Okay, let’s get this out of the way at the top; not all YouTubers have anxiety, but there certainly does seem to be a high prevalence of anxiety among YouTubers when compared to the regular population. In this post, we’re going to explore some of the potential reasons for that, as well as ponder and muse over the implications of it.
In my personal opinion why all youtubers have anxiety – Being a YouTube creator lends itself to a certain personality type. The introvert who wishes to be creative, without their comfort zone mostly solitary. However, as they grow audience, channel growth or failure can become a wider concern and bucks against the introvert personality.
So, before we get into this, we would be negligent if we didn’t make it completely clear that I am not a mental health expert. Where necessary, you will find links to more authoritative sources, but this post is going to explore the subject from the perspective of a YouTuber, not a therapist.
At the end of the post there will be a section on tips for reducing stress as a YouTuber, but if you are suffering from serious anxiety, we fully recommend seeking real help rather than relying on the contents of posts like this one.
Why Do All YouTubers Have Anxiety?
The first thing we want to address is that the framing of this question carries with it an implication that isn’t necessarily correct.
It assumes that the driving factor is YouTube, that there is something about YouTube that leads people to develop anxiety.
Of course, without any additional evidence, it could very possibly be the other way round. There could be something about people who are prone to anxiety that leads them to want to start a YouTube channel. It is also entirely possible that YouTubers are not proportionally worse for anxiety than non-YouTubers, but that YouTubers who suffer from anxiety are just more visible, and so it seems like there’s more of them.
The point we’re trying to make here is that it’s important not to box your considerations in. The prevalence of anxiety among YouTubers could have come about in several ways—or even a combination of ways.
The Tortured Artist
While not every YouTuber is a whirlwind of creativity, it is often the case that someone who takes it upon themselves to become a YouTuber is a little more creative than your average person.
There is also a well established trope of tortured creative types who exorcise their inner demons through their art, but are ultimately a roiling mess of inner turmoil.
As much as this theory might make sense, as best we can tell, there is no confirmed link between creativity and these kinds of disorders. It would have been nice and neat, but it looks like this ain’t it.
Though anxiety wouldn’t necessarily be social anxiety, it is a form of anxiety, and one that leads people to avoid social settings. Even people with a crippling phobia for social situations are humans, and, for the most part, humans want to connect with other humans.
YouTube allows you to do just that.
It’s one of the many weird quirks of the human mind that someone who can barely function in a room with twelve other people could happily record a video of themselves and show it to a few million people, but there you have it. Being a YouTuber allows you to develop a community, meet people, and express yourself without ever having to set foot in a crowded party. This is all speculation on our part, of course, but it makes sense to us.
The Stress of Exposure
Anyone who has seen one of the many sad stories of child actors who end up with a laundry list of drug offences and assorted other brushes with the law will be well aware of what fame and exposure can do to a mind that is not ready for it.
While the fame YouTubers experience isn’t quite the same as the fame someone like Lindsay Lohan experienced, it is still a massive amount of exposure. Add that to the fact that many YouTubers start out making a passion project or just doing something for fun and never really expect it to go anywhere, and you have a recipe for successful YouTubers finding themselves thrust into celebrity status without being mentally prepared for it.
Whether it’s the new expectations on the YouTuber to behave a certain way, the potential threats to privacy and safety, or just the plain fact that there are hundreds of thousands—even millions—of people watching your videos, it is perfectly understandable that this situation may lead to a little anxiety.
We touched on this above, but there is also the fact that YouTubers are far more visible than your average anxiety sufferer. Vloggers in particular are likely to talk about something like anxiety if they are suffering from it, since their channel is essentially built around them talking about their life.
In the US, nearly 20% of the population suffers from an anxiety disorder. When you consider how much the average person in your life opens up to you about the deepest parts of their life, versus how much a typical YouTube tells you about their life, it seems very possible that anxiety among YouTube is on par with non-YouTubers, it’s just that YouTubers talk about it more.
Tips for Dealing With Anxiety on YouTube (YouTube Burn Out)
First and foremost, once again, this is not medical advice. If you are suffering from anxiety to the point that it is debilitating and affecting your quality of life in a serious way, seek professional help.
Identify the Things That Trigger Your Anxiety
You may need the help of a therapist to establish what your triggers are, but some common triggers include;
- Chronic pain
- Medication side effects
Some anxiety sufferers are luckier than others—someone who is triggered by caffeine can simply stop drinking caffeine, whereas anxiety brought on by chronic pain is less likely to be something you can simply cut out. After all, if your chronic pain was easily curable, you’d have it cured, right?
The idea is to eliminate where you can, and manage when you can’t eliminate. For example, many forms of chronic pain can be eased with regular exercise or stretching, which, coincidentally, can help with anxiety. Trauma can be worked through with a therapist. Medication is trickier, but there are rarely no other options. Examine your triggers and find out if there is a way of managing them.
The human body is a complicated thing, and our mood and mental state is much more greatly affected by things than we often appreciate. Keeping your body healthy can go a long way to improving your state of mind, which in turn can help with feeling anxious.
Now, we’re not talking about running marathons or developing rock solid abs (though there’s nothing wrong with those things if that’s what you want). Being healthy just means being in good shape. If you get out of breath going up the stairs, or your body complains when you perform even a moderately physical task, it’s going to affect your mental state.
Create a Relaxing Space
Anxiety is often brought on by environmental factors, and it can help to create an environment that counteracts that. It be a single room in your house (often the bedroom), or it could be your whole house, but work out what relaxes you and make a space that contains those things. From lighting to aromas, consider every aspect, and make a space that puts you at ease.
Take Up Meditation
It doesn’t work for everybody, but taking some time out of each day to clear your head, centre your self, or do whatever it is you need to do relax and take your mind off of the things that cause you anxiety can really help to… well… manage your anxiety.
While we’re here, we can put other activities like yoga or a peaceful walk through some nice scenery in the same boat. Sure, they’re not meditation strictly speaking, but they can have much the same effect.
Change Your Diet
This one is a slow burner as it can take months to really kick in, but changing your diet can help to manage anxiety. As a general rule, you want to skew your meals towards the healthier end of the spectrum because being healthier in and of itself can help with anxiety. There are also some foods that are thought to help, such as lemon balm, valerian root, kava kava, dark chocolate, and more.
As with most things in life, there is no quick or easy fix to something like anxiety, and it might be the case that you need to combine several of the suggestions we’ve made in this post to see noticeable results.
As for the apparent correlation between YouTubers and anxiety, it looks as though it is a case of correlation, not corroboration. If there is something about YouTubing that causes anxiety, it is yet to be discovered. Then again, YouTube is relatively new to the world, and it is entirely possible some researchers will one day find evidence to the contrary.
It should go without saying, however, that if you are suffering from anxiety, and you find that YouTubing is the cause, put your mental health first. Take time off, change your schedule, do what you need to do. If you have fostered a healthy community around your channel, your subscribers will understand.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.