7 Uplifting Instagram Accounts To Follow During The Coronavirus

Lelia Gowland

Social media usage is at an all-time high. As we strive to navigate unprecedented demands at work and home in this pandemic, many of us are craving motivation, inspiration and perspective. The following Instagram accounts and the powerful professional women behind them offer just that.

Since my own Instagram usage just seems to go up each week, I’ve strived to follow accounts that provide supportive content, affirmations or giggles. They give voice to struggles or joys that might otherwise go unacknowledged. They may offer a fresh perspective or increase your optimism, professionally and personally. 

1. Handle: @youareawesome_co

Who’s behind the handle:

Evie Plumb is “a one-woman band from Cambridge (UK) who was recovering from mental illness and decided she needed a distraction”

Why I love it: 

Plumb’s “positivity puns” and charming illustrations fill me with near daily delight, and I occasionally laugh out loud upon seeing them. I sent Encouragemint to several clients who I knew were struggling to adapt to the current landscape. I also particularly enjoyed “Sex tape,” which includes two smiling tape dispensers innocently positioned to spell the number 69. With most posts, she also includes articles about mental health support and reflections about her own journey.

The silly purple Saturn telling me, “It is ok to want space” helped me realize that, quarantined with my husband and child, I felt that I needed to spend any time I wasn’t working with them. It was a relief to explicitly ask for and receive alone time. Later, it also helped me tell a friend who felt too physically close, “I love you, but please give us a little more space.” It felt great!

2. Handle: @ecowithem_

Who’s behind the handle: 

Em Ehlers is a “massive fan girl of people, planet & creatures. She’s a writer and illustrator focused on stories, science & sustainability.” 

Why I love it: 

Especially in the early days of quarantine, Ehlers posts on a Radical Reframing of COVID-19 and bright, colorful notes of encouragement were beautifully refreshing. Whether she’s reminding me to roll my shoulders down from around my ears or giving me permission to skip the news for the day, her suggestions are always welcome. Her recent illustration of a Brene Brown quote was beautifully timed.

3. Handle: @femalecollective

Who’s behind the handle: 

Candace Reels, the Female Collective’s founder, says it’s “where women are celebrated, uplifted, supported, and empowered everyday.”

Why I love it: 

With simple text on a colored background, the affirming messages Candace Reels sends via the Female Collective are a welcome interruption to my feed. “Your mental health is more important than that Zoom call you said you would attend.”

Unrelated to coronavirus, I laughed out loud in agreement when I read a Female Collective’s shirt that reads “Women aren’t rehabilitation centers for unstable and insecure men”.

4. Handle: @Emilymcdowell_

Who’s behind the handle: 

Emily McDowell & Friends who create “cards & gifts for the relationships we really have.”

Why I love it: 

You may know McDowell and her team from their empathy cards (highly recommend). Lately their posts, both coronavirus-focused and otherwise, have felt particularly affirming and relatable. In the context of so much suffering, I found meaning in this post, in which McDowell shares a text from her friend @karichapin. It addresses something I’ve thought a lot about: How can we show up for one another while holding space for ourselves?

5. Handle: @ohhappydani

Who’s behind the handle: 

Danielle Coke, founder of So Happy Social, creates “doodles about theology, social justice, and optimism :)”

Why I love it: 

With beautifully illustrated imagery, Coke’s Things To Remember About Storms provided me with very cool new science knowledge (apparently storms can make trees take deeper roots) and a helpful metaphor for our times. 

Also, her posts about how white people can and should engage in racial justice resonate deeply with me as a white woman. She challenges to me practice active allyship, offering new approaches to educate myself and accessible ways I can show up for communities of color. I particularly appreciated Areas to Diversify In Daily Life (Taking Inventory of Your Inclusivity) and her explanation of microaggressions using Microagressive Greeting Cards.

6. Handle: @chanelmillerknowmyname

Who’s behind the handle: 

Chanel Miller is a writer and artist. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Know My Name.

Why I love it: 

Miller’s cartoons give voice to emotions I didn’t know I needed to feel. Her New Yorker cartoon entitled “Filling a Suddenly Empty Schedule” gave me a giggle and felt all too relatable. I prefer far more day-to-day interaction with other humans than my partner does. In our quarantined landscape, there are times when I feel like hollering “play with me!” as he contentedly works on his laptop. In the process of making me laugh, this cartoon helped me feel less silly and less alone for needing attention.

7. Handle: @heyamberrae

Who’s behind the handle: 

Amber Rae is the bestselling author of Choose Wonder Over Worry. She posts “about feelings, well-being & living with wonder.”

Why I love it: 

Sometimes, she shares beautifully illustrated truth bombs, while other times, she asks powerful self-reflection questions. Recently, the simplicity of Rae’s post about prioritizing wellbeing over productivity (below) felt like a call to action. After committing to send a proposal for a massive project for a delightful client, I felt a low-level sense of impending doom. I kept hearing Rae in my head. While the project was important, it was out of alignment with my current business model and how I wanted to spend my time. Her post helped me lovingly decline the project and refer the client to another consultant. 

Many of the professional women with whom I work are struggling to meet new and ever-changing expectations, both at work and home. As I’ve shared the posts above with clients and friends, these accounts have brought solace and some laughter in an uncertain time. Personally, they’ve helped me navigate the complexity of adapting my business to the new landscape while caring for my family. 

Consider interrupting your Instagram feed with these artists’ creations and embrace their work as vehicles for perspective, light and affirmation—both professionally and personally.


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