Let me preface this post by saying I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Instagram, and pretty much everyone I know enjoys using it for work, fun, or both. I would never want anyone to feel like this post is my way of saying I’m “above” using it, or that I judge anyone’s use of it. I don’t AT ALL. I just wasn’t able to use it in a way that felt healthy or helpful for me, at least not right now.
I felt personally convicted to get off Instagram a few months ago when I realized that it was influencing my thinking too much, in ways I didn’t like. To put it simply: I spent too much time thinking about what to post, I felt as though I only posted things I wanted to “show off” to others, and I used the accounts I followed as a sort of barometer for my own life, to show me the kinds of things I should be buying and doing. Side note – this is really embarrassing to admit! But I’m just being real with you guys. This is where my head was at when I was using Instagram.
Thankfully, I recognized that these attitudes weren’t healthy or helpful, for me or for anyone else. I decided I’d be better off just cutting it out of my life completely. That was last October, and except for a quick revisit for a couple of days around Thanksgiving and an occasional sign-on to follow new friends to help support their blogs and businesses, I haven’t been back on, and I honestly haven’t missed it.
Here are 5 ways my life is different now, post-Instagram – and some are more surprising than others!
I have a lot more time.
This one is not shocking. I wish I had kept track of exactly how much time I got back in my day so I could quantify it, but I didn’t. All I know is that I feel like I have a lot more pockets of time in the day to do things like read or listen to audiobooks, run errands, cook, clean, go to bed on time – just all the general life stuff that I used to find myself putting off or feeling rushed or stressed trying to get done. It’s becoming rare that I have that rushed or stressed feeling lately, and I’m thankful for that.
I spend less money.
This one is again, embarrassing, because I hate to think that I let little squares on a screen tell me how to spend my money – but it’s totally true. When I was actively scrolling through Instagram multiple times a day, I found myself more easily discontent with everything from the clothes in my closet to the food in our pantry, and constantly wanting to “upgrade” our stuff to match what I was seeing. (Super shallow. I know. Again, embarrassing – but real!) Every time I refreshed my feed, I was greeted with the latest and greatest in raw, organic, super-good-for-you-but-also-$13-a-bottle juice from the trendiest new juice bar in town and gorgeous, perfectly formatted and penciled-in planners on gorgeous, white marble-topped desks. There’s nothing wrong with ooh-ing and aah-ing at pictures of pretty things for fun or wanting to be up on trendy new products if you enjoy that. But for me, instead of enhancing my life in helpful ways, these things just drove me to be consumeristic and way too material-focused. Not at all what I want to be about. And speaking of white marble…
I love my home again.
One of the main things I spent my time ooh-ing and aah-ing at on Instagram was beautiful pictures of homes – especially kitchens, my favorite room. I love homemaking, I love decor, and I love looking for ways to make our spaces at home more functional, welcoming, and beautiful. Again, there’s nothing at all wrong with this – I think it’s a reflection of the unique way God made me and the passions He’s given me to pursue. But my Instagram scrolling wasn’t helping me use this gift in any constructive way.
Instead, it was causing me to be discontent with our current home because I was constantly gazing at pictures of perfectly staged “dream homes” – the kinds of homes that it wouldn’t even be practical or realistic for us to live in at this stage in our lives. But every huge, gorgeous kitchen I looked at made me love our current formica countertops and 80’s-style tile floors a little bit less. It got to the point where I just didn’t think I could truly enjoy cooking in our kitchen until we moved and had a more “updated” space.
But our kitchen wasn’t the problem – my ungrateful, skewed perspective was. When I eliminated this unhealthy behavior – which I’ll just get really uncomfortably honest and call out for the sin that it is: coveting – my contentment and gratitude for our cozy little home (including our dated but lovable kitchen) – returned in full force. I feel so content here now, and I’m so thankful to feel that way. Contentment is a gift!
My blog traffic is higher than it’s ever been.
This is the one I found most surprising, but I shouldn’t have, considering that very little of my blog traffic came from Instagram to begin with. I think my heightened traffic this past month has been due in large part to my Whole30 posts and the fact that January is when everyone and their mom searches for Whole30 recipes and tips. But I’ve also been dedicating a lot more time recently to the foundational aspects of my blog like creating new posts and images, updating and improving old content, reworking my navigation and categories, and interacting with blogging communities to build relationships with other bloggers. Eliminating Instagram from the picture has freed up a lot of time and mental space for me to do these things, and I know they’ve made an impact, even if it’s been small. Plus, I don’t miss stressing about figuring out what image to use to promote a post or what hashtags to put with it – I’ve been enjoying other ways of connecting and promoting the blog a lot more.
I’m actually using social media to enjoy and connect with people.
In the absence of Instagram, I’m using Facebook more often and more intentionally to connect with the people in my life. I did a ruthless “unfollow-athon” where I went through and removed from my newsfeed everyone I just don’t know that well or have lost contact with over the years, and made it so that my closest friends’ updates show up first in my newsfeed. Now, when I hop on Facebook, I feel like I’m actually getting a little update on what my friends are up to, versus scrolling through a sea of information about people I don’t interact with in real life. (Am I the only one who had let their FB feed reach this point?)
I’m also using Bloglovin‘ to keep up with just a few favorite bloggers, which makes the blogging community in general feel less big and overwhelming and more personal and fun. I like that I can check in regularly to see which blogger friends have put up new posts, easily hop over to leave comments and questions, and quickly add new blogs I want to keep an eye on. (And no, this isn’t any kind of sponsored mention for Bloglovin‘. I just appreciate an organized platform when I see one!)
I’ve wanted to share this post for a while – not because I think everyone needs to quit Instagram, but because I wanted to share how something I used every day and never really questioned was actually negatively impacting me, and it took me a long time to realize it.
I want to challenge you to think critically about the things you do and use on a daily basis, maybe on autopilot – are they serving you and actively making your life better? Are they neutral, and just taking up space in your day? Or worse, are they having negative impacts on you that you haven’t even noticed because you haven’t taken the time to really think about it? Take stock today and make sure that the things you’re spending your precious time and energy on are actually helping you “choose better,” whatever that looks like for you!
Your turn to share:
- Have you ever given up something you thought you enjoyed, but later decided wasn’t good for you?
- Is there anything – a habit, commitment, etc. – currently in your life that you want to examine more closely to see how it’s impacting you?
- Which social media platform do you like most for staying connected to the people you care about?