Even though social media intends to connect people from all over the world, it can often make us feel more isolated when consumed in an unhealthy way. It’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel on Instagram or feel left out when you see photos from a get-together you didn’t invited to. For some people, time spent on social media leaves them feeling drained and alone, but social media has the potential to do the opposite if it was used in the right way.
My first piece of advice is to unfollow any social media creator that makes you feel worse after viewing their content. This doesn’t have to be about not liking their posts or their personality, but if you can’t view their content without criticizing yourself and comparing yourself to them, it’s probably best that you unfollow them. Instead, follow creators who promote a healthy body image and present themselves as real human beings on social media. One of my favorite social media creators is Victoria Garrick. She openly shares her journey of self-love and recovery after an eating disorder. She is known for her “#RealPost”s, where she posts unfiltered, unedited pictures that normalize things like stomach rolls, stretch marks, and breakouts. Social media creators like Garrick make me feel validated and normal. They encourage me to join the movement and post real photos of myself rather than the most polished and edited versions of those photos.
I also recommend limitinghow much time you spend on social media every day. I know it’s an easy way to pass the time, but even when consuming social media in the healthiest way possible, one can feel drained after spending hours watching videos on TikTok or scrolling through their Twitter feed. One way to accomplish this is by putting time limits on these apps, so you won’t be able to access them after spending a certain amount of time on them.
On the flip side, if you’ve ever posted pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other social media platform, you yourself are a social media creator! That means that if you’ve ever spent hours editing your photos by shrinking your stomach and putting on a fake makeup filter, you’re contributing to the problem. One of the biggest issues of social media is that many people don’t post real pictures of themselves. As a result, people viewing their content compare themselves to a person that doesn’t even exist! I totally get cropping a photo, upping the brightness, and adding a little saturation, but when it gets to a point where you hardly recognize the person in the photo, something needs to change.
Next time you open TikTok or draft an Instagram post, keep these things in mind. Most people on social media only share the best parts of their lives, so comparing yourself to their highlight reel is unfair. The first step towards learning to consume and create social media in a healthy way is to be mindful of these things and try our best to stay real online.
As Halloween rolls around, spooky season is finally among us. This is a great time to celebrate with different activities in Austin that will only be open for a limited time.
What better time to listen to ghost stories and visit paranormal locations than now? Haunted ATX is a mobile ghost tour in Austin that takes you in a van to haunted locations in Austin. Some of the spooky locations on the tours are the Tavern, Clay Pit and Littlefield House.
Public tours cost $59 per person during October and private tours cost $99 per person. Most tours are available Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. These tours are usually three hours long and allow everyone to explore the locations while learning about their paranormal history.
House of Torment Haunted House
Haunted houses are the most iconic spooky season activity. Austin happens to have one of the best haunted houses in the country. With the “Travel channel” calling Austin’s House of Torment, “the scariest haunted house in America,” there is no better place to celebrate Halloween than this haunted house.
There are three themed haunted houses that you can go through to get spooked. You can also participate in axe throwing, mini escape games and dine at their tavern.
This haunted house is open almost every day in October, with the first two weekends of November being the last time for the year you can go. General admission ticket prices range $22.99 to $32.99, depending on the day you attend.
Mama Mary’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch
Not everyone who wants to celebrate spooky season likes to be scared. One non-scary activity you can do is visit a pumpkin patch. Mama Mary’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch is open through Oct. 31. You can go Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for only $5 plus tax. To go on Saturdays and Sundays, registration is required before and tickets go up to $10.
If you go to the pumpkin patch on the weekend, you can enjoy a hay ride, outdoor bowling, pumpkin painting and other fall-themed activities. This is a great event for friends to take pictures together in the pumpkin patch and get in the spooky season mood.
Pumpkin Nights at Pioneer Farms
Another non-scary activity to participate in this spooky season is going to Pumpkin Nights at Pioneer Farms. You can explore a trail that features carved pumpkins created by local artists that all have different themes.
There are pumpkin lanterns that make great photo backgrounds for Instagram. Not only do you get to see elaborate, professionally carved pumpkins; there are also live fire dancers and you can watch professionals carve pumpkins live.
Friday through Saturday admission for adults is $23 and on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday it is $18.
There are plenty of events in Austin to celebrate the spooky season. Even if you aren’t a big fan of the creepy and scary things this time of season brings, there are plenty of other activities you can partake in to get into the spooky season mood. After a ton of events being cancelled the past year because of the pandemic, this is a great time to go out and celebrate the season.
