7 successful ways marketers battle and beat media burnout

Dial back some of your media consumption and avoid burnout with these suggestions.

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Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, scores of people join social networks every day and get addicted to them.

While being on social media is one of the most effective ways of being in the know about worldwide affairs, there can come a time when you feel like you’ve had enough.

However, the phenomenon of FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real, which is why most teens and millennials are often logged into their accounts for hours; and eventually experience what is called social media burnout.

Interesting point, however, is that we’re moving from FOMO to JOMO (joy of missing out).

According to a study conducted by Denmark-based think tank Happiness Research Institute, quitting Facebook actually makes people happier. Such findings can be worrisome for social media marketers who are constantly on the lookout for ways to reach out to customers and prospects on these platforms exclusively.

Think that social media burnout is something that impacts teens and millennials only? It’s more than a cultural phenomenon, and it has significant impact on our professional productivity, as well as our mental health. Individuals who have social media burnout can experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, isolation and loss of interest in healthy offline social activities.

Claw back some of your media consumption and avoid burnout with these seven suggestions.

1. Set some boundaries

Do you need to be on social media every waking hour of the day? If you are employed as a social media or community manager, stepping away from the platforms you use, to manage one or more digital accounts can be difficult. After all, you have to be armed and ready to fight spam and offensive bot accounts, or prepared with the kind of witty reply that just gained Wendy’s restaurant millions of impressions.

But social media burnout is more than "a thing." It’s real, and it is something that the average person faces. But more profoundly, it's something that impacts those that work within digital media. Without time to recharge, read or look at other sources of popular culture or trends, creative ideas dry up quickly. Remember that next time you are tempted to go to sleep with your smartphone in your hand and set some healthy boundaries.

2. Turn off notifications

The notion may sound terrifying, but it is important to either silence your phone, or put it in another room, when you are ready to do some focused work — or unfocused relaxation. During the average workday, how many disruptions do you get, when you combine your work email with your smartphone?

Check out this 2015 study from Florida State University on the impact of smartphones on our concentration, and ask yourself if every app on your phone requires an alert, and edit accordingly. Or create a catch-all free Gmail account and have all social media and app alerts sent to that inbox. Then, two or three times per day (on your schedule) check to see which notifications warrant a response.

3. Take a break from multitasking

Tell someone that you are taking an hour to focus on one, single thing, and they’ll probably give you “a look.” Somewhere along the rapid changes to cultural norms, we’ve exalted the benefits of multitasking, while completely losing the ability to unitask. Reclaim your ability to give 100 percent of your focus and best effort on one thing at a time.

4. Find a way to exercise

Did you know that part of media exhaustion can involve sedentary positioning? Sitting down or standing still while we surf our laptops, tablets or smartphone doesn’t do our body, or our mental health, any favors. Feeling overwhelmed by sharing or engaging in social media or other online content? Shut your phone off and get to the gym, get some friends together to go for a walk or run, or get yourself to a yoga class, to bend and stretch it out. It worked for Steve Jobs.

5. Reduce your channels of communication

When you think about how many ways you are accountable to notifications or messages throughout the day, it’s little wonder that we all feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Is it necessary to be accountable for a reply, on multiple channels (including the ones that you may not be active on daily)?

For the average digital media worker or professional, the list may look like this:

  • Text
  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • Snapchat
  • Facetime
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter DM
  • Instagram Messages
  • Blog comments or ‘contact me’ alerts

The proliferation of social media channels and methods of communicating via mobile have turned everyone into the equivalent of a switchboard operator. Don’t forget, you also have to talk to people “face to face” throughout the day. Audit your apps and social channels, pick your favorites and own them, rather than being spread thinly over every possible network and communication access point. Your brain will thank you.

6. Get old-school creative

Think that coloring books are just for kids? It turns out that exercising the left brain has several therapeutic benefits for adults; and you get to use something slightly better than crayons. In fact, the famed psychologist Carl Jung used to prescribe adult coloring books and art projects as a way of helping patients relax and destress while activating benefits similar to deep meditation. Give your brain a break and “get artsy” to relieve stress and media exhaustion.

7. Have wireless weekends

Unplugging from your wireless devices is becoming such “a thing” that smartphone-free vacations are highly sought after in the travel industry. The secret to being OK with leaving your smartphone at home is packing a camera and booking somewhere without Wi-Fi. The withdrawal pangs may be intense if you see someone in the same restaurant using their phone. Stay strong! Unplugging for even a short weekend vacation has been found to benefit mental health, focus and energy.

Not only can a reduction of time in social media help avoid media burnout, but it can have several health benefits too, reducing sleep disturbances and mental health problems, according to recent research studies. It is OK to love social media; just learn to love it a little less if you are stressed, for a healthier balance of online and offline fun.

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