I post on Instagram stories a lot. It’s a big part of my job: I might be updating my followers on my day, giving you sneak previews from my Business Freedom Mastermind program, or sharing inspirational content.
One of the downsides of sharing all this online is that my family and friends think they know how I’m doing – just because they see my stories on social media. I want to share with you how I explained my online work life to my family and friends, and helped them see how they can best support me.
My online life is not normal.
I still need their support and love, and questions about how I’m doing.
It all comes down to communication. Sit down with your loved ones, and make sure they understand the reality of working online.
For example: I explained to my boyfriend and parents and friends that I need Instagram photos and content to fill up my feed. It’s not that I like to be all ‘blogger life’ every day, but having new photos, and especially having them help me, is a tremendous help.
My business might involve me being online for most of the day, but that doesn’t mean I’m always free to talk.
Being online is not the same thing as being available.
It can be hurtful when you send someone a message and they don’t respond, even though you can see that they’re online. I took the time to explain to everyone that I get overwhelmed with tons of messages, so I don’t have notifications on. This means that it can take longer for me to actually see your message.
I’m also not always available through WhatsApp because I’m easily over-aroused in an HSP way. I made it clear to my family and friends that they can always count on calling me, and I will respond.
That way, my boundaries are clear. My family knows they can always contact me when they really need to – by calling – and that they shouldn’t take it personally if I don’t respond to their texts immediately.
I’ve made a choice to be fully present when I’m talking to my friends and family on the phone or in real life, but this means that I’m not always available every minute of the day, despite what my stories might lead you to believe.
If you’re struggling to explain your online work life to the people around, here are my top three tips to help you get the space you need.
1. Work out your boundaries.
Everyone is different, and is able to handle different levels of interaction. If you’re someone who gets emotionally drained by being contacted all the time, work out if would suit you to only be contacted by friends outside of working hours, or on the weekend, for example.
Maybe you don’t mind if friends and family text you during your lunch hour, but you aren’t able to answer them during the afternoon – even if you’re online.
Remember, your health and wellbeing are your number one priorities, so get clear on what YOU need to function at your best.
2. Communicate with your friends and family
Your friends and family are the ones who (hopefully) want the best for you. If they’re always bombarding you with messages during the workday and expecting you to respond because they can see you uploading stories to Instagram, it’s probably just because they don’t understand.
Let them know how overwhelming it is, and tell them when it works best for them to contact you. It’s natural that people who don’t have online businesses themselves don’t get it. Try and be patient, and in time they’ll start to respect your boundaries.
3. Schedule offline chill dates
Since you’re always online for work, it’s important to get together with friends and family irl from time to time.
Give your friends and family your full attention for the time you’re together, and leave your phone in another room. By proving you know when to shut off your screens, they’ll be more understanding next time you don’t immediately reply to the cat meme they sent you.