Digital self care hacks

Before you think I’ll talk about how, “During a pandemic digital self care is  important”…. I won’t. This month, my beloved son snapped my frames. he didn’t mean to do it. He was jumping around, throwing himself on me and drowning me in his baby kisses. However, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. All of a sudden there were tears. I KNOW that I wasn’t crying at broken frames but at the fact there had been a lot of things happening in the background leading up to this.  I could feel myself getting into a slump where I just wanted to switch off and log off. A nearly impossible task when you work in digital media. However a very necessary component of doing your job well in this field is logging off and limiting your screen time.  This is where I tell you how to make use of the tools and resources available to ensure you give yourself a break.

1. Move meetings.

If you work for yourself , this may be easier than if you work for a brand/agency. However if you can postpone and reschedule upcoming meetings, you will save yourself from having to sit through meetings where you are mentally not present nor emotionally or mentally not in a space to contribute to the conversation. If you can and have a safe space to do so, speak to someone at work who will understand and help you navigate how you will take a break from work but still maintain your  professional relationship. If you haven’t entered the workforce yet, at interviews always ask what their mental health care policies are. I have heard of some wonderful workplace initiatives such as respite day (your employer gives you one day off in the month where you do not answer work emails, calls or any other work related items).  I have also heard of mental health breaks (20 minutes during the day where you log off or leave your desk and take a break). This is great especially if you are having a heated email exchange, meeting or discussion and need to take some time out.

2. Use scheduling tools

Another digital self care hack is to use scheduling tools.

  • Facebook Creator Studio – Creator Studio lets creators and publishers manage posts, insights and messages from all of your Facebook and Instagram Pages in one place.
  • If you are on twitter you can schedule tweets from the ads campaign dashboard but recently twitter started rolling out trials for scheduling tweets via Twitter for web.
  • Hootsuite,TweetDeck, Sendible, Later are some of the options available when looking for a social media management tool that will help you schedule and publish content for your social media platforms.

3. Mute or Block accounts/hashtags or any content that will impact your mental health or emotional state.

There are times during this pandemic you may feel exhausted by COVID19 content. Muting the word for a period of time can help filter out that content and allow you to see the content you want to watch, read or hear. On the other hand, it could be that a particular account always shares content that is upsetting or problematic. For example, a lot of people have the current president of the United States blocked on twitter.

4. Log off / Delete social media apps or manage notifications

Logging off or deleting social media apps for a period of time is a great way to give yourself a break. Sometimes, out of sight, out of mind works well. You have to make a conscious decision to download apps and login again. However working in digital media that may not be an option. So another way is to manage your notifications. Some people switch off notifications for whatsapp (so they are not disturb by constant pinging or vibrating of message notifications) but obviously choose the option that works best for you.

5. Automated messages/Automated emails or Whatsapp for Business 

One of the ways in which I have found helpful is the use of automated responses. There are a lot of scenarios where they work and depending on what the scenario is, you can craft an automated response to help respond to queries and /or direct them elsewhere. For example, if you are unavailable for a period of time you can craft a response that ask anyone contacting you to (a) Email a colleague who may be able to assist with their queries (b) a response that guesses at your FAQs and answers all or (c)  a response that advises people to hold off and wait until you return or visit a blog/website/podcast for certain details.

I currently love Whatsapp for Business as it allows me to create automated responses, set open and closing times so that any messages received before or after said stipulated times are met with an automated response advising clients that I will respond during opening times or as soon as possible. It also allows me to list my catalogue of services and keep my private and business whatsapp calls/messages separate.

6. Establish clear boundaries between your personal/private social media accounts and your business accounts

Sometimes logging out of personal accounts and only operating through your business accounts can provide you with a much needed break as the pressure of maintaining personal and professional conversations can be overwhelming. Alternatively, develop a habit of  logging into personal accounts for a limited of time at a certain time of day or certain days. Also ensure professional queries are sent to professional social media accounts not to your personal accounts (establishing this boundary may be as simple as providing a website link or account name in your bio.

7. Follow accounts, trends or have a personal social media account where your brain can switch off.

I have a friend who is a social media manager who only has TIK TOK as her personal social media account. Her advice is simple, create a place where you can be silly, talk about things that have nothing to do with your job and allow you to breathe.

8. Say NO, when you need to.

Saying no to things that either clash with other appointments or are not convenient for you gives you the breathing room you need but also establishes boundaries. You also remove the expectation of you always saying yes, therefore no one asks because they know you always make yourself readily available. This means saying no to Zoom meetings or any other online interactions that may not suit you at the time.

9. Speak Up.

This is a follow up to saying NO but I would advise you focus on speaking up about what you are capable of or not capable of committing to. An email can suffice but if you can or are willing, a quick meeting update works well especially as people are able to understand tone better. One of the things that I did prior to the pandemic and the inevitable lockdown, I made sure to update clients, friends and family of my work schedule. It was important to do that but also to check in with others what their schedules were like so that I do not infringe upon their time. Although many were now at home that did not necessarily mean they had more time.

What are your digital self care hacks?