The mental health of social media managers is something that's often overlooked by employers and individuals who interact with brand accounts. Lea Rice (she/her) talks openly about the challenges she's faced and how it inspired her to create a content planner that puts self care front and centre.
Lea helps brands slam it on social media and supports overwhelmed digital marketers to take control of their content planning.
She loves her work in the digital marketing department of many charities, agencies, private businesses and even for a celebrity or two, playing key roles in huge campaigns, training and mentored the digital marketers of the future but she's learned some hard lessons along the way.
After too many anxiety attacks and mental breakdowns, Lea realised she can be successful without self-destructing. In fact, showing herself love and compassion is vital. When we nourish ourselves, we ignite passion, creativity and courage.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/heartsouldigi
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartandsouldigital/
I hang out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bushnell_cs/
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Voice over by Hawke Wood: https://www.spotlight.com/3490-9081-8844
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- [Hawke] Hello and welcome to social media for humans. The podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users, and ultimately humans. With insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you. Grab yourself a drink and join the conversation. - Hello, hello. I am here with wonderful Lea. Would you like to introduce yourself? - Hello everyone. My name is Lea Rice. I am, (chuckles) many things, but largely the owner of Heart and Soul Digital. Which is all about helping people in digital marketing in general. Kind of do really great work and climb their career ladder however they may be employed and wherever. Without burning out with their mental health in mind, through tools and advice and community. (Alexis humming) - And that's a lot of how I found you. Because I mean, for people who don't already see me comment on all your stuff, as if I am like, a huge fan (laughs). I am in fact a huge fan of your stuff. I think it was your first, in 20... I want to say 2018, 2017. - Yeah that sounds about right. Yeah. - But I have been in love with it since. (Lea laughs) It's honestly amazing. I know every time I speak to anybody, and they're like, ooh I don't know how to organise my content. I'm like, well, let me tell you about this content planner, (laughs). - Oh, that's excellent. That means they're doing their job. And also every time you comment on my stuff I love it, and I'm here for it. So thank you (laughs). - What inspired you to create that content planner? - When I went into business myself in 2016, I already had like many, many shades of my career kind of under my belt. All of them in social media and content management. And there was never an easy way to collaborate on content planning with like my colleagues or clients, from my agency days or other members of my team. And I was really struggling with that. And whilst like America, for some reason seems to have lots of very, very good social media professionals, who kind of would ready make these planners full of all the information that you need that does take hours to research. But basically that is crucial to your marketing. They seemed easy accessible for American marketers but there wasn't really anything in the UK. And like lots of the kind of the blank free templates and stuff are really lovely. But they weren't cutting it. They didn't have that information already in there ready to go and have it all organised for you. And paper planners, and like do not get me wrong. I am as much of a stationary addict as the next person. But I would always find when it came to my own social media content, that I'd get it all beautifully laid out, and planned on that page. But all that work, sort of felt like that should be the end before I go into production. I didn't want to have to take all of that from paper, onto whatever it was to show the people, that I need to show my stuff, and then get it into a content scheduler. And I also needed somewhere where it could be proofed and like have an asset linked to it, things like that. And whilst that is all quite boring logistics, it is all important stuff that makes the social media managers life like 16 times longer (chuckles), than it needs to be if you don't sort of start doing that from the off. So I made one. I made one that was collaborative, had all that information, and that was a live document that didn't get kind of lost in sharing endless versions of Excel spreadsheets and stuff. It was all there ready to go. All the research was done. The markets, all I had to do was come up with the ideas around the marketing stuff and insert like my own campaigns. And I started off using that with all my own clients rather, when I went into self-employment and it worked really, really well. And so I started to make and sell them. And it was a big learning curve. Didn't think that's where I was going to go with my business. But I'm so glad I did. It's brought a whole new dimension to my work and my career and that I'd never, ever planned for. So, yeah, it's really great. I'm very pleased with it, (chuckles). - I think they're so useful. Because like you say, it covers all of those things that you do spend hours researching and looking into. And like trying to find someone that you say, to share stuff with clients and be like, well, are you happy with this post? How do you wanna deal with this event that's happening? Can you share with me the events that are happening in your business that I need to know about. It ends up in emails and slack messages and WhatsApps, and phone calls, and it's pieces of paper. Trying to find some way to put it, it's just a nightmare. And honestly- - Yeah, I know. I'm keeping that on track. