It's not you, it's me, Instagram
My Break Up and Make Up with Instagram
Break ups are hard, and I’ve recently gone through a few of them. The one I want to talk to you about is my break up with Instagram. You may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet on social media lately. You also may not have noticed, and that’s perfectly fine, too.
Let me preface this by saying that Instagram can be a great tool for connection, and I’m so grateful that it brought me to so many of YOU. I’ve been brought to tears more times than I can count by beautiful and thoughtful DMs and comments that kept me coming back for more. However, the incessant need to drive engagement was taking a toll on my mental health.
Instagram became a “have to” instead of a “get to” for me. I was pushed very hard by a business coach (who I also broke up with) to be on there constantly. Her advice did work, but as my engagement grew, so did my anxiety.
Instagram was no longer a place where I could share my genuine thoughts on body confidence, diet culture, body image, etc. at my leisure but instead became my full-time job. It morphed into a battle between pleasing the algorithm and staying true to my authentic self with no end in sight.
I was also infected with the icky, nasty bug you might be familiar with: Comparisonitis. I was seeing every other coach’s highlight reel. They were all seemingly working harder, putting out better content, staying more consistent, growing their accounts more, etc. etc. I never felt like I was doing enough but yet found myself missing out on real life events. Cue anxiety, guilt, and unnecessary stress.
When more pieces of my life started to crumble and rebuild themselves, (my relationship ended, I moved out of my apartment, got a full-time job…hello transition), I decided that I needed to take a real break from Instagram and social media in general. I didn’t have a timeframe in mind or an end goal, but I just knew it needed to happen for my sanity.
Social media has been proven to be addictive, and I have to admit I was definitely strung out. Before the break I found myself constantly scrolling, checking my follower count, responding to comments, answering DMs, engaging with other accounts, and doing all the things to please the algorithm. I made a shocking discovery with the Screen Time app on my phone that I was spending over 3 hours per day on Instagram alone. Yikes. I did some calculations and it came out to over 45 days per year on Instagram. As someone who values being present in the moment and my in-person relationships, this was not okay to me. Something had to give.
With the help of the App Limits feature on my iPhone that locks you out of apps once you’ve hit your set limit, I’ve reduced my Instagram usage to an average of 30-45 min per day. I added in more meditation and journaling to my morning instead of scrolling, and when the need to scroll became too much, I would check the news (which is problematic in it’s own way, but that’s another conversation).
I honestly can’t express enough how life changing this break up has been for me. My insecurities have lessened, I have more free time, I have less work-related anxiety, and my comparisonitis is almost non-existent. On the flip side, Instagram has taken notice of my absence and my engagement has plummeted, but that’s a number that I’m no longer obsessed with.
So, where do we go from here, Instagram?
What I found throughout this little break was that I miss my community. I missed having a platform to share, express, and connect, which after all IS the original intention of Instagram. So from here on out I’ll be back on the gram (and Facebook, blogging, and email blasts) but on my own terms. No set schedule, no set agenda, no pre-made content. Just 100% authentic me trying to connect and share with you to make your day a little brighter.
p.s. If you want to learn how to utilize the App Limits feature of your iPhone, check out this link here.