11 In mental health/ who am I

What quitting Instagram has taught me

I deleted my Instagram account almost 3 weeks ago (I also deactivated my Twitter account but the annoying thing with Twitter is that it doesn’t delete anything IF log back in within 30 days and after this fiasco I logged in to vent and rant and rage so for now I’m still on Twitter).

But I digress, this is about Instagram.

I thought I really loved Instagram, I thought it was artistic and inspirational and fun. And then I realised just how much of my time I spent either posting or refreshing my feed or refreshing to see comments or likes.

I realised that actually it was making me into a fidgety addict with an attention span of an overtired toddler. I realised that it was taking focus away from my actual real life.

I tried controlling the habit by seriously culling how many people I follow but that did not work as well as I hoped. I tried controlling it by deleting the app from my phone and only checking it via a browser but that did not change my habits radically either.

And that is why I quit. Sometimes the only cure is to pull the plug and move on.

Here’s what my Instagram-free life has made me think about in the last few weeks:

  1. Running is fun even when you don’t take photos of yourself running.
    Plus you finish sooner because you no longer spend time setting up your camera and fake-running in front of it a bazillion times (and pretending you’re just stretching when dog walkers come by) to get one decent shot out of it in the end.
  2. Eating food is enjoyable even when you don’t take photos of your meals.
    Plus you now have the added benefit of your food still being warm when you start to eat it.
  3. Being over 40 is finally again no big deal and you have much less FOMO re ‘Oh my lawd, all these young people are traipsing around the world in exotic places doing exotic things.’
    You remember that you too have traveled the world and you may have not spent a lot of that time running extreme ultra marathons through deserts OR lounging by swimming pools in a bikini sipping cocktails but you speak several languages, have tons of great memories and a lot of amazing friends from all over the world.
  4. It’s much easier to focus on & celebrate what your body can DO when you’re no longer bombarded with photos of what other bodies LOOK like.
  5. You appreciate your real job when you’re no longer exposed to all the 20-year olds who make lots of money from posting photos of their butts or handbags on Instagram.
  6. You remember that you’re not cool or beautiful or sexy or any of those things that sells on Instagram but that you are so very ok with what you are & with just the right people loving you just as you are.
  7. No matter how strong you think you are mentally to not fall into the comparison trap, no matter how few people you yourself follow on Instagram, you still compare(d).
    And comparison is the stealer of all joy. It takes your focus away from your own life and it makes the grass on the other side look soooo much greener. Even though you know it’s a filter. Literally and figuratively.

At this point I don’t miss Instagram and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something. Instead, I feel that my real life is more real.

What is your relationship with Instagram like?

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  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Ahh I miss you on instagram! I completely understand where you’re coming from and it sounds like quitting might be the best thing for you right now. I have to say I was reluctant when instagram first started ‘taking off’ but I’ve grown to love it and it’s definitely my favourite platform at the moment. I also have a passionate hate for all those posed running photos and I’m now pretty good at unfollowing those people so now my feed is mostly ‘real’ runners, people who love food, and fitness people showing the impressive things their body can do. Although the minute they start lifting up their shirt to show some flexed abs I am all NOPE! Hope you’re keeping well 🙂

    • Reply
      October 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      I’m keeping Twitter for now so you can still find me 🙂 And Strava. Although Strava is becoming more and more ‘social’ and I’m not sure I actually like it. Or maybe I do. I can’t decide. At least the topic is always running or cycling but I see lots of people posting all kinds of random workouts with photos there and that’s a bit too much for me.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Kudas saab sind mõjutada niipalju mingi võõraste tshikkde pildid kusagil internetis? Ma tahan arusaada kuid ikkagi ei saa.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      No vot jah. Ma eriti “võõraste tshikkide”
      pilte ei vaadanud, rohkem selle jooksmise ja fitnessi rahva omasid, kes mulle ammu juba tuttavad on aga koik on kuidagi kiiremad ja tublimad viimasel ajal… siin Londonis toimub koguaeg igasugu üritusi kus koik need fitnessi blogijad koos kaivad ja paljud on toredad inimesed aga kuidagi suure grupina koos on see koik vahel too much. Nii ma siis utlengi ei igasugu kutsetele ja ei viitsi enam instas ka järgida mis toimub…

  • Reply
    Anna @AnnaTheApple
    October 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I can fully understand where you’re coming from. Instagram is a very difficult beast at times. I find I have to be very grounded in what I believe is best for me, where I am and my own happiness. Sure I compare to others and get FOMO but it doesn’t consume me.
    I like Instagram because of the network of people and commmunity. I like seeing what other people are up to and how they’re doing. I also like getting inspired from others – places they go, runs they do, kit and food. I also love getting ideas for workouts and things related to gym and the more science-based accounts to do with physio and nutrition.
    What I DON’T like are the constant perfect running shots – like you said, someone taking a photo of them or people so obviously spending ages getting “that” shot. To me that’s not real. But I can take those as long as I get the other stuff. I also like tracking my own progress – whether goals I’m striving towards or hitting and workouts I’ve done/ how I’ve felt. It’s nice to scroll back through and remember those brief snapshots and the stories behind each photo.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Ah man, you made me miss Instagram just a teeeny bit writing all that! My plan is still to take SOME photos, especially when traveling, and post them on the blog instead. Or my password protected photos-only website that I have for friends and family overseas. As for the community aspect, I think Twitter and Strava will do the job for me 🙂

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Ma saan Sinust väga hästi aru aga ikkagi on kurb ka kui Sinu pilte enam ei tule. Need mitte-turisti linnapildid on huvitavad 🙂

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Ma lihtsalt pean rohkem blogima hakkama ja mitte ainult spordist 🙂

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    A little sad to hear you’ve properly given it up, although not surprised as I know you seem to have a love-hate relationship with social media! I am very curious how to make money taking pictures of my butt though 😉

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Definitely a love-hate relationship. I’m just not strong enough to not let the Insta-fluff/crap get to me. As for ££ – your butt would sell for sure 😉 I hear the magic number for being able to start cashing in is 10,000 followers though 😐

      • Reply
        October 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        Well bugger, that’s me out then!

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