I was planning on publishing this at the end of the summer. After I had been instagram-free for the duration of the most magical months of the year. But that would be too late. Because then you might not have a chance to try it too. Here’s what I learned after just a few weeks of deleting the instagram app from my phone:
- The world did not end. I know, dramatic. But I had avoided taking a break for fear I would miss something big. Also out of worry that all of my friends would unfollow me, or feel upset that I abandoned them and the community we built together. Since it’s still deleted, I can’t report on how many unfollows I’ve experienced, nor people’s feelings about my departure; but what I can say is this, any friends who wanted to share news, or check in with me, or just say hello have found me on another platform or (gasp!) used the phone to do just that. It’s been so lovely catching up with people in a more purposeful way.
- The phone is unglued from you. Sometimes you might even leave it in another room and forget where you left it. You’re not preoccupied with documenting every single moment of your day, or replying to a comment a minute from when it’s posted. The first few days are riddled with anxiety, and then you feel this glorious release.
- You take old school pictures. Of all the changes I’ve noticed, I think this is my favorite. Especially if you have kids. The pictures I would take for the ‘gram were perfectly staged, the colors had to mesh well with my feed, and if all the stars didn’t align just so, it never saw the light of day. Now I don’t worry about lining everything up or asking Grey to smile one more time. I capture what life looks like in that moment. And it’s perfect.
- Work means work. Another byproduct – actually doing work when you’re at work. Instead of scrolling for a break, or procrastinating on that to-do-list; you do your work and feel good about yourself rather than guilty for moving items to the next day just because you watched stories for too long.
- You stop worrying about everyone else. One of the main reasons I felt I really needed a break from the app was because of the comparison game. I didn’t like looking at other creators feeds and wondering why their pages were growing and mine was staying the same. Why this person was judging me for not doing this or that, and why I let their opinion bother me in the first place. It can all become unhealthy if you let it. And even if it doesn’t get to that point, if it starts giving you that pit in the stomach feeling, it’s time for a pause. It was for me anyway. It was time to stop watching others create, and start making space to create for myself.
- Rinse (or not), and repeat. In my case, that looks like the same workout clothes two days in a row with no one in casa de Nixon taking notice. It means not wearing makeup on days I don’t have to, and Grey rocking his favorite costume for the fourth time that week without mom shamers sending shocked face emojis.
- Your people are right next to you. I said number 3 was my favorite, but this one really takes the cake. I sit on the floor and play trains for hours on end and give all of me to the tiny human choo-chooing at my side. I don’t mindlessly scroll through photos of other people playing with their kids, I play in the present with my own. And Jon. I watch his face closely when he’s telling a story and don’t have the urge to open my phone when it’s taking a little too long to get to the windup 😆. I hold his hand if we get a rare chance to watch a show, uninterrupted. It has been so lovely.
- You do something else for you. In the time I would spend taking photos, editing them, writing captions, posting, and responding to amazing humans that I really do miss, I have done a bunch of things I had been longing to do for some time. I have taken a few really interesting Skillshare classes on coding and SEO, I’ve been spending a lot more time on NixonPack.com, reading real books, popping in on other social channels I had long ago abandoned, and working out every single day. Think of all of the things you could do if you had an extra hour (or two!) each day. Now you can make a plan, and DO IT.
- Creative contact. Here is a fun one. You can brush up on your handwriting and send actual letters to your gal pals. Maybe even print out those non-insta-approved photos and snail mail them to Grandma. Or if you miss sharing like I do, you could start a new digital photo album and invite your friends to join. This could be a great way to share kid pics, house inspo, or workout motivation – you decide!
- No news is good news. With all of the deeply depressing topics covered in the news these days, too much information (for me) was a bad thing. I am an empath by nature and most days it would send me into a deeply depressed state, unable to do something about the current tragedy at the top of the news feed each day. Instead of reading about everyone else’s political spin, I block out time to read the headlines from a few different sites to keep myself informed, then process on my own. This part of the insta detox has been the most healing for the soul.
If you read any one of the above and thought, yes, this is me!, please do me a favor and try it over the weekend. If you delete the app from your phone, it doesn't delete any of your pictures or data. It will all be right where you left it when you download the app again and log in. I'm not sure when I will be back on the 'gram. For now, I'm working on savoring every second of this summer with my best friends. And when I come back, I want to have something to say. I want to add positivity and kindness and friendship to those who need more of those things in their life. In the meantime, I will be doing that right here, and I am so, so thankful you are here with us.