I Gave Up Instagram For a Week, and This Is What Happened

According to my screen time settings, I use Instagram an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes per day. This time is usually spent looking at memes and fashion blogs, and almost exclusively at night, when I tell myself it’s “to help me fall asleep faster”. 

For all it’s meme-bringing qualities, there is a darker side to social media, especially for young and impressionable teenage girls out there. It’s easy to forget that people only post the parts of themselves they want you to see, and not the full reality of their everyday life. It can be refreshing to step away from the perfect lives of Instagram models and old high school friends, and focus on what my time away from the screen will bring me.



We started off poorly when, in my drowsy haze, I forgot all about my Instagram ban and did a quick peruse through my DMs and some Spongebob memes before quickly wising up and getting ready for the day.

While I thought it would take me less time to get ready, I found that I was more indecisive about what to wear. Usually I take inspiration from saved posts or my favorite fashion bloggers when getting ready, but while I didn’t have those posts readily available I think I wore something that was more true to my style.

The rest of the day went well (by the rest of the day I mean one lecture period), but then I backslide immediately. I subconsciously started scrolling through Instagram while waiting for my TA in the hall, and before I knew it, I’d been on Instagram for half an hour. Crap.



I was awkwardly waiting in line at a CVS and found that, without Instagram to keep me busy, I was staring aimlessly at my notes app. Why?



Waking up this morning, I made an effort to enjoy waking up slowly, and to take in the view outside my window of Horsebarn Hill. Appreciating nature first thing in the morning, especially on a campus as picturesque and distinctly New England as UConn, set my morning off to a good start.



My friend posted a group photo of our friend group containing a slideshow of our iconic photos from the night before. Does it count as cheating when, technically, she showed me the post on her phone?



I didn’t immediately reach for my phone this morning, which is good. I did however lay in bed for 30 minutes until I was late. You win some, you lose some.



I miss Instagram a little less for its aesthetically pleasing profile layouts and flawless Corina Kopf bikini posts, and more because I struggled to google the one boneless pizza meme I was referencing to show a friend. There’s nothing stopping me from looking up funny vine compilations, so at least I’m still getting my daily dose of comedic relief.



Not much to report on Wednesday except that I did feel more productive and focused. While not necessarily connected to my self-imposed Instagram ban, I think knowing at the back of my mind that I couldn’t use it anyway kept me focused, and I got in a lot of good studying for my chemistry exam.



The last day of my Instagram cleanse went a little less smoothly than Wednesday when while googling Zoe Kravitz, I somehow found myself linked to her Instagram page, and was scrolling happily for 10 minutes before realizing what I’d done.


I emerge from this week long Instagram-ban victorious, and refreshed. Social media should be something fun, a place for us to be creative, but when it starts to become a source of anxiety and stress, it can be beneficial to step back, and take time to reflect on why we feel this way, and exactly what about. This week, I’ve been markedly more productive during periods of time where I actually sat down and focused, and was moderately successful at sleeping earlier without the allure of social media to keep me scrolling for just one more post, then another, then another.