How to Stay Balanced as a Streamer (and Person)
As an affiliated Twitch streamer for over two and a half years, I understand how streaming can be both a blast and exhausting at times. From my experience, I’ve learned a few lessons about staying balanced as both a streamer and as a person. These tips are entirely from my perspective, and not everything works for everyone—but I assure you that these tips apply to almost anyone!
Know That Not Everyone Is Going to like You
We come from a culture of wanting to be liked. I definitely fall into the personality type that I’m disappointed when I can’t get along with someone. In order to stay sane, you need to accept the fact that not everyone will like you or your content—and that’s okay. By accepting this, you’ll alleviate the stress from always feeling like you have to be liked and be able to focus on happiness and growth instead.
Never Look at the Unfollow List
I’ve made this mistake a ton early in my streaming career. Once you start growing as a streamer, you’ll start losing followers as your stream grows and evolves. Your content won't always be for everyone, and some connections will fade over time. Nothing good comes out of fixating on the people that are unfollowing you. This ties back to my point about not everyone liking you. The people that support you the most will stick around. Don’t fixate on the few that unfollow you (some may be bots or even Twitch errors).
Don’t Tie Your Worth to Numbers (And Don’t Fixate on Them)
I’ve made this mistake a ton in my early streaming career and continue to make it—even in the present. The more you fixate on numbers, the more sensitive and unhappy you’ll be. From my experience, it’s much better to ignore the numbers and just have fun streaming. Especially when you’re new and starting off, that 0-1 viewer number will be really hard to bear. Over time, if you’re having fun and following my tips about growing as a streamer, your stream will grow and the numbers will come.
As fun as streaming is, it can be emotionally draining at times. The worst thing you can do is push yourself too hard. A lot of streamers try to push through this feeling as to not disappoint their viewers, but this inevitably leads to burnout. What I’ve started to do when I reach that point is to take a break. This could mean skipping a stream day or two or cutting down on streaming altogether. As a courtesy, let your viewers know you’re taking a break. Trust me, your viewers will understand if you need to take some time off for mental health. When you come back, you’ll be rested, refreshed, and ready to get back into it with full energy and excitement. If streaming starts to feel like a daunting job, you’re doing it wrong.
Some people stream as a hobby and others use it as their main source of income. Even if you consider it your daily job, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it. People create their best content when they’re enjoying themselves. I stream as a hobby, so if I’m not having fun, in my opinion, I shouldn’t even be streaming in the first place. Fun is pretty infectious—the more fun you’re having on stream, the more enjoyable your stream will be to watch. Plus you won’t be stressing about silly little things or fixating on your numbers.
Define and Focus on Your Own Goals
We all have different goals and aspirations as a streamer. Don’t let other people define your goals—choose goals that align with your values and what you want to accomplish. Focus on gradual improvements that will help you learn and grow as a streamer and a person. When you accomplish your goals, celebrate—and include your community in the festivities. There are few things more exciting than growing as a person and accomplishing your dreams. Be proud of how far you’ve come.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
From my experience, nothing good comes out of comparing yourself to others. We all grow at different paces and have different goals and aspirations, so it’s best to focus on our own personal growth. The more you focus on other people, the more disappointed you’ll be that you’re not living up to THEIR standards and not your own. Instead, we should all support and encourage each other to grow personally and celebrate each other’s achievements.
Don’t Cater to Others at the Expense of Yourself
This is tempting to do in an attempt to “hotwire” your growth as a streamer. People will try to stream specific games because they’re popular or act a certain way to try to make everyone happy. Don’t get stuck in this trap. Be your authentic self and the stream growth will come naturally. Your viewers have built-in BS detectors and can tell when people are being fake just to cater to a specific audience. Accept that the authentic you is the best you. People will appreciate it. Which brings me to my next point…
Embrace the Authentic You (With Imperfections like Everyone Else)
We live in a culture with an expectation of perfectionism. We need to accept that we’re all human—complete with flaws and imperfections. Embrace the fact that no one is perfect, regardless of how much we try to be. Know that the perfection you see on social media and on some streams is highly curated. Understand the difference between shame and guilt. Shame—I am bad—is detrimental to our wellbeing. Guilt—I did a bad thing—results in mindfulness and self-improvement. If you make a mistake, you’re not a horrible person. Apologize, correct the behavior, and move on. Don’t let mistakes define you. How can you learn and grow if you don't make mistakes?
Reach out to Others When You’re Feeling Down
The default reaction when we are feeling down is to isolate ourselves from all human contact. There is a ton of research about how to get yourself out of a slump—and most of it points to human connection. We’re wired for it. When I’m down, I reach out to my closest friends and family. Some streamers are tempted to jump on social media as a cry for help. Although this could feel good at the moment, it likely won’t be as beneficial as reaching out to those that matter to you. The people who know you best will empathize and listen—and help you work through the hard times.
Accept That You’ll Have off Days
This goes back to the perfectionism thing we’re all obsessed about. We can’t always be bubbly, excited, and energetic every stream. Some days you’ll just feel off. Be mindful of when you feel this way and take the day off or just accept that’s how it is. Your streaming audience will understand. They too will have off days and need breaks. I've had plenty of off days that I don't let get me down. Just move on and keep on keepin' on.
Manage Toxicity and Negativity
It’s inevitable that people will bring toxicity and negativity to your stream. No matter how much you try to avoid it, it will surface. A lot of it will come from random people jumping into your stream and just throwing it at you. Other negativity will come from some of your closest friends and supporters when they’re having a rough day or feeling down. In my opinion, the best way to deal with negativity from people you don’t know is to let them know it’s not acceptable. If they continue to be negative, give them a timeout or even a ban. When it’s your close friends, I recommend reaching out to them in private and letting them know how the negativity is impacting your stream—and offer a listening ear to see if you can help them out.
Do More of What Makes You Happy
Don’t fixate on what other people want you to do. Focus on what makes YOU happy. Analyze what you’re doing and take note of the things you enjoy most. Do more of that! If you’re doing what you love, not only will you grow naturally as a streamer, but you’ll be more fulfilled as a person.
Streaming can be a fun, fulfilling way to enjoy games with friends, grow your community, and have a blast. Let’s be honest—streaming isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Be mindful of how you’re feeling and make sure to take care of yourself first. And most important of all, do more of what makes you happy!
How do you stay balanced as a streamer? Let me know in the comments!