January 27, 2020 is Community Manager Advancement Day and the theme this year is self-care. For the month of January, we invite those in the industry to lead content from your own platforms around the topic of self-care for Community Managers.
We know, we know, we’ve heard it only a million times: It’s easier to care for your community, once you’ve taken care of yourself. But burnout is still a fear and often a reality for many people who work in the community industry. And why?
For one, we are expected to be on for our community, all the time. It can sometimes feel like there is no room for a slow or quiet day in community management. Your community needs you? You’re there. We are the glue that holds our communities together.
Another reason is because it can be exhausting to work in an industry that is oftentimes misunderstood. How many times have you walked into a room and felt overwhelmed by how many strangers to whom you were going to have to explain what community is?
And on that note, we don’t have to just explain our purpose to strangers in rooms, but we also have to prove our value to people in our own companies. We keep the lights on for our communities. Proving the ROI and showing the business value. We are the person in the middle. The friendly face to our community members, the sales or marketing channel to our company.
So, yes. We get stressed, overwhelmed, spread thin, exhausted, burnt out. It’s no question that self-care is important and that we need it. But I want to make sure everyone knows what self-care is.
Self-care has become a marketable commodity. Many companies sell the idea of self-care, telling us we need it, nobody is doing it, and “If you don’t buy this bath bomb you are doing it wrong!”.
But self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and ice cream. Self-care isn’t just taking a night to yourself to binge watch the entire second season of that show you’re kind of embarrassed to tell anyone you like. Yes, it can include those things, but I’d like to challenge the idea that this is not all that self-care is.
Self-care isn’t about “escaping” your life. It’s about taking the necessary steps to create a life you don’t need to escape from.
A lot of the self-care remedies that are recommended are just bandaids, providing temporary relief. Then you get back into the same routine, and before you know it, you burn out again.
So how do you practice sustainable self-care? How can you create a life you don’t need to escape from quite so often? There are 5 areas you can focus on:
Self-care is about feedback; giving it and receiving it. Listen to the people who care about you and your work, and take into consideration their suggestions. Pay attention to what’s happening around you and be intentional with your feedback.
Self-care is about education; training courses, certifications, videos, books, reports. It’s about being set up for success, so that when a new task or project comes along, instead of feeling overwhelmed, you feel prepared.
Self-care is about building meaningful relationships; both personal and professional. Connecting with coworkers, with your peers, with your community members, and being transparent with all of the above. (Have you checked out CMX Connect? It's a chance to build relationships with other community professionals in person!)
Self-care is about your body. Yes, bath bomb company, I know what I said. Taking a bath or getting a massage are great ways to relax, but are they sustainable ways to ensure you can continue to handle stress? Maybe having a bath everyday or having a massage once a week! Some tried and true methods to continually care for your body: drink more water, go to sleep an hour earlier, go outside, exercise.
Self-care is about your heart. Spending time with people you love, taking care of something, meeting people who inspire you, facing a fear, reading a book, maybe binge watching the entire second season of that show you’re kind of embarrassed to tell anyone you like.
There are a lot of self-care practices unique to community professionals that we can all adopt and make our work more sustainable. Hopefully this post will inspire you to think of ways that community professionals can practice self-care in each of these five categories. Think about it, and write, record, and create some content for Community Manager Advancement Day! Use #CMAD2020 and tag @CMXhub.
Check out some of the Personal Growth and Self-Care related talks that happened at CMX Summit 2019!