The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and are not representative of the views of The Hysteria Collective as a whole.
I deleted Instagram for a month.
I know, hold the applause, but Instagram has consistently had a hold on me and it’s 100% a love/hate relationship. Like most people, I could never admit that my use of social media, in particular Instagram, was unhealthy and I was damaging my mental health. This was especially true during lockdown, as whilst I was given all the time in the world, I dedicated too much of it to scrolling on my phone. Instagram in lockdown was the UK’s top social media platform and 67% of consumers reported an increase in usage of the app.
Despite enjoying the memes, photos of my friends, life hacks etc. I felt that I was constantly comparing myself to people whom through the lens of Instagram seemed to be living a much better life than I was. Although I understood that people only captured their best moments on Instagram, it was still wearing me down.
Therefore, I decided that I needed a detox in order to rejuvenate my mental wellbeing and regain some free time. I deleted the app for a month (although, this naturally became nearly two).
Not being on Instagram really allowed me to stop comparing myself to other people on the daily. It supplemented my journey into self-love as I started to appreciate my own individualities and beauty (inside and outside). Removing a source of toxicity really improved my day to day life.
Additionally, I found that removing Instagram also made me want to reduce time spent on other apps such as Twitter and Tik Tok. I started using my phone as a method of communication instead of a means to social media. Clearly, this helped me regain more free time – time that, post-lockdown, I appreciate even more. Much of this free time has become a space for self-care, for example, having a relaxing bath, watching a silly sitcom or dancing around my room to 2000’s hits. These little things are not a substitute for getting professional help for mental health however, but they do make my weeks more enjoyable.
I recently redownloaded Instagram and found that I still don’t use it very much. I no longer have the urge to constantly check my feed and get dragged into the cycle of toxicity. I’m not saying that social media is damaging for everyone because it has a vast number of benefits that are also important. Social media has opened me up to new opportunities, allowed me to meet new friends, and helped me keep up with people who I can’t see everyday. Yet, I think it’s important now more than ever to keep re-evaluating our relationship with social media to ensure that we are putting our mental wellbeing first.
If you have had a similar experience to me, I would highly recommend deleting social media for a little while – you’ll find you won’t miss it as much as you originally thought. You don’t have to delete it forever, but a little break is never a bad thing.
Image courtesy of Dana Nepriakhina.