When I started seeing TikToks and IG posts featuring an ALL pink mexican restaurant here in Austin- I knew I had to go. Located on West Ave and right next to another Austin classic, Irene’s, Taquero Mucho stands ready to guide you into a wonderful world of pink everything.
Yes, even the tortillas.
The parking lot takes up a big chunk of the curbside appeal, but having a designated parking lot in Austin, even if you have to pay for it, beats the hassle of finding it elsewhere- so I considered that a plus. Once you exit your vehicle there are an array of things to keep you busy drinking or taking IG photos- there’s a pink phone booth, separate pink pay phone, cherry mural, drink cart, merch stand, and even pink tables for waiting. Basically, Taquero Mucho is the perfect aesthetic for a GNO or cute date night.
I went on a Friday evening and only had to wait about thirty minutes, which was really swift in comparison to other hot spots I’ve been to in the city around the same time. I will say that an early dinner is the move- I arrived around 5pm and when we were leaving at around 7pm the wait was much longer- so keep that in mind.
Sitting outside was a must for me due to not only trying to be as safe as possible dining out during COVID, but also because it was so cute! Pink string lights, tables, a subtle view of the creek, and a pink mural only add to the aesthetic Taquero Mucho provides. I will admit I was skeptical about the quality of the food, even though the decor lived up right away to the hype, because of the amount of social media exposure for the aesthetic. I ordered the Pollo Asado and was delighted with the texture of the tortillas, flavor of the chicken, and amount of sauce provided. The beans were also excellent and there were plenty of them. The rice was okay, nothing to write home about, but for $12 I felt like the plate was a good deal, especially considering how fresh everything tasted. Also, I felt like the pricing matches what I would expect a restaurant in a prime location to have, so I was definitely not complaining.
Overall, I would say Taquero Mucho is worth the hype. If you like the color pink, fun drinks, Mexican food, outdoor dining, or all of the above- it’s worth checking out. Don’t forget to take a pic for the ‘gram!
With everything going on right now, we could all use a little pick-me-up. Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, life has been especially stressful to say the least. Restaurants, bars, malls and schools have shut down nationwide. Getting together with close friends and family is a lost luxury and relic of the past. To make matters worse, we can barely even leave our homes anymore.
As troubling as these times are for us all, they’re even tougher for people who already suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues on a daily basis. If you’re one of these people, just know that you’re not alone, and there are tons of helpful resources freely available at your fingertips. When you follow the right people, social media can be surprisingly therapeutic!
In case you’ve been struggling with anxiety, low motivation, mood swings, self-doubt or just general existential woes, we’ve rounded up the best Instagram feeds to follow for mental health advice and self-care tips! Check out these 21 Instagram accounts for immediate inspiration and encouragement.
@thisismybrave Mental health is super important, especially during times like these. This universal truth lies at the very heart of This Is My Brave, a community-centered Instagram account with a goal to “end stigma, one story at a time”. Their content aims to raise awareness about the reality of mental health by featuring personal anecdotes from brave individuals living with mental illness. In light of the Coronavirus, This Is My Brave also provides useful tips and advice that their 16k followers can use while practicing social distancing. Be sure to follow their Instagram if you like inspirational quotes and interesting stories from relatable people across the globe!
@selfcareisforeveryone “A space that honors the importance of choosing self-care over self-harm,” Self-Care Is For Everyone is an Instagram account and website that posts inspirational messages, helpful reminders and valuable information about mental, spiritual and emotional health. Not only do they encourage mindfulness by providing motivational quotes and content to their 852k followers, but they’ve recently devoted their efforts to addressing COVID-19 by enlightening the public about ways we can enhance our health and wellness during quarantine.
@letstalkaboutmentalhealth Let’s Talk About Mental Health is an Instagram account run by Jessica Walsh as part of her self-help project, 12 Kinds of Kindness. Most of the content consists of motivational quotes and stories from real people struggling with mental illness. In these trying times, we should all be making mental health a top priority. By following Let’s Talk About Mental Health, Instagram users can draw inspiration from individuals who have battled mental illness, emerged victorious, and ultimately blossomed into their best selves.
