I won’t lie, I love Instagram. Not just because it lets us get a sneak peak into the stories behind our favorite companies and people, but because I’m a visual person. I love how a photograph can say a thousand things in a single frame. Cheesy, yes, but true.
Over the last few months, I observed (and found myself hating) the way my hand was practically glued to my phone, not because of Twitter or Facebook, but because of Instagram. My fingers would open Instagram the second I registered the fact that I had time to kill, as if they had a mind of their own. The negative emotions I was experiencing were starting to pile up.
The day after the presidential election, I decided to try an experiment. I typed up a quick note explaining my intentions, took a screenshot, and posted it to my Instagram account before deleting the app from my phone. I didn’t intend for my hiatus to last for two weeks, but one day became two, and two became a week, and one week turned into two before I decided to jump back on the bandwagon.
After two weeks, I learned a few things about myself and my attachement to Instagram.
1. I Woke Up Earlier (And Had More Time As A Result)
Like many twenty-somethings, I often blindly feel for my phone first thing in the morning to shut my alarm up. Prior to my Instagram cleanse, I would stay in bed much longer than necessary. I spent that time in bed scrolling through Instagram experiencing FOMO. What started as a few minutes of scrolling would become hours.
During my Instagram cleanse, I deleted the app from my phone and logged out of Instagram on my computer so that I would have to log in to view my account. Luckily for me, I didn’t remember my password because I had checked that little box that asked Instagram to remember my password.
I would roll over and grab my phone, shut my alarm off, and go to check Instagram in the mornings… only to find that it wasn’t there. Without the app there, I would jump out of bed and get on with my day at 6:30 instead of 8:00.
I quickly realized that more than Facebook, Instagram was the social media channel I preferred, and spent the most time using. Without the app, I found myself with more time to get important things done. I would focus on the tasks at hand without stopping every few minutes to check for the little red notification in the app, and left my phone alone as a result.
The more things I got done, the more accomplished I felt. Ridding myself of Instagram for as long as I did allowed me to learn that you have more time than you may think; one simply needs to make time.
2. I Started to Stop Comparing Myself To Others
Without Instagram, I wasn’t tempted to stare longingly at a model’s 5’10” frame and wish I had her abs; I found myself looking in the mirror and focusing on what my 5’ 2” frame could physically achieve.
I found that I benefitted not just physically, but also mentally from not seeing that little rainbow camera on my phone and engaging with it. Not worrying about what other people my age (or younger) were doing with their careers or their respective lives allowed me to focus on what I needed to do on that day, whether it was making a call to an insurance company or working on another job application. I felt better.
Instagram is something that fuels comparison, even more so than Facebook. It was only when I stepped away from the photo-sharing app that I realized just how much I had been comparing myself to others, even though I was completely cognizant of the fact that Instagram allows its users to curate the content on their respective feeds, showing a very skewed picture of their lives instead of their reality.
Comparing myself to others wasn’t motivating me, like it had when I was younger; it was making me feel awful about myself. Moping and focusing on what I didn’t have instead of what I had wasn’t getting me any closer to achieving my goals; it kept me stagnant.
What You Can Do
Erasing Instagram from your life will not be a miracle cure, but it can make you much more aware of how you’re spending your time, and where you’re putting your energy. I took a step toward focusing on me instead of everything around me for those two weeks. Yes, social media is a great way to gain insight into the behind-the-scenes life of celebrities, companies, and brands, but it can also keep you trapped if you’re not intentional about your social media use.
You have to remember that your life and your self-worth are more than a carefully curated stream of filtered images. Being constantly connected to screens and multiple forms of social media can be exhausting. Taking a break is sometimes necessary.
Your life is more than the select moments you choose to share with the world. I’m not saying that everyone should permanently delete Instagram from their lives but I can’t deny that–as I found out over these few weeks–disconnecting from Instagram has been a refreshing, and much-needed change.
This change opened my eyes to many benefits, some that I may decide to make permanent fixtures in my life in the future.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Your life is more than the select moments you choose to share with the world. ” quote=”Your life is more than the select moments you choose to share with the world. “]