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - And it does makes such a difference to have everything in one place. Which is something I talk about like all the times. Make it easy for yourself. Like find a system that works for you, and then just stick to it. You don't have to let anybody else use it. You can make your own system, and as long as it works for you, you know where everything is. It's fine, run with it (laughs). - Exactly. Just copy and paste, copy and paste. Copy and paste the whole time. There's no need to fix a system, when you have a really good one. That was the plan here. (Alexis laughs) - Yup, yup. Have you found, because I have found it, because it's made my life so much easier with clients. Well, and for my own marketing, to be fair (chuckles). Because of that, it gives me the time and the space to sort of manage my own mental health. - Yeah. - Because I'm not spending all that extra time, trying to find things in various different email threads or whatever. So has that been feedback that you've got generally. Cause this year especially, you really pivoted to a real, like self-care focus with the planners. - Yes. So it has been feedback that I've been getting. And I'm really glad that it's been the same for you as well. That's really good. Like I said, it's kind of, it's cut out many, many, many hours of work. And work as well that could get... It kind of can go on indefinitely. Like you can never really be done kind of researching all the key dates for something, or like every event happening in an industry or whatever. This just gives you a solid foundation. But yeah, the whole point. Well you're kind of told when you're in like, maybe a slightly more corporate or a permanent job. You're kind of told that everything you do revolves around your time management, and the way that you're able to conduct yourself at work. And the way that you are able to have the patience to handle other people, which is never easy. And like to develop yourself to get to the next level and stuff. That all relies on you being over organised, and as much as you can, knowing kind of what's going on and when. And I want to help make that simple for anyone who's in marketing, not just permanently employed people. The idea is to help you do a great big chunk of that. And then help you further with kind of the rest of what happens there, and being organised and helping with your consistency. And like giving those creative ideas A little nudge all the time and stuff like that. Which should then give you the space for the development and self-care stuff. And I obviously like give lots of help for people who are in social media and content. And I like giving advice and being very practical about it. But it is important as well that your mind isn't so kind of full of all the stuff you need to remember to do. Or the ideas that you know, you want to plan out, but you've got to do the planning before you can actually do the idea. Like having that wide space is so crucial, and it's also gonna help keep you at your most creative as well. It's really important. So yeah, the whole idea of them and I will keep developing it forever. Is to make all that space for you, to be able to just get back to basics and have more time to yourself basically, and do whatever you want to do with that. - Yeah. And it's interesting because like you, I know you definitely aim them at people who are in marketing. Especially sort of social media marketing. And I tend to recommend them to clients, who are business owners themselves and not in marketing. Because they work so well, even then because of how simple it is, and how obvious it is, how everything works. And I think with some of this stuff, the sort of subscription memberships, and stuff that you can get. They offer you similar tools to organise things and schedule things and what have you. They can be a really complicated, or they come with a massive learning curve, or they're insanely expensive. And like, if you're in marketing, fair enough you either write it off or you include it in client price, says, you know, however you want to do that. But if you're running your own business, and trying to do your own social media, you still need some system to organise your own content. And it's something so many people talk to me about. Is this like, I have like... Yeah I've got all these blog posts that I never share them. And I'm like (chuckles), well maybe you should put those into content bank somewhere. PS there's a content planner that'll do this for you. (Alexis and Lea laugh) (indistinct) And everything is there. And honestly, I could just rave about your content plans forever, I really could. - Oh thanks love. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - Did you decide to go on the sort of self-care mental health side because of your own experiences, or was it really led by customers who'd bought it? - It was definitely through my own experience. Since I was 21, well when I was 21 rather. 'Cause I'm sure it started before this. I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and also anxiety disorder. Which unfortunate as it is, is not particularly unique these days. It looks different for everybody. But mental health, or mental illness rather is definitely a thing. And mental health is like of paramount importance for keeping us all safe, in a busy world where we're all striving to do our best. And to, you know whatever it is that drives us, make money, have time for our kids, buy a house. In my case, that's the never ending quest (chuckles). But yes it was my own experience. So I was dealing with those anyway. And then in 2013, I got kind of the last job I would have before I went self-employed. And I loved it, and kind of accelerated very quickly there. But then it was a charity and as will happen, the funding got pulled by the government, (Lea laughs) for podcasts listeners, I just gave (laughs) (Alexis laughs) Alexis look, which is like, you know which government. (Alexis and Lea laugh). - The government will not be named, but we can guess (laugh). - You freaking know which government. (Alexis and Lea