@recipesforselflove This Instagram account created by South African artist Alison Rachel combines elegant illustrations with words of inspiration to create aesthetically pleasing content that promotes self-love. Fans of feminist artwork will surely love this Instagram feed, which features illustrations of women in each and every post. Rachel’s helpful reminders like “your mental health is paramount” and “don’t lose hope that things can and will get better” provide her 580k followers with much-needed motivation during these turbulent times.
@letsmend An “award-winning self care company that helps people in 195 countries through heartbreak, Let’s Mend offers encouragement and opportunities for self-reflection to their 12k Instagram followers. Each post provides little pearls of wisdom like “it’s ok if all you did today was survive” and “every day is a second chance,” reminding us all to live in each and every moment as the very best version of ourselves!
@theblissfulmind Life coach and content creator Catherine Beard formed The Blissful Mind to “help overthinkers get out of their own heads so they can stress less and take action.” From skincare to spirituality, The Blissful Mind’s Instagram feed offers invaluable tips and insights on personal growth and productivity. Anyone who appreciates aesthetics and inspirational quotes should definitely hit that follow button!
@blessingmanifesting Without a doubt, the most colorful Instagram feed on this list is none other than Blessing Manifesting! A mosaic of bright hues and rainbow letters, Blessing Manifesting’s content provides their 150k followers with countless self-care tips, to-do lists, ideas and opportunities for introspection. Their adorable cartoon illustrations are sure to win over kawaii lovers or just about anyone who enjoys a pop of color with their daily dose of inspiration!
@journey_to_wellness_ While we wait for this pandemic to reach its end, I think we can all agree that humanity is on a journey to wellness. Luckily, those looking for someone to steer them on the right path need only follow Journey to Wellness on Instagram! Pairing mental health advice with cute illustrations of cartoon characters practicing mindfulness, this account breaks down the complexities of self-care into manageable steps. Their 283k followers can look forward to daily reminders, positive affirmations, and detailed checklists geared towards enhancing emotional wellness!
@iamwellandgood Well + Good is an Instagram account geared towards “decoding and demystifying what it means to live a well life, inside and out.” Not only to they provide healthy recipes and guided workouts to nearly a million followers, but they also post relatable memes and useful life hacks! Their informative content goes beyond just health and wellness, however, including information about relationships, skincare, and even astrology. Even in the face of the current Coronavirus crisis, Well + Good has been at the top of their Insta game with daily posts including medical advice, tips on working from home, and other relevant content!
@howamifeelingg This account features artwork and stories related to mental health, most of which are created and submitted by followers! By encouraging individuals “to join in on the conversation surrounding mental health, growth, healing, emotions, art, and more,” How Am I Feeling has become a community-driven platform that shares inspiration and information on emotional wellness. Their Insta feed features some truly amazing art and photography, so definitely follow them if you’re into that kind of stuff! You can even get your own art or short stories featured on their Instagram by submitting your work to their website!
@myselflovesupply If your self-love supply is running out, look no further! My Self-Love Supply has more than enough encouragement to go around. Their Instagram provides self-love tips, self-care routines, and healthy living inspiration to over 1.1 million followers. With everything going on right now, we could all use a little more positivity in our lives (and Insta feeds)! Their Insta feed has plenty to offer, including self-care advice during quarantine, steps for managing COVID-19 anxiety, and even an isolation wellbeing to-do list!
@happsters Here’s a quick quarantine challenge for you: try and look at Happsters’ Insta feed without smiling… As far as I’m concerned, it’s just not possible. Scroll down their page and you’ll find tons of cute videos of dogs, babies, babies hugging dogs, and pretty much every other adorable thing you can think of. They also post lots of inspirational quotes, self-love tips, and mental health advice too!
@howdoyouadult Meme-lovers and mental health advocates alike should definitely follow this account on Insta, especially if you like your memes with a heavy dose of reality. How Do You Adult’s Insta feed features tons of amusing cartoons, jokes, and pictures that are sure to take the edge off of any Coronavirus anxiety you might be feeling lately! All of their content is super relatable and entertaining, especially for us soon-to-be-graduating Longhorns that are feeling super unprepared for life after college!
@positivelypresent Positively Present has almost a million Instagram followers, one of whom is none other than Paris Hilton! If that doesn’t convince you to hit the follow button, then surely their colorful inspirational content will! All artwork featured on their feed is created by the founder of the account herself, Dani DiPirro. If you thought inspirational quotes couldn’t get any better, just check out Positively Present’s recent posts and you’ll see how the cute kawaii influences and rainbow colors bring positivity to a whole new level!
