Women's Health South Africa
Instagram Social Media Stress Depression Image Credit: Women's Health South Africa
Instagram Social Media Stress Depression Image Credit: Women's Health South Africa

The Ghosts Of Instagram Past

Fact: comparing yourself to others’ polished posts can make you feel inadequate. But so can scrolling through your own pics! Here’s how to squash self-critique and reclaim your feed

Kristin Canning

“I used to be so much happier,” I groaned to my mom while flicking through my past Instagram posts. One in particular, from four years ago, snagged my attention. It was a candid shot of my ex and me in front of a waterfall. We were younger and super fit; I was laughing as he surprised me with a kiss on the cheek. My current relationship troubles, work stress and tiny flat felt even worse in comparison. “What are you talking about?” my mom asked. “You were way more stressed back then.” Huh?


A growing number of celebs and influencers are posting glimpses of the not-so-perfect reality behind their photos, helping to normalise different body types, mental health struggles and even day-to-day stress. Which is awesome. But remember, you’re still seeing people’s “best worst self,” says North. That can spark comparisons and leave you feeling inferior. Again, mindfulness is the key. Only follow people if they make you feel good!

When I thought about it, though, I realised she was right. My then-boyfriend and I were truly happy in the snapshot, but we also argued regularly about our future. We could barely pay the bills and I was about to finish an internship, with no job in sight. That convo was a light bulb moment for me: I realised I have a tendency to think of the past as better than it really was. In some ways, it’s a blessing. I can reframe disappointments, like

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