Because capturing moments shouldn’t cost your well-being. Here’s 5 tips to save your mental health as a content creator — from a travel blogger!
When I first started creating I thought it was simple. Think of ideas, shoot them or film them, put them on the internet. Bam. Am I an influencer yet?
Well, obviously the story played out a little differently. Of course, I had ideas, I shot things, I filmed things, I put things on the internet. And I guess “travel influencer” is something I can add to my repertoire now? (although it still feels odd to say). Anyways, I’ve learned a lot over this past year.
But, if 2020 has taught me anything in a myriad of lockdowns, living alone, moving continents and creating content all the while, it’s that your mental health comes first. No matter what. So, without further ados, here’s 5 super practical ways to guard your mental health as a content creator.
1. Stop Comparing (by doing this)
Choosing to enter the world of content creation can sometimes seem like entering a never-ending whirl of comparison. With everyone’s highlight reels and creativity on display, it can definitely impact your mental health as a content creator if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.
We’ll get to unfollowing and muting soon (really important) but in my opinion, the biggest way to stop comparing….is to create more.
Personally, I’ve noticed when I haven’t posted or am feeling “uninspired” I somehow still have enough time to hop on the gram and instantly compare myself to others who are creating and putting their stuff out into the world.
Especially in the early days, it’s so important to constantly keep creating. When you’re focused on yourself, it’s truly difficult (like physically difficult) to focus on what anyone else is doing. Plus, it puts you in the flow which is all kinds of awesome for your mental health.
For me, this means creating my own content 80% of the time and consuming 20% of the time. For example, if I’m on Instagram for an hour, 48 minutes of that is going to putting my work online, creating stories, answering DM’s and responding to comments, and the rest to looking at other creators.
Honestly, at first, this looked more like 50/50. But the more I created, the more feedback I got from my audience, and the feedback loop ensued.
So, if you ever find yourself comparing yourself to others online, go to your own page and get to creating.
2. Follow What Gives You Ideas and Lights You Up
In my opinion (and a famous quote apparently) imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and when it comes to content creation I 100% agree.
Let’s face it, on all our content creation journeys there are certain creators we love to emulate. Whether it’s how they talk on camera to the cool font they used in a story, we’re constantly getting ideas from the creators around us, and twisting and turning them into our own.
For a long time, I thought that if I followed creators I loved I would just end up copying them. Then I read this amazing book called ‘Steal Like an Artist’ which basically alludes to the idea that all creators are thieves (sorry for the truth bomb), nothing is truly original as originality is simply the combination of a bunch of ideas sown together in a way that hasn’t been done before.
So follow what gives you ideas, lights you up, and inspires you to get creating your own thing.
3. Let the Unfollow Button Become Your Best Friend
When I first started creating online, I thought following everyone in my niche was important. As a travel blogger, that meant following dozens of tall, blonde semi-models on a beach and Bali.
Now, of course, we’re all love here, and nothing against tall, blonde, semi-models on a beach in Bali, but it didn’t take long to realize filling my feed with unrelatable people was damaging my mental health.
From what I should be wearing, to where I should be traveling, I didn’t feel ‘influenced’ in a good way — and it led to the best unfollow spree of my life. Now I regularly scroll through my feed to see who makes me feel good, educated, and inspired, and who makes me feel — meh. Of course, there are some people you either have real-life or professional ties with that can be hard to unfollow (welcome to the mute button, my friend).
But outside of that remember it’s your internet, and ultimately you’re in control of who you follow…or don’t. If you constantly feel a little less than, uninspired, or downright upset when you scroll past a certain user’s page, for you and your mental health, let em go baby, let em go.
4. Don’t Use Social Media in the Morning
Controversial? Maybe. Mental health saver? Definitely. I stopped using social media first thing in the mornings 2 years ago and it’s downright changed my life (remind me to write a blog on that).
Even with all the tips from above, even a little bit of comparison is hard to escape on social media, which is why starting your day with it is the absolute worst. Luckily, it’s not just my opinion, using social media in the mornings does scientifically have a negative impact on your mental health.
If you’re anything like me, the transition will not be an easy one. But replacing grabbing your phone as soon as you wake up with grabbing a journal, gratitude, goal setting, affirmations, exercise or anything that requires you to focus and reflect on yourself will ultimately give you a morning boost that fuels you for the day and makes you feel inspired to create when you eventually do go on the gram.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean not using social media in the AM at all, but, always make it after your set morning routine or any activity that has to do with focusing on yourself first. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
5. Have a Deep Understanding of Time Compounding
When I fully decided to make Candace Abroad into a solely travel account my follower count was still in the 1000’s. But as I got creating I 5x’d my growth by understanding this one thing. Everything is the journey of a content creator is time compounding.
On my podcast episode with Christina of Happy to Wander she talked about how her journey to becoming a full-time travel blogger was a slow burn. No ‘big moment’, no ‘breakthrough’ (as many clickbait headlines would have you believe), but a slow journey to success, building little by little, over a long period of time.
Based on all the interviews and conversations I’ve had with full-time content creators, it seems to be at least a 2-3 year journey before the results are substantial for them (from a monetary perspective).
So, if you ever feel discouraged, just remember everything’s about the big picture. The more you create and connect with your audience, the more consistent you’ll be, the more clarity you’ll get, and success is sure to follow. So don’t stress out and realize good things really do take time.
If you’re someone (like I 100% was) that struggles with consistency — please please read The Compound Effect, not to be dramatic…but it’ll change your life.
Mental Health Comes First
In my opinion, it’s not worth it to be a content creator if it’s constantly messing with your mental health. Using these tips, social media isn’t a source of anxiety anymore, but a source of inspiration — to create, to connect, and to put my voice out into the world.
All the love,
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