laugh) And anyway, that sent everything into turmoil. And yeah it suddenly became a very horrible place where you... What's the best way to go about it. It became a place where it was too hard to separate, kind of personal life from work. And the more stuff went wrong at work. The more that seeped into my personal life and was triggering a lot of this depression and anxiety. And then there was lots of bullying, and all these horrible things happened. And then one day I just left because I was offered freelance work actually by Jane from the Blurt Foundation. And I was like, oh no, this is my rent. I can leave. That can go, I can be free of this. And so I did. I am not saying that is an attitude like I have to all permanent jobs. Quite the contrary I'm now back in one, and in the charity sector never thought would happen. But my point is that I didn't have the tools to organise everything that I needed to organise, and take care of what was happening around me that was out of my control, and look after myself at home. What was in my control, and what I wish I had, was that tool to have taken care of everything at work, so that I could still feel like I was fulfilling my role, whilst I dealt with all the other madness. And that was really speaking to me. And then when I went into self-employment, I got a few clients on board very quickly for social media and content management. But I was kind of presenting their content in PowerPoint slides every week. And I was just like, oh, this is just not working. And then like, it's so embarrassing if you like. So for example, I was working with, I still am working with this celebrity chef. Who I can't name. She cooks for a very specific set. Very specific dietary requirement. A medical one not like the five, two or whatever. And I missed a very pertinent day for that. And all that stuff from my old job started rushing back to me. And I was just like, this was within my gift? But I hadn't organised myself to make sure that kind of, wasn't a problem. I didn't have to scramble for last minute content. I wasn't embarrassed that I had to send my client a last minute thing I'd put together, because I've missed this really important day, as her social media manager. And it went from there really, and I thought about what I needed. What wasn't being given by the free templates out there, or what was kind of in those expensive complicated online tools, that I thought should be more accessible, more widely available. And I just came to the conclusion that actually more or less everybody... Well, not everybody. Certainly everybody in my generation at school did like crappy little IT lessons, like learning how to use Excel. And being able to put some numbers in that column was a pass. And (chuckles) anyone that was in any kind of job, that I was going to be working with, really they had known how to use Excel. Cause they would pick that up in one way or another. And so I kind of based it on that, but then had to solve the problem of the live document things. So that it could be collaborative into Google sheets we go because it's the same, but better. And yeah, the whole thing spiralled from there. And spiral sounds like a terrible word, I mean got better. (Alexis laughs) And yeah, all that experience kind of boiled down to this product, that one, solves a lot of problems for people. And two, on kind of my side of things, it gave me passive income, which was unique, because I didn't think I'd ever be going there. But also I didn't expect that stream to develop in my life. And it's just a really nice way to earn a living. It was a big learning curve. I learned tonnes, but I just... Yeah, it was just an unexpected bonus of like doing this for people and having gone through that experience, and reached a solution for it. (Alexis humming) - Now, I think the sort of having your work life organised so that when stuff outside or even inside of work, starts to go a bit haywire, it's so relevant. Especially at the moment. - Oh, yes. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - Pretty much everyone can relate to that right now (laughs). It makes such a huge difference because it's one thing off your mind. And yeah, like you say, you are much less likely to forget things, and have that sort of panicked moment, of oh my God, what is going on? And something a lot of people... Cause I'm a big proponent of like scheduling content. And I get a lot of people who are like, oh but then you can't be reactive to stuff. And you know what if you've got to move stuff about- - Oh, but you can. You've made the space (chuckles). - Exactly. And this is sort of the... What I say is like, if I have everything planned and I know it's all going out, I have the brain space, and the time to pay attention to what's happening. And be reactive and move stuff. And I can just hop in and be like, oh right that's supposed to be up, that can move. - Yeah, exactly. If, mate, if you're spending three hours a day, like creating that day's post because you haven't batched it and planned it out and all of that, you're not going to be looking at the breaking news on Twitter because your mind is elsewhere. It literally makes that space for you. - It does. It really, really does. And I think that, for the people who... Because I know, not like scheduling is not for everybody. But I do still think, that if you have like certain a few posts scheduled to go each week. And you build in that space for those spontaneous posts, you know if that's how you want to do it. And you do have those days where you're like, oh yeah, I snapped a photo of this thing that I was doing and I want to post it right now. I don't want to schedule it. You can absolutely still do that. But you also have that backup that if you don't have inspiration strike, or there's nothing going on in your business or your life or whatever, right now, there is still content going out that is relevant to your audience, that is engaging for your audience. So you've still got that stuff going out there. And you're not then in that situation, where you're like, I have not posted for months and now I have no idea what to say, or if people are even there to listen to me anymore. So (laughs)- - We've all been there. (Lea and Alexis laugh) - It's true. We definitely all been there. (Alexis and Lea laugh) So yeah, I do think it's so important for people to sort of give scheduling a try even if... You know, if it turns out that you hate it, all right, okay. I will eat my hat. But I'm not actually wearing. