These past two weeks, I went on a Instagram detox. Dramatic, I know! But given how much I use it professionally, I thought it would be wise to switch off if I wanted to really and truly feel rested.
It was simple – I logged out of the app, and moved it off my home screen. I didn’t log in for 14 days.
It was blissful, I’m not going to lie!
Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy posting my content and viewing/engaging with others. I also actually consider myself to have very good social media boundaries. For instance, very rarely do I endlessly scroll – if I’m on it, it’s for my own uploading or a purpose e.g. to check out a cafe (you know what I mean!). I don’t follow people that make me feel shitty/don’t serve me. I would never check IG in bed, nor first thing when I wake up or just before sleep. I’m not on IG whilst I am in the company of someone else (except mayyyybe a quick IG story ;)).
I’d say I’ve come a long way since my early days. So I was pretty surprised the difference I felt simply by not being signed in to IG and not having it available. I felt lighter, more care-free, confident and definitely more in the moment.
This prompted some reflection, and I think I’ve come to a few conclusions about myself, which might be applicable to you too…
Having access to IG can make me feel like I have to post, I have to document every major or minor moment. Even if I’m not, it’s the thought that I “should be” or “could be” that weighs me down. Which completely takes away from the present experience right in front of me! I’m thinking about sharing it with my audience instead of sharing it with my fiancé, family member or friend. Not having this feeling was a game-changer, and definitely something I want to continue to harness and balance out, now that I am back online.
Secondly, during this time, I put far less pressure on myself to capture perfect pictures, both of me and my food/surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, long gone are days of wearing heavy make up 7 days a week, but in the spirit of honesty and transparency, I think it’s important to say that sometimes I really dislike a picture of myself. Old thoughts and fears creep back in. I judge myself harshly, I tell myself things I would never say to a friend. When you are sharing your life with the world, it can be very intimidating, and most of us like to put our best foot forward. Whilst I’d like to think I don’t care what people think, the truth is, to a large extent, I do. I don’t think there is any shame in admitting that. Certainly, I’d like to care a little less, and what I learnt from this experience is that for the most part, it’s an internal battle… it’s the judgements I pass on myself that make me feel the pressure. Realistically, I’ll never really know what other people looking at me think! And even if I did know, I couldn’t control it if I tried, so why am I presuming? This time-off really gave me perspective on that. I found myself caring less and loving more. Social media can be full of judgement, comparison, competition, deceit – things that really thrive off insecurity – that’s just the truth of it. So when I took that out of the equation, even just physically (because don’t get me wrong, I still took pics of myself and my surroundings, albeit much less!), it kind of just melted away and I felt more free to be me.
(Side note – I also stopped straightening my hair whilst away, and am loving my natural curls! Something I never thought I’d feel!)
With that in mind, I will certainly be doing an IG break more frequently. As much as I love to share nutrition knowledge, inspire healthy choices and spread positivity, veganism and deliciousness, social media is a double-edged sword. It is not the be all and end all. Don’t be blinded by the allure of it, and don’t let it take over too much of your actual experiences. It does offer a lot of benefits and can bring joy, information and inspiration in many ways, but it’s important, no it’s crucial, to keep perspective, be real with yourself about how it impacts you, express yourself truthfully, stick to your purpose, and take a break once in a while.
Here is what I would like to continue going forward:
- Not checking IG before 9am! If I want to share my morning/exercise, I will snap it and upload it later.
- Going for walks without my phone. I bought myself a Fitbit to track my steps so no need to bring it (except for podcasts, damn!)- but you can always put it on “do not disturb” and have a rule that you won’t open any social media apps during your time off.
- Not feeling the need to capture every small moment on IG stories. It’s just too much! Sometimes the moment itself is far more special.
- Only posting meaningful and purposeful content, my goal is to inspire and inform. If it doesn’t do that, then it doesn’t need to crowd your feed.
- Keeping one day each weekend social media free – not opening the app until the evening, if at all.
- Switching off for 10 days at least once a year, but hopefully twice.
Thanks for reading my rant, I hope it wasn’t too negative. I just want to be transparent and explain why I needed the break, why I will probably need it again, and my revelations during this time 🙂
I hope to continue to inspire you, uplift you and motivate you to live your healthiest, happiest life.
Light, love & good health,