We don’t need to reference research or quote a few articles for you to know that social media affects mental health. Whether you’re a creator or a consumer, the constant flow of information, opportunity for comparison, and unintended competition could corrode anyone’s mindset and motivation. And even though most of us can admit a career in social media would be a treat, it’s a different kind of intense. There’s a lot that comes into play – and a lot that can change with no explanation or warning.
It takes a special kind of motivation to push through. Most of us don’t have that right out of the gate. Even if we do, our own heads can be a scary place. With social media already twisting our perceptions of things, it’s almost inevitable that it will alter how we see ourselves and our work.
Alright, enough fear mongering. Yes, working in social media is draining and can be a bit scary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You just need to be able to ground yourself when you’re getting overwhelmed. Make sure you’re properly motivated, make sure your goals are yours and are set, and you can accomplish just about anything.
And make sure you’ve got Nisaa Robinson and her infinite wisdom in your back pocket. Seriously, she probably has the answers to all our problems.
Nisaa is a mindset and transformation facilitator and coach, specializing in burnout. She works with therapists, counselors, coaches, and social workers, helping them overcome and prevent burnout so they can continue doing their unspeakably important work. Nisaa also helps people change their mindset and conquer the walls they may have built for themselves.
We got to chat with Nisaa several times before: she was part of our Mental Health Awareness Month campaign, and we interviewed her for a Deep Dive. Her content is all about mindset and motivation, and during our Clappy Hour campaign she hosted a Mindset and Motivation Clappy Hour.
We focus on mindset and motivation aimed at supporting creators to show up for themselves while they continue to show up for their community. So the focus there is to help creators to prioritize themselves. As a part of their overall approach in life, in business, or in content creation.
So, when we wanted to talk about burnout, and social media, and mental health, we knew she was the person for the job. We sat down with her to discuss burnout amongst content creators and ways they can fight against it. But before we dove in, we had to learn a few things.
What is Mindset and Motivation?
Before we dive into Nisaa’s advice and how creators can combat burnout (or sudden bursts of unpleasant feelings) we need to fully understand how mindset and motivation come into play. This is the backbone of Nisaa’s work, so we’ll be referring back to these definitions a lot.
Mindset is the set of beliefs that shape how we make sense of ourselves and of the world. It is basically your belief system that tells you how to see yourself, see others, see the world.
Motivation is the impetus that gives us the purpose and reason for and the direction toward a behavior. It operates at the subconscious level, which means there is stuff there that we don’t even realize, actually driving us toward a behavior, giving us purpose.
Simply put, our motivations are psychological, subconscious drivers. They lead us to want to do something and can be influenced by our mindset, our affiliations, and social influences. Mindset includes a combination of internal and external factors that shift how we see ourselves and others. Religious beliefs, philosophical ideologies, and our lived experiences can (and do) all affect our mindset. And our motivations, in turn, are influenced by our mindset.
Our motivations are a result of our mindset and whatever programming or influences we encounter.
If our mindset is off, if we’ve fallen into some beliefs or influences that don’t serve us, it can negatively affect our motivations. And social media is full of influences.
What is Your Motivation?
Motivation goes beyond material wants in an ideal setting. For some people, their sole motivation (or it may seem like their sole motivation) is providing for their family. Sometimes all we can focus on accomplishing is what it takes to make it to the next day. We may not be at the space to sit down and think “what am I supposed to do? What intrinsically motivates me?”
And that’s fine! But, when you’re able to, think about what else drives you. When do you feel the most free, the most at peace? Is it when you’re creating? When you’re able to sit down and help others in some way? That will be your motivation. And maybe it is taking care of your family or spending time with them. Being a loving influence and a support is a great motivator!
This motivation, this sliver, drives your choices and your actions. Knowing what makes you feel fulfilled will help guide your decision making. It’s like a cheat code – which we’ll get into later.
Social Media and Its Effects
We’ve already established that social media does play into our mental health. When we’re specifically looking at mindset and motivation, social media can really skew things. Because there’s a lot of influences coming at us in one space.
