My Time Off From Instagram

The last few weeks kind of seemed to spiral out. Although I was glad to have started term time again, things got overwhelming in no time. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint it to whether it was because second year of the course got more challenging, or it was because of all of the other things I was doing, or if it was because my brain still hadn’t recovered from “holiday” mode and was having a hard time acclimatising to the demanding workload.

So, to deal with the problem, I decided to do the most clichéd thing I thought I could do. I put up a story on Instagram, saying that I was going off, and then uninstalled the app. I had to keep other messaging apps such as WhatsApp on my phone to maintain basic contact with family and my peers and stay informed about news and events.

The first few days were a bit different. The notifications that would blow up my phone were gone, and it felt weird when there weren’t any when I checked my phone. The temptation to check my phone often also didn’t help, and in fact, made me get phantom phone vibrations, where I would think I got a notification. Ironically, it produced the comical effect of me not being able to focus on my work as I would be distracted because I couldn’t stop checking my phone.

Over the next few days, it got better, and I didn’t have the urge to check my phone as often. I realised how much time I had been spending on various social media sites and I gained so much more time. My time management skills got better, and I could adhere to my schedule more. This meant me stressing less about work and being able to also focus on various other things. I finally started listening to the podcasts that I’d been wanting to for so long. A much, much welcome change.

A less stressful situation at work coupled with managing time effectively meant I was finally on a more reasonable sleeping schedule. Five or six days later I had managed to fit in time to go on a run. Not that I run very well - I get out of breath very easily and hadn’t been in touch since I started term; it still felt like a step towards taking more care of myself and was an overall good feeling. Moreover, my unhealthy habit of surfing on the phone before bed got replaced by reading, and I finished Mom and Me and Mom over the week and half I was off.

However, I had to eventually get back, not because I didn’t want to get used to a more relaxed lifestyle, but I had already missed events from a few societies that I had joined, and felt left out of most of current affairs and news as Instagram is my main news source, and of course, I had missed memes. I realised the best way to go was possibly to combine both. It has been a while since I was off, but do I still spend hours and hours on it? No. I have learned to cut back, and I am happy to see that I have carried on the things I picked up while I was going through a social media detox. Afterall, there is nothing better than reading while you’re tucked in, before drifting off to dreamland.