I Said ‘Goodbye’ to Instagram – for a little bit

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Christian Wiediger
TORCH DESIGN/ Priyanka Gera

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Christian Wiediger TORCH DESIGN/ Priyanka Gera

After mindlessly opening and scrolling through Snapchat and Instagram with nothing to satisfy my social media meter, I decided to delete all my accounts in the spirit of a social media cleanse, or digital detox. For two weeks, social media was off my phone, including deleting my YouTube app a week into the detox.

The time I spent away from social media went towards reading, catching up with my favorite Netflix shows, cooking or playing with my cat. Yes, I still used my phone for things like GPS, looking things up and texting my friends, but time away from the unnecessary scrolling to see what my friends and acquaintances were doing was well spent.

Since social media has taken over a part of our lives, it’s good to mend our relationship with it in a healthy way. Though I love to spend my time watching different things on Instagram like cute cat videos or seeing the latest trends on TikTok, I felt that time away from social media helped certain aspects of my life, like anxiety, sleep and time management.

The first thing I noticed was a jittery need to pick up my phone – quite a habit I used to have. When replaced with turning on music to study and read, I would be completely immersed in my work. I noticed more things about my personality and my life I had forgotten. It was almost like getting to know myself again. 

Another significant change was in my routine. The first thing I checked when I woke up was the time, to make sure I wasn’t late, not my notifications or social media. Then I would get up and go about my day to read the news, but almost nothing from my phone. My productivity in the morning was much more efficient and I got out of bed a lot quicker.

Though I never get much sleep in the first place, with less time on my phone before bed, I went to sleep much quicker than usual, and didn’t decide to pick up my phone when I couldn’t sleep.

After gaining a clear mental state, returning to my usual social media usage felt disturbing and didn’t revert to good changes. Now I find myself spending significantly less time on social media, almost as if I don’t need it. My screen time decreased by 40 percent over the last couple of weeks. Screen time can be tracked on your phone under your settings.

To help keep myself on track especially during busier times of the school semester or when I need to focus on work, I use a screen time limit that will help tell me how much time I have left for the day, or if I spend too much time on social media, it prevents me from further using the app. Apps like Forest help keep you focused and away from distractions on your phone or you can go to your phone settings to create limits on your apps. Forest is a productivity timer that earns credit to plant trees on the app and around the world. The more productivity you have away from your phone, the more credits you’ll earn. Forest is available on iOS, Android, and as a web extension on desktops. 

Though you don’t need to delete your profiles forever and say goodbye to those apps, it’s helpful for everyone to catch a break from social media; either five minutes a day or a week.