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - We'll get you a beautiful hat to eat don't even worry. - A nice chocolate one please. - Yeah, chocolate would be ideal actually, yeah. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - So yeah, I'll do. I think scheduling does make like a huge difference and it is something that anybody can implement and benefit from, even if you are somebody who prefers to spontaneously post stuff. - Yeah. Absolutely, I'm definitely a mix of the two. I still love spontaneous posts, even though my life is actually built around this content plan (chuckles) So it's fine. It's fine to be a mix of those things. But it certainly saves you a lot of panic, if you've got a good base of schedule stuff. - Yeah, definitely. And in this version of it, the latest version, you have included like a bonus. I suppose it's not really a bonus because it's included as standard. (Lea chuckles) But a section which is a lot about self-care, but also like how to plan your content and a guidance on getting your sort of content planning together, and your social media strategy together. And also in that is like PS, here's some things you can do for self care. Have you booked in some self care? Maybe you want to try these things for self-care. This is, this is incredible. Because I do think there is a tendency especially if you buy something that is like, right I'm gonna be productive and organised now. That you then spend the first like month, two months, three months so intensely involved in that thing. - Yeah. - And everything else is just like, no I am not going to eat well, or exercise, or go to bed at a reasonable time (laughs). I'm not gonna (instinct) for that. I will literally like, I am gonna be organised, and productive, and I am gonna slay my social media. And then it's like three months later, you feel like hell and everything- - Oh, no, I get (laughs). - I think so, many people have that experience. So I do think it's really good that you've sort of built that into it. So you can't ask, you're going though it. It's like, by the way, you still need to eat (laughs). - Yeah, by the way, just now and then pop a vegetable into your dinner, and have a little bath, and just do some whole load of thinking about nothing. Because otherwise you will burn out. Again, I've done it a lot. There was... (chuckles). But yeah, I've done it a lot. My counsellor says that... She did not mean this, as rudely as is going to come across from me. But she said I am the queen of reinvention and I deal in, what was it, I deal in extremes. And I was like, yeah, yeah, no that is fair. And basically she combined with the.... Ooh, don't know her name, but the lady that presents the Unfuck Your Brain Podcast. Together, they have instilled in me. She's very, very good. But yeah, together they've instilled in me like the infinite 1% rule. If you do 1% more of what you did yesterday, towards your work, you're always going to be moving forward but you don't have to go flat out, burnout and crash in the process. And yeah, and then you just use common sense, and you listen to yourself as to what you need for the rest of the self-care time. And if you're out of those then you just take my lovely suggestions in the nice booklet that I send you with my content planner. And you've got loads (laughs). Yeah, the 1% rule is definitely something that I have to force myself to live by, because I do get very all or nothing about things. But I think that is one of the ultimate learning curves of the business owner. Is that you can't go flat out all the time. It is not sustainable. And you've got to look after you. There's barely such a thing as balance, but you do need to at least bear those things in mind to get by. - Yeah, no I do. I agree. And I actually, on that point I got a quarterly goals planer. Like a (indistinct) In fact. Here it is, one of these. And I love it. - It's beautiful. - It's great. But I had to give myself the weekend off using it, because I was like, I'm gonna do five things towards my goal every single day. Do you know what? That's quite a lot of things. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - Five is far too many things (laughs). - I was thinking like I don't work... I ended up working on the weekends as well, because I was just like, but I've got to do things towards my goal. I'm thinking why? Why do I have to do it on the weekends? Why can't my goal on the weekends not be relax (laughs). - As it well should be really darling (laughs). But yeah. Yeah it's make the room, make the room (laughs). Don't cram your free time with that stuff. I know, that goal planner feeling, like that brand new beautiful book. But yeah, it's gotta be controlled. - Yeah, definitely. And I think the other thing I think is that it's lovely that your content is so honest, as well about your own journey with trying to find that balance. And dealing with like, oh, no, I've not posted for a month, even though I am the content planner person (laughs). - Oh, yeah. - It's so refreshing I guess, to see people who are like, I teach organisation and self-care, and you know what sometimes I suck at organisation and self-care (laughs). Like I don't love the sort of aspirational content that it takes up a lot of social media, and this sort of like I teach this thing, and I am always a hundred percent perfect at it. Like that's not aspirational to me, because I am never gonna be that person. - It's so, so not true, is it? Like, no one's doing that. That doesn't mean your work is bad. It doesn't mean that you're a bad person. What it means is that you've been perfectly