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Navigating Mental Health In The Social Media World

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The last year has been heavy, with civil right movements, a heated election and of course, a pandemic we all never knew we would live through, and we find ourselves grabbing our phones for news, updates…or even comfort and connection. So with all this time we spend on social media, how can we navigate and block the negativity and seek joy in this space? We sat down with Parker Management Founder, Lindsay Nead to seek insight on finding balance and maintaining a positive connection with digital media: 

 

We have all collectively gone through so much, but I can’t help but try and find as much good in all that we’ve gone through. I really believe rather than tuning out, you have to tune in. I don’t see any of this slowing down. Social media is such a powerful tool, so it will continue to be utilized. Rather than blocking it out, I feel like the more we stay connected and understand the events taking place, you will find that some level of awareness and dialogue can be really healthy. 

In the meantime, finding that joy in this space comes from YOU. It is reframing your mindset and setting MANY boundaries for yourself. 

 

Some powerful boundaries you can set:

  • Filter comments 
  • Turn off DM’s periodically if they feel overwhelming
  • Set expectations with your audience! Let them know, for example: “I try to respond to DM’s as much as possible, but please email me if you are looking to connect. Otherwise, many links and other questions can be found on my IG highlights or blog FAQ’s.” or “I have a zero tolerance for any hate on my page- you will be reported and blocked.”
  • Take time off! I can’t stress this enough, but setting designated time to be on social media is extremely healthy. What isn’t healthy is being on it ALL day long, all throughout the day, trying to do all the things. If you want to story in real time, that is great! But, then turn it off for a bit and set time aside later on to engage. Don’t forget to sign off here and there, too!
  • Filter who you follow- be selective with who you bring into your space!

 

Another way you can find that joy again is ALWAYS bringing it back to your why. Focus on why you started this in the first place, focus on the good, focus on YOUR PEOPLE and your audience that is engaged and supportive. 

 

As founder of Parker, you spend a lot of time on social media – so how do you handle comparison and what are tips / practices you have found that keep that in check for you?

It is SO important to know who you are, but to also understand who you are not. It is so easy to get sucked into watching others and then all of sudden feeling like, “I should be doing that!” I do this all the time with other businesses and I know other influencers do this. I try and ask myself each time: “Is this truly something that would align with our business? With our values? Is this really my brand?”

 

Another big part of this is the number comparison among influencers (engagement, following, story views…). It is so heartbreaking because it puts so much pressure on creators. My biggest suggestion there is to stay focused on who is there for you. You don’t need this crazy level of engagement to be successful in this industry. Rather than looking at the accounts that have that (and remember those big accounts are also comparing themselves to others, I promise!), try and look at them to get inspired. If you are curious like myself, I love figuring out WHY. And often you might have a lightbulb moment and see that perhaps that influencer does an incredible job at community engagement. OR, their video content is really standing out… Overall, keep the focus less on what others are doing and more on what your audience loves! We have so many analytics to look at on Instagram (saves and engagement are my favorite). Those will easily let you know what people love!

 

How do you handle negativity / whether in post, stories or comments? How have you seen that effect talent or even just family and friends? 

 

Unfortunately, no one is immune to this. In my opinion, the absolute best way to handle negativity is to take the high road! You can’t let them win. If someone comments “your voice is really annoying in stories” you can simply say, “that isn’t very nice to say, but I hope you have a nice day!” Whatever it is, you really need to remember that these people are insecure and hurting in some way. It is never YOU, it is them. 

 

Now if someone is constantly harassing you, I suggest- 1) report them (and have friends report them as well) 2) If you feel compelled, call them out! I never understand why people cover their pictures and IG handles. Why not expose these individuals? 

 

Digital media can be draining and can rob us of joy – so how do you maintain a balance between being informed and/or running a business [ because it truly can be a great place to connect to current events ] and staying creative and positive in the space? 

When you begin to post because you “have to” and spend WAY too much time overthinking what you post, your caption or how your post looks in your feed that is when I feel you are robbing yourself of joy. I always caution those that start spiraling this way because everyone will feel it! As for staying informed- I think really understanding and accepting this new landscape on social media is key. Be quick to pivot, acknowledge events (this doesn’t mean you need to be a news source), and just understand the new expectations in the space. Lean into it, don’t fight it. Try and find the good in it all and know that so many events are getting the light they are getting because of social media. It’s powerful! Try and see the upside to it all, even when it feels so heavy.

 

If you need more resources on social media balance, follow us on Instagram.

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