Written by: Tru Hamilton
I have always had a contentious relationship with Instagram. Every part of me wanted to love using a platform that 'better' connected me to friends and even strangers, and yet, I didn't. My desire to be perceived as cool and enviable left me feeling vacant as I endlessly tried to keep up. I continually tied my worth to the number of followers I had and the likes I received. In January 2021, I made the game-changing decision to delete my Instagram account. It wasn’t until I actually deleted the app, that I was able to realize how often I was reaching for my phone to use it. From sitting on the bus to sitting on the toilet (gross I know, but I can’t be the only one!) my phone was glued to my hand and my eyes to the screen. After 5 months of being social media free, I’d like to report that I am infact, well connected to my friends, up to date on the latest world news, and generally in a better place.
Here are three ways my life changed for the better after deleting my Instagram account:
1. My anxiety declined drastically.
I never realized how deeply Instagram affected me until I deleted it. My anxiety was compounded, and I constantly worried about how other people perceived me, comparing myself to people with more followers, more money, and better photoshop skills. My anxiety hasn't gone away completely, but it's much more manageable without the pressure to constantly curate 'likable' experiences and document them in that fashion.
2. I am significantly more productive.
I am a notorious procrastinator. Often, my five-minute Instagram break while studying turned into a forty-five-minute Instagram break. Then I had to reset up, get focused and by then, had wasted almost an hour of prime study time. Now, even my breaks are productive as I don’t distract myself with my phone, and can better stay on track.
3. I have more free time for myself.
Gone are the days of endless scrolling as a solution to my boredom. I now have the opportunity to focus on activities that actually serve me. I learned to sew and have read one leisure book each month despite being a full-time student with two part-time jobs! I can prioritize working out and making time for friends and family. Even in the simplest of moments, like waiting for the bus, I no longer reach for my phone and instead tune in to the world around me and get lost in thought.
Now, I know deleting your Instagram may be unthinkable to some and pointless to others, but the benefits I personally experienced from deleting the app far outweight the cost of having it. I get more sleep, I’m less worried about the opinions of others, and I feel more in tune with reality which alone is worth it for me!