human but then you're gonna make a choice, about how honest you are about that. And whether you're gonna share what you've learnt from that, or whether you're not. And you're gonna carry on as if it never happened. And if you want to carry on as if it never happened, that is also totally fine. But I imagine that person's values are different to mine. So my values for Heart and Soul Digital are that I don't waste people's time, I give hands on like actionable advice, and that I am brutally honest. Not brutally honest that word just came out of my mouth without my consent. (Alexis and Lea laugh) I don't sit criticising everybody. A hundred percent honest is what I meant. Honestly, nothing could be less. It couldn't be less of what this brand is about (laughs). But yes, all those things translate back to me as a person. Because like you, I am, for the most part, I think a bit over the kind of the fluff stuff, and don't get me wrong. I like a bit of aspiration. I certainly have my own aspirations. But at some point I'm gonna be like, yeah and what, like, what do I do now? And that's the bit that I don't want to... That's the question that I don't want people to ask when they look at my Instagram, for example, my Facebook and stuff. So yeah, that is what I do. And yeah, I'm also very honest about whether I've dropped the ball on things. Usually I explain why. And I want to connect with people properly as a person. I've absolutely no intent to like lord it over anyone. Because that makes me die inside. So yes, basically it all comes down to being as helpful as I can, and making some friends, and that's how I want to do things. And so that's why I admit when I've messed up, or when I have not been that absolutely like 100% perfect content planning genius that I am aspiring to be. And yeah, I'm gonna tell you about it. Basically that's what you get from me. So you can get on that particular roller coaster or you can meet me at the pub. That's fine. (Alexis and Lea laugh) - No, I do. I think it is, because it allows people. If you have that honesty with your audience, especially about the thing that you are saying this is the advice that I am giving. This is the way that I recommend that you do something. - Yeah. - If you have the honesty to then say like, hey, I didn't do it my way this time, and you know, it happens. I think it really gives your audience as well the permission to be like, oh, wow, yeah. This isn't a one and done thing. I'm not gonna buy this content planner, and suddenly be perfect at content planning. The like, the thing itself is not gonna solve all my problems. I'm gonna buy it and I'm going to implement it. And that is gonna help. But there are still like, life is still gonna happen. Pandemics still gonna pandemic. (Lea laughs) Something is gonna go on. And like, it's okay to be like, yeah, I fell off the waggon. I did not do my content planning this week. And it is not a good time, you know. And I do think it is so important to see that reflected back at you, to validate your own experiences. - Yeah, absolutely. I would argue that the hardest times and the biggest mistakes, are the ones that teach you the most. And I've found that in every step of my life. And I don't always like that, but it's true. It's true, if I wasn't messing up now and then I wouldn't have anything to tell you about. So, yes. (indistinct) - Yeah, no, it is. It is one of those like overused sayings isn't it? Like, you know, you learn the most from your biggest failures or whatever. And it's like, I hate that it's true. Like, I hate that. (Lea laughs) - Can I not be easier than this? Can it not break my soul. Remove it from my body and then put it back in the wrong way round. Can you not just put it in my brain? No, oh, okay, let's do this (laughs). - Just send that as a text message please, That would be better. (Alexis and Lea laugh). - [Alexis] In response to my next question which is about mental health for social media managers, in a corporate environment. Lea talks about her experience with assault. If that is gonna be triggering for you, you can skip forward one minute to 34:50.40 And it will be finished with, and she will just be talking about the mental health issues and how that was affected by her corporate job. So I want to ask a bit, let's rewind to your more sort of corporate agency sort of career. And ask about how that affected your mental health, because you kind of alluded to it. But how was that? Because it's pretty intense in that environment? - Well, so it's probably important to mention the context. So the reason that I ended up, you know in a doctor's surgery, talking about all these terrible thoughts I had. At the time was because I was abused by an ex-boyfriend, in the middle of Cornwall in a dark country lane. And people were not hearing me scream and running away. Not abused, sorry, assaulted. And, that affected me massively as it would. And then I kind of got my mental illness diagnosed because essentially that really kicked it off, the trauma. So this was at the time of the recession. So I was also like a very young graduate, trying to find a job in a world where like I literally remember going for entry level positions. And like people who had been working at MTV. Sorry, I've worked in journalism is important to say as well. I qualified as a journalist so Like people who have been at MTV for 10 years, were in the same job interview. And I'm like, how would I do this? So that kind of broke me down to a point where I was like, I will do anything for no money. I need to feel validated in getting a job. And so I was working at a very prominent tech provider (laughs) in sales, like as my uni job. Which I just had to keep, because I couldn't get the full-time job I wanted. And that as incredible a place as that is to work is also very, very corporate behind the scenes. And so I was kind of almost like wanting to rebel against that a bit, because I found those expectations very hard to deal with, when I just wanted to be a person and like, and talk. Talk to people and like not have any