@talkspace TalkSpace provides “confidential and affordable online therapy with professional, licensed therapists, wherever & whenever you need it.” Their Instagram profile even has a highlight for COVID-19 support, which includes links to resources, articles on their website, and even a free therapist-led Facebook support group. Followers are also encouraged to send in their questions and concerns via direct message, which are then answered by therapists on TalkSpace’s Instagram story. Aside from Coronavirus-related advice, they also post daily inspiration, mental health information, and self-care tips. Whether you’ve personally benefited from therapy in the past or have never even spoken to a therapist before, you’re sure to find something of value from TalkSpace on Insta!
@theblurtfoundation According to their Insta bio, The Blurt Foundation is “dedicated to helping those affected by depression.” Most of their feed consists of inspirational illustrations, however they also post relatable memes and informative content as well. Check them out if you need some friendly self-care reminders every once in a while!
@milennial.therapist Created by a licensed psychotherapist, Millennial.Therapist aims to raise mental health awareness by “writing about what it means to be human.” Their Instagram feed is formatted beautifully with a consistent color scheme, and almost every post consists of plain text rather than photographs or illustrations. In that sense, Millennial.Therapist’s content is definitely more on the informative side, although their frequent “gentle reminders” offer plenty of inspiration to over 370k followers. Be sure to give them a follow if you want to balance out all of the pictures on Insta with some helpful text-based content!
@anxietyhealer Anxiety Healer strives to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention within the Instagram community and beyond. A lot of their content comes from Twitter, and pretty much all of the tweets they post are related to mental health and wellness. Fortunately, Anxiety Healer isn’t the kind of account that crops out other people’s social media handles, and they always give credit where it’s due! Not to mention, they also post insightful infographics on a variety of health topics like self-care ideas, how to support someone with mental illness, and things to do while social distancing!
@thepsychologymum Clinical psychologist Dr. Emma Hepburn created The Psychology Mum on Instagram, where she posts her own psychology-related illustrations along with evidence-based mental health advice. A lot of The Psychology Mum’s content aims to debunk common myths surrounding mental illness, but she also offers helpful resources, detailed do’s and don’ts, and artsy infographics related to self-care and wellness!
@careercontessa This one’s for all of the girl bosses out there! Career Contessa offers professional advice, resources, and encouragement to over 133k followers on Instagram. Not only does their Insta feed feature lots of funny content and relatable memes, but they even manage to make their Coronavirus-related posts entertaining with one-liners like “now I know why dogs get so excited to go for walks” and “a large group of people is called a ‘no thanks.’” Their page is loaded with helpful tips, tricks, and quotes ranging from inspirational to downright hilarious. Scroll through their Insta feed long enough and you might just find yourself updating your resume!
@brenebrown It only feels right to save the best (and only Longhorn on this list) for last! As a Texas Ex herself, Brené Brown is definitely someone you should be following on Instagram if you aren’t already. Needless to say, her helpful advice and inspirational quotes are particularly relevant right now. In response to the current pandemic, Brené has been using Instagram to promote public awareness, health and safety, reminding us all to wash our hands, practice social distancing, and unite as a community while we fight COVID-19 together! Join her 2.4 million followers for meaningful advice, motivational content, and many UT references!
Okay, so maybe every state’s nickname is a little biased, but New Mexico dubbing itself the “Land of Enchantment” happens to be extremely fitting. Between the diverse landscape, great food, rich history, and stunning sunsets, it is hard not to fall in love with our neighboring state. The state line is just over 6.5 hours away and two major cities, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, are both within a 12 hour drive. If you have room in the budget to fly it’ll definitely cut down travel time, but no matter what your mode of transportation is there is plenty to do once you get there. Here are my top 10 picks for things to do in New Mexico.
Take a Ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway
Located in Albuquerque, the Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest tramway in the Americas and offers amazing views. A round-trip ticket costs $25 for adults, but there is also a student ticket option for $20 for those aged 13-20. The tram runs every 15-30 minutes but once you’re at the top you can spend as much time as you’d like taking in the view, dining, or hiking on one of the many trails. Plus it’s cooler at the top of the mountain which is a bonus when trying to beat the heat. This was probably my favorite thing I did in Albuquerque and I can’t recommend it enough. More information and tickets at https://sandiapeak.com/.