There’s the opportunity for our mindset to be influenced by wherever we find ourselves, taking in data, experiences, observing other folks and allowing ourselves to engage in an environment. And social media also provides the opportunity for experiences that are not necessarily serving or helpful or healthy. Social media platforms are a microcosm of what’s going on in any given area of the world. And there are always people who are helpful and wholesome, and people that are not.
You see people seemingly doing the same things as you but better, faster. There are people doing a lot of things, where you may suddenly feel like you don’t do enough. Maybe you see another creator making videos you want to, working with a bigger budget or more expensive equipment, or simply gaining more followers. Or you just start thinking your views, your schedule, whatever, is not enough.
All of this can affect your mindset and/or your motivation. All of this contributes to a loss of interest, in burnout, and in general, losing your passion for content creation. It’s fine, it happens to all of us.
So, without further ado, let’s get into how you can notice when this is coming and how you can combat it.
Controlling Your M&M
One of our first questions for Nisaa was how to quickly bounce back from burnout or other stressful emotions that come along with social media. We’re very happy to report that there are a few, quick things you can do when you notice your motivation draining or when emotions get the better of you. And you can do all of them for free!
Always take a moment to check in with yourself. Assess what you’re thinking and feeling when you get overwhelmed and look for ways out of it. Specifically, look at the activity or event occurring before and/or while you are experiencing that emotion. Whether it’s a quick, unpleasant feeling or something that’s been lingering. There’s always a cause to what you’re feeling, and if you can tackle the cause you can really quell the feeling. So, when you start to feel anxiety or overwhelmed, pause and ask yourself a few questions.
Check in mind, body, and soul. Ask, how is this experience impacting me? Is it a positive experience? Do I feel positively about this, how is it feeling in my body? Is it resonating, is it aligned? That’s a simple way to answer the question without having to dive in deeper.
This also works with any new or unexpected opportunities. While we often hear that we should seize every opportunity and take every chance we can, they aren’t always the best choice. And taking those wrong opportunities can lead to frustration, stretching yourself too thin, or – on really bad occasions – burnout.
So when you feel overwhelmed or are faced with a choice to take on more, pause and ask yourself: is this positive? How does it make me feel? Is it aligned with what I want? Even if it looks productive and positive on paper, think through how doing it makes you feel.
Breathe Through It
If you just need to calm down or center yourself again, try a breathing exercise. Or a quick dance party! Maybe even get up from the space and say a few affirmations to yourself. These are quick fixes (and you may need some time to find a sustainable remedy) but they can help you shake off the dust to keep pushing through.
If you’re losing motivation, or you’re confused, or whatever it might be, you can choose to tap into a full mind, body, emotion experience. That looks like standing in a mirror, looking yourself in the face, saying powerful affirmations with elevated emotion. Potentially even including actions such as jumping up and down, lifting your hands, as if you are shouting. Dance, too!
This gets us out of the space, takes our mind off the current experience influencing those negative emotions, and increases endorphins. Getting up and moving (and doing things that raise your energy) makes you feel happier. It’s science. And part of cinematic history. “Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t.”
If You’ve Got Time
While Nisaa was happy to take us through these quick fixes, she didn’t shy away from sharing that the best solutions take a little extra time. You do not have to stop right now and sort these out. You can keep them in mind until you eventually have time to settle in and do them right.
Who, What, and Why
One very helpful trick is to figure out your motivation. Why do you want to do this thing? What is it you like about it? It’s also important to know who you are. What are your values and principles? What’s important to you, what are the vital pieces of your identity? Anytime you come up against difficult choices or situations, and unpleasant emotions that make you feel negatively, knowing who you are and what it is you want (or why you’re doing this thing) can help you effectively evaluate what you’re doing and feeling.
A person’s visions, values, and goals help them know who they are, why they are, and how it is they believe they are supposed to be living out their beingness in the world. If you have that foundation, then it’s a simple process at times to accept whether or not to engage in something.
