There is a time and a place for everything, and while Instagram seems perfect at any moment, there comes a point when you realize it may be too much. During this time of social distancing, social media is an excellent way to connect online without the risk of infection, but if scrolling is the only activity you find yourself doing, then a break is beneficial. Whether you spend your time liking photos or watching Reels, the content you view matters. Is it truly enjoyable or are you just distracting yourself? Is it motivating or causing a harmful mindset? It all depends on what’s on the screen.
One of the main reasons I decide to detox from Instagram every so often is due to the insecurity or comparison that comes with being active on social media. As much as I try to avoid the jealous, anxious, or sad feelings that occasionally arise, certain photos or videos still take a toll on my self-esteem. While it provides uplifting content, social media also contributes to a variety of issues that affect mental health. When I didn’t want to delete or temporarily remove the app from my phone, that’s how I knew it would only worsen how I was feeling. I thought it was my sole source of entertainment, the only way for me to see what others were doing or how people looked. I soon realized I haven’t been entertained anymore.
Yes, social media is an escape. It’s a place to chat with friends, post cute pictures on your account, watch fun cooking videos, and laugh at stupid memes. However, it is also a hole you can fall into if you’re not looking where you are walking. Looking at the accounts you follow and seeing people having the time of their lives is not easy if you feel stuck cycling through the same three social media apps as the hours pass by.
According to HelpGuide, there is a positive aspect of social media, but there are also negative aspects that suggest the importance of a break. Some of these include insecurity about your appearance or life, seeing what activities you may miss out on, isolating yourself caused by too much use, or depression and anxiety. Not all who use social media feel this way, but the solution of limiting Instagram usage or deleting the app for a while can help decrease your dependency on it.
You have to remember that people put their best foot forward when posting on “the Gram.” Photoshop and the right angles exist. Not everyone looks a certain way all through the day. Keeping those facts in mind is crucial if you find yourself thinking unwanted thoughts. I know when I get agitated or insecure due to the content I’m viewing, then it’s time to delete it for a little while.
That's simple to write, difficult to implement.
I push it away and out of sight by either deleting it or hiding it in Apple’s “App Library.” Simply logging out of my account isn’t enough when the app is still on my screen, tempting me to open it. I tend to keep it that way for a few days. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s hard not going on Instagram if I have nothing else to do. I open my phone only to remember I’m taking a break. But that’s also a good thing. When I realize I have nothing to do, it forces me to find something. Whether that activity is reading, painting watercolors badly, or reorganizing my bedroom, I feel better than if I was wasting my free time scrolling endlessly.
After a few days, I re-download the app with a fresh mindset. Taking breaks from social media can become a key part of your life which may help improve how you feel the next time you use it or do not use it if you realize you are better off. Whatever your choice is, do not let social media define how you see yourself.