I've Given Up Instagram - Here's Why and What It's Like

Almost a year ago, I decided to permanently delete my Snapchat account and say goodbye to my streaks. Now a month into the new year, I have decided to do that same with Instagram - I’ve deleted the app completely off all of my devices. At first, I thought it would be extremely difficult and that I would get massive FOMO. Instead, taking a social media break has made me realise a lot about myself, my free time and existing in the present moment.

As a Communication major, it was a huge decision for me to take a break from the media platform. A couple months into my break, I’m still not 100% sure I’ve abandoned ship for good. What I do know is that I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Recently, I have felt the need to kick the habit of mindlessly scrolling on my phone and to spend my time some other way. When I deleted Snapchat, Instagram quickly became its replacement. I would check my feed as soon as I woke up, before I went to bed, and multiple times in between. I noticed that I was clicking Instagram minutes after I had just closed simply because I needed something to look at. I wasn’t posting often and didn’t have a strong desire to see what other people were posting either. With that, I decided I needed to take a break.

So far, the experience has been pretty rewarding. I’ve been able to spend less time on my phone altogether and don’t feel the need to check all my accounts before and after turning in for the night. My productivity levels have risen and I don’t feel as bad for not responding to messages, DMs or comments as often as before. This is not to say that I am cutting myself off from social media but deleting Instagram has allowed me to live in the present moment and to put my phone down. I genuinely feel more refreshed and have been able to spend time with friends and family. I realised the importance of a face-to-face conversation without the interruption of my phone. When I am studying, at work or working on my internship, I am able to flip my phone face down and put my energy and attention into my work. Overall, I'd say taking a hiatus has presented me with more benefits than I realised.

Although Instagram isn’t perfect, I do miss having a single medium to post my photos to. These last few weeks I’ve been debating about revamping my Instagram profile. As I’m sure many of you do, I followed a plethora of celebrity accounts, old friends from high school, acquaintances and even friends of friends. For me, this got extremely overwhelming and I felt that I had to be picky about what I posted. I don’t think Instagram has been a life changing decision but it has taught me a lot about spending more time in the present moment. It has also got me thinking about turning Instagram into a more self-serving platform instead of posting to please followers.

If you easily feel overwhelmed by social media, I urge you to try and take a break. For me, it has been rewarding both in my academic and professional life as well as in my personal relationships and lifestyle. I think social media can often make us feel tied to how we present and percieve ourselves digitally and pressure us to be glued to the screen. By taking a break, I guarantee that you will be more connected to the people around you. Hopefully, you become more immersed in the hobbies and activities you love and feel less reliant on your phone.

While I know going MIA on social media can be a huge change, sometimes taking a mindfulness break away from the screen is what college kids need. Life is busy and stressful and it is increasingly important to spend time around people you love doing things you enjoy. I believe that there are more benefits from ditching our phones than we realise.

 

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