What I Learned from My Instagram Break

About two weeks ago, I went on a social media fast for ten days. I did it based on President Nelson's advice in this past General Conference (you can read more about that here). The challenge was open-ended and involved any areas that can bring negative thoughts to your mind. Considering those factors, I decided to cut out Instagram, Facebook, podcasts, and blogs. 

Of those four areas, I definitely felt the absence of Instagram the most. I did miss podcasts (espcially The Popcast, my current favorite), and blogs, but barely noticed Facebook. Most of my social media epiphanies were about Instagram.
Here is what I learned about myself:

1. A 3 or 5 day break would not have been enough
Around the second day, I realized I really missed Instagram. Like, I really missed it. I kept thinking about different people I know who would delete their Instagram for a while and be like "two months went by and I didn't even notice!" That was definitely not me. If I had gone back to Instagram after only a few days, I would not have had as good of an experience as I did after staying away for ten.

2. Instagram wasn't the direct cause of all my time wasting
Something extremely important I learned was this: There seems to be a set amount of time I want to fritter away. Just because I deleted Instagram doesn't mean I was automatically more productive and careful with my free time. I definitely wasn't- I spent lots of time the first few days scrolling Overdrive for new books and deleting emails. But as I pondered my relationship with Instagram, it made me rethink all the ways I wasn't using my time well and helped me figure out ways to use it better.

3. Many people I follow don't affect my real life
This one seems so obvious and is something I've heard a ton- a lot on social media isn't real. I had an epiphany along this line- the influencers I follow only affect my life as I let them. I had unwittingly allowed myself to get invested in random peoples' lives, which wasn't doing anything positive for my own life. The very first thing I did after logging back in to my account was unfollow nearly 50 accounts.

4. I needed to set new rules for my Instagram life
After being away from the app for more than a week, I was apprehensive to log back in because I didn't want to get back into the habit of checking it every time I picked up my phone. So I made some rules for myself: unfollow all accounts that drain me, stop going on the explore tab, and take an Instagram break every Sunday.

I feel like I'm in a much better place mentally now that I have more guidelines for my social media usage. It was a great, thought-provoking experience that caused me to reexamine my phone use and helped me think about how I spend my time. 


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