There’s plenty of research out there about how social media makes people feel bad about themselves, feeds into consumerism, or gives the illusion that everybody out there is having more fun than you are. Those are all definitely valid points, and anybody who chooses not to use social media at all has my full support to do so. But personally I like to scroll around on Instagram to find fun or interesting accounts. I like using my own social media to show pictures of my pets, store my pictures of memorable events, and share my life with friends. As a therapist though, I am really conscious about how the accounts I follow make me feel about myself. I thought as an addition to talking about Youtubers I like, I could highlight some Instagram accounts that I think do positive things for mental health or bring a new perspective and experience. So here’s my list, some are serious, most are not.
Fabio Peña of Peña & Co. – @pena.consulting – in the spirit of the last post about healthy masculinity, this page is run by a first-generation college grad (now grad student) who identifies as Latino and the child of immigrant parents. He features a lot of funny and thought-provoking reels about breaking cycles of toxic masculinity, challenges as a first-generation college student/graduate, and just his life experiences. I’m not Latina and I was not a first-generation student, but I like to follow accounts like this to help me understand what some of the stresses are for my first-generation students. I love that he also highlights people with similar experiences and promotes mentoring relationships for other first-generation college students through his consulting business. This is a resource as a social worker I will keep in hand for clients, so check out his website if you want to be a mentor, get mentoring, or know someone who could benefit from that.
Nathan Pyle of Strange Planet – @nathanwpylestrangeplanet – this is an account of the cartoons of Nathan Pyle, which feature non-threatening alien beings which discover things in Earth life and make humorous comments about them. A lot of the jokes are around renaming everyday things, like coffee is “jitter liquid,” baseball is the “orb match,” and “Live Laugh Love” turns into “Survive Chuckle Show Affection.” I always chuckle at these and they’re often accompanied by very sweet posts about Nathan’s wife and his newborn son. I just learned that he wrote a children’s book and will probably buy it despite not having any children. I also personally think the “My knowledge suffices!” t-shirt is the perfect gift for a recent grad.
Megan Jayne Crabbe – @bodyposipanda – I’ve mentioned one of Megan’s books in some book recommendations and you’ll also find her on my books list. Megan is part of the body positivity movement, her tone is really accessible and she also talks about political action around feminist and body inclusive topics which makes her content really interesting and constructive. In her book and IG she talks about recovery from her own eating disorder and how she’s come to terms with being in a plus-sized body. She also identifies as biracial (she has one Black parent and one white parent) and talks about how that has impacted her body image and the feelings she has about her appearance overall. I do love the body positive movement on social media but not all accounts feel constructive to me, as sometimes I find that looking at women with larger figures who still miraculously have flat stomachs (I mean, how is this possible without surgery, I don’t understand) I still feel bad about my own body for not looking like them. I also find some accounts will be just picture after picture of close-ups on the person’s body, and for me personally a big part of my own journey of body acceptance is that I would like to not be thinking about my body SO MUCH, and these pictures kind of have the opposite impact. Check out her website too if you want to learn about her books or more info about the whole Health at Every Size movement.
Onças do Iguaçu – @oncasdoiguacu – this is a Brazilian account that shows incredibly close videos of wild animals in the national park of Iguaçu, which is located in the southern state of Paraná near the border with Argentina. The main feature is footage of wild onça-pintada (spotted jaguars) and pumas, but there are also lontra (otters), tamanduá (anteaters), and all kinds of interesting rodents and animals I’ve never seen before. I love wild animals and conservation cams and this account forces me to learn more Portuguese. You’re guaranteed to see at least one animal on this account you’ve never seen before.
Mya Price of More Than Your Average – @morethanyouraverage – this is a plus-size vintage clothing account and is so bright and fun. There’s no deep psychological content here, I just enjoy the clothes and the styling and as an avid thrifter I follow dozens of thrifting and fashion accounts but this is my favorite. I like that the plus-sized models are all shapes, sizes, and shades, and the clothing is unique and colorful. Mya is also hosting a free online class on thrifting like a pro in a collaboration with The Financial Diet (which is another site I love) and I am absolutely attending it. I’m pumped that there are more people promoting thrift shopping, and honestly it can be challenging to thrift in a larger body because there is less selection so I’m glad she offers tips for how to do that. You can also shop her store online of thrifted items, and she also offers styling services and writes a fashion blog.
Steak.eu – @steak.eu – I had to mention this one because my husband is obsessed with it. This is a cooking channel that features LOTS of meats. They don’t really show you how to do recipes but there’s often gigantic versions of regular items or interesting ways of cooking like submerging whole flanks in clay to roast them. I believe the creator is Turkish and there is at least one post that shows the famous Salt Bae.
Red Door Bunny Whisperer – @reddoorbunnywhisperer – this is an account run by an employee of an animal shelter that accepts rabbits, cats, and dogs called the Red Door Shelter in Chicago, IL. I could honestly list about 45 other bunny accounts that I follow but this is one of my favorites because it features rescue bunnies and each bunny gets a cute intro that tells you about their personality. As a rabbit owner I appreciate the education that these kinds of accounts give to the public about how small animals like bunnies need to be housed and fed (check out rabbit.org for more info) and it makes me happy to see cute rescue bunnies getting new homes <3
Grace of ThingsAFatGirlMade – @thingsafatgirlmade – this is run by a friend I went to college with, she creates custom magic wands that are really unique and beautiful. She features reels of her creations that show her making them, and she also talks about her life experiences and tons of topics like LGBT identity, fat acceptance, and funny stories. I recently learned that a lot of EMDR therapists use wands when they’re working with kids and now I’m obsessed with this idea. So if you’re a child therapist, want a cool handmade magic wand, or just want to see reels of a person creating cool stuff, check her out.