Instagram Features that Protect Your Mental Health
If you're reading this, you probably enjoy Instagram. At the very least, you appreciate what Instagram can do for your business or brand. Even though we love Instagram, we can admit that constantly being on the app can have negative effects on our mental health. There are comparison traps at every turn because for the most part, people and businesses only post their highlight reels on social media. Instagram has many built in tools that you can use to keep Instagram a positive place and protect your mental health.
Turn Off Notifications
To keep yourself from constantly being pulled back into the Instagram app, turn off your Instagram notifications - especially when you're trying to focus on time with friends and family. You can simple pause all notifications when you want to go "offline". Another option is always limiting less important push notifications by category. For example, you probably don't need a notification every time someone likes your post. Keep that stress off of your home screen. You can also go into each category and choose if you want to turn notifications off, receive them from people you follow, or from everyone.
Manage Your Time on Instagram
It's easy to say "I'm going to limit my screen time!", but it's way harder to put that into action. Instagram has an in app system that allows you to set a daily time limit for yourself on Instagram. Click the three lines in the top right corner of your Instagram profile, and then tap "Your Activity". It will show your daily average time on Instagram, and which days you spend more time than others. Then tap "Set Daily Reminder". You can pick the amount of time that works best for you. When you reach your time limit, a reminder will pop up telling you how much time you've spent on Instagram that day. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from tapping "OK" and keeping on scrolling, but hopefully this reminder will stop your mindless scroll and encourage you to get off of the app.
Turn Off Story Replies
Do you get overwhelmed by what people might think when you share things to your Instagram Story? Does even the idea of emoji responses from friends keep you from posting a pick of your Instagram worthy meal from a restaurant? Okay then ... turn off your story responses and post what you want to post. If you're a brand or business, this isn't a great idea because you'll lose out on lots of story engagement. But if you are running your own personal account and you want to take a little break from story engagement, that is definitely okay. Remember, when it comes to your personal Instagram, you don't owe anyone explanations for how often you post or how you share your content.
Unfollow/Mute Accounts that Make You Feel Less Than
This is our number one tip: if someone's content consistently makes you feel bad about yourself for any reason - UNFOLLOW THAT ACCOUNT. If the account happens to be someone who you know well and you don't want to offend them by unfollowing them, you can achieve the same affect by simply muting their account. They won't be notified, and you won't see their content anymore. To clarify, people who are extremely kind and positive can still be posting content that makes you feel sad about your current situation. They aren't a bad person for sharing their content and you aren't a bad person for not wanting to see it. Curate your feed so you don't have a sinking feeling in your stomach every time you open the Instagram app.
If social media isn't serving you, don't dedicate extra time to it. If you're finding more joy and inspiration from Twitter than you are from Instagram, spend more time on Twitter. If you're using social media purely for personal reasons, don't give it the power to effect your mental health. If you have to use it for your brand and business and you're finding yourself feeling the weight of it all, consider hiring professional help to lighten the load on your business and your mental health. Reach out here.