limits and just like lead a more exciting life probably than was being prescribed to me then. And then I finally got that job and it was in an agency. And again, I loved that agency. I still work with a person or two from that agency. It is ace. But agency work, no matter who you're working with, it takes a very specific person. So it's very, very, again, high expectations. Lots of kind of tracking exactly is what you do. Like fair enough, a client is paying for your time, and it's very, work hard play hard basically. And again like that leads to burn out, because of the hours involved, because of the high, high, high standards. And then, because, I mean it was an agency in like a really lovely part of London and there's a lot of alcohol about. And so you do just end up staying out, and kind of wearing yourself down over time even if you are having fun. So that kind of... That was like better than where I was coming from. But again, I just wasn't lending myself well to that role. So I did a year and then went into the charity sector. And again, I still do find corporate communications and a bit of the inevitable politics. Cause there is politics, wherever you go it doesn't matter how corporate or formal or other or kind of laid back, that charity is, or that brand seems or whatever. There's a lot of things that you have to learn. There's a lot of managing stakeholders, and people and expectations. There's a lot of misunderstanding. There's a lot of, maybe it's disregard for what you do, or just a complete inability to like understand it from other people sometimes, and that's fine. That's not their job. But it can get a bit grating and it can get a bit hard. And so, those expectations are good things to learn about and develop within yourself, as long as you're staying true to yourself and not, no one's expecting you to change completely as a person. And that's all good, but yeah if you don't manage yourself really, really carefully. And by that I mean showing up, I mean, preparing. Do basic things like preparing yourself for meetings, making sure that your house is in order as it were like as you kind of work through your day. And just doing all those proactive tasks that mean you are gonna stress less, and scrabble less, and panic less. And feel less like you're letting someone or something down. Like that's completely within your influence. And if you don't channel quite a lot of yourself into that, then over time your mental health is gonna suffer, because things can and will go wrong. And it's in those times that, then things like imposter syndrome, and self doubt, and kind of inner criticism can sneak in. And then if you're kind of compounding that with something medical, or something else that's happening in your life. Or any kind of outside influence that also isn't in your control it can be very easy to just kind of fall off that cliff. Yeah, I'm not saying that every corporate environment is bad and I'm not saying that every laid back environment is good for everyone. But what I am saying is that I have been through enough roles. Worked with enough, very, very different businesses. To know that, you've got to prioritise getting your stuff in order, and prioritise setting boundaries. So that it doesn't all kind of, seep in together and just become one horrible messy soup. And yeah, I think the times where I haven't done that, has had the greatest effect on my mental health. And when I haven't looked after myself, because I've stayed up all night worrying about what someone said. Or I've overloaded myself, and haven't given myself the time to focus down on what the real priorities are, and then to let myself decompress, and kind of let off a bit of steam. I guess, ultimately is what it is. And the kind of build that mental resilience a bit. Cause that's what it all comes down to really. You've got to practise that. Yeah, I've had to really learn to be able to do that in corporate environments. And I did find it easier. I do find it easier, when I'm self-employed, but that can come with its own pitfalls, and you have to work around those too. So yeah. You have to be so careful with yourself. You have to treat yourself like a precious flower, but one that is gonna carry on reaching up towards the sun instead of wilting in woods. And that takes a lot of work. And that was something I had to come to terms with before my mental health got better. And again, as we were just talking about like certainly every day is not perfect. Very recently I've had a nightmare time. But the resilience does build, and it's worth doing whatever practises it is you need to do to manage, you know, your work place, the stuff you do there, the people you work with there, and whatever you do outside of that as well. Yeah, huge learning curve basically. That's what mental health is all about (laughs). - Yeah, it really is (laughs). I would be really interested actually. So I don't know if there are any studies on the sort of mental health impacts of being a social media manager or working in social media. Because so much I see, not just the... Like you were saying people not understanding what you do. And from the people, from the companies that are employing you, or that have hired you. And also from people outside of that, who are, "I've got a Facebook account, so I can do social media management." If you're one of those people, I promise you it is not the same (laughs). - No it is very different (indistinct). - But also from the point of view, of dealing with the people on social media. Because if you're running, especially when you're coming at it from like bigger brand accounts, like you can be on the receiving end of a lot. And there is rarely the support in place, to deal with those things. - Oh this is a subject, very close to my heart (laughs). - So I mean, like we saw this... I want to say it was this week, but I think it was probably a couple of weeks ago now. A big brand whose name I now cannot remember, but their CEO had demanded basically that their social media team posts something incredibly