Remember that time, way back when... Instagram was fun?!  Back before you used to obsess over numbers and photo edits? When it didn't need to reflect a perfect life, just the one you were living? Well, I have gone back to that and I'm loving it.

A few weeks ago, I decided, I had two choices when it came to Instagram - to find a way to start enjoying it again, or stop bothering with it altogether. It simply wasn't fun anymore and why put my time into something which isn't fun? So I decided to make a change. I'm not a quitter and I didn't really want to say goodbye to those little squares that I'd spent the last few years curating.  So instead, I looked for the positives. I searched for the joy the app used to bring me, and I found it - in today's blog post I thought I'd share how.

So for those who are stuck in an Instagram rut, like I was, here are my tips for enjoying it all over again:

- Lean into the bits you like:

There are so many things we do can do with Instagram - from photography to caption writing, to curating a feed, posing for pictures, video editing and the list goes on. Naturally, when given that long list of things, there will be the parts which you're doing because you think it's expected, and the parts which get you excited. Lean into those exciting bits. If you love the photography, then use Instagram as an excuse spend more time with your camera, if writing is a hobby of yours, show that off in the captions, or post your writing to your grid. The bits you enjoy, that's where you get to have the most fun, be your most creative.

- Step away from the bits you don't:

 As well as leaning into the bits you enjoy, you need to step away from the bits you don't. Do you find it a hassle editing your photos, then don't do it. Can never think of any cool captions to write? A couple of emojis will do. You shouldn't have to put your time and energy into the aspects of a phone app which feel like a chore.

- Photo challenges: 

Now, this will only apply to those that are in the love photography camp. Something which has got me back to loving Instagram is photo challenges. They've inspired me with what to post and I've found myself snapping things I wouldn't usually. Following in hashtags for these challenges have helped me find new great accounts to follow, and I've felt a sense of community on Instagram again. If you're curious, I've been doing the Zoella #comewhatmay challenge and occasionally the Shotfromthestreet #shotwiththetheme challenge.

- Unfollow:

The obvious one. Not only do you want Instagram to a fun place to post, but you also want it to be a nice place to hang out, where scrolling doesn't leave you feeling inadequate. Firstly, any accounts of people to who trigger that comparison side to you. just unfollow them. You definitely should not be comparing or obsessing over anyone else Instagram accounts (and not your own too). I think I've got the not comparing things on my own Instagram down (how is coming in the next bullet point) - however, it's something I've been struggling with when it comes to my new Instagram account for my Etsy store, where my account is new and I'm still finding my footing - so I've figured out, there's an account, who hasn't done anything wrong, but somewhere in my mind I set up a competition between us, and because of that I've found myself sad, that I wasn't winning the imaginary competition. - which is ridiculous. So I've stepped away from that account. I don't need to watch their stories or check how many followers they have - it's not serving me. Over the next few weeks, be a bit stricter with who you're following, anyone who pops up on your feed that you find yourself uninterested in, unfollow them too. Laura Jane Williams once said to me "Instagram is a magazine which you curate yourself" Don't have content in that magazine that you don't enjoy.

- Ignore the numbers: 

If you're going to change one thing about how you do Instagram, make this it. I know, when you're a bloggers/influencer as numbers can translate to jobs- but I've always found when I don't think of, or obsess over my follow count it grows anyway. When you stop worrying about the number and how to make them grow, it makes it easier to lean into the bits you like and step away from the bits you don't. Follow counts and numbers of likes you get does not translate into your worth - so obsessing over them - it's not helping your account anyways.


- Engage with your community:

 I've made friends on Instagram, and it feels like a place with shoulders to lean on. A community of people who inspire me. That's how you want it to feel. Engage with your community, get to know your followers and appreciate the time they take to engage with your content - you never know, you might also make a few friends like I have done.

- Remember, your feed doesn't have to be a masterpiece:

 If you want to post something, whether not it fits with your feed you should be able to. Remember you are one person and it's perfectly normal that you don't have a professional photographer follow you around on the daily. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to enjoy it, otherwise, what's the point?!

 Remember, you get to choose how you use this app, there's no right or wrong way. Any pressure there, you've probably put on yourself, so instead be gentle with yourself, and open your eyes to the enjoyment Instagram can bring you.




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