Does this experience and what it makes you think and feel lineup with your identity? Your vision, your values, your goals? If it doesn’t, then what is next is identifying the factors that are in your power to shift your opportunity or experience and then deciding when you’re going to start executing the behavior necessary to do that.
Having a clear foundation of who you are, what you want to do, and why you love to do it, is like a quick-shut-off key. If you find yourself in an overwhelming moment or face to face with a decision, pause and assess if it aligns with your identity and with your goals.
Another hallmark of Nisaa’s practice is thought shifting. It makes sense: thoughts quite literally run us, and if there’s something non-serving with your mindset, there’s likely something unhelpful with your thoughts. And if there’s something non-serving with your thoughts, there’s likely a lot of other stuff that’s starting to turn.
We have thoughts, we have feelings, and then we have behavior. The thing is all three of them, each one influences the other. Our thoughts influence our feelings, and feelings tend to drive our behavior.
And, let’s be honest, we all struggle with those negative thoughts. We all get in negative spirals and start saying mean things to ourselves. But our thoughts are one of the things we have some control over. Even if they pop into your head randomly, we can recognize and shift them.
The one that we have control over that has a significant impact for many people, is to change what you’re thinking. If you recognize what you’re thinking, there are two simple strategies you can use. The first: What am I thinking right now? And then: Is it helpful? Is reality? Is it in alignment with what I say that I want?
Once you’ve pinpointed that a thought is negative, is not helpful, is not in alignment with what you want, counter it.
I counter what it is that I’m thinking with things that are in alignment with all of those categories for myself. So if I shift my thinking, I can shift how I feel: I can go from not feeling motivated to feeling more motivated and getting into action. Take note of the inquiry on your thinking and then you can use counter statements to shift what you’re thinking.
Sometimes you can just pause and talk yourself down. But if you start to notice a pattern or a routine of negative thinking, invest a little time thinking of counter statements. Let’s take “no one likes my videos, I’m a bad creator” for example. A counter might be “I’m still learning about content creation, it can take some time to find my ideal audience!” Or “I didn’t do this to be big: I did this because creating makes me feel alive.”
Craft some counters and, the next time you find your thoughts spiraling or being unhelpful, recite them. Present the evidence of your true counter statements to debunk the non-serving, unhelpful thoughts. If you want a different strategy, name the non-serving pattern and call it out as you debate the unhelpful thoughts. You’d be surprised how much that helps!
Examine Your Goals
Nisaa said it better than we ever could (surprise to no one) so we’ll let her put it into words in just a second. But this next piece is to look at your goals and your ambitions and make sure they’re yours. Like we said earlier, our mindset can be influenced by so many other factors. Our mindset affects everything about us, including what we think we want.
Do things like introspection and self-reflection and do the identity work of recognizing that some of the goals you have are, potentially, not your goals. They may be goals that have been passed down, things you think you’re supposed to do, things other people have said you’re supposed to do. And so, if you identify that the goals you have aren’t really your goals, then coming up with a plan on how to get closer to what your goals are would be a long-term process and a longer answer.
Seriously, how often do we realize a little thing we want or think we need is just influence and peer pressure? It’s human nature to please people, so of course we tailor our goals and dreams to fit them! When you feel something isn’t aligned or just doesn’t feel right, sit down to examine what it is you want and why you want it. If you think “I have to want it because I feel like I need to,” or find that you aren’t sure why you want that thing, maybe it’s time to kick it to the curb.
Find Ways to Take Care of Yourself
No matter what stage you’re in, it’s a good idea to find ways to take care of yourself! Anything that gets you thinking about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking is good. Nisaa does this herself on a daily basis – and she deploys more than one method to tap into her thoughts and feelings.
Keep a Journal
Yes, we can hear all of you groaning. But hear us out! Journals (physical, digital, however works best for you) are a fantastic way to sit with how you’re feeling and really dig into it.
