I deleted Instagram for a month and here’s what I found
The addiction is indeed real
So, we are now six weeks into Lockdown 3.0 and I think we can all agree that the third time is certainly not lucky in terms of national lockdowns. Without the glorious sun that we were blessed with throughout the first lockdown, it seems that most of us are finding it much harder to keep busy and find valuable ways to fill our time.
I found myself spending more and more time scrolling through the explore page on Instagram, seeing endless pictures of girls, who somehow managed to maintain their abs throughout lockdown. I’m sure everyone can relate to the pure frustration of seeing influencers doing their “essential work” in Dubai (shoutout to Dr. Alex for actually doing essential work). Every other post/story was someone promoting their top tips for productivity, or showing off their lockdown glow-up – I mean, well done you if you belong to this group, I only wish I was one of you.
One day, something finally snapped; my finger hovered over the delete button, and in a split second, it was gone. I wish I could say I felt a feeling of enlightenment or perhaps say that a weight was suddenly lifted off my shoulders, but instead, I just locked my phone and went to sleep. I was convinced that I’d give up in a couple of days and re-download the app, but a month later and my life is still Instagram-free, and I can’t recommend it more. If you’re too scared to let go of that little pink and orange camera icon, I’ll save you the trouble and tell you what I’ve found since hitting delete and not looking back.
The addiction is real
No matter how many times we all try to tell ourselves we aren’t addicted to social media apps, we all know we are. The morning after deleting the app, I found myself tapping the blank space where Instagram once was, surprised when I wasn’t met with the familiar loading screen. Honestly, it took a few days to stop doing this, and it was a shock to see that muscle memory was causing me to instinctively tap where Instagram used to be.
I would often find myself sat, staring blankly at my home screen, wondering how and why I usually manage to spend so much time on my phone. I’d refresh Twitter a few times, but gone are the days when I used to follow thousands of avid One Direction fans who would tweet at all hours of the day (shoutout to my fellow Directioners out there). Nowadays, there are only so many times you can giggle at the same memes before they stop being funny.
Soon enough, the weird feeling that something was missing vanished, and I started to forget that Instagram even existed. Yes, I know that sounds hard to believe – but it’s true, and I started to see some positive changes in my life.
Less lockdown guilt
Rather than scrolling down the infamous ‘explore page’ and seeing endless posts of people devising challenging workouts for themselves, the feeling that I should also be doing that slowly drifted from my mind. Instead, I started going on Just Dance on the Wii with my mum, and we started using a Zumba DVD that had just been gathering dust in the drawer for years. I’m definitely no J-Lo, but I plan on whipping out some of the Zumba moves when Boris finally lets us back into the clubs.
I found new ways to pass the time
It might seem like a silly time to delete an app that you can spend hours scrolling through when there’s very little else to do with the days – but hear me out, I just found other things to do. The lack of nights out means that watching reality TV for hours on end, whilst also half-focused on your phone is probably a familiar image, but entertaining yourself in other ways is definitely possible. We’ve all got a list of things we’ve been meaning to do – maybe a book you’ve always wanted to read, a hobby you’ve always fancied starting? There’s never been a better time to do something random and wholesome to cleanse your brain and give your eyes a break from staring at a screen all day.
Living in the moment
To be honest, I’ve never been much of a photo kind of person (sorry to all of my friends who are), but this is even more exaggerated now. Without meaning to sound like that annoying person who doesn’t believe in social media, the “this would make a good Insta pic” thoughts are a thing of the past. The sun will still set if it’s not on your story and your mates will still shot their Jägerbombs.
Potential of FOMO
The occasional “did you see…” sometimes leaves me wondering what great content I am missing out on. How many videos of my friends’ silly antics have I missed? What celebrity scandals have occurred that I know nothing about? But then again, it’s not like there’s a great amount of finsta content at the minute, and any really hilarious things are sent into the group chat anyway.
I do miss seeing all of my favourite celebrity babies though, Humes’ family, I’m looking at you (sorry but have you seen the kids, can you blame me?).
Overall, this experience has taught me that there really is more to life than getting the perfect Instagram pic or scrolling mindlessly through posts from people that actually have no importance to me (no offence). That being said, there’s nothing I love more than seeing what my friends are getting up to, and definitely no shame towards anyone who loves posting a good selfie, self love is the best kind of love!
When the day comes (as it inevitably will) to re-download Instagram, I’m going to do a huge cleanse, and unfollow anyone who doesn’t have a positive impact on my feed – that includes the people I did athletic club with in year 10 and haven’t spoken to since. Hopefully this way, Instagram will become a little app full of positivity, happiness, and posting beautiful sunsets – because honestly, I don’t think that will change anytime soon.