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SocialGov self-care on World Mental Health Day

Oct 07, 2021

The past 18 months have been hard, and, you, the government social media professional, have been on the frontlines of it all.

You’ve witnessed firsthand major negativity on social media and the spread of mis/disinformation, oftentimes with emotions running high, but you never stopped diligently communicating, even while handling your own frustrations, fears and grief. You’ve been there for your community, your neighbors, virtually to your socialgov peers — but, are you there for yourself?

With World Mental Health Day happening Sunday, October 10, we want to remind you to take a moment to truly evaluate how you’re doing. This year’s theme is mental health care for all — that means social media managers, too. Use these self-care practices and resources to help take care of your mental health and socialgov self-care:

Meet your basic needs

Government social media professionals have been in crisis mode for almost two years. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work, and oftentimes, your self-care gets pushed aside. GSM Membership Council Vice President and social self-care advocate Jessie Brown offers this advice to keep your self-care at the forefront:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat nutritiously 
  • Drink enough water (and then drink some more!)
  • Get moving
  • Schedule downtime

Watch Jessie’s breakdown on meeting your basic needs to help keep your energy up & put yourself in the best position to better deal with stress, anxiety and depression. 

What are some other ways to take care of your mental health at work? Jessie also has these tips that focus on tangible ways you can incorporate self-care into your daily schedule:

  • Investigate productivity and efficiency methods like timeboxing, routines and single-tasking to help you stay focused and accomplish more in order to fight that sense of overwhelm and also preserve your well-deserved and necessary downtime. 
  • Be firm in your home life/work life boundaries to preserve your down time away from work, and take a vacation day (or 10).
  • Find ways to reset when the day or the comment section gets emotionally overwhelming — take a brief walk, do a breathing exercise, watch something funny.
  • Advocate for yourself and your needs at work when you need to take a break or call in reinforcements

Useful resources

There are many useful resources available, and many can be found right at your fingertips. 

Start by browsing through these mental health apps available for Apple users or on the Google Play store and pick some that might work for you. If you want a self-care companion, somewhere to journal, motivational quotes or some base therapy, you can find many daily self-care options & reminders to help keep your mental health on track. Here are a few options we found:

Additional helpful websites:

It’s important to note that while these self-care resources can be useful, you might want to seek in-person support and therapy. You can find a verified local therapist through Psychology Today here

Keep your self-care tank filled

Government social media professionals have seen and handled a lot of negative and emotionally charged conversations that still continue in 2021. While some negative interactions can be opportunities to build relationships and trust, it can still take an emotional toll and dip from your self-care tank. Jessie has this advice to share:

“Growing up in Iowa, my mother instilled in me that you never let your gas tank drop below a quarter of a tank - in case you get stuck in the snow or face another unexpected highway emergency. Well, we're in that unexpected emergency (still — when does Roadside Assistance show up?), and most of us have been running on fumes for months. We need to recognize when the gas gauge starts to fall and pull over to take care of ourselves. What's more, we should be doing all that preventative maintenance to build our resilience, because this situation isn't going to end anytime soon. Make room for downtime. Take care of your basic needs. Advocate for yourself at work when you need a break or extra help from teammates. Seek out a therapist to help move forward. Push yourself to be empathetic. The past couple of years have taught us that people react to stress in many ways, and not all of them are healthy — like anger. It can be difficult to separate ourselves from our work, especially those of us with a heart for public service and who take great pride in what we do. But it's necessary, so we can remember that people's negativity roots back to their inability to cope with something. It's never about us, unless we choose to make it about us. If we can channel our inner Leslie Knope and meet those caring loudly at us with empathy, we can help heal ourselves and possibly make the day a bit better for our residents and customers.”

Connect with your socialgov community

Seek support from those who know your goals, successes & challenges the most — your peers. This powerful group of government social media professionals across the country knows exactly what you face each day, and you don’t need to face it alone.

  • Join the Government Social Media Community Facebook Group, open to all government professionals handling social media.
  • Be a part of our free GSM network - a private platform with candid conversations, helpful resources & content - to help you best succeed. Only full/part-time government and educational institution employees can join.
  • Looking for meaningful professional connections? Our professional association gets members connected with other government social media communicators and more.

Talk to a professional

While we care a lot about your well-being, we’re not mental health specialists, so we encourage you to seek a professional to chat with if you want further resources for your mental health. A good place to start might be with your government agency. Check with human resources to see what mental health resources are available, such as access to an employee assistance program (EAP) to speak with a licensed therapist at no cost to you.

If you need immediate assistance, here’s how to get help right now.

Best communicate with the public you serve by becoming a part of the free Government Social Media network — only available to full/part-time employees of government or educational institutions. 

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community. 

 

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