Earlier this year I found myself spending way too much time on social media, but Instagram was by far my most used app. It was understandable at first; over the summer, during quarantine, I had nothing to do and no one to see, so Instagram became my connection to the outside world.
However, post-quarantine, when I came back to school, I found that my addiction to Instagram was not only unhealthy but it had become toxic. I never thought that I could delete Instagram because it filled up so much of my free time, but when it left the home screen of my iPhone I felt relieved. It was difficult at first, but here are a few things that helped me when I broke up with Instagram.
Yes, it may seem counterproductive to replace one social media platform with another, but hear me out. Instagram can be a toxic rabbit hole because it displays content from other people around you that project their “perfect life” onto your feed. Over time, this type of activity can make people body conscious, jealous, and insecure if they do not match the image of the people they see online.
In this sense, Pinterest is the complete opposite of Instagram, because it provides you with content that is targeted towards your interests. Since you decide what is on your feed, it is a more controlled environment.
One of my biggest issues after I deleted Instagram was not knowing what to do with my free time. Scrolling through my Instagram feed or search page was almost a hobby of mine since I had done it so often. In these moments of boredom, I found that podcasts were a great way to keep my mind stimulated and entertained. There is also a great selection of podcast genres to listen to from politics, to news, to mystery, horror — you name it!
While not everyone likes to read, this is something that I found helped me lose track of time whenever I was bored and needed to fill a gap. By having the Kindle app, if I was ever watching a television show and wanted to drift away while on my phone, instead of scrolling through Instagram, I would scroll through a story.
Once again this may seem counterproductive, but isn’t scrolling through Instagram for hours instead of doing work also counterproductive?
Even though I do not actively participate in posting on Facebook, by simply opening the app I immediately felt the same sense of presence that I had felt while on Instagram. It is not always about posting, but about staying up to date on people’s lives, and just seeing that somebody shared a video on Facebook immediately made me feel connected.
Compared to Instagram, I would say that this app is harmless, because I can’t imagine spending more than two minutes scrolling on Facebook before getting tired of the content.
Not everyone likes playing games on their phone, but this was very helpful during the first few weeks after I deleted Instagram. The constant need to go on my phone prevented me from being concentrated on my work, so I downloaded a few games to keep my mind occupied whenever the need arose.
This is an incredibly useful tool because when you are mindlessly playing a game, it creates almost the same effect as mindlessly scrolling. However, unlike Instagram, I did not randomly find myself losing hours upon hours while playing a simple phone game.
Getting rid of any type of social media app is difficult, because at the end of the day, it really can be an addiction. However, it is possible to overcome the addiction to the constant flow of content. Ever since I deleted Instagram, I have noticed an improvement in my mental health and work ethic, since I do not have a continuous desire to go on my phone.
I’m not saying that everyone should delete the app, but if you think that you are spending way too much time on it, then consider removing it from your phone for a while. I won’t say that it was easy for me to give up my favorite source of social media, but I honestly can’t imagine ever wanting to get it back again.