Taking a Break from Instagram

Taking the first step is as easy as clicking the delete button.

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for spreading ideas, connecting people, advertising, etc. One of the most popular platforms is Instagram. Many of my friends used it in high school and soon, I was eagerly registering for an account.

However, during the last few years, I watched myself grow to despise the platform.

It became a part of my morning routine: Wake up, check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, email, then eat breakfast, brush teeth, and get dressed.

Whenever I procrastinated, I would automatically click Instagram and start scrolling – for up to 2 hours sometimes.

I decided to delete the app from my phone last year.

This break has been really beneficial because I finally realized what I wanted to use the app for. In the past year and half, there have been occasions when I wanted to follow up on creators but couldn’t do because most of their content was on Instagram. In the future, I want the platform to be a place where I can get inspiration from others.

Using my phone less has made me appreciate little things in the world more – like the moss on the rocks under the water.

At this point, it is important for me to highlight that not everyone needs to take a break and that people who do have many different reasons for doing so.

Here are some reasons why I took a break from Instagram and maybe some of these will apply to you too!

1. Time

Almost all social media platforms are used to waste time.

Waiting for a class? Use social media. Don’t want to study? Use social media.

If you were to track how many hours of social media you use each day, you’d be surprised. The 5-10 minute scrolls in between classes quickly add up. After deleting Instagram, I spent a lot less time on social media in the morning and could get started with my day earlier.

2. Stress

I found myself stressing over what to post on Instagram. Since everyone was using special apps and had a “consistent-themed-feed”, I felt the need to do the same.

Detaching myself from the platform has decreased my stress levels and obsession with perfectly edited photos.

Instead of worrying about taking good pictures to post on Instagram from my vacation, I let myself enjoy the scene with my own eyes.

3. False Perception

It is easy to become obsessed with the number of likes and comments on a post.

There are many photos that are edited beyond belief and so well posed that it seems natural. Looking at these photos daily can start to take a toll on your mental health as you believe that other people’s lives are “perfect”.

Although this is common in other social media platforms, Instagram allows for the most exposure. I wanted to get away from that and work on the mindset that a photo doesn’t dictate what a person or their life is like, nor should I be affected by what other people post.

4. Unhappiness

I followed at least 10 different accounts that posted “relatable quotes” multiple times a day. It wouldn’t have been a problem if these quotes were uplifting and motivational, but they were depressing and devoid of happiness.

After deleting the app, I felt free. I was unaware of the effect the quotes were having on my mood. The tendency to engage in negativity is high when you’re in a negative mood – which is why the more I looked, the worse I felt.

By now, if you’re thinking of challenging yourself and want to take a break from any social media platform, here are some tips on how to succeed.

  • Set the challenges at your own pace – start small (only look at the app twice a day). When you feel comfortable, you can extend the break from days to months and so on.
  • Start with one platform first and see how you feel afterwards. If you want to tackle other platforms, you will have a better idea of how to do it.
  • The change in mindset does not happen overnight. It took me about a year to finally know why I want to use Instagram. Give it time and be kind to yourself if you accidentally go back to the platform.

If you don’t use social media or you recently decided to take a break, I’d love to know your reasons and thoughts! And if you’re starting now, I hope you find the experience valuable!

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