When I’m down –– like most of us have been this year –– no amount of bath bombs, sheets masks or #TreatYourself purchases can make me see the bright side. Instead, I’ve been searching for new tools to help me deal with this increasingly overwhelming year. Enter my self care Instagram account.
It’s no secret that social media seriously impacts our mental health. I mean…have you seen “The Social Dilemma?” According to multiple psych studies, social media has been linked to depression, anxiety, difficulty focusing and other effects that tank our emotional wellbeing.
In today’s world, salon professionals rely on social media to amplify their work and, ultimately, be successful in their jobs. It’s free marketing –– and a tool that can be extremely useful for business development. Therefore, going on a full-fledged detox from Instagram and Facebook is sort of out of the question.
However, having a separate self care account lets professionals create digital spaces where they can tune into a good headspace without completely turning off. When I started my account, I put a few boundaries in place to make it work best. Follow these steps, and you might rediscover the positive, inspirational power of social media:
Minimal Posting & No Followers
One of social media’s biggest traps is its ability to feed our insecurities. Whether you’re checking likes, comments or followers, each action signals to your brain that you are (or are not) good enough for people online.
To make my self care account effective, I eliminated all of these factors. I set my account to private so I wouldn’t have to worry about others’ responses. Also, I posted enough photos to fill a 3×3 grid, just so I’d have something pretty to look at on occasion. Finally, I made a decision: The point of this account was to recenter and educate myself, not to interact with others.
It’s All About Who You Follow
So, if you don’t have followers and aren’t posting…what should you do? Find accounts and content that make a positive impact on your mental health. Think: What makes me feel stressed or upset when I’m online? Is it influencers who trigger #FOMO? Or other salon pros that are kicking ass and making you doubt your own skill?
In my experience, keeping people I knew, brands and work-related content out of my feed worked best. Instead, I followed mental health professionals and artists that almost-exclusively posted educational and motivational content. I also kept the number of accounts I followed relatively low to avoid scrolling. As a result, my feed became a sort of mini-magazine full of fresh perspectives and inspiring graphics that I could trust to improve my mood.
Use the Discover Feed
Not to mention that for once, the algorithm doesn’t have to ruin everything! After building this space for yourself, IG will by design send more mental-health-related content your way. But, be careful. If a TikTok repost finds itself on your Discover Feed (as it has on mine), it’s easy to get into a wormhole. This equals more unrelated content polluting your space in the future.
For me, the Discover feed has become an instant mood booster. First off, the graphics are typically bright and creative, making for a super happy grid. Also, every bite-sized post contains super valuable and perspective-changing info. Whether it’s actual psychology or a gentle reminder that I’m doing fine, Instagram is full of positive, valuable content. You just have to find it!
Besides making your account work for you, there are several ways to limit negative effects on your wellbeing. First, limit your screen time –– a practice that’s been proven to lower symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Also, “out of sight out of mind” is real. According to the University of Chicago, having your phone in sight –– or even in the room –– impacts your concentration and ability to complete tasks. If you’ve ever tried ignoring your phone, you know it feels impossible, even if there’s no notifications. Remove it entirely to make breaks feel easier.
Finally, set new habits for your downtime. I used to wonder how people finished books in days or weeks. Then, I realized while I was checking my phone at lunch or on breaks, they were doing something that offered way more personal value. Whether it’s reading, catching up with a coworker or going for a walk, shift your priorities to focus on habits other than scrolling.
Fighting FOMO and the addictive nature of social media is tough. But, when you learn to make these changes and use Instagram as a self care tool, a mental reset becomes only a click away.