10 Lessons I Learned From Quitting Instagram

Welcome back Little Birdies,

Instagram recently announced that they would be making what is basically a child friendly version of the app (because they haven’t yet cornered the 13 and under market). In light of their Facebook headed demon-ry I thought I’d compile a little list of great things that happened since I’ve left the app. If you’re thinking of quitting (or for some god forsaken reason letting your child have an account) let these lessons be your guide. Great things happen when you log off. 

1. I’m Not As Lonely As I Thought 

Spending time on the app scrolling through people’s lives often made me unsatisfied with my own. It made me feel lonely because though you’re engaging with people’s content, you’re not actually connecting with it.

“Studies suggest that using Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and similar social media apps to keep in touch with friends and forge off-line connections can add vitality and communion to your life. But if you are spending hours every day using social media mainly as a substitute for real connection, your feelings of loneliness and inadequacy will likely worsen.” (psych.com/net)

Now that I don’t use the app,, I am more comfortable with my little life. I see people from time to time and make the most of it when I’m with them to tide me over until I’m social again. I am lonely but not the same way.

2. My Self Esteem is Better

I’m not constantly inundated with images of influencers, models, products telling me that I am a small and horrific ogre. I’m not constantly seeing clothes that I absolutely do not need or photoshopped imagery that signals I am not enough. I’m fine.

3. The Feeling Like I Don’t Exist Unless I’m Perceived is Gone

Do you ever feel like you don’t exist unless someone sees you? Like what’s the point of doing certain things unless you can share them and other people can see you doing them? I’m ashamed to admit that I felt this way. I used to do things and be excited to share them as if it made me a person worth knowing. But the truth is, I am still that person, I still do cool things, I just don’t exploit them for likes.

4. Validation Seeking Has Lessened

I’m ok, I don’t need a random guy I used to work with simping all over my selfie to feel that way. I don’t need others to tell me I’m good. I don’t need others unsolicited opinions (positive or negative) to feel like I am worthy or succeeding. My self esteem isn’t predicated on likes or men in my DMs saying I have pretty eyes.

5. I Am Out Of Contact 

The sweet delicious joy of being out of reach. It’s harder to contact me now and the people who want to do so in a meaningful way. Everyone has an expectation that people are readily available to answer texts or DMs and It’s become a boundary for me. My phone is not in my hand when I’m with people. I am not available 24 hours a day. I am an antiquated fossil human reading books and making charcuterie boards and I will respond to you via phone-call or text when my fossil things are done.

6. I Don’t Practice Escapism With The App Anymore

I don’t look at other people’s lives and wish that I were doing what they were doing. Traveling where they were traveling and living where they are living. I confront my own life now and mindfully live in it, when it’s good and when it’s bad.

7. I Don’t Take Selfies Anymore

(shameful behaviour)

I’m still wildly self indulgent (clearly, I write a blog about myself) but in a different way. I used to take selfies as if they were proof of my beauty and not just contrived images taken deliberately on a day where I’m actually wearing makeup. What’s the point of having 10k photos of yourself? It’s nice to feel nice but it’s not nice to live in a world where the only focus is you.

8. My Apartment Is Much Cleaner

There were times when my usage on Instagram would show 2.5-3 hours. 3 Hours! What the hell was I doing on that app for 3 hours. I have more time to do other things, like clean. 

I wish I could say that I am one of those people who keeps her place spotless but I have to be honest here. I am not. Im tidy, Im minimal, I don’t have clutter but I do have dust. Or I did. With the free mental time and space i have from Instagram, my place is cleaner than ever.

9. I Can Find Inspiration Elsewhere

Like People, Youtube, Pintrest, VSCO, Nero, Spotify, Tumblr, Books, Online Art Galleries, Biographies, Films, Tv, the list goes on.

10. I am Content

I am content with not being content. Get it? My life doesn’t have to look beautiful. It is beautiful and I’m grateful and happy to be living it even if it isn’t aesthetically displayed on Instagram.

Instagram is essentially people watching. It’s people watching and window shopping and you can do both of those things for real outside in the ~world~ 

I know there are good aspects to the app, like staying in touch with people and keeping up with their lives and if you use the app this way, I bow down to you. You are a healthy person, but this post is not for you. If you’re like me and prone to do all of the other toxic shit then I recommend you hightail it out of there. If you’re struggling with self esteem, productivity, imposter syndrome, pure unadulterated envy, romantic jealousy, overspending and discontent in your personal relationships, QUIT NOW. Quit yesterday. 

