How to Have a Healthier Relationship With Instagram

Having a relationship with Instagram is a lot like having one with a toxic friend.

You know the app will only make you upset in the end, but you just can't remove it from your life. You may have taken breaks, you may have sworn against it, but you just keep coming back. Right?

Believe it or not, I actually have a pretty healthy relationship with Instagram. I am wholly aware of its dangers, and there are still moments when I accidentally see something that causes my eyes to roll, but, for the most part, I'm really careful about how frequently I use it, who I follow and where I'm tapping.

If you're eager to improve your relationship with that sometimes toxic friend known as Insta, keep reading.

1. Gain Style Inspo From Newsletters, Not Influencer Instas

When it comes to the latest style trends or bedroom decor tips, I turn to various newsletters. Why do I need to follow some girl from Venice, California, who's only going to remind me of all the things I haven't accomplished by *insert age*, when I can just scroll through a Revolve newsletter?

I accidentally subscribed to the newsletter, and while I've considered unsubscribing multiple times, I actually get a lot of excellent decor and DIY tips, so I'll stick to that instead of following a millionaire who lives in an NYC penthouse.


(via Getty)

It's easy to get addicted to following the lives of the lavish—whether it's their endless vacations around the world, their enviable closets, their pets or their "picture-perfect" relationships—but really, what's the point? How is stalking these accounts going to make me a better or happier person? If I actually am going to follow someone for style inspo, it'll be a random cool girl with few followers.

On the flipside, I understand why people follow beauty, food or DIY influencers. You can actually learn a lot from them. Whether it's an eye-catching video or a step-by-step tutorial in the caption or comments, you don't leave these accounts feeling bad about yourself. At the end of the day, if you do want to follow celebs and Insta-famous stars, just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, and that it doesn't interfere with your well-being.


2. Don't Obsess Over Who Watches Your Stories

I post a lot of Insta Stories, and I have a blast doing it. But guess what? Unless I did something really cool or posted something that I really actually want certain people to see, I never look at who views my Stories. Don't get me wrong, in the cases that I have looked, I'm always excited about views from certain people, or shocked that certain folks or brands even thought to check out my account—but just like my coworker Jessica pointed out, there are a slew of reasons why someone did (or didn't) view your latest trip to the beach.

Zoey looking at her phone with a concerned expression on an episode of Freeform's Grown-ish

(Grown-ish via Freeform)

There's the whole algorithm thing (like, sometimes the randomest people always show up first in our Stories, so we're naturally inclined to frequently view theirs—whereas some people we're close to don't show up until the tail end of our list); there's the whole thing where some people just let their Stories go and go, without picking and choosing whose to watch; then there's the factor of frequency—some people don't watch Stories that much altogether. I'm not about to make Insta Story views make or break my day.


3. Don't Feel Obligated to Watch Other Peoples' Stories Just Because They Watch Yours

As I mentioned above, I really don't actively scroll through my feeds, but when I see 200+ views on a particular Story of mine, sometimes I feel like I should be watching others' more. Or when I receive a bunch of comments from the same people, I feel bad that I don't comment as frequently on theirs. It's nothing personal, people! Not only do I really not make Instagram a priority, sometimes I point blank don't feel like knowing what everyone's up to around the clock. And that's okay! A lot of my Insta usage is based on my current mood, so if I'm not feeling it at a particular time, I'm not going to force it.


4. Don't Be Afraid to Mute People

Because Instagram is where 85% (just a guess) of the population goes to announce news or share photos from important life events, it definitely feels weird when we see someone IRL and had no idea they just got back from Europe or adopted a new puppy. Oh, well. It happens.

Aria looking at her phone on an episode of Pretty Little Liars

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

TBH, I haven't exercised my muting options much—I just stay away from scrolling altogether, but if I'm sure I'll be less annoyed by not knowing what certain people are up to 24/7, then there's nothing that should stop me from clicking that mute button and going on with my life. They'll never know anyway. You don't want to panic every single time your feed loads, in anticipation of who's gonna pop up, so if you're the least bit concerned, save yourself the hassle and mute the people you don't want to see (but still do want to follow).


5. Find a Source of News Other Than the Content in Your Feed

This tip to me is a game changer. While I love sharing useful life advice and reviewing beauty products here at Sweety High, I used to be an entertainment journalist who delved deep into the misfortunes of celebs (that probably sounds really bad). While I no longer cover celebrity news and gossip for a living, I'm still totally captivated by it (in fact, even more so than I was when I got paid to follow it). I can't tell you how excited I get, after a long drive home from work, by throwing on my PJs and getting into bed to scroll through all my main celeb gossip sites.

Whether it's a celeb split, a feud, a new couple alert, you name it—taking a break from my own reality to follow the ups and downs of the stars is quite the breath of fresh air. It's a nice reprieve from who's hanging out with whom and traveling where on Instagram.

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6. Don't Stalk Accounts That Are Only Going to Make You Upset

Okay, seriously, I never understand people who actively peruse the accounts of people they used to date, used to be friends with, totally can't stand, etc. I guess one of the biggest things that keeps me healthy on Instagram is staying off of the accounts that will annoy me. Some people get a sickening thrill out of torturing themselves. I do not.

Don't get me wrong—there are a handful of people who I used to be close to, and I actually do get a kick out of stalking all for fun, but I totally avoid visiting the profiles of those whose posts will upset me. There's absolutely no point. I don't need to know what they're up to. And it's important that you let your friends know, too. Sometimes I have to reiterate to certain people that I don't want to see so-and-so's posts. The person sending it may find it amusing, but I sometimes have to put my foot down to say that it'not amusing to me.


Speaking of toxic relationships, HERE's the moment I was finally ready to let go of a toxic friend.