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May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, but today we’re talking to streamers everywhere.
Streaming on Twitch can be a fulfilling career or hobby — an outlet to share your passions and connect with people all around the world. Your energy is what makes Twitch home for millions of people, but putting yourself out there can sometimes come with mental health challenges. Recognizing and addressing those challenges has been, and will always be, one of our top priorities.
Mental health can be a difficult topic to broach, so this month we’ve partnered with The National Alliance on Mental Illness to bring you 5 mental health tips for content creators. From setting a schedule to finding support groups, the tips below are a great place to begin taking care of yourself or helping others.
And as always, our Mental Health Support & Information page is a great resource for hotlines specializing offering support around depression, self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, and more.
5 Mental Health Tips for Online Content Creators By Ross Kerr, The National Alliance on Mental Illness
Creating content and connecting with an online audience presents unique challenges. The level of consistency and engagement required to maintain your brand and following can be demanding. It can also be difficult to navigate between personal and work life when they are so often mixed. Aspects of the work that usually bring personal fulfillment may at times feel like a stressful, overwhelming grind.
If you feel the stress you’re facing is negatively affecting you, there are ways you can improve your mental health.
Connect with Social Supports
Life doesn’t have to be single-player — and it shouldn’t be. Connection is such an important aspect of mental health. Reaching out to others who have shared experiences can help build a network of support and fight loneliness. Another approach is seeking out a mentor who understands the unique challenges of what you do. This person can be a listening ear when times are hard. They can help you overcome difficult situations and feel more equipped for the challenges ahead.
Establish Set Coping Methods
There may be days when your internet connection slows down to a halt or a piece of content you just made accidentally gets deleted. Situations like this can make anyone feel frustrated. It’s important to consider your coping skills for when things don’t go as planned. Coping skills such as deep breathing, reading or exercise can help you release stress and gain perspective on these tough moments.
Set Your Office Hours
Content creation often means working long hours. There’s no one telling you to go home, especially since you are most likely already at home. Setting definitive work hours can help you create a structure that allows for time to unplug, which can significantly reduce stress. It can also help you to feel more refreshed during your set work hours. And as a bonus, having a regular schedule where your audience can expect you to livestream or post content can also contribute towards building an engaged community.
Prioritize a Hobby
For many working in this space, their hobby has turned into a career. But it’s important to have a positive outlet that doesn’t have the pressure of a career, something that is just for fun and just for you. Pursuing new hobbies or making time for old ones can provide a much-needed distraction. Whether it’s playing “Magic: The Gathering” at the local comic shop or going rock climbing, the change of focus can help take your mind off work-related stress.
Take A Break
If you find yourself pushing through every day and feeling less inspired or overwhelmed: take a break. Whether it’s 30 minutes to get a breather or a week-long vacation, breaks are essential. Work can be hard, but it shouldn’t be painful. While there can be pressure to stay connected in order to build or maintain a following, it’s not as important as your mental health, and you need to set your own limits. Also, taking a step back gives you the opportunity to evaluate what you can change to feel better long-term.
Keep in mind that experiencing these challenges is not a failure. You should never blame yourself for having concerns about your mental health. And whether these challenges are a part of your full-time job or a side gig after work, you are not facing them alone.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.