“Anam, HOW do you not get burnt out? Don’t you need a break?” I’ve been using Instagram every day for two years, making stories, replying to DMs and posting pictures and videos etc. The only time I truly took off was during the three days of my labour and delivery last year (lol!). So when another blogger recently asked me how I do it, I thought it would be a good topic to write abut. Social media breaks are encouraged & known to be helpful after all. So why don’t I take one?
Instagram is one of the most time consuming apps of our time. If you want to be a successful creator, marketer, influencer, or business-owner, I’d say that it’s crucial to have a presence on Instagram. My personal “success” as a creator/influencer on Instagram is debatable, but I know that I have managed to stay sane on this app. And if I had to pick between quick growth & hard-core “hustle” mode VS slow & organic growth with a balanced lifestyle, I’d pick the latter any day. So here are five (5) ways in which I have been able to avoid burn-out:
- The number game on Instagram doesn’t stress me out. I don’t focus on the numbers, even though I’m well aware that people (and brands) do. Believe it or not, I have no magic milestone number of followers in my mind. I enjoy the community I have RIGHT NOW. There’s no guarantee there would be happiness and fulfilment associated with a big fat number beside my name. In fact, you’re more likely to face trolls and experience lower engagement as you grow. I don’t want thousands of followers and not even feel connected to 90% of them. Numbers aren’t important. Connections are.
- I don’t compete with anyone. There is only one person who has my background, my story, my reservations, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my viewpoint. And that’s me. It makes no sense trying to one-up someone else. I believe in abundance. Depending on our skills, the effort we put in, and our circumstances, we can all do our personal best regardless of what others are doing. Having no competition, I’m able to better focus on my own thing. As far as I can see, doing more of my art only makes me happy.
- I love telling stories, verbal or visual, so naturally I love this platform. I don’t sit and create content plans. I could, but I haven’t felt the need to. My Instagram is a reflection of whatever I’m doing in life, which makes it quite effortless in that sense. It also helps me focus on all the positive things happening in my day. I could be more intentional with the content I put out and I absolutely realize the potential, but in this season of life (with two kids, one of them a baby), I don’t want to burden myself. So I just take it easy. And I honestly believe that I still have more fun with my Instagram than some other bloggers who have audiences much larger than mine. So again, no complaints and no reason to take a break 😉
- I try to be as flexible and realistic as possible. When I first started out on Instagram, I told myself I’d post something (on my page) every day. And I did post every day for a while. Sometimes twice a day. I was excited and also inspired by people who posted very frequently. I thought – if they can do it, I can too. But I soon realized that it was not sustainable for me. Some of the people I was looking up to had very different lifestyles than mine. Some of them had already “made it.” Some of them had help at home, some didn’t have a 9-5 job, they had their own photographers, they valued things differently, naturally had more energy, or were simply in a different phase of life. I had no business trying to keep up with people who are so different from me. I had a family, my own unique set of responsibilities, and a full-time job. And with those being my priority, frequent posting was simply not sustainable. All I could do was my best.Similarly, I used to feel very proud of being able to reply to everyone who sent me a Direct Message. I would’ve loved to keep it up forever. But when the DM’s became too much, I had to stop replying to all and address only a few to the best of my ability in a limited amount of time. I still do feel bad not replying to someone who asked me a question, because they trust me to respond. But I’ve only got so many hours in a day and a million things that need my attention.So flexibility has been key to keep going without getting burnt out.
- I absolutely love engaging with the community that has formed around my account. This is the most cliche-sounding but also the biggest reason why I keep going and don’t feel like stopping. I can’t tell you how many messages I get from people saying that they enjoy my content. They say that they learn from it, relate to it and feel inspired by it. Every day, someone writes to me and opens up about their problems and concerns because they trust me enough to share. They write beautiful prayers and well wishes which truly touch my heart. To this day, I cannot point out what it is that inspires them because I literally just show myself dealing with my daily life as it comes. But I am just so humbled that so many people are interested. I am lucky to have the privilege to put smiles on people’s faces through my posts. And I must add that I have learned so much from these people too. They share their tips and tricks with me, and sometimes just make me realize that I am not alone in whatever situations I am going through.
So these are the reasons why I keep going. Instagram can be a scary and very negative place, no doubt. But I strongly believe that I have had a very positive experience so far because of the mindset I have about it. Alhumdulillah! Hopefully you can pick up a thing or two from these points and not take Instagram too seriously. Have fun with it and truly enjoy it!