30 days, one month, no instagram. I bet you think I’m going to tell you how productive I was and how amazing it felt… nope.
That shit was hard. Especially the first week.
I was one of those people that were on Facebook since day one, the same for Instagram. I have spent many years sharing images on Instagram so to quit cold turkey, like anything else, can be hard… but also rewarding.
One of the things I did during the detox was I slept. Like really slept. I slept well, I took naps…. it was amazing. While several months ago I was one of those people that preached waking up at 5AM to get more done in a day…during the month of April my ass did not wake up before 7AM on any given day. At first I felt bad for it because I felt I was wasting precious hours but as the month went on I realized I was “sleeping in” but I was still getting done all of the things I needed to get done because I was not distracted. I did not feel compelled to post what exactly I was doing; throwing a filter on it and captioning it. Or in an attempt to not seem like I was posting too much any given moment trying to schedule posts. (And for anyone who actually followed me and knew how I loved my 6AM cycle class twice a week; didn’t go to those either).
Another thing that happened was that I was able to actually watch television and/or movies. Everyone is guilty of it – playing on your phone while watching television. It drives me nuts when as a family we sit down to watch a movie and everyone is on their devices. It’s been a general rule in my home that if you’re going to watch the movie you don’t need the ipod. But, like most parents, I was not following my own rule. I would aimlessly scroll Instagram and then when I decided to pay attention to what was going on on the screen I had no idea and would go back to scrolling. Vicious cycle. But when I had no Instagram to aimlessly scroll, I watched the thing on television… or just fell asleep. Now, if I am watching television, whether with my family or alone, I watch television. I am not playing on my phone, or trying to write a blog post.
At the beginning of the detox I was listening to A LOT of GaryVee. In March I discovered that mastermind and was obsessed. The obsession continued into April and I think I really got a handle on how I should be using the different platforms. While I was unable to fully practice what I was learning I started to. I was learning how to post the same topics across the different platforms in different ways. While I was hoping to make this experience a vlog I just was not comfortable walking around recording myself. And as much as I hate watching my daughter obsess over her tiktok fan numbers I realize through GaryVee that the potential is there on these platforms to really create something for young kids today. That I need to encourage her and her creativity, especially during this time of her life. (Don’t get it twisted though; there are still limits in place)
What was probably most surprising was that I read the same amount of books I had read in previous months. I really thought I would be able to read a lot more without the distraction (and/or pressure) of Instagram and bookstagram. As I was reflecting on the month and why this assumption was not the case I realize it was because I was doing a lot of other things that I had been wanting to do. I cleaned and re-organized my entire kitchen. We moved into our house 11 years ago, I haven’t moved a thing since then. And I am embarrassed to admit that some of the spices in the spice drawer could have killed someone it was so old.
I also stopped participating in the #betterreadschallenge because who the fuck cares if I read every day. If I do, that’s great… if I don’t, that’s okay too.
Once I realized there was really no reason to capture every second of my day to “share with the world” I stopped having my phone with me all the time. Which meant I started taking more handwritten notes and stopped telling Siri or Google to remind me to do something. I started bulletjournaling again and it seems to be going a lot better than in previous attempts.
Something that will probably always stick with me (at least for awhile) is when I had to explain to my mother that I did not answer her call because my phone was in another room charging and I did not have it with me while I was eating lunch. My mother could not wrap her head around that one.
Even though I was not getting up at 6A to make my traditional cycle classes I did try THREE NEW classes at the gym during those 30-days. They were all classes I have been wanting to try but were too scared to because they were so different than what I was used to. Like most people trying something new, I was afraid I was going to look like a jackass and never even tried. In April I said, what the heck…. and went with it. So what if I look like an asshole. Not all the surprising, I loved them and have been actively trying to figure out how to schedule my life so I can make these classes that are all on the weekend.
Now that it is May and the detox is officially over I am back on Instagram. I was itching to get back to see if it would feel different. To see if I still held the same habits. To be honest, it feels weird. Before I actually got back to the possibility of scrolling my life away I set up some safe guards for myself. Thanks to Apple’s Screentime option I am able to not only set times limits for the kids on their devices, but also myself. So I set a daily one hour Instagram limit during the week and a 30 minute limit a day for the weekends. The limit during the week has not been an issue but the first weekend I blew through my limit both days.
I feel this itch to post something but a bigger itch not to. I don’t see a lot of the point anymore. I actually feel a bit of guilty when I do open the app – I think because I know I could be doing something more productive with those few moments of time. It’s boring.
All in all, it was a good experience. It was a good exercise in discipline and self reflection. I would encourage everyone to take a break from social media, especially your preferred platform. A lot of people have no idea how chained they are to these services. How bad these services are for their mental health. These services are toxic and you almost never hear anything positive come from their usage. Every once and awhile you will hear about old family and friends that have connected through Facebook but even those stories are fleeting now.
I think the worse part about the whole thing was that what I read was true. No one noticed I was gone. I went 30-days without sharing a photo or sarcastic meme. 30-days without tagging anyone in anything and it went completely unnoticed.
Taking a break really forces you to think about what you’re doing upon your return. WHY are you taking that photo? WHY are you sharing that photo? WHY are you posting? WHY are you re-sharing that meme? WHY are you even on this app right now – what else could you be doing. These are the things I think about now.