This week is Mental Health Week and my thoughts and feelings this week have been very apt.
I have previously touched briefly on some of the anxiety and struggles I can feel with balancing the full plates of so many areas in my life and the impact this can have on my well-being.
I have two teenage children and see very much first hand the challenges on their mental health, growing up in a world where so much pressure is placed upon them to ‘comply’ with what is expected. There is so much information available to them on a 24/7 basis that there is no getting away from these expectations. What you should look like, how you should dress, what your exam results should be and how all of these compare to their peers.
I remember when they were preteens, that there used to be quite high anxiety about replying to friends on social media immediately after seeing/opening their message. ‘Mum they have seen I’ve opened it so I have to respond now!’ The constant goading/bullying over social media and if a reaction wasn’t being given on one channel, they would try to create a reaction from a second or third. We had it so much easier; once you were home from school, you were safe and didn’t have to see anyone until school the next day – you could never use the phone, just think of the bill!)
Technology and social media has changed our lives beyond anything we could have imagined. It is fantastic; we can stay in touch with friends and families who live far away and share photos for them to see. We can find the answer to any questions, however random. The change in my life time has been huge.
How ever great social media is, we all also know the negatives that it can bring. When reflecting on this, I was thinking about the pressures that social media brings on small businesses.
I am always keen to build my little crochet world as much as I can in the parameters I have. I am always learning and taking part in education to help me do this.
Did you know that it is recommended that businesses;
- post on their Facebook accounts once a day
- post on Instagram twice a day with different content to Facebook
- to keep a constant flow of Instagram stories going, posting valuable content on their business, information for customers as well as witty and honest personal posts.
- after you have posted, you also need to engage, not only with those who engage with your posts but also find and engage with others to increase your exposure.
- Pinterest is supposed to be great for my type of creative business and you need to pin 40 images daily to have a chance of being seen and hoping that people will be directed to your website
- oh you must have your own website, as well as a mailing list where you must send out at least monthly emails with equally engaging but different content.
- I can’t even begin think about tweets.
Keeping up with social media expectations is such a massive task and this is alongside all the other hundreds of tasks you need to keep up with that are vital for your business. Some business friends seem to be on fire with their social media and I am always amazed how they can keep their input so consistent.
This last couple of weeks I have had a bit of a social media blackout. Sometimes the pressure to keep up with thinking about content is too much for me. I am a huge introvert anyway so putting myself out there is always a bit of a challenge but sometimes I just really can’t face it. I almost become afraid to log on to my social media accounts as the guilt of not engaging rears its head. I struggle to think of something ‘Instagram worthy’ to add or even just to think of anything at all and the more I stay off it, the harder it is to log back on.
It seems to me the social media pressure I feel for my business is very similar to those pressures felt by my children. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and my little crochet world wouldn’t be what it is today without it. To be able to reach so many people, for free is such a fantastic business tool and is so vital for small business owners. However what I have concluded this week is that I can no longer feel guilty for not being present on social media 24/7. I need to take time out from it but I am not going to put myself on the naughty step for doing so.
Stepping away from the constantly active world is healthy for me to ensure I look after my own well-being and mental health. I will get back to thinking about posting hopefully interesting and engaging stories, I will get back to engaging with customers and colleagues to try and be someone who they might think about in the crochet business world. I might well lose some followers because I am not active or consistent in my approach but I can’t worry about this, as that will just heighten these anxious feelings. It took me a long, hard lesson to stop looking at my day job emails out of hours because of the impact it was having on me, and this is another light-bulb moment that I have only just accepted is right for me, and therefore right for my business.
I will certainly be encouraging my children and anyone else to take social media holidays. To be mindful in the current and enjoy what you are experiencing that day.