In almost a decade since starting out at the age of 19, Komal Pandey has amassed an Instagram following of 1.9 million. A few weeks ago, the fashion influencer broke her silence about a sense of “toxic competition” with herself – a constant, self-inflicted pressure to outdo her own work every day. Realising that it was neither a productive nor a sustainable or healthy way to function, Komal Pandey announced a “mini step back” from Insta-verse. The social media world may look glossy, but the mental health burnout is real. Content creators are balancing on a tightrope of mental well-being in India’s creator economy, which stands over Rs 1300 crore as per industry estimates.
The pressure to expand their reach with engaging and viral content can take a beating. As can the urge to receive feedback. Not to forget the challenge of tolerating the trolls and negative comments. Social media is a boon and 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 the fans. At the same time, social media and mental health may not be a match made in heaven. Studies across the globe have looked into the side effects of social media on mental health for content creators, and the results are worth an alarm.
These are times when the conversation about mental health has gathered steam. Film celebrities as well as sportspersons are getting increasingly vocal about their need for mental health breaks. In the virtual world too, international celebs such as Tom Holland, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, announced social media breaks for mental health unabashedly.
How do social media influencers manage their mental health? What are the struggles of being a content creator? How to deal with the trolls? Do they suffer content creator anxiety? How to protect mental health as content creators?Health Shots reached out to some popular Indian content creators to know what’s on their mind!
Trolls usually say that if you are online, deal with it. So subconsciously I’ve learnt to deal with it, to be honest. It does affect me. I keep thinking of certain comments throughout the day. In the end, I talk it out with a friend or my partner and get over it. Having a good support system helps me ride through it.
First and foremost, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health. As a creator, you might 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.
Secondly, be positive. Another thing that has helped me is to focus on the positive. It’s easy to get caught up in negative comments, but there are likely just as many positive ones. Take time to read the positive feedback and remember why you started creating content in the first place.
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Thirdly, it’s important to set boundaries. You don’t have to engage with 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 by prioritizing your mental health, focusing on the positive, setting boundaries, and remembering that you’re not alone, you can navigate it all.
We eventually have to shut ourselves down so it doesn’t affect us. If we let keeping these things affect us, it will never be better and we won’t be able to actually focus on what matters and what we’re here for. We’re here to make a difference… and eventually, we have to build a thick skin.
There are days we do break down as well, and that’s completely okay. What we need to see is that there are like 90-95 percent of people who are following us and want to actually see us grow.
Honestly speaking, it used to bother me a lot back in the days when I had started making content. Later on, I realised this is a part and parcel of this profession because there will always be someone who will give hate and troll me. My mantra is not to focus on the hate comments because why worry about a few hundred trolls and haters when you have millions of people who give me love at the same time!
I think I’ve always given it back to the trolls. There’s no point in letting judgmental people affect your mental health with regard to appearance. I’ve engaged with some trolls and realized their opinions are my very first thought. They’re instant reactions. And there’s a limit to how much mental space you can give for someone’s first thought.
I’ve worked very hard to come to a stage where I love my body. It would be shameful to let someone else’s warped opinions pull me down. These days I give it back to them and ask them to stop publicly shitting and making a fool of themselves.
Your mental health gets affected only when you let others control your mind. If you get affected by what people think about you, it will take a toll on your mental health. I have never given anyone the privilege to influence me to doubt myself. There has not been a single day when I had self-doubt. I knew that I was here to make a difference. I knew that I was changing the lives of people around me through the content that I was creating. I knew that there is a community out there 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 for them and they benefit a lot from it, I get the courage to stand against all negativity. It helps me to continue putting in the hard work and deliver the best content that every candidate out there deserves.
It’s been years now in this field and you kind of learn how to deal with these things better over time. But it’s not like it doesn’t get to me. It does at times. But what I tell myself is that if you put yourself in the limelight for the world to watch, this is gonna happen and it is okay. As long as it makes you happy and you don’t care about what the world says… You do you and I live by it.
Sadly, the judgement is unavoidable but it is getting better with time. For me, I think yoga works the best for my mental health as a social media influencer. It gives me calm mind and helps me focus on myself.