Why Should I Have an Instagram Detox?
If you’re on Instagram and have been for several years, then you’re probably no stranger to the impacts that it has on mental health. Many people often say that they spend too much time on the app, compare themselves and their looks to others online, compare their lives to the seemingly perfect “content creators,” analyze the number of likes they receive, spend hours perfecting their profile, etc. I hear from countless peers that they spend their time obsessing over their Instagram to the point that they find themselves unhappy and exhausted. Who knew that spending the majority of one’s free time trying to look perfect, happy, and envied by others ACTUALLY ends up making us feel unhappy and drained?! This feeling among teenagers and twenty-somethings is what sparked what is now known as the “Instagram Detox.” This detox requires people to either temporarily delete their app or their account and avoid the platform for a number of days.
The detox is a way to break the hold that the app has over our emotional health and become less dependent and consumed with social media in the long run. It’s become famous among celebrities and young adults worldwide. Even Kendall Jenner famously took an Instagram Detox two years ago when she felt that Instagram was consuming all of her free time.
Personally, I’ve noticed that after having an Instagram binge, my mind becomes exhausted with the app and the effects that it has on my emotional health. I end up going through a period of a week or two when I can hardly make myself open Instagram. Every time I open it I instantly feel disconnected and unhappy. It’s almost as if my mind is subconsciously forcing a detox. I’ve found that best thing to do is to listen to what your mind is telling you and take a break. Whenever I take an Instagram detox, I end up putting down the phone and becoming much more reflective about my mental and emotional health, life goals, relationships, etc.
This happened to me very recently, which sparked me to write this post. After having another Instagram Detox I was actually able to become happier and rediscover myself outside of the world of digital media. After noticing that my brain needed a detox, I went all-in and decided to devote a week to self-help and growth… Instagram-free. If you’re interested in taking your own social media detox, here is how I helped myself through the week and got the most out of it:
Step One: Reflect
Admit that you have a social media addiction and need to take a detox. Listen to what your mind is trying to tell you. If you feel discontented and overwhelmed with your life online, take a break! Don’t push that feeling away or you’ll end up feeling worse. Think about why it is that you need a break, and what you’re looking to get from a week without social media.
Step Two: Commit
Now that you realize that you need a detox, do something about the app! Remove the app, delete the account, or move the app in your phone. If you’re too nervous to temporarily delete the account, then delete the app and re-download it later. Or, you can move the app’s placement on your phone to the back page. Moving or deleting the app on your phone will remind you to not go on it.
Step Three: Read a self-help book
If you’re taking a break from Instagram, then there’s obviously a need for it. Whether it’s the amount of time you spend on it or some other reason. There is a problem with your relationship with social media, and you need to regain control over yourself and the hold that social media has on you. Simply removing the app won’t fix the problem. In order to get the most out of your detox, you have to become more aware of your habits and focus on improving. The best way to do this is to learn from the experts who have transformed their lives through simple self-help strategies and habits. It will benefit your mental and emotional health, help you become happier and inspired, and maybe help you get to the route of your dependence on social media.
Step Four: Listen to Ted Talks
Once you’re on an Instagram detox, don’t waste that time laying in bed and binge-watching Netflix. Otherwise, it’s replacing one bad habit with another. Instead, spend that time learning something new. Watch Ted Talks about topics that you normally wouldn’t pay any attention to. Instead of binge-watching The Office, I ended up learning about polar exploration, the 2017 election hack, and the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi. Very random, I know… but I learned something new!
Step Five: Start a new hobby
The best way to distract yourself from throwing yourself back into the world of social media is to learn a new hobby. It’s not only a distraction, but it gives you another outlet to express and entertain yourself. Sometimes, we spend so much time expressing ourselves online, that once we’re disconnected from technology we feel lost. It’s important to have hobbies that don’t involve staring at your phone.
Step Six: Call your friends
Fun fact: Back before we all became obsessed with our online personas, we actually went on social media to connect and talk with people!! Sadly, social media became a way to have relationships without ever actually speaking to people. Use your social media free time to call up old friends and relatives that you haven’t talked to in a while and actually connect with people offline.
Step Seven: Focus on your physical health
Since you’re taking this time to have digital detox and focus on your mental health, it only makes sense to focus on your physical health too. Besides, the first thing that you’ll notice once you ditch the digital media for a week is that you suddenly have a lot of extra time on your hands… time that would be better spent at the gym getting in shape for spring break. (;
Step Eight: Clean up your space
If I ever want to make myself feel better and less anxious, oddly enough I just have to clean my room. Cleaning makes me feel like I’m organized, relaxed, and more prepared for whatever I have going on. Recently, I’ve even found articles about how cleaning not only makes people feel better mentally but also is linked to better physical health and a longer lifespan!
Step Nine: Journal
When I started my Instagram detox, I noticed that I had a lot of time on my hands in between classes. I usually spend that time sitting on my phone and scrolling through a timeline, so I had to find something to do during those small moments. I came across a list of journal prompts online and decided that I would use that time to journal a new prompt every day. Once I started regular journaling, I felt so much better. It kept me engaged and got me thinking about things that I wouldn’t normally think about. I felt content and satisfied after a short break of journaling instead of staring at my phone and turning into a zombie. It gave me mental clarity and peace of mind that scrolling just doesn’t give me.
Step Ten: Set limits
When your detox has ended and it’s time to get back on social media, use it sparingly. Make a conscious effort to not check your phone and spend time engaging with the world around you instead of scrolling through your news feeds. You don’t have to like someone’s picture of them drinking a latte the second it’s posted! It can wait. You can even download apps like Checky and Moment to make sure that you’re not checking your phone too many times a day and not spending an excessive amount of time on apps like Instagram.
Photo by Allen Fajardo @alewafeni