insensitive and inappropriate after the trial of Derek Chauvin. - Yes. - Wow. And some of the social media managers were talking about that and how they had said like, this is not good. Don't post it. This is not appropriate, no. And basically they were made to post it. Or they would lose their job. And then of course they also then got all the backlash from the whole internet. And I do think there is so much to be looked into around that because from all sides, it's like nobody understands, and nobody is really offering that support. It's just like, it's your fault. So what has been your experience with that? - Oh, where to start? Okay. Just to be clear, I run Heart and Soul Digital, on the side of a nine to five with a very large military charity. And I also still have a couple of freelance clients. But that charity I adore working there. Really, really love it. But the audience, not but. And the audience is very, very dedicated, and outspoken as they well should be. It's a very important topic. But they serve us a few surprises now and then. And there have been in the past, like either the smallest of details that we didn't even think would kind of be a thing like at all. That has sparked the most enormous kind of, it's not always a backlash, it's more of a conversation about the ins and outs of certain things. And because like the history of war and the armed forces and all of that, is very, very specific. And there's a lot to it. You have to be very, very kind of clear and detailed about anything that you say. And like, there has been many a time where we've spent, kind of weeks. Kind of, carrying through stuff that we never thought would be any kind of problem, or that anyone would care about, like specifically. So there was one occasion where we partnered up with a chocolate brand and we started getting comments that people wouldn't buy it because they were halal. And when we looked into it, what it meant was they were halal certified so that they could sell in the UAE. Cause that's the law. But oh my gosh, the absolute catapult of destruction that happened because of that. And we had no idea that was going to happen. And it was absolutely fine. All you have to do is, one, get your lines agreed with people more important than you. And then you just be neutral and reasonable. And you don't open yourself up for discussion but you're firm on the point that you need to make for the good of the people you represent. And to be, a fair voice, I guess, in that conversation. And that, we've very good at it. And it's a thing that I've managed a lot kind of throughout my career. And certainly don't no different here, but we've become very good at it. But we're also the only people who know how to do that, so very, very tactfully. That we don't make it worse. Because making it worse is the thing you must not do, because what that is, is a double down on a mistake and standing by, as if it's right, when it's not always. Or you run the risk of kind of siding with your critics and causing harm to somebody else, if that makes sense. So you might accidentally offend the party that you were supporting, basically. That whilst after a certain point, you're essentially saying the same thing over and over again, but with different words or addressing a slight diversion on the issue that someone's mentioned or whatever. We like dedicate ourselves to answering every single one of those comments and we'll do it really well. And always, it ends in a really great kind of conversation resolution or like sticking by our guns because we're not gonna throw anyone under a bus. But the mental health of the team becomes a very big thing, because when you're in amongst that there is no relief you have now had like days, sometimes weeks of work, completely like turned on its head. You don't have time for that now, you reprioritise. You have to do this, but that's all still waiting, and people are chasing you. You're like, mate, have you not looked at Facebook? The adrenaline keeps you going for a bit, but after a few hours, you're just like, oh my god, I haven't moved for six hours. I need a break, I need to get up out of this chair and stretch my legs. And that is the line that you need to look for. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of a craze frenzy. Or if you've just been in the zone on something and you want to get it done, and you want to like, carry on that work. You need to look for that line where you sit back and you go, oh, no I've had no, absolutely no get up from this. And my brain feels very groggy and I need some air. That's the stuff that you should be building in to manage your own mental health, no matter what the situation, no matter how dire or how lovely. Again, like kind of managing that reputation, and planning for anything like that, that could happen. And then making sure that we are making our point and representing everyone fairly is something I've become very, very, very, good at. Yeah, I'm going to say that. I'm gonna say good. Good at it, over the years. And I never quite meant to, but yeah it's been in amongst a few viral storms, and I've learned how you deal with them officially, properly and well. However, there's a different side to it as well. So we are also very, very keen on making sure that... Sorry this charity that I work with, we're also very, very keen on making sure that we are very relevant today, and that we're kind of very fit for purpose and forward thinking. And sometimes that includes righting stuff that has been misconstrued or rumours that have circulated. Or things along those lines in the past, which can be damaging to our reputation (laughs). You're nodding, you're like, yeah I know, yeah. - I know these rumours. - You're well aware, yes. And that's okay because like no long standing organisation has ever done everything perfectly, and times have changed. Like, you know, the seventies versus now, for example, or anywhere is gonna look completely different. Kind of the way we boldly take that on, and kind of right some of those wrongs is through myth-busting. So that is basically creating strong social media content that goes myth, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The truth is actually this. And we posted them, and they were like the simplest graphics ever. Like it was just a block of colour and some white writing that was it. And it was three straight solid weeks, and long hours of social media management, because these beliefs were so engrained in the audience and there were questions, very valid. Like good to ask questions, people asking and criticism and praise and everything in between. Like it was incredible. And that was the single most successful piece of content we've ever done on Facebook, and pretty much on Instagram as well. Like in the entirety of the life of our social media channels. And that was just a few little graphics, righting some wrongs. And that social media management was absolutely exhausting for the whole team as well. And yeah, our mental health did go down because there's... I mean, just trying to make Facebook load that many comments alone, is quite unnerving let alone responding to every single one. But we responded to every single one. And it had an incredible impact. A lot of those rumours... Well the rumours aren't quashed completely, because there are some people that will just push them. But like things were a lot better, kind of younger people are taking more notice of us because they have thought one thing, but realised another. And it's immeasurably helped our kind of reputation, and made sure that we've stood ourselves in good stead and that we're representing, again everyone that we're meant to be, whilst neutrally and fairly politely correcting things that are not so great. And that has been made up, or are wrong, or just twisted over the years. And that was incredibly effective. It did not though make the community management much less stressful, because it's stressful when you've got stuff coming at you from all angles and unexpected questions. You've, really got to build in a way to manage yourself and your mind specifically, when you're in amongst that. Because humans aren't made to sit for that many hours and answer comment after comment. Most of it about the same thing, which in itself will drive a person mad. So like community management on social media in general, is so key and so important to communicate in who you are, and connecting with people and educating. And all those things. But for the person behind the screen, again it always comes back to, it's a big learning curve and only you can influence how you're gonna look after yourself during that time. There was very little support or research with the exception of Kirsty Marons from the Third Sector group on Facebook. She's done some work around that and made some resources. But she is the only other person I really know that thinks about the mental health of social media managers, community management officers and that kind of side of things. And yeah, I don't see anyone out there, other than like immediate managers in permanent jobs certainly not for freelancers. Like I was and have again, dealt with many things during that time, as a freelancer as well. I see nothing out there supporting them. And that's a gap, that I'm very keen on plugging because I don't think it's fair. And I think a lot of digital marketers are expected to produce such a myriad of things, that their mental health is actually pretty at risk, from what we do know about social media mental health. And being in front of a screen for ages and mental health. Like, I think there's a bit of a problem there, and I think that should be better looked after. That was a very long explanation, wasn't it? (Lea laughs) - (indistinct) it was very good, it was very good (laughs). - One question, 30,000 stories. (Lea and Alexis laugh) - And they all made a very valid point (laughs). I do, I think that's a very good point to end on. That social media managers do need to be better looked after. If you've got a social media manager, look after them. - Yes, give them snacks all the time and blankets. And just remember that they need to leave that computer. (Lea laughs) - Yes, (laughs). - Yes, it's okay I'm here for you with self care ideas, if you need me holla (chuckles). (Alexis laughs) - So yes, where can social media managers, and also just anybody else find you? - Yep. Whoever they like can find me at heartandsouldigital.co.uk or on Instagram at heartsouldigi, and also Facebook at... Annoyingly because Facebook won't let me change the name. UK content planning for digital marketers. Yeah, that's me. - I will put all the links in the show notes, so people can find them very, very easily. You also have a fabulous Facebook group which is specifically for digital marketers. - It is and you can come get all the support in there, and talk to everyone, when you need a little bit of a cheer on which is the heart and soul digital family. You can just search that in Facebook and see. - And it is very good for cheering on. And cheering up generally. Just any kind of cheering that you need (laughs). - Cheering on, cheering up, and occasionally I'll share my cat in there (laughs). - Yeah, we love cats. (Alexis and Lea laugh) Well, it's been very, very lovely to have you. Thank you for coming on. - Thank you darling. Thank you for having me, love it (chuckles). - [Alexis] A big thank you to Louise, who is supporting the show on Patreon. And in very exciting news, Lea is going to be the guest, in the Social Media for Humans Club for business owners in July. She is going to be talking about the intricacies, of excellent content planning. So if you want to get in on that, you can join the social media for humans club. We also have a club for non-business owners. If you want to learn more about social media mental health. And how to manage those things for yourself as an individual. - [Hawke] If you want more regular reminders to find your own way to use social media, follow Alexis on your social platform of choice. All the links will be in the show notes. Until next time be a human.