- I decided to quit Instagram for one week to see how I would cope without my favourite social media platform.
- I noticed my anxiety and stress increased on the first day without Instagram.
- But by the end of the week, I had saved money, read more, and learned to relax better.
- Here are my biggest takeaways from my Instagram experiment.
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Hi, my name’s Christine, and I’m an Instagram addict.
Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest. While I’m no influencer, I really love to Instagram my travels, great food, and memorable times with my friends.
Let’s not forget the separate account I run for my puppy (yes, I’m that girl). I also use the platform as a way of staying in touch with my nearest and dearest. I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago and haven’t looked back since. Insta DMs and comments suit my connectivity needs just fine.
However, I began to realise just how intense my “hobby” was a few months back when Apple added those lovely recaps of my screen time. Every Sunday I felt my face flush as my report showed that most of my time on my phone was spent on Instagram, rather than something Apple deems “productive.”
Feeling judged (you don’t know my life, Tim Cook and co.!) and also slightly embarrassed, I decided to challenge myself to a week free from all things Instagram.
Aside from the not-so-gentle reminders from Apple, I was reminded time and time again IRL that my habits had gotten slightly out of control. On vacations, my husband would cringe every time I made him take a photo of me next to a notable landmark. My parents would complain about my attention span or lack thereof, during family dinners and I could hardly sit through a 30-minute TV show (not even “Game of Thrones,” mon Dieu!) without checking my phone six times.
Time for a change.
So, for a full week, I deleted Instagram. No more stories, no more puppy pics, no more scrolling for hours on end.
And I noticed a few key things over the course of the week. Here’s what happened.
My anxiety and stress levels increased at first
On Day One, I felt kind of lost without the opportunity to scroll through my Instagram feed.
My normally short 20-minute commute dragged on and on as I stared out the windows of the train and refreshed my inbox.
An even weirder side effect – I felt anxious. Nervous to start my work week, panicked about my packed schedule, and convinced I left my curling iron on (don’t worry, I didn’t).
Was Instagram really numbing out my worry that much? It was. The mindless scrolling actually soothed my usually stress-ridden self. This was going to be a long week.
I read a book instead
By Day Three, I had thankfully calmed down and ran to Amazon Prime to solve my “what to do” woes.
After putting it off for a solid year, I bought “Rich People Problems,” the third and final instalment in Kevin Kwan’s famed “Crazy Rich Asians” trilogy. Book in hand, my commute flew by, and I quickly realised that I’d been neglected a hobby I find not only relaxing but also rewarding, thanks to my overzealous social media consumption.
Note to self: Focus more on acquiring a library membership and less on building up my following.
I didn’t spend as much money
On top of my social media addiction, I also have an online shopping problem. And Instagram’s algorithm knows just how to sucker me into spending money.
Week after week, I’m urged into buying beautiful but unnecessary shoes, makeup, and clothing because they pop up on my feed through sponsored posts. Brands I’ve never even heard of quickly become must-haves for my shopaholic self. In all honesty, I probably purchase two to three items per month just from things I find on Insta.
But during my Instagram-less week, my hardcore shopping habit vanished. My husband and my wallet were happy, and I didn’t acquire yet another miracle-working moisturizer that I use once before pawning it off to a friend.
I chilled out
Once the cord was cut and I wasn’t constantly clicking on that cute and colourful camera icon, I felt calm. Oddly calm.
Maybe seeing my friends, colleagues, and former classmates looking their best, doing their best, being their best, at all hours of the day, was actually making me feel a little bit blue. Sure, I was happy they were vacationing in the Maldives, but why wasn’t I vacationing in the Maldives?
My time spent reading or talking IRL worked wonders on my sanity and stress.
Life goes on, Instagrammed or not
My biggest and more important takeaway was that life lives on whether you capture it in a photo or not.
Who cares how many likes I get on my picture of the Northern Lights if taking that pic meant I spent less time experiencing them first hand?
Food for thought – in a week from now will you remember or care about how many likes your picture got or how many swoon-worthy photos you saw on your feed? No. Put the phone away for a short seven days and see just how much you missed it. I’ll bet it’s less than you think.
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