Hi guys! I hope you’re all feeling great but if you aren’t, I’m hoping this blog will help you feel a little better.
As you may know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th May 2021) – a week where we discuss and highlight the importance of taking care of our minds as well as our bodies. In this blog, I will be talking about the anxiety some of us may face as entrepreneurs or small business owners who use social media to promote ourselves. I really want to talk about this specifically, as its something I’ve struggled with in the past.
Social media & business anxiety
Lockdown has been a huge challenge for a lot of us, with people losing their jobs on an unprecedented scale. This mass unemployment has lead to many of us having to start or grow our own businesses to keep ourselves afloat and a lot of that has been done through social media as it’s now an essential tool to reach audiences/customers.
So, we start our business pages with enthusiasm and hope, posting images of our products or services whilst telling the world “WE HAVE ARRIVED!” A few moments later, we are confronted by the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses out there, doing similar work and we instantly start to question our significance in our chosen industries.
Over the next few weeks, we keep pushing and promoting our work but can’t stop scrolling through that Instagram discovery feed. We see image after image of our peers and competitors doing well and gaining more and more exposure, but if things aren’t going so well for us just yet, insecurity rears its ugly head and we start to doubt ourselves and, once again, question our abilities.
Sound familiar? Yea, it does to me too!
As humans, we can’t help but compare ourselves to others (especially on social media) but if these feelings aren’t dealt with in a healthy way, this constant comparison can have a negative affect on our mental state. Because of this, it is so important to curate a strong and positive sense of professional- and self-worth in order to maintain good mental health, otherwise it could lead to to so many issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and OCD.
If you see someone winning, celebrate and learn from them but it’s so important to maintain a sense of value in your own journey too. As successful as someone presents, they too have a story, and the snippet that is shown on social media is just a tiny percentage of the reality. They too may have started out slowly and felt the same way as you do a few months or years ago, so there’s no reason why you can’t be successful in your own time too! Social media is basically a highlight reel, so to compare your real life to their “reel life” can be pretty unfair to yourself, right? So cut yourself some slack. If you’re working hard, continuing to learning and taking steps to improve your business, then your win is coming too… trust me! I used to think to myself “Why aren’t my designs being featured in magazines too? (crying face emoji)” …then a few months later… two features in the space a month and that shut me up real quick (LOL), so now I trust the process!
My advice to anyone reading this who feels like their mental health is being affected by comparison on social media is to give yourself a break. Talk to real people you trust who can share rounded experiences and come back with an understanding that you are on your own perfect path and that everyone’s highlights have back stories. It’s so important to celebrate wins, but in reality we don’t all win all the time… and guess what… that’s ok!
Mother Nature’s healing touch
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is nature and I have to admit it’s been a real blessing for me during lockdown. When things got overwhelming mentally, we would go for walks in parks or woods and I found myself appreciating wildlife a lot more. For me, just being around trees, water and animals makes me feel calmer and in tune with my emotions and always has done. I love the sound of running water and find comfort in the smell of fresh soil. I even have a tattoo that symbolises the beauty of nature and natural human beauty.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 45% of us reported that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health over the lockdown period, so I’m glad it’s being recognised as a natural stimulant for positive mental health. Being in nature is also a great form of escapism and helps you put your problems into perspective… it’s a huge world out there!
“Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future.”Mark Rowland, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation
So every now and then, why not take a few hours or days away from social media (I know its hard if you run an online business but…), explore your local park, sit in the garden, grown a houseplant from an avocado seed (like I did!) and enjoy the calming reality of nature! Step away from seeing others as unhealthy competition but instead use it as healthy inspiration, because after all, a flower doesn’t care how pretty its neighbour is, it still blooms just as beautifully as it’s meant to!
If you are in need of any professional support or want to learn of ways you can help those who need it, please always reach out and contact the below services:
Mind – mind.org.uk
Mental Health Foundation – mentalhealth.org.uk
NHS – nhs.uk
If you’d like to get updates on when I release new blogs, please subscribe to my newsletter.