Now you all know that I absolutely adore Instagram! I love taking photos, posting stories, engaging with others, discovering creative Instagrammers, being inspired by beautiful images and work to help create my own etc etc. I find it such a fun and inspiring place where you can meet communities of like-minded people and share ideas, thoughts and photos from all over the globe!
I understand, however, that not everyone shares my love of Instagram and I completely understand that, like any form of social media, it can have it's drawbacks. That's why I've come up with this little list of tips to help curate your Instagram space into a positive one in the hopes that you come away from your scrolling time feeling inspired and motivated rather than discouraged and unhappy.
Tip #1 - Unfollow anyone or anything that makes you feel negatively about yourself
For example, I unfollowed a bikini model once, not because I thought that she was a bad person but because her body was so perfectly toned, she had the most gorgeous long blond hair, she looked as if she just lived her whole life on the beach and it was really making me view my body in a negative way. Some people may find these types of posts motivating and actually encourage them to go to the gym but for me it was damaging and I knew that I would love myself better if I didn't have something like that popping up on my feed everyday. I go on a lil 'unfollow' spree every once in a while and it's genuinely so refreshing.
Don't see unfollowing as being mean or rude either - when it comes to your mental health, you need to look out for yourself and protect it as best as you can.
Tip #2 - Don't compare yourself to others
Honestly, this one kind of goes along with the first tip. Remember that what you usually see on Instagram (and most social media formats) is a highlight reel of people's lives. You only see the best bits that they want you to see so don't be sad if you don't have a bedroom as aesthetic as *@pink_gurl21 or you don't eat colourful smoothie bowls everyday like *@healthyfoodluv3r. It may seem like someone has a perfect life on social media but chances are, they have real life stuff going on behind the scenes just like everyone else.
If you're still finding it difficult to not compare your life to others though, there's nothing wrong with simply unfollowing like I mentioned in tip #1.
*fictional Instagram handles
Tip #3 - Follow people who INSPIRE you
If you do enjoy looking at @pink_gurl21's home interior pics and find that they give you good ideas of how to decorate your own house then that's great! Those are the kinds of accounts that you want to follow. It may sound a little ironic, but if you see anything that inspires you to actually close down Instagram and go to do something else, then I personally feel like you've got it right. This could be in the shape of setting up a DIY photoshoot in your back garden, writing a blog post, doing a home-workout or simply whipping up a coffee that you've seen trending - whatever it is, try to view Instagram content as motivating rather than de-motivating.
Tip #4 - Engage with other accounts
There's honestly nothing nicer than working hard on an Instagram post and then receiving a sweet encouraging comment from someone. It makes me feel good so why not share the love and make others feel good too? It goes without saying that you should treat others how you want to be treated so if you start spreading positivity and kind comments then I guarantee that it will come back around to you until you're eventually entwined in a big ol' cycle of love and positivity (cheesy I know, but it's true!).
Tip #5 - Share other people's posts
This follows the same principle as tip #4. Too often I can find myself scrolling through Instagram seeing so many amazing photos and feeling impressed but I don't do anything to act on that. I find that sharing other people's photos on your story is such a sweet way to recognise their talent and hard work and it also allows more people to enjoy the content. Doing this also really helps to build a sense of community within Instagram and can even make you real-life friends!
Tip #6 - Try not to get hung up on the number of 'likes'
Even I get hung up on the number of 'likes' that my photos get sometimes and that's when it stops being fun for me. It's definitely easier said than done but you just need to remember that your value and self-worth isn't defined by how many social media 'likes' you get, ok? (Talking to myself here as much as you lol).
Tip #7 - Post content that you enjoy and be yourself
You want to avoid posting photos that leave you feeling sad because your life doesn't actually look that way in reality. Yes, Instagram photos can be a bit more staged sometimes but I feel like the key is still retaining some sort of authenticity. For example, I recently posted a photo posing in front of my fridge throwing some strawberries in the air. This photo was of course staged because I don't usually throw my strawberries around whilst colour co-ordinating my outfit and lipstick, however, I feel that I was still being true to myself as 1. I love strawberries and did in fact eat the WHOLE punnet afterwards 2. the outfit is genuinely one that I love to wear and it's true to my style.
If you're working with brands on Instagram, you can still make sure that you're being yourself by only promoting brands that you believe in or enjoy and keeping your photos true to your style.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to delve into the world of Instagram and make it a more pleasant and positive place for yourself?
Let me know if there are any other little tricks that you use to keep your scrolling time happy and to protect your mental health!
- S xo