Take the Train to Santa Fe
The Rail Runner Express is another way to take in some of the scenery New Mexico has to offer. A day pass from Albuquerque to Santa Fe costs only $9 and this online schedule easily gives you departure times and information. Taking the train is a good alternative to driving or using a rideshare because it’s cheaper and allows you to see more of the state. While you’re there, check out The Shed for delicious New Mexican food!
Visit White Sands National Park
Anyone who has been on Pinterest has likely seen photos of this exquisite landscape. The white gypsum sand dunes seem never ending and offer a great backdrop for photos, sledding (yeah, sledding!), and hiking. Although White Sands is about 10 hours from Austin, it is a quicker day trip from destinations in New Mexico such as Ruidoso, Albuquerque, or Carlsbad. If you’re traveling solo the admission is $15 but loading up your car with family or friends will cost only $25.
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
For the adrenaline junkies out there, going up in a hot air balloon will get your heart pumping while allowing you to take part in a true New Mexican experience. This was at the top of my list the first time I went to New Mexico and I was blown away by the experience! Most balloon experiences happen really early in the morning or at sunset, so either way you’re guaranteed a gorgeous view of the sunrise/sunset. If you’re really into hot air balloons or prefer to see them from the ground, check out the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! It is an annual event that takes place in October and allows guests to witness hundreds of balloons taking flight. Tickets to attend are also easy on the wallet, where a flight itself will usually set you back around $250-300.
Meow Wolf is another Instagram popular spot in New Mexico. Located in Santa Fe, this unique and interactive art experience is wildly fantastical – and even that is an understatement. The easiest way to describe it is the mixture of a fun house, art exhibit and LSD experience. Student tickets cost $25. More information can be found here.
Shopping in any new place is a great way to see more of the culture and trends in the area. New Mexico is no different! Old Town in Albuquerque is a cute area to bop around in if you’re looking for souvenirs and in Santa Fe all you have to do is head to the plaza to find gift shops and Native American goods for sale. No matter where you are in the state there are fun curio shops and local stores that are easy ways to knock out souvenir shopping while beating the heat.
Tour the Historic Churches of Santa Fe
Downtown Santa Fe is full of churches that are not only architecturally stunning, but also affordable to see. The San Miguel Chapel calls itself the “Oldest Church in the United States,” with origins reportedly dating back to 1610. Another chapel, the Loretto Chapel, features a famous spiral staircase that has mysterious history due to its perfect smooth design. There are a plethora of other churches to visit as well and most still hold services for those who are interested.
Get Far Out in Roswell
Whether you’re a believer or not, visiting the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is a must do while in New Mexico. The museum has an admission fee of $5 and for that price you have the opportunity to take pictures with alien sculptures, look over historical documents, and check out the gift shop. The museum itself is pretty small so while it is an entertaining stop, I recommend visiting as a stop in your trip to another destination.
Explore Carlsbad Caverns
If you don’t know the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite now- you will once you visit the caverns. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the home of over 100 caves and on your way into the park you’ll be greeted by the natural beauty and diversity of the desert. These caverns are absolutely huge and, because of this, cave enthusiasts will likely be able to spend an entire day here. Ranger guided tours are offered but must be reserved in advance and most of them are an additional fee on top of the $15 entrance fee. With the entrance fee alone you can go on a self guided tour of the Big Room. An elevator will take you directly from the ticket counter to this portion of the caverns but you can also opt into taking the Natural Entrance Trail for an added workout. I explored Carlsbad Caverns while road tripping back to Texas so for time’s sake I only explored the Big Room, but I feel like that is plenty if you’re wanting to experience Carlsbad without too long of a time commitment. More information can be found by clicking here.
Eat at El Pinto
Established in 1962, El Pinto is both an Albuquerque must and a New Mexico favorite. It is the largest New Mexican food restaurant in the state and seats over 1,200 guests in one of their nine different dining areas. On a good weather day, enjoying El Pinto salsa on one of the patios is a must! Their menu is expansive and features everything from margaritas to stuffed sopapillas. If you look carefully on the walls you’ll see El Pinto is a popular spot for celebrities who are visiting the area, too. This family owned spot is a must if you’re looking for tasty local cuisine and a good atmosphere.
For these 10 things to do and more, New Mexico should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Amazing food, beautiful sunsets, and fun activities for art enthusiasts and outdoor lovers alike make this a great and (fairly) close travel destination for Texans. Let us know if you try anything on our list or what your favorite things to do in New Mexico are in the comments below.