It’s been a little while some of you might have noticed or not that’s okay too. This past week I took a break from instagram. Didn’t post once, deleted the app from my phone, only checked a few times over the week and here is what I learned, why I did it, and my thoughts from the experience. I will also share how I will combat this going forward and changes I am going to make.
First I’ll start with why. I decided to take a break because it became a source of anxiety to me instead of inspiration. You might be thinking really? Anxiety? Isn’t that a bit much? And yes it is a bit much and that’s why I knew I needed to step back. I needed to step away from the pressure I was putting on myself to post 1-2 a day while dealing with a chronic illness. The pressure to post at a certain time to get the most engagement. To get more followers. The pressure to be creative when I wasn't feeling it. Feeling constantly frustrated by the lack of followers I have. By my numbers fluctuating so much. Allowing numbers to dictate my value as a person. These are the ultimate reasons why I stepped away because it was bringing me no joy just upset.
Now onto some things that I learned. I noticed when I had deleted instagram how many times I went to open it and look at it and man I was not pleased. I did it whenever I was bored, not doing something, to take up time in my own life etc instead of applying myself to something. I just now realized (because I re-downloaded it) that I spent 25 minutes sucked into someone else’s life or lives instead of being present in my own. Yikes. That's a big red flag to me now when I didn't notice I was doing that before. How often do you get just lost in the scroll or in peoples stories? Do you recognize the amount of time that has gone by?
My next reason is one I am a bit embarrassed and ashamed to admit is that instagram and following so many other people and seeing what they were doing, eating, buying etc made me feel less then. That I wasn’t as pretty, couldn’t buy as much, wasn’t as interesting, my relationship wasn’t as cute etc. The reason I am ashamed of this is because I know others that have felt this way yet never thought I’d get there myself. That likes, views, followers would make my value and self-esteem go down. I also thought when I read others that felt this way that wow they must be a bit weak if they are letting an app do that to them. I know that's harsh. But I am being honest. Here I am having experienced those feelings and I can say it's not weak to admit that constant comparison eventually effects your self-esteem. I think it's healthy and okay if you have felt this way and it leads to some personal growth.
Now onto how I am going to combat this and the changes I am going make. Getting over these feelings is going to take more than a week to go away. I am sure some of them won't go away all together but here are some things I plan to do. I am not going to pressure myself to post every single day or twice a day. I am done forcing creativity and inspiration. Sometimes they are just not there and that is okay. I am not a machine that can just pump it out. I also am going to drastically cut down on the time I spend on instagram. When I have the urge to go on because i'm looking to fill time I am going to force myself to do something in that time. Can be anything cleaning, meditating, writing, listen to music etc. I am going to worry less about how my feed looks, how many likes I get, how many followers I get in a day and just stand by that I was creative and like what I produced. I will take more breaks if I feel I need them. Those are the big changes I am going to make.
If you are allowing an app to take away your gratitude, presence in your own life, self-esteem/value I hope you know its okay to take a break and step back. Because at the end of the day it's literally an app. I think that is constantly overlooked and forgotten. I know it's something I overlooked and now constantly reminding myself.