TIME Magazine has previously written about how Instagram is bad for your mental health. Is this surprising? Not really. The platform feeds you a seemingly endless stream of content from social media influencers and even your own friends travelling to places you can only dream about, going to parties as they seemingly have the time of their lives, or basically showing off as they ~*live their best life*~. On the other side of it is you— watching all of this on your phone as you’re stuck in traffic on your way home from work, or lying down alone in your bedroom.
Bad days at work become worse when I see someone posting about sipping cocktails by a beach in Bali and then later on proceeding to party the night away. With Instagram, you can’t help but compare your life to everyone else’s, and it leads to beginning to you feeling like you’re missing out on the best things in life, or that your day-to-day is something to feel bad about.
I didn’t want to keep doing something that made me more miserable than I already was. With that, I realized that social media posts are a lot like food, and we have the power to choose what you allow inside of you. If I kept feeding myself photos of influencers whose entire careers revolve around posting well-curated highlights of their life, I would always feel a sense of insufficiency, perpetuating discontent and feelings that my life is no good. So, in one big swoop, I unfollowed majority of the influencers who dominated my Instagram feed.
To replace them, I began to search for artists. Artists who posted inspiration quotes, who illustrated stories worth telling, who made witty comics that made me chuckle during my morning commute. Overall, it made Instagram a healthier experience for me, so I want to share some of my favorite accounts with everyone in the hope that you would follow suit.
Tessa Forrest’s @subliming.jpg posts typography posters featuring quotes curated from famous people (whether they’re authors, singers, personalities, etc.). In the months that I’ve followed this account, it has been a ray of positivity on my Instagram feed, giving me the reminder, wake-up call, or realization I needed just at the right moment in a way that’s executed beautifully.
Chani Nicholas is an astrologer and a writer who posts quotes and reminders that she feels people would need to hear the most based on the current locations of the stars, so you know that her posts will always feel too real. Convenient, right?
Even though most of their illustrations feature girls, @recipesforselflove isn’t just for the ladies! This account posts timely reminders on self-care, while also occasionally championing mental health and dismantling the patriarchy.
Amber Rae could probably single-handedly dispel all the negativity that Instagram could bring. She is an author that posts graphics with a cute handwritten font that encourages you to check-in with your current mental state, questions that will help you make better sense of what you’re feeling, and words of encouragement whenever you’re feeling down.
Emm Roy has an ongoing series called “comforting drawings”. That is, advice in a speech bubble that is coming from an adorably-drawn animal. The advice can vary from relationships to career and even just self-improvement. Just as the name of the series suggests, they are pretty comforting.
If you need a sign, this is it. That’s probably what @werenotreallystrangers’ art style is in a nutshell. These are reminders, calls-to-action, and conversations edited to look like signs you’d run into while crossing the road or while going on errands. Nine out of ten times, they really hit the spot.
I have countless more than I could share, and the fact remains that following the right accounts on Instagram can improve your experience immensely. Let’s break the pattern of feeling the need to live your best life at all times, but rather embrace the complexities of everyday life and the struggles that come with our own versions of growth.