In nearly a decade since he started at the age of 19, Komal Pandey has amassed 1.9 million followers on Instagram. A few weeks ago, the fashion influencer broke her silence about a sense of “toxic competition” with herself: a constant, self-inflicted pressure to outperform her own work every day. Realizing it wasn’t a productive, sustainable, or healthy way to function, Komal Pandey announced a “mini step back” from Insta-verse. The world of social media may seem shiny, but mental health burnout is real. Content creators are walking the mental wellbeing tightrope in India’s creator economy, which is over Rs 1.3 billion according to industry estimates.
The pressure to expand your reach with engaging and viral content can take a beating. Like the need to receive feedback. Without forgetting the challenge of tolerating trolls and negative comments. Social media is a blessing and a bane at the same time. While it has given the common man a level playing field to showcase talent, it has given celebrities a way to get closer to fans. At the same time, social media and mental health may not be a perfect match. Studies around the world have looked at the side effects of social media on the mental health of content creators, and the results are alarming.
These are times when the mental health conversation has picked up steam. Movie celebrities, as well as athletes, are increasingly expressing their need for mental health breaks. Also in the virtual world, international celebrities such as Tom Holland, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, shamelessly announced social media breaks for mental health.
How do social media influencers manage their mental health? What are the difficulties of being a content creator? How to deal with trolls? Suffering from content creator anxiety? How to protect mental health as content creators? Health Shots reached out to some popular Indian content creators to find out what they have in mind.
Tanya Appachu: Having a good support system helps manage mental health
Trolls often say that if you are online, accept it. So I’ve subconsciously learned to deal with it, to be honest. It affects me. I keep thinking about certain comments throughout the day. In the end, I talk about it with a friend or my partner and I get over it. Having a good support system helps me get through it.
Simran Balar Jain: Focus on self care when you need it
First of all, it is essential to prioritize your mental health. As a creator, you may feel the pressure to constantly produce content and engage with your audience. But it’s crucial to take breaks when you need them. Step away from social media or your computer for a bit and focus on self-care.
Second, be positive. Another thing that has helped me is to focus on the positive. It’s easy to get caught up in negative feedback, but there are likely to be plenty of positive ones. Take the time to read the positive comments and remember why you started creating content in the first place.
Third, it is important to set limits. You don’t have to compromise on every negative comment or respond to every message. If someone is being particularly cruel, don’t be afraid to block or mute them.
Lastly, dealing with trolls and haters is never easy, but if you prioritize your mental health, focus on the positive, set boundaries, and remember that you’re not alone, you can navigate it all.
Prableen Kaur Bhomrah: We have to build a thick skin
Eventually we have to shut down so it doesn’t affect us. If we let maintaining these things get to us, it will never get better and we won’t be able to really focus on what matters and what we are here for. We’re here to make a difference…and eventually, we have to build a tough skin.
There are days when we break down too, and that’s completely fine. What we need to see is that there are like 90-95 percent of the people who follow us and want to see us grow.
Anisha Dixit: Trolls are an integral part of social media
Honestly speaking, it used to bother me a lot back in the days when I started creating content. Later, I realized that this is an integral part of this profession because there will always be someone who will hate me and troll me. My mantra is not to focus on hate comments because why bother with a few hundred trolls and haters when you have millions of people giving me love at the same time?
Also read: Study reveals link between social networks, body image problems and eating disorders
Niyati Mavinkurve: Give it back to the trolls
I think I’ve always given it back to the trolls. There is no point in letting judgmental people affect your mental health regarding appearance. I have interacted with a few trolls and realized that their opinions are my first thought. They are instant reactions. And there’s a limit to how much head space you can give someone’s first thought.
I have worked very hard to get to a stage where I love my body. It would be embarrassing to let someone else’s distorted opinions bring me down. These days I return it to them and ask them to stop shitting and making a fool of themselves in public.
Diksha Arora: Don’t give anyone the privilege of making you doubt yourself
Your mental health is affected only when you let others control your mind. If you are affected by what people think of you, it will affect your mental health. I have never given anyone the privilege of influencing me to doubt myself. There has not been a single day where I have doubted myself. I knew I was here to make a difference. I knew that I was changing the lives of the people around me through the content I was creating. I knew there was a community that needed me to do what I was doing. I knew that nothing could stop me from helping people build strong careers and support their families.
When candidates come to me and tell me that my content is a blessing to them and they benefit a lot from it, I get the courage to face all the negativity. It helps me to keep working hard and deliver the best content that all candidates deserve.
Shanice Shrestha: You do
It’s been years in this field and you learn to deal better with these things over time. But it’s not that I don’t get it. He does it sometimes. But what I tell myself is if you put yourself in the spotlight for the world to see, this is going to happen and that’s okay. As long as it makes you happy and you don’t care what the world says… You do it and I live by it.
Steffy Sunny: Yoga calms my mind
Sadly, judgment is inevitable, but it’s getting better with time. For me, I think yoga works best for my mental health as a social media influencer. It gives me peace of mind and helps me focus on myself.