Social media is a demon in disguise and I personally believe it does more harm than good. The hours I have spent mindlessly scrolling through Instagram stalking random accounts, staying up till 3 AM, laughing at the same memes over and over again, refreshing my feed every 10 seconds and literally opening the application every time I was bored or my hands were free. Instagram became my drug and I was tangled in a bad web of addiction. It was affecting me mentally as well. Apart from leading to a handful of insecurities about the way I look and think, it was leading to frustration. Frustration that some people were leading normal lives while I was under a lock-down, irritation that people were quarantining in their gorgeous holiday homes while I was stuck in my room with only buildings to look at and anger that while the world was almost over COVID-19, we were back to sqaure-one. So, to cleanse myself mentally and emotionally, I decided to delete Instagram about 17 days back and my mental health has never been better!
Like all addiction cycles, snapping out of it was very hard. Since, I use Instagram for work, I couldn’t actually delete the application off my phone, but I did log out of my personal account. In all honesty, it was as good as deleting Instagram because I never use my work accounts for any personal reasons. However, I was really tempted to log back into my personal account. My fingers felt the withdrawal the most as I found myself mindlessly tapping on the application multiple times for no reason. It was like muscle-memory to an extent! Initially, I used to wonder what the rest of the world was up to online, and felt massive levels of FOMO. I began craving Rakhi Sawant‘s latest videos, reading those useless “self-help” posts, seeing my friend’s social lives, stalking the people I didn’t like and LOL-ing at memes. But, my will-power prevailed and I resisted the urge every single time. It was difficult, but I got through it.
After a few days, my deleted Instagram account began to truly affect my mental health. I was experiencing new things and I loved it. I had a new sleep-cycle which didn’t include staying up till 3 AM scrolling through other’s lives. I found myself sleeping earlier and better. I also had new-found time. I suddenly had spare time to read, cook, and do things Instagram posts told me to do but never gave me the time to. Since I was not under pressure to post anything, I started being more in the moment (I started eating before my camera did, for starters). It was the start of something new, and I was liking it… a lot.
Two weeks in, I was mentally in paradise. I no longer craved logging into my deleted Instagram account and my mental health was really good. I learned to love FOMO and honestly stopped caring what people were doing. I was no longer bothered by people flying off to the Maldives or having mini-celebrations. I even stopped longing to see influencers’ living their best lives (this was a real addiction for me, I swear). My insecurities about the way I looked diminished as well. I wasn’t reminded that my waist was not 24 inches, I weighed more than 45 kilograms, my face was not symmetric and my life was not being lived king-size. My chins and rolls got more love from me as well. I was also sleeping like a baby every night and waking up like one too. I began using my spare time to do things offline like gossiping with my grandparents, reading the newspaper again and painting like a 5-year old. It felt great, really.
After I deleted my Instagram account, my mental health benefited but so did my aura. I became more positive and less bitch-y and judgemental. I used to send my friends posts and stories on the application for the sole purpose of making fun of them and being judgemental. “What is she wearing”, “Who posts stuff like this”, “Ew, gross” and “This is so cringe” became part of my daily lingo. I’m not proud of it, but I did it. But, my cleanse took away all that meanness and judgement. In fact, it made me realise just how negative and problematic my online-behaviour was. This was such an eye-opener for me, and now that I’m aware of it, I will be more respectful in the future. Deleting Instagram has made me more positive, improved my mood and I am loving it!
One of the best things to come out of my cleanse, was my privacy and data being safe. After I stopped using Instagram, I magically stopped getting a lot of spam mail and texts (I barely use Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, so Instagram was my main data-tracker).
While I know that deleting my Instagram account has made me feel better about myself, it is not a permanent act. At some point I will get back on the Insta-horse, but in a healthier way. I’ll limit my use on the application, un-follow any account that makes me feel even a tad-bit insecure and check it within certain time-frames only. But this is not happening anytime soon, that is certain. For now, I’m still very much enjoying my detox and will continue to do so for at-least a month or two more.
Have you ever deleted Instagram and has it helped your mental health? Share it with us in the comments below!
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