What I Learned From Quitting Instagram

Living life for the past two weeks sans Instagram has definitively been beneficial—which probably comes as no surprise to anyone. My end of June resolution was sort of a combination of several different factors, 1) I needed to prioritize moving and packing and couldn’t spend any more of my time wasting it on social media, 2) I felt like I was living in a state of constant comparison to people and brands, 3) I didn’t find anything about it useful or beneficial to my life, 4) I was tired of wasting my time scrolling through an app.

I’m sure there are a number of other reasons as well but I think what is important here is actually realizing that when I finally logged back on, I didn’t miss anything. The people who were posting regularly were still posting regularly, the bloggers were blogging, Instastories were still rolling on, and I didn’t miss out on anything at all. Beyoncé continued to slay, Tracee Ellis Ross continued to be amazing, and I’m sure Kim Kardashian continued to culturally appropriate.

I think that was something I wasn’t sure I would be aware of until I was—like, I never sat down for a moment and thought, “Oh, what am I going to miss out on?” But when I finally redownloaded the app, logged in, and scrolled, I noticed that I really didn’t miss out on anything, and that was extremely comforting.

The days prior to my log in weren’t necessarily filled with productivity up-the-wazoo, but I was able to consistently set down my phone and not reach for it everytime I got bored. During the middle of this two week period, I hit a weird wall where instead of scrolling through Instagram I scrolled through Youtube videos and/or my photo gallery which satisfied this weird hankering in me to scroll through Instagram. I started realizing that this was probably due to a deeper need to have mental and visual stimulation which I then found out coffee table books and mini-movies on Nowness helped curb.

If you are looking to take a step back from social media, I sincerely encourage you to do so, however, consider these lessons first…

Lesson #1: I Realized that My Constant Comparison with Companies Producing a Shit Ton Of Instagram Photos/Videos/Stories, Was Unnecessary to Feel

I think what was weird for me is that I wasn’t necessarily comparing myself to Instagram models, bloggers, or anyone else, it was actually with larger brands and companies that I aspired to be like. I wanted to produce effective content and create a visual representation of what I was writing about, but I neglected to consider the fact that some of these brands have social media teams working out the whole process for them. It wasn’t just one person behind the grid, it was a team of 10. It also kind of made me realize where I want to be and gave me a dose of courage to lean into that more.

Lesson #2: I Got Bored in Conversations Because I Wasn’t Valuing the Other Person

Which was extremely eye-opening because it just started happening, it was almost involuntary. I would effectively tune out mentally and scroll through Instagram as a means of keeping myself entertained. Instead, when conversations lagged, and I realized I was getting bored, or my mind was wandering, I stopped being an asshole and started listening. I asked more in-depth questions and found ways to engage in normal human behavior again, which then made me realize…

Lesson #3: How Much Other People are On Their Phones.

Literally, everyone is glued to their phones. Friends ignored each other and stared at their phones, couples scrolled through Instagram while eating dinner together, I saw several people texting and driving. I combatted this by not pulling my phone out of my pocket unless I absolutely needed to do something. When I waited on the street corner to meet a friend for lunch, instead of standing there looking at my phone, I stood there looking at traffic. While lying on the couch bored out of my mind, I decided to turn on music and have a solo dance party.

Lesson #4: Productivity Is Something You Have to Work At

It didn’t just fall out of the sky and land on my lap, but it was significantly easier to prioritize what needed to be prioritized.

Lesson #5: My Attention Span is Noticeably Longer When Not Using Social Media

Anyone who knows me knows that my attention span can be fleeting. When I’m in a good mood I am buzzing around jumping from topic to topic and anything shiny and sparkly will directly curb my focus.

And while my squirrel-like tendencies tend to be inherent, I noticed that without social media I was more excited about the world around me than the world on my phone. I was engaged in activities again, I enjoyed more of my day, and had better conversations and moments with friends then I’ve had in a long time.

Lesson #6: There’s an App Called In Moment That Helps Curb Social Media Time

I learned about it through an Instagram ad.

How will I proceed with Instagram in the future, well, you’ll just have to follow me to find out?

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