Balancing Content Creation and Mental Health: The Digital Wellness Dilemma
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
In today's digital age, where screens are an integral part of our lives, finding the right balance between sharing valuable insights with our audience and safeguarding our mental health can be a tricky endeavor, as I'm currently experiencing. As someone dedicated to helping tweens, teens, and parents understand digital wellness, my journey has taken me through the vast online landscape, I've come to understand the challenges we all face when we need a digital detox but worry about the consequences. I felt that this week's blog post needed to be written out of a place of transparency and letting you in on what it takes to do what I do each week. I LOVE helping others, but I feel guilty when I miss a day of content release. That's a problem. Take, for example, this post. I usually release a blog on Mondays, but this is releasing Tuesday. We had a family issue this past weekend, amongst other things, and I was just too tired to do anything yesterday. So, as I spent time with my family and doing things around the house, the back of my mind was already thinking that I was behind, that I'd have to play catch up, and the wheels just kept turning.
The Burnout Quandary
It's no secret that the digital world can be overwhelming. The constant pressure to engage, post, and stay visible, whether as a tween/teen, business owner or influencer, can lead to burnout. There comes a point when the urge to share knowledge and help others is at odds with the need for self-care. I plan out my week, thinking about a theme of information, a topic or information from recent articles, and I come up with posts, graphics and a blog. I make sure that what I'm giving out is valuable to others, hoping that I'm giving them nuggets of information to help themselves or their kids. That takes a lot of energy, a lot of thought, and a lot of time.
Navigating the Algorithm Abyss
For those of us in the field of creating and educating others, taking a break from content creation means navigating the Algorithm Abyss. The algorithms that dictate what your audience sees can be unforgiving. Miss a post or two, and suddenly, your message fades into the background. Your once active Facebook group or Instagram feed can become a thing of the past, simply by missing on day of posting. This conundrum mirrors the challenges faced by tweens and teens, who aim to maintain a healthy online presence while safeguarding their mental well-being against being constantly online with friends or followers. We want to "be there" for others in various ways, but we also want breaks, a time out, a period of feeling like you don't need to be online and present for others. Why is this so hard to do? I'm living this right now. But man, to be a true influencer? I can't even imagine. That's next level.
The Struggles We Share
Influencers, often seen as digital role models amongst our tweens and teens, face their own set of challenges. Their livelihood hinges on staying in the spotlight, and the pressure to create content consistently can be all-consuming. Their goals are to get the likes, followers and engagement...daily. They need people clicking, buying a brand, or sharing their post. It's a reminder that the need for a digital wellness break isn't limited to tweens, teens and parents, but extends to the very people who inspire and influence our own online behavior! The need for a digital wellness break is universal. Think about that with your kiddo!
Empowering Tweens and Teens
Let's not forget about tweens and teens, the so-called "digital natives" of our time. Have I mentioned how much I dislike that term? They grow up in a world where social media and online interactions are the norm. Striking a balance between their digital lives and their mental health is an ongoing challenge. Many feel like they always have to be present, respond to a text immediately, keep notifications on, or keep those blasted streaks. As educators and parents, it's crucial that we guide them through this maze, teaching them the importance of digital wellness, firstly, by setting the example. Yes, I'm hearing myself as I write this. I need to find a way to step away more often, and not feel like I'm giving up, giving less or letting anyone down. This is what I hope tweens and teens will learn as well.
The Path to Digital Wellness
In this intricate digital dance, the path to digital wellness involves recognizing the value of self-care. Taking a break, even a short one, can be a breath of fresh air, allowing us to reconnect with the physical world, nurture our mental health, and recharge our creative energies. I've started be much more consistent about batch scheduling, where I'll take a day to create everything, then schedule for the next week, or two. This gives me breathing space, and time to focus on other things in my life. I still respond to people when they comment, but I don't feel like I'm taxing myself daily with having to get the next post out there.
In the realm of digital wellness, finding the equilibrium between sharing knowledge with our audience and safeguarding our mental health is a journey we all share. Whether you're an educator, a parent, or simply someone passionate about promoting digital wellness, remember that taking time for yourself doesn't equate to neglecting your mission. In fact, it's a vital step in ensuring you can continue to inspire and educate others effectively.