It’s easy to feel a bit despondent at the moment.
The cost-of-living crisis is all too real, and a financial crisis looms as the pound plummets and inflation soars. Many of us turn to Instagram for a bit of light respite from the depressing news cycle – but with the inquest into the self-harm material viewed on social media by 14-year-old Molly Russell, it can also seem like a dark place.
While there are drawbacks to our hyper-online existences – according to research from the Mental Health Foundation, 22% of adults and 40% of teenagers said images on social media caused them to worry about their body image – it’s definitely not all bad.
It’s all about who you follow, and you can curate your feed to be a positive and inspiring place. If you’re looking to give your Instagram a boost, these are some of the accounts you should follow…
1. For body positivity: Stephanie Yeboah (@stephanieyeboah)
Body positive accounts are a dime a dozen nowadays, and plenty are worth following – but you won’t regret checking out Stephanie Yeboah’s account. She chronicles life as a plus-size woman – the ups, the downs, all the while spreading a positive message that everyone is worthy of love – regardless of your size or skin tone.
Her pictures are often accompanied with heartfelt essays covering everything from self-love to actually achieving inclusivity in fashion. She’s raw, real and has a sense of humour – if you like what you see on Instagram, check out her debut book, Fattily Ever After (Hardie Grant, £12.99).
2. For powerful poetry: Cleo Wade (@cleowade)
If you want to break up your feed with a bit of poetry, Cleo Wade is the person to follow.
Her feed is mainly quotes and poems in her scratchy handwriting, with tidbits such as “some days you are just trying your best to figure out what your best even looks like. And that is all the way okay,” to powerful poems about love.
3. For giggles: Dogs Working From Home (@dogsworkingfromhome)
This is the account to go to for a bit of light relief – after all, whose mood wouldn’t be lifted by looking at hilarious pictures of dogs pretending to send emails?
And of course, Dogs Working From Home merely scratches the surface of entertaining Instagram animal accounts – it’s also worth checking out Noodles the Pooch (@noodlesthepooch), The World’s Cutest Adventures (@mr.pokee) and Honey (@princesshoneybelle).
4. For positive news: Good News Movement (@goodnews_movement)
With stories ranging from a 100-year-old veteran going to Disneyland to a potential medical breakthrough for hard-to-treat breast cancer cases, the Good News Movement is all about positive news stories – something we’re all in desperate need of right now.
Founder Michelle Figueroa aims “to spotlight all the good that’s happening in the world”, she says. “There’s a ton of good news stories that people don’t know about or that are overlooked — so as a journalist, I filled the gap and created a centralised news platform to celebrate the beauty in the world and in humanity.”
There’s obviously an appetite for this antidote to the depressing news cycle, with the account clocking up 4.4 million followers. Figueroa says: “My name has the word ‘movement’ in it because Instagram followers play an active role by sending me their own good news, or good news in their communities — so, readers: send me your good news!”
5. For inspiring messages: Feel Good Club (@wearefeelgoodclub)
For an injection of positivity, it doesn’t get much better than Feel Good Club. Aimie and Kiera Lawlor-Skillen set up the business – as well as an uplifting Instagram account, they run a coffee shop in Manchester, sell merch and put up massive posters with their positive slogans. The pastel-coloured Instagram page is full of powerful daily messages that will give you a boost – such as five important reminders including “you can’t live your life based on the expectations of you from others” and “a bad day doesn’t make you a bad person”.
The Lawlor-Skillens say: “Our aim for our business was to normalise the conversation around mental health and feelings in general. If we can make at least one person feel good every day, then in our eyes, we’re doing our job.”