Social Media has become a crucial part in the lives of the majority. Checking out twitter/instagram/Facebook is literally a ritual a huge amount of us do precisely as we wake up. Scrolling through our feeds has now become an addiction that consumes up nearly all of the ‘free time’ we have.
I know for me personally I was hooked. Particularly to Instagram. I spent literally at least six hours of my day scrolling, creating, posting and ensuring I was constantly updating myself on the never ending changes to the infamous algorithm. The fun slowly started disappearing and was being replaced with stress, anxiety and pressure. Each time I posted I was constantly checking to see my engagement as if it was my ‘high’. And when it wasn’t what I was expecting (or needed to be classified as a ‘good ratio’), I was stressing and spending even more time on the app. And sadly this is the truth for most of us who are addicted to social media.
With my audience growing I felt even more pressure to continue posting content. Though I felt like it was now effecting the quality of my work. It was almost like I was becoming a factory. However my addiction wouldn’t let me stop. I was feeling unhappy but still continued. I was spending more time with my computer than I was interacting with humans (which I personally believe to be very unhealthy). This had me slowly fall into the trap of comparing myself to other posts. To do this is so incredibly dangerous as 99% of the time it’s an image someone is making and is so far from the truth. The comparisons made me feel like I was failing. I wasn’t getting any where in life. It made me feel stuck. And that was such a horrible feeling.
So on the 21st of June 2018 I decided to take a break. I didn’t know how long it would be for but I didn’t care. The idea of taking a break was making me anxious as it had me worried about my audience dropping along with the interaction rate for when I do finally post (as my algorithm would be affected). However I told my self that it was far more important to break free from it. At the end of the day I joined Instagram to share my my love for creativity and fashion. I wanted it to be a place where people could come and feel happy and possibly inspired. And how could they do that when I was loosing it myself?
So I posted my post stating that I’d be taking a break. At first I found it hard. It seemed second nature for me to pick up my phone and just scroll and post. The amount of times I picked it up just in the first few days really made me realise the extent of my addiction. However when I found my self going through Instagram I would lock my phone and put it to the side. I then started leaving the phone in my bedroom and going through my day with it there. With it being further away I started to finally learn to live in the present. My time being spent with people (including my own family) started to feel much more personal. My attention was 100% in the moment. And it was slowly making life fun for me again.
By the time the first month passed I was packing my suitcase for Bali. Being used to constantly holding my phone I was eager to see what it would be like to just experience the holiday. And truth be told it wasn’t hard. I started sharing my trip as a visual diary on Instagram stories which I really enjoyed as it would be something I could look back on when home. Instead of worrying about my outfit fitting the scene and taking a picture of every thing I wore I just took each day as it came. I indulged on food (which is quite obvious on the story), and together with my husband I explored as much of Amed as we could. To experience it in life rather than looking at it through a screen that was recording the live thing felt so freeing. As silly as that sounds, it made me realise just how much of life we live through a screen these days. And that’s really sad!
Although our trip was meant to be a month before we headed to the next destination we decided to cut it short due to the earthquakes we felt. Just in the first week Bali experienced 52 quakes and tremors. Honestly speaking, I’ve never felt so anxious my whole life (but I’ll write another post on my trip to Bali).
When we arrived in Pakistan I wanted to spend even less time on Instagram than I had in Bali. Although it was a hugely reduced amount when compared to when I started in June, I felt like I wanted to reduce it further. Especially as I would be spending the time with my family. And as going to Pakistan is something very rare for me I wanted to make the most of every moment. So as those of you who follow me on Instagram will know, I’ve hardly posted anything both on the feed and on the stories. And again although it’ll effect the algorithms I currently couldn’t care less. When compared to how much fun it is to just spend time with family without any distractions is literally no price at all to pay.
And now that I have gone without Instagram for just over two months I feel like I can get back on it without letting it take over my life like it had in the past. This time I’ll only be posting when I want to. And it’ll be content I am pleased with and have enjoyed creating. I want my feed to go back to being a visual diary rather than a shopping catalogue. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll go about it but am in no rush to figure it out as that would defeat the whole point.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this post let it be that there is more to life than what you see through your screen. As fun as it is to scroll through and see what your favourite influencers are up to it’s important to remember that all is most certainly not what it seems. Don’t compare your life constantly to others as it’s a virtual world the majority of us create. Let it be something you use for inspiration and motivation instead of letting it become a means of making you feel like you’re going no where. And most importantly learn to live in the present.
Until The Next Time