digital marketing Issue 1 Mental Health

Digital Burnout and Imposter Syndrome – what we learned at BrightonSEO

Why is our industry like this?

Amy McManus from AMMarketing asked this question @ BrightonSEO on Friday 13th September. In her talk titled ‘Keep up or give up; Imposter Syndrome, Burnout and Mental Health in Digital,’ she highlighted topics that have often been taboo in the digital industry.

Did you know that when it comes to stress, mental health and burnout, that the digital industry comes high-up on the list alongside law and medicine. We’re an industry that is ever changing, constantly moving and always one step ahead of the curve, so why does it fail so often when it comes to these important issues?

In her frank and honest talk, Amy painted a familiar picture of late nights, putting yourself out to prove yourself (especially in a male dominated workplace) and dealing with the high pressure of juggling a difficult work/life balance. For her, a near death experience involving a car accident brought it all crashing down for her, and made her rethink her priorities when it comes to day to day life.

Is Digital Burnout a thing?

Working long hours. Feeling stressed. Struggling to keep up with evolving trends. Worrying about missing out on the latest updates or tech changes. Answering emails outside of work hours. Interrupting your holiday for a work call. Thinking about work when you’re at home and thinking about home when you’re at work. If any of these ring true, you’ve come close or already have suffered a digital burnout.

Digital burnout doesn’t just occur when you work in digital. But for those that are always connected, sometimes a career in digital can feel punishing rather than rewarding. At BrightonSEO, we attended a session on health and well-being featuring talks from Amy McManus and Allegra Chapman. The answer to the issue was resounding… you have to take time to unplug. 

The growth of technology and devices means that we are constantly in multi-tasking mode. Every spare moment of the day is often spent tapping away on a keyboard, whether it is at a desktop, on a tablet or a mobile device. Being plugged into the digital world 24/7 can have an adverse affect on our health, well-being and mental health. And it’s something that should be acknowledged more widely across the industry.

As well as digital burnout, women in digital also find themselves suffering at the hands of Imposter Syndrome. An excellent definition of the syndrome by Psychology Today is; ‘A psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments.’ If you’ve ever felt incompetent and inadequate in your career, you most likely have suffered with Imposter Syndrome.

Most people that suffer with this are highly skilled and successful people. Albert Einstein himself suffered with the syndrome, feeling as though he were a fraud. According to research, 70% of of successful people have experienced Imposter Syndrome, so if you are one of them you are most definitely not alone.

When it comes to combatting digital burnout and imposter syndrome it’s important to remember the following. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. You can learn from failure. Admitting when you don’t know something is a strength, not a weakness. You can only do your best, and you have to look after your own well-being in order to operate at 100%. 

At SOCIALight, we feel as though opening up the conversation about mental health and breaking the taboo of discussing your feelings in the workplace is imperative to a healthy work/life balance. As women, we have often been overlooked in the workplace for being ‘emotional’ or ‘sensitive.’ But facing these issues head on and discussing them in the open is brave. It takes courage. And it is something that can make you strong. 

We welcome you to write to us about your experiences of digital burnout and Imposter Syndrome, let’s carry on the conversation.

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