I still have urges to look at clothes and feel little twinges of fomo but the pros at this point so far outweigh the cons that I truthfully do not see myself going back.

I hope these lessons help you if you are struggling with deleting it or using it less. 

If you’re struggling, reach out. I’m more than happy to talk you through it. 

Godspeed little lambs. 

Quitting Instagram To Be Happier

Instagram would love this fake smile

Social media has long been accused of destroying our mental health and quitting it used to be much easier. Now that we are in a global pandemic a lot of us are out of work, bored and lonely sitting around the house all day watching our youth melt before our eyes like a pool toy on a sunny day. Picking up our phones and scrolling through other people’s lives helps to take our minds off of our own. The effects of social media are far reaching and damaging.

In my experience, I’ve always had a tricky relationship with Instagram. I love photography so it’s a great place to showcase my work but on the flip side, it’s also a great place to feel bad about my work. I hate the feeling of putting something out and checking for likes and validation. The feeling of checking my story to see if particular people have watched is so wholeheartedly cringeworthy, and when they haven’t looked? Pain.

This isn’t a new concept, it’s natural to want to express yourself, to want to be perceived and appreciated. In a pandemic, it’s way harder to find this type of validation. Ordinarily we would be getting it from friends and loved ones who we no longer see. 

Research has shown that Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health and wellbeing. Other sites like YouTube and Twitter encourage users to learn and grow, these platforms aren’t entirely predicated on selfies and shopping. 

So why are we still using it? We know it’s bad for us yet it seems impossible to escape it’s glossy familiar clutches.  We use it because we’re lonely, bored and encouraged to use it. We’re in a pandemic and honestly there’s really not much else to do. Posting is great for self expression but terrible for self comparison. So here is a list of things I am doing to keep me from picking up my phone and logging in to that demonic shopping app.

Reading Books That I Actually Like

These books are not at all embarrassing but I have read Twilight and I am not ashamed to admit that

Hear me out. Often we’ll pick up a book and start it because someone we love or respect enjoyed it and they’ve recommended it or simply because we want to be the kind of person that would read a certain kind of book. This has happened to me and when it does it’s actually fucking torture to get through it. I am not excited to read it and becomes more of a chore than a simple pleasure.My advice? Read books that you actually like and don’t give a shit what people think. You’re a 50 year old woman who likes YA? Who cares! You love trashy thrillers or formulaic Harlequins? Good! Even if you’re reading actual garbage, you’re still reading, you’re still putting your brain first and you’re still not picking up that god forsaken phone.

Cooking

I realize this is a salad but I did bake the tofu so it still counts.

I know what you’re thinking because I think they very same thing. Cooking is challenging and it takes too long and it’s barely worth it. I never cooked until the pandemic hit and now I’ve forced myself into domesticity, cooking and almost enjoying the fruits of my labor. Cooking takes up a ton of time, is healthier than eating out and is often cheaper.

Walking

Four times a week I walk to the beach near my house and stare existentially at rocks.

Yes. Boring but effective. If you’re addicted to your phone, stuffing it deep down in your bag away from your jonesing little hands for 40 minutes while you walk around listening to a podcast is a great thing. Not only are you interacting with the world at large, you’re moving, getting fresh air and actually living your life instead of watching someone else’s on Instagram.

VSCO

This is where I love to post my little abstract images free from the shackles of likes and strangers asking why they aren’t selfies.

I use this app for photos and follow no one. No one follows me either. I still take tons of photos and edit them and post them but not for likes. Every time I post I expect that no one will like or share it and I’m happy with that.

Call Someone

Not them though.

I know this is terrifying but I have found that it works 300 percent better for curing loneliness than Instagram. Call a friend, it might be weird at first but chances are they are just as lonely and happy to know that someone cares about their existence too.

Anything is Better Than Nothing

I have been off of Instagram since January 1st. It has been tough at times because my city is in lockdown so most days are just staring out the window, but not facing the pressure to live some glorious life every day has lessened my anxiety beyond measure. I no longer feel the need to shop (why the fuck was I doing this, I literally sit in the house all day) my relationship with my person is better and not seeing my life as content when I’m barely able to move from bed some days. 

There’s so much self help out there but almost none of pertains to pandemic living. Everything is hard. We all don’t know what we are doing. We’re all just coping. If Instagram isn’t a problem for you, you’re lucky and special but if it is, try for a little bit to stop using it. Go slow, do like a day or two at a time. See how you feel. It won’t make your life instantly better but at the very least you will save money.