Ever since MCO started, social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have become the only place where people can get connected with each other.
As a result, there has been an influx of content on social media for the past few months.
Whenever I log on to social media, I feel like I am served with a buffet of marketing, financial and investment related FB Lives, ads, YouTube videos, and content.
While it was exciting at the start, it eventually became very overwhelming to me.
Simply put, just like how most of us would overeat and become too full in a real-life buffet, I realised that I have been suffocating from the ‘content buffet’ on social media as well.
A Blogger with Social Media Anxiety
Aside from being stuffed with content as a social media user, I also experienced major anxiety swings when it comes to content creation:
I am losing out! I should come out with more content every week! (FOMO)
I should start making Youtube Videos! (FOMO)
I need to go live because everyone is doing so! (FOMO)
I am afraid that people would not like to read about this topic. (Self-doubt)
I am worried that people would judge me for posting about a certain topic. (Fear over criticism/judgements)
Without me realising, social media has become my main source of stress and anxiety during MCO.
Be it as a content consumer or a creator, I am overwhelmed with the urge to consume more and create more.
Soon, I started to experience social media anxiety attacks whenever I logged on to social media. Any form of new content from a fellow creator friend can become a trigger of breathing suffocation: HOW are they able to come out with content so fast! The Watch Party notification telling me that I cannot make it becomes a daily dose of self-judgement and mental abuse.
Despite already being a Work From Home (WFH) person for 2 years, it is crazy how my routine and mental clarity can be demolished by a change in social media lifestyle.
Throughout the whole MCO period, there were many times where I attempted to write something, which ended up as drafts that went into the recycle bin due to fear of judgement and self-doubt.
I do not lack ideas, but I have slowly lost confidence in my own capability to create and share.
Honestly, I think I have done a bad job adjusting to the new norm and the pace of the social media lifestyle.
If the internet is the escape from the real world 10 years ago, now it seems like the real world is the escape from the internet.
For the past weeks, I tried to stay away from my phone whenever I felt overwhelmed by the virtual space of social media. Disconnecting from the internet helped me find peace and give me space to breathe.
That said, this only worked as a short-term escape as anxieties tend to strike again when I am back on social media.
Long-Term Solution: Re-evaluating My Relationship with Social Media & Creation
As I took a break from creation and minimised my time on social media, I got the opportunity to reflect upon my relationship with social media and creation.
1. You do not need to consume everything on social media
Just like many, I experienced the urgency and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to participate in as many FB Lives and consume as much content as possible at the start of MCO. As a result, I ended up overwhelming myself with those contents.
Moving forward, it is important for us to understand that it is impossible to learn and consume everything by ourselves in a short time.
By all means, go pick up new knowledge or skills, BUT stay focused and have realistic expectations.
Do not expect yourself to master investing AND digital marketing together by binge-watching all the FB Lives and content out there during MCO.
If any, skills take time & practices to develop and it is definitely not within a few weeks of MCO.
Most importantly, be selective on the content you consume and learn to allow yourself to miss out on certain FB Lives or content that is not of priority to you.
2. Focus on value, quality & consistency, not a sudden burst in quantity
In hindsight, I realised that I have likely been drawn into the urge to compete when it comes to content creation during the past month.
In other words, I judged my ‘performance’ by comparing myself to the speed of content output by other creators—which really drove me nuts.
Moving forward, I want to focus my energy to produce consistent quality content that I either genuinely enjoy sharing, or find great value to learn and share with my friends and community of readers.
It’s not about competing, it’s about creating the most value to the people that matter: me and my community of friends and readers.
3. Be in peace & creative around my limit and boundaries
Ultimately, I am working on my own when it comes to content creation.
I love writing and sharing, but I can only produce and write so much content by myself.
This is a reality that I myself was not accepting the fact of during MCO, which gave me a huge load of stress and anxiety.
As I take my time to reflect, I started to find peace with this fact. If I have all these boundaries, why not be creative around them?
4. Specify Specific Times to Go On Social Media Daily
On a daily basis, set a consistent time for you to go on social media and participate in the virtual world.
I find this method extremely effective as it forces me to only engage what’s important to me in the virtual world, and filter out unimportant interaction and content on social media.
With that, I can spend more time in the work that truly matters to myself and my readers, while not overwhelming myself.
COVID-19 has changed the way of living for many of us. If anything, our relationship with social media in 2020 has definitely experienced a huge shift.
In one way or another, COVID-19 and an MCO lifestyle turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it forced me to re-evaluate my behaviour with social media. As a creator, it also helped me recalibrate my purpose and mindset when it comes to writing and creation.
On the other hand, as social media takes up more of our attention and time in our life, I am very sure that health issues caused by social media are going to get more widespread and intense.
Like myself, I believe that more and more people are going to get overwhelmed with social media anxieties, which could lead to more problems if not handled properly.
Perhaps, another good question that we can think about is this: Are you weak if you are experiencing anxiety issues due to social media?
No. You are not, and let no one tell you otherwise, including yourself.
What you need to do is really to take your time, reflect, and re-evaluate your relationship with social media and online content.
Yi Xuan is the founder of No Money Lah, a personal blog that aims to embrace the talk about adulthood issues openly, such as money and happiness. This article is syndicated with permission from the author and was originally posted on No Money Lah.
Featured Image Credit: jcomp on freepik