Am I using instagram or is instagram using me?
I'm on Instagram a lot. I post and consume its' content daily.
This social media platform has absorbed many, many minutes of my life. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? These were the questions, among many more that I had pondered.
So I decided to take a break, which I called a Social Media Rest - because all cool challenges have a title, right? :)
This Social Media Rest was planned to last eight days (no clue where that number came from), and I wanted to reflect and journal what I noticed during each day of this rest.
What value does Instagram add to my life?
What value do I find without Instagram in my life?
Before I started, I wrote a list of all the reasons why I like Instagram and a list of questions I would love to find answers to when this rest was over.
REasons why I like Instagram
1. Connecting to amazing humans
2. Sharing uplifting messages and experiences
3. Builds my self-awareness and confidence in owning my weird
4. Writing about moments I cherish and lessons learned along the way
5. Share the narrative that it's possible to live your version of a successful life
6. Lighten the load and bring simplicity back into our minds and daily lives
answers I'm hoping to discover
1. Is social media "productive" for my overall health?
2. Could I be spending time exploring something else more meaningful?
3. Does it add value or deplete value from living my best life?
4. What will I do without "the place" to share and post what I enjoy during my day?
5. How else can I share my magical moments with others?
6. Who really needs to know about my life?
7. Why do I feel the need to share all the things on Instagram?
8. Do I truly enjoy Instagram or is it just an addictive habit?
I'm not sure if any of my reflections from this journey will be helpful, but I know I am not the only one out there who feels attached to a social media platform.
After all, these technology platforms are designed to keep us engaged for as long as possible.
Below I have shared my journal entries that I wrote down each day during the Social Media Rest.
These reflections may not be rocket science, but if my words and reflections can be of use to another human, well I think that's pretty dang awesome.
my "social media rest" journal
Today I'm discovering how great it is to capture photos and savor them myself. Then, I can decide later if I want to share with a friend or a family member privately.
One thing I miss about Instagram is that it "forced" me to reflect and put into words what specific moments mean to me.
Instead of browsing or posting on Instagram tonight, I cuddled with the fam to watch Cars, a kid's movie I've never watched from start to finish. There was a quote that really resonated with me from that movie that was such a pleasant surprise.
"Cars didn't drive on it (the road) to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time."
I loved this driving analogy to living, to be FULLY PRESENT in each moment instead of worrying about what's the next thing.
Today I noticed I texted more friends and family personally to share moments of my day that reminded me of them. Usually I try to share something uplifting on Instagram, hoping to spread some goodness to my followers, strangers or friends.
But, being off of Instagram has helped me have more intimate conversations with the people I love and know.
This shift of more quality connection instead of mass connection has been a wonderful gift.
I focused more on presence and less on broadcasting my life to everyone, which makes me enthused about leaving more of my life to the imagination. Less sharing about what my life looks like and more LIVING IT & FEELING IT.
Also, instead of posting, curating or scrolling on Instagram, I read a book! It felt SO GOOD!
So much energy and effort is required when fully immersing yourself into a child's world.
I didn't realize that this was part of the reason why I go to Instagram - to use as a mindless pause or distraction.
Honestly, I think it serves more as a distraction than a pause, because it doesn't refuel me (unless I'm connecting to someone) when I hop on social media, it numbs me or does worse.
Worse meaning it could lead me to comparing my life to others on what I "should" be doing, buying, wearing, thinking or feeling.
Social media has this way of leading me into a rabbit hole abyss of un-self-care.
But, instead of distracting myself today in between my "kid-world dives," I read, observed my surroundings, wrote in my journal or just cuddled with my nugg (my daughter).
This type of pause feels FULFILLING. I'm grateful for a social media rest to help me reflect on this trigger and the reason behind it.
Also, a BONUS, my daughter gets to notice me reading, writing and wondering more, which is way cooler than staring at a small rectangle (aka my phone) moving my finger up and down.
It's funny how you can forget hobbies you used to love when there's a device next to you 24-7. Social media is a "hobbie sucker."
My solution is to keep my device in a "home" or stationary place while I'm in my home. This makes my phone way less tempting to grab anytime I need a pause, rest or break from the beautifully mundane.
I forgot what it was like to be with myself - with no distractions, gadgets or technology to take me "away".
Why do I feel the need to "get away" so often in my day anyways?
When I'm "away" I'm not thinking of my own needs, wants, or dreams, I'm focusing on
Tonight I notice Lucille's ability to flourish with just herself. As Lucille is in the bathtub, she's groovin' in solo play (with her rubber duckies and ponies).
She inspires me to be better at embracing solo time and to create the best time with what I have around me, instead of distracting myself from my environment (my life).
I want more of my focus to be on my life, so I can be the best version of myself in each and every moment.
Social media replacements? That's the unknown and slightly uncomfortable dilemma of this social media rest.
What to do with my time now that I'm not posting, scrolling, connecting or writing on Instagram?
Part of the answer to this question was actually in the question itself...writing and connecting.
I love writing and connecting to others.
I love writing mini stories that align to my real life experiences and reflecting about what I find meaningful.
I love connecting to open-minded humans who are striving to live their "dream life."
How can I still write and connect, as well as spread this goodness to others in a purposeful way, without Instagram?
Create a Social Media Rest journal with prompts and questions?
Write more on my blog about topics that I think may make a difference?
Build my email list to connect to a community of open-minded humans?
Create social events that bring rad humans together?
Find a side hustle or hobby that allows me to curate beautiful photos capturing moments of living?
It appears there are endless ideas to solve this specific problem of mine, which is pretty exciting to learn.
Today was a great day. I blogged this morning about this experience. Writing seems to be a recurring theme of social media replacement.
I didn't miss Instagram today, and I didn't once grab my phone to post or scroll, woo hoo!
This must mean my social media habit is slowly leaving my body and my subconscious.
Now I wonder...
Where do I go from here?
Does Instagram come back into my life?
And if so, how?
We had a date night today at a new sushi place. I didn't take any photos of our food, which is highly unusual. This felt liberating.
Nick and I had a great time, and there was one less distraction to take me from the moments we had together.
It feels good to reprogram my mind on what's important, and what can wait.
Also, a sweet little gem to end my night was when Lucille saw me writing in my journal (about my reflections from today). She sat next to me and said, "I like your writing."
Lucille is noticing me writing more, and that's a habit I feel proud to share more about with her.
I can be proud and grateful for the life I have without having to share IT ALL to the world.
so now that it's over, Where do I go from here?
This social media rest has been an enlightening practice that has helped bring clarity and boundaries to be more deliberate with how I use social media, so that it does not USE ME.
I look forward to sharing more (coming soon in Part 2) about how I made changes with my social media use in order to be more intentional with this amazing, powerful tool.
If any of this resonates with you, I would love for you to share your experience and thoughts on this topic!
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