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Wellness > Mental Health

This Happened When I Deleted Instagram for a Day…

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

Last week, I was assigned homework to check my screen time and reflect on what I learned. It was a bad sign that I was embarrassed to turn it in. On average, I am on my phone for around four hours a day, with a majority of this time spent on social networking apps. My most used app though was Instagram, and I spent (or wasted) about an hour on it per day! How crazy! I could be using that time for many other useful things, such as homework, sleeping, or hanging out with friends. Thankful that I was given this assignment, I decided it was necessary for me to take small steps to fix this bad habit.

Looking at my schedule, I knew I had a busy Sunday coming up: a meeting in the morning, a group project in the afternoon, and a holiday dinner event with friends at night. It would also be smart of me to start looking ahead and preparing for my upcoming test. This would be the perfect day for me to delete Instagram. After scrolling through one final time, I logged out of my account to ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally check my feed in my spare time. I went to bed looking forward to both checking Instagram the following night, and also seeing what the outcome would be from my experiment.

Since I didn’t mindlessly scroll through Instagram while lying in bed as I usually do in the morning, I noticed it took me less time to go through my routine and get ready. As the day continued on, I observed myself clicking on the app, wanting to see what people were posting. Even though I kept reminding myself that I had logged off for the day, out of habit I probably went on Instagram like five times. At lunch with friends, I was asked if I had seen a specific news event that filled all their feeds that morning. It is interesting that Instagram has reached the area of news and that one who does not have an account may not hear about certain news stories. For some, not using Instagram for a day may be easy, but I definitely missed it.

While the experience was not flawless, the positives 100% outweigh the negatives. I had a great, productive day! I spent quality time with my friends and completed the work I had to do. When I checked my screen time, it was way lower than it had been previously! I just genuinely felt happy and that is a great feeling! This day did not include checking my likes and followers or comparing myself to others online. I did not worry about what other people were doing or allow myself to feel FOMO. Rather, I was happy to have a good time and be present in the moment.

Although this was only one day, I hope it is something I will continue to work on. Especially with the stress of a new semester, I do not want to let any social media eat away at valuable time. Yes, I will re-log into Instagram later and be excited to scroll through it, I know now I need to do this only in moderation. I hope to only check the app in the mornings and at night to boost productivity during the day. In the future, I will potentially build up to deleting Instagram for more than a day at a time. Another possibility could be deleting all social medias for a day and lowering my screen time even further. It is important to keep in mind that instead of going zero to a hundred, it is better to take change step by step.

Here’s to beginning new habits and experiencing an amazing year ahead!

Eden Gilan

U Mich '23

Hey! I am Eden Gilan! I am a Freshman at University of Michigan studying Communication and Media. You are most likely to find me drinking coffee at Expresso Royale, scrolling through Instagram for way too long, or eating cool foods with my friends. Go Blue!