Being able to keep a journal, even for specific period of time for specific reasons, can help individuals to identify what is influencing their experience at the time. You can end up recognizing that you have faulty beliefs that are impacting your experience. You have negative thought patterns that are showing up. Maybe you figure out that you’re going through significant challenges right now, and you’re still using the same coping skills and tools that you’ve always used and they’re not quite as effective.
You can keep a journal specifically for social media. Make lists of what you’re feeling or thinking. Try to work through unpleasant feelings or bad experiences and find solutions. Or just let them go and get them out of your head. If you’re really struggling, find somebody to “write” to. Being able to put thoughts into words can make them easier to digest. And having someone to write to (or finding a format that works best for you) makes getting them down easier.
One fantastic way to tap into your thoughts is breathing practices like meditation. It also happens to be something else that people either love or hate! But it’s part of Nisaa’s daily routine and something she’s recommended to the team several times.
Find some time to have mindful moments. The daily practice of pausing and giving yourself the opportunity to just be still and think about what’s the impact of what you’re doing on yourself? And then what do you perceive is the impact on other people? And in that, feeling alignment with what it is that you set out to do in the first place. It is, aside from that, a boundary. I think it’s really easy for folks who are doing things like content creation online to just allow all the lines to be blurred.
So to have to actually define the hours when you are working on your creative process and pulling projects together, and then having boundaries where it’s just completely unplugged or you will not allow yourself to pull out your phone is a great way to find harmony.
Whether you follow a meditation practice or just sit with yourself, making time to pause and figure out what you’re feeling or how you’re feeling is so helpful to the process! This kind of practice can also help you find those counters we were talking about earlier.
How Do I Know if I’m There?
Common symptoms of burnout include mental, emotional, physical exhaustion, reduced performance, reduced empathy, and lack of interest in activities, including those you previously enjoyed. Most people will burnout on something and simply stop doing it – or keep doing it despite feeling miserable.
“But Clapper team and Nisaa,” you say, “social media is my escape! I love doing it! It’s how I selfcare!” That’s all well and good – neither of us are telling you to stop it. In fact, if you use it to relax, we want to keep it that way! Sometimes what we love the most drains us or makes us feel stuff. You can love something and still admit it has a negative effect on you.
I’d want to have a conversation and ask them to describe what they’re feeling. If you’re saying that you feel empty or you feel stuck – any of those things, I’d be interested in whether or not you enjoy having that experience. If you enjoy the experience that you’re having, then how can we help you have more of that? And if you are not quite enjoying it, how can we help you to stop it? And so, the content creation, the work that’s being done, could be part of self-care. Sure, there are things that we enjoy doing that we might identify as part of the self-care practice. At the same time, it feels like it’s giving our internal resources to have a practice of replenishing.
You can create content as part of your self-care or because you love it, but take stock in how creating it is actually making you feel. If you feel like it’s draining you more or taking resources you might not want to give, then it’s time to reevaluate.
We asked Nisaa how she stays motivated to continue creating content despite being busy in her personal and professional life. Her answer perfectly reflects all the advice she’d give us.
It goes back to what I was sharing earlier about answering the big questions in life. Why I am and how it is that I believe I’m meant to show up in the world. I believe that my purpose doesn’t change. I’m purpose to love and to serve, and what that looks like has been different by way of methods and strategy, and various outlets throughout my life.
Nisaa knows her motivation and what her purpose is. She’s used this to drive every decision she’s made – and it’s made taking or turning down opportunities easier. Maybe starting a social media presence leads to more time working or more responsibilities on her plate. But it helps her achieve the purpose of serving and helping others. And boy, does she absolutely that purpose.
You can follow Nisaa on Clapper @NisaaRobinson. She shares mindset and motivation tips in her content, and shares even more as part of her Clapper Fam Tiers. We love seeing her pop up on her FYP, and her on-screen presence is calming in and of itself. If you’d like to learn more about her practice, head over to her website.