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Why I Deleted Instagram
It’s said to be believed that there is currently over 600 million Instagram users would-wide and I am assuming if you are reading this, then you will most probably be a part of that astronomical figure.
I am one of those users to, but only for 3 weeks out of the month.
Want to know why? Let me explain a little more..
The first time I deleted Instagram was a few months ago, when my husband and parents basically challenged me to, as they thought at that time in my life, it was having more of a negative effect on me than positive. I’ve spoken previously on my blog about my struggles with anxiety and depression and they felt being sucked into this virtual world was not helping the matter.
At first I laughed and thought they were mad! Why would a social network platform be making me feel worse, when I follow people I admire from a business perspective, or pretty accounts full of cakes and flowers, or my actual ‘real life’ friends?! However after some more discussion about it and a little thinking time, I decided ‘sod it’ I will go cold-turkey and not only delete Instagram, but delete my Facebook and Twitter accounts too!
I didn’t make any ‘big announcement’ on my social accounts to where or why I would be disappearing, I simply clicked the little ‘x’ icon on the apps and as if by magic, they had vanished.
After I Had Deleted Instagram
After about an hour of them being gone from all devices, I am a little embarrassed to say I started to feel a little irritated and a slight twitch in my right hand. I think my thumb was starting to miss the scrolling motion. I also felt like I was maybe missing out and was curious to know what others were doing and posting.
It was then I realised and remarkably had my ‘ah-ha’ moment (as Oprah calls it). If after only one hour I was feeling like I ‘needed’ to be on Instagram and seeing what everyone was up to, it dawned on me that it had a bigger grasp over myself and my life more than I had ever imagined.
The next morning after a good night sleep for once (as I wasn’t wide awake scrolling through people’s stories and feeds till gone midnight)- I woke up feeling slightly more optimistic and was curious to see if I were any more productive with my time now I had no social media distractions…
And oh my goodness, WAS I!
I got simple everyday house-chores done a lot quicker, I got blog posts written up a lot faster as I do sometimes have the awful habit of procrastinating and going on Instagram when I am having so-called ‘writers block’. I was more engaged when meeting loved ones for coffee as I didn’t have the distraction of social media notifications pinging in the background. I even watched TV programs fully all the way through, without Steve saying to me ‘you aren’t even watching this’!
I very quickly was back in the ‘real world’.
How I Felt After The Detox
Soon before I knew it 6 weeks had flown by without ANY social media. I felt like a new person and people had noticed! I didn’t feel as anxious, I didn’t feel as pressured…I just felt happy and relaxed.
I know some of you reading this you may think it sounds crazy that being on such platforms as Instagram can make someone feel more anxious or pressurised but more studies have proven that social media in general (but Instagram coming out as the worse), can be damaging for one’s health emotionally and play into some people’s insecurities. Certain posts can set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. This may explain why Instagram, where personal photos take centre stage, received the worst scores for body image and anxiety, due to the ‘filter effect’. A lot of people use it but may not know a lot about the tricks behind photography and editing software/apps and do not realise how touched-up images can be from these so-called ‘influencers’, just the same as glossy magazines on the stands…it’s not REAL life!
After 6 weeks of being ‘offline’ my loved ones were amazed and actually proud of me that I’d lasted that long. I had never set myself a time-limit, it just organically happened this way. As this time passed, I was curious to revisit that little purple and orange icon and see what had happened to my account and stats. I had only lost about 10-15 followers but I was very surprised to have received quite a few private messages on there, from people asking me if I was okay and making sure nothing had happened. I felt that was sweet of them and I was a little flattered that people had actually noticed my break away from Instagram but also slightly worried for them in a weird way, that they had noticed. It made me wonder how much they too are online and what sort of engagement they are having with others to notice when someone has come offline?
Please don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram and it can be an incredible platform for many to use and enjoy. It can help keep relatives in touch all over the world, it can help launch a small businesses to a HUGE market and even let them work to their own specific, targeted audience. It can also just be a place for creatives to share exciting new ideas or collaborations. However, it is fundamental to remember that it is not healthy to be on it all the time and it really can without you realising, play into your thoughts and emotional wellbeing and make you perhaps think ‘I wish my life was like that’, or ‘I wish I had a house like that’ or ’I wish I was on that luxury, all paid for 5* holiday to the Maldives’.
One week out of every month, I delete Instagram off my phone and have a working week off it, as a regular detox. This helps remind me that there is more to life than taking pictures of your pretty cocktails or showing others those new shoes you so desperately wanted. It has helped increased my productivity and also no doubt my health both mentally and physically (remember the constant glare of your phone really isn’t good for your eyes or face)!
I would like to challenge YOU to a detox off Instagram, even if it’s just starting with one hour or one day and building up over time to a weekend and then maybe even a week? I’d love to hear how you find it and if you learnt anything about yourself by doing this little experiment.