Practising self care in a world fuelled by the algorithm

I’m hearing and reading about so many highs and lows of life on Instagram at the moment and wanted to share these tips for reducing Instagram anxiety.

My job is centred around the app, all of my leads come as a consequence of the efforts I put into my account (supported by my email) and let’s face it you – my community – is there, many of you who have also become my friends.  BUT…at the same I feel an unhealthy pull to ‘just check what’s happening‘ in the world of the squares. So whilst I’m writing this for you, I’m also writing it for me.

I turned off all notifications on my phone years ago except for phone, text and Whatsapp, but I know I would be embarrassed to see a report on how many times a day I open the Instagram app. It’s definitely not good for the soul.

Mental health awareness week a little while back prompted me to pull together some healthy Insta related tips and thought I’d expand and share with you here too. I hope you like them.

1. Have Insta rest days

Nothing bad will happen if you take a break. When my account was tiny and wasn’t 100% sure of my direction, I posted daily in an attempt to become as visible as possible. However, nowadays I pretty much take weekends off.

2. Create content you love to create.

Lean into what you love and your energy is likely to pull through into what your audience is seeing. If you love creating educational carousels, do more. If you love reels, play and discover new ways to create them. If you love writing the caption, have a think about how you can get those captions onto the graphic or even a reel.

3. Do more of what you love.

If going live fills you with dread, try reels where you can edit the parts where you trip over your speech or say the wrong thing (also it might be worth saving those tongue tied moments to create an amusing out-takes reel).

4. Let go of comparison.

It is a total waste of time and energy and will suck the life out of your creativity . Unfollow or mute those accounts that make you feel it. Focus on your journey, your uniqueness. Just be you.

5. Be purposeful with your time on the app.

If you haven’t got time to engage, don’t even open the app. Know what you want to achieve when you go into Instagram.

Is it to post your daily content and engage, is it to scroll and see what everyone’s up to, is it to check and respond to DM’s, is it to send welcome notes to each of your new followers, to find inspiration for content or to hunt out new content, new accounts to broaden your community.

6. Batch create some content ahead of time.

Whether you are a planner or a winger, you will benefit from having some content stored up in your cupboard for when life happens and for the days when you think ‘ugh what am I going to post today’. Also batch tasks such as searching for hashtags so that you don’t have to bounce in and out of Instagram.

7. Set boundaries.

Both @thewomensvault and @suzyreading have been guiding me with this.

  • Your phone should not be the first thing you look at in the morning. The wrong content will head you off in the wrong direction for your day. Gather your own thoughts for the day before you look at your phone. It puts you in a better place.
  • Avoid bedtime scrolling – try the Insight Timer Meditation app instead. I have. I like it. Alternatively spend 20 minutes reading.

8. Build a rich community that adds value to your world.

I remember a local interiors blogger telling me about all the friends and massive support she had on the platform when I was in my early days of Instagramming. I didn’t really understand how that could be possible. And yet now I have this overwhelmingly supportive community on Instagram, who offer daily encouragement, share my content and genuinely care. I’d miss them if Instagram disappeared.

9. Get it right for your superfans.

Focus on your superfans and what they need from you and the rest will follow. I’ve been reading a fabulous book called Superfans by Pat Flynn. It’s a good read. I recommend it.

10. Build your email list

An email list is an incredibly valuable communication channel.  I know this is unlikely but if Instagram was ever to decide to shut up shop one day (*shudders at the horror*) how would you continue to communicate with your followers? An email list is yours to own, and use at your discretion to communicate with your audience on a more intimate basis.  I highly recommend @_helen_perry_‘s email launchpad online course. It’s brilliant.

11. Co-work with business buddies

I’m loving this. I have a face to face co-work group with a few friends. We eat cake and get a lot of work done. We usually use the time to create our own content. I also regularly jump into @_helen_perry_‘s email writer’s hour on a Thursday…love the chat and get my emails done.

I hope you find this list of anxiety reducing Instagram tips helpful.

If you need help in getting ahead with your content, a content power hour will get you focused. Feel free to contact me or DM me via Instagram.

Connect with me on Instagram if you haven’t done so already @sarahrichardssocial.

Sarah x