Why I’m Getting Off Of Instagram For One Month {And Maybe More}

Today, June 1st, I have decided to get off of Instagram for one month. The decision came on pretty quickly – cold turkey as a matter of fact. Yesterday, as I as strolling my son to the playground, I put on a podcast. It was an episode of The Pursuit of Wellness podcast in which host Mari Llewellyn interviews Mark Groves. Mark, human connection expert, writer, and motivational speaker, shared about his decision to get off of Instagram for good starting June 1st. That’s tomorrow, I thought to myself, and that sounds pretty amazing. I was surprised by my reaction, as I had recently felt re-energized to start posting more on the platform.

I go through cycles with Instagram, but have mostly stayed consistent with sharing bits and pieces of my wellness with others since becoming a health coach. There are also so many advantages to the app. I love how it helps me stay connected with friends I don’t see very often. I am currently six months pregnant with a toddler; it can feel like a lonely season of life with less socialization and adult interaction. Social media is a way to, well, socialize from afar, albeit superficially. I also learn a lot. Instagram is saturated with individuals with something to share. I tend to gravitate towards messages around health and wellness, but I also enjoy following beauty experts, “bookstagramers,” and stylists. Additionally, I get most of my recipes online, and I love how it encourages me to try new things. Lastly, whether you are waiting in line at the grocery store, in between house chores, or sitting on the couch while your child plays with trucks, you never feel bored. There is instant stimulation right at your fingertips. But maybe that could also be considered a con.

As I approach my 39th birthday, I have been reflecting on my life and how I want to feel. Distracted and disengaged from what is unfolding right in front of me, while I scroll an app run by an algorithm is not it. I have also spent almost ten years (read: a decade) with Instagram taking up more mental energy than I care to admit. As an entrepreneur, I have felt it necessary to build an audience, share my message, and sell both myself and my products. Therefore I am not just a consumer, but an active participant. When I notice myself mentally creating posts and drafting captions as I am going about my day, I know something needs to change.

I have even successfully completed a social media-free month once before. Two years ago, right after my son turned one, I got off of Instagram for the month of July. I was headed to the beach with my family, and I realized instead of documenting everything on my phone in order to share on social media, I wanted to be very present. I used the beach vacation as a springboard to quit social media for the month. I even ended up extending the experiment by more than a week because I felt so much better without it. But the siren call of Instagram beckoned me back. Mostly for business building purposes, but I would be lying if I didn’t say there has been a lot of passive consuming and scrolling over the past two years.

Bringing it back to today, not only have I been reflecting on how I want to feel, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do. I am in a bit of a limbo period. Certain professional pursuits are winding down, and I know I want to maintain a big sense of self outside of motherhood. Feeling productive is important to me. Being six months pregnant, I don’t feel like I am in an ambitious position to pursue various endeavors, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on my mind. And speaking of my mind, even with a newborn, I know I will want to use mine. So what is that going to look like? When it comes down to it, I don’t think filming reels and running the influencer rat race aligns with my overall vision. It is a lot of work for little reward (for me, personally), and studies show that attaching one’s self-worth to acceptance on the app (likes, comments, followers) can have detrimental effects on mental health. I don’t necessarily want to join the digital statistic.

What I do want to do is write, podcast, connect with others authentically, and create content that matters. I am not saying that there isn’t a lot of meaningful content on Instagram (again, I have learned a lot across a variety of topics!), but writing articles for my online magazine, doing food photography, and continuing to build my podcast makes me feel more aligned than Instagram ever has. It’s time to listen to that, rather than feel caught in the weeds of what I think will move the needle forward. That has been a mindset shift for me; I ask myself what is my goal? How do I want to feel? Then backwards engineer the baby steps to get me there. The trick is in actually taking action. This thinking can be applied to anything. When it comes to both my creativity and career, as well as my relationships and individual alignment, I want to be in the direct experience of the present moment. To get more curious and open to the potential and possibilities. Instagram simply makes me feel drained and depleted. I have also realized that it is delusional to believe I “need” social media to feel relevant and seen. So that is where I am. I can’t wait to feel the space created by breaking this habit for a month!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *