Balancing Social Media Content Creation: Lessons Learned from Burnout




Why a Social Media Presence is Important for Digital Illustrators

As a digital illustrator, maintaining a strong social media presence is crucial for showcasing my work, connecting with potential clients, and building a community around my art.

But, let’s face it – juggling social media content creation with everything else can be overwhelming. Today, I want to share some strategies for how I balance my content creation tasks, avoid burnout, and set every-day boundaries with social media.

Strategies for Efficient Social Media Content Creation

Setting Boundaries to Avoid Burnout

Recognizing and Managing Social Media Burnout

If you are a creative like me, you know that having a social media presence is like having a virtual gallery. It’s a place where you can showcase your artwork, connect with other creatives, and even find clients who appreciate your unique style. It also provides a platform to share your creative journey, which can be incredibly inspiring for others.

A few years ago, before I became a full-time digital illustrator, I ran a handmade candles small business. My main and only marketing technique was my Instagram and TikTok profiles. I had no strategy, just a daily scramble to come up with new content ideas on the spot. Day by day I was struggling to keep my creativity going, pack new orders, film new content, and manage the rest of the business aspect. This approach eventually led to burnout, and ultimately, I had to uninstall all my social media apps and take a step back to recover my mental health.

From that experience, I learned the importance of planning and setting boundaries. Now, I manage my social media channels with a different approach. I batch-create content, use scheduling tools, and set clear boundaries to ensure I don't burn out.

  • Batch content creation: One of the best ways to stay on top of social media is to batch your content creation. Set aside a few hours each week to plan and create multiple posts. This way, you’re not scrambling every day to come up with new ideas.

  • Use scheduling tools: Tools like Later, Meta Business Suite, and Canva Calendar are lifesavers. They allow you to schedule your posts in advance, so you can maintain a consistent posting schedule without having to be online all the time.

  • Repurpose content: Create versatile pieces that can be used across different platforms. For instance, a detailed illustration process can be shared as a blog post, a series of Instagram stories, and a YouTube video.

  • Limit screen time: Set specific times for social media use. Some creators set alarms or use app features to limit how long they spend on social media each day. This helps prevent the feeling of being constantly "on."

If you'd like to learn more, read my post about my experience in keeping my social channels alive while living abroad for a month.

  • Designate work hours: Treat your social media time as part of your workday and stick to set hours. This creates a clear separation between work and personal time, which is essential for maintaining your mental health. To structure my day and help me stay on top of my ever-growing to-do list, I use Upbase task manager.

  • Turn off notifications: I know it feels so rewarding to see a new follow or like notification, but it might create an unhealthy obsession over time. To avoid constant distractions, turn off notifications or set your phone to "do not disturb" mode during off hours or focus time if you want to go the extra mile. This helps you stay focused and reduces the urge to check your social media accounts constantly.

  • Take regular breaks: Incorporate breaks into your routine to rest and recharge. This could be as simple as taking a walk, practicing mindfulness, or enjoying a hobby away from screens.

  • Do not get emotionally attached: This one is probably the hardest task of them all. The instant dopamine hit when getting a new follow, comment, or like is very addictive. If you are doing content creation as a job, remember to keep it that way on an emotional level as well. Celebrate new achievements and milestones, learn from the feedback, and get inspired by your audience, but do not get over-involved. Social media is simply a tool at your disposal to grow your brand, and it does not define who you are. A few unfollows won't cause the world to end! 😉

Burnout can manifest as constant fatigue, loss of motivation, creative blocks, and feeling disconnected from your work or audience. If you notice these signs, it’s crucial to take steps to manage it.

  • Acknowledge It: Recognize the signs of burnout and accept that it’s okay to take a step back when needed. Ignoring these signs can lead to more severe mental and physical health issues.

  • Seek Support: Lean on friends, family, or fellow creators for support. Sometimes, talking about your experiences can help alleviate stress and give you a fresh perspective.

  • Prioritize Mental Health: Engage in activities that promote mental well-being, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time in nature. Taking care of your mental health will help you stay creative and productive in the long run.

  • Be Authentic: Share your genuine experiences and feelings with your audience. This builds a more meaningful connection and sets realistic expectations. Your followers will appreciate your honesty and relate to your journey. Remember - people buy from people, not companies.

  • Set Realistic Goals: Avoid overcommitting by setting achievable goals for your social media activities. Focus on quality over quantity. It's better to post meaningful content less frequently than to push out content that you're not proud of just to meet a self-imposed schedule. Social media algorithms and trends change all the time, so consistent quality is one thing you have full control over, and that will keep driving the right audience to you.

  • Enjoy Offline Moments: Make time for offline activities that you enjoy and that help you relax and recharge. This balance is crucial for sustained creativity and productivity. Whether it's spending time with loved ones, indulging in a hobby, or simply taking a walk, these moments are vital for your overall well-being.

Balancing Self-Promotion with Personal Well-being

Balancing social media content creation with personal well-being is essential for any digital illustrator and creative freelancer. By implementing strategies like batching content creation, using scheduling tools, setting boundaries, and recognizing the signs of burnout, you can maintain a healthy relationship with social media. Remember to prioritize your mental health and enjoy offline moments.

If you found these tips helpful and you'd like to learn more tips like this, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. I share updates on my life, along with useful resources and advice for creatives. Let's navigate this journey together and keep our creative fires burning bright.

a person holding a cell phone up to a wall
a person holding a cell phone up to a wall