muting people on Twitter allows you to still follow people but not see their tweets. On Facebook, you can change your newsfeed preferences to hide certain people and pages and prioritise others.

But there is absolutely no need to put up with abuse.  I’ve reported several people for abusive comments on Twitter (these generally followed me saying something about Jeremy Clarkson) and complaints are dealt with swiftly.  Also harassment on social media is taken seriously by the police, if you feel things are getting out of hand and you feel threatened.

And finally ….

  1. Use your powers for good

Your phone can also be your friend.  These a huge range of handy apps to help take the stress out of life.  Here are my favourites

Headspace. The lovely Andy will take you through a variety of guided meditations for every woe you may have in your life from sleeplessness, anxiety, grief, or just general life grinding you down.

Runkeeper. Running is great stress reliever and Runkeeper is the best app I’ve found to help you along.  Mainly because I like the amusing voice settings that call out your progress.  ‘Conscience’ is my default setting of choice

Podcasts. I love a podcast and they are a favourite way to relax these days.  There is another blogpost in here somewhere about my Top 10 podcasts but if you’re not listening to Serial, you really should be.

So all in all, hi-tech doesn’t have to mean high stress.  Social Media can be a great business tool, social circle and entertainment source as long as you, in the words of Jerry Springer,

“take care of yourself, and each other”

Obviously another option is to take all the stress away and hand over your social media entirely.  If you’d like to talk to us about our management packages, give us a call.