Do You Have a Toxic Relationship with Instagram? 5 Steps to Quit

Just like other people, I signed up on Instagram for fun. I love taking pictures and editing them. My interest in photography began when I saw all these beautiful travel pictures that seem too good to be true.

After some time, something began to change.

From just taking nice pictures to feeling obsessed with how many likes I’d get every time I posted a new photo. I’d spend hours and hours editing and make it as “perfect” as it could be.

At this point, I didn’t even care anymore whether I’m really into photography for the right reasons.

My day changed.

The first thing I opened in the morning was Instagram, and I couldn’t count how many hours in a day that I spent scrolling. The more I spent on the App, the shitty I’d feel afterward.

“How do all these girls have flawless skin?!”

“Oh look, they all so skinny and pretty, and it’s clear that they get their life together. Meanwhile, look at me, stress-eating for days now, and acnes are all over my face!”

I had these types of conversations in my head right after I saw all the pretty “instagrammable” pictures.

Unlike other people who got a wake-up call to leave Instagram because it’s messing with their mental health, I didn’t realize it until two years later. Yes, I was so into it more than I’d like to admit. The point is, it’s that bad.

But of course, I can’t blame it on Instagram. I’m fully responsible for what happened with my mental health. The turning point was when my boyfriend started complaining a lot about how bad it affected me. I was super insecure and being too hard on myself.

I got a new job with much better payment, and I still thought it’s nothing just because all other girls on Instagram are “traveling” and living their life somewhere in Bali or Hawaii. I based my happiness and achievement on somebody else’s achievement that I didn’t even know in real life.

As crazy as this sounds, I can assure you that I’m not the only one who feels that way before. I’ve seen girls having unrealistic expectations on what the boyfriend should do/be just because all these “couple influencers” promoting a lifestyle that isn’t even accessible for most people.

Here are the 5 steps I took to cut off social media:

1. Journal your thoughts

Before I even decided to cut off social media, I had to journal my thoughts. Writing them down gives me clarity in why I feel a huge need to remove it in the first place altogether.

Doing this also helps me to understand the issue I was having on a deeper level. I found out that my insecurity always showed up when I saw a girl’s photo with her perfect hair and pleasing fashion.

Meanwhile, this can also be a good inspiration; at the same time, I’d feel inferior by seeing the picture, and by realizing this thing, now I know I have to work on my physical appearance. Not necessarily to look as good as her, but to love my body for what it is.

2. Delete the app

After gaining some clarity, it’s time to delete all the App that is associated with Instagram, including the third scheduling/editing Apps such as Lightroom, UNUM, and InShot.

I put this step as a second one because I found it easier to click that “delete” on your device once you are over it mentally. Because if you haven’t found a strong reason to cut it down in the first place, you’ll find yourself going back to installing it again a couple of days later.

3. Take a break

When you are on social media, you are consuming lots of media, and most of the time, they aren’t contributing to your self-growth. Most times, they are just junk.

I could be looking at my favorite influencer’s stories or photos, but then there will be other recommendations as well, and before I knew it, I’d scroll and scroll for hours and leaving the App feeling mentally exhausted.

So once I deleted the App, I could finally take a break from all of the unnecessary information and bring the focus back into myself.

4. Ask yourself why

At this point, there will be times in a day where you’d want to go back to the App. Your friends will notice that you are “missing” on Instagram, and they began telling you that you might miss out on a thing or two.

It’s tempting, I know. But you can’t give up. To make the feelings go away, I usually would journal my thoughts and asking some questions.

Ask yourself why you want to get rid of it in the first place. Don’t hesitate to be completely honest with your friend when they ask the reasons. It’ll also tell them that it’s been bothering your mental health, and if they are a good friend, they’ll no longer want to ask you to go back there.

I’ve had this a lot in my first month of deleting the App. Some people think it’s necessary to have an active Instagram account to “keep up” with what’s happening out there. When I told my friends I couldn’t be active on Instagram anymore, it’s no surprise their response was, “what? that was unnecessary to cut it off like that!”

But I’ve learned that my mental health is more important, and I don’t want to participate in it when it brings more sadness than happiness in my life.

5. Find new hobbies

Lastly, when I decided to cut off Instagram, the first thing I did was finding a new hobby right away. Which, in this case, is writing online. I’m not good at it yet, and it’s slow progress, but doing it gives me a much better feeling.

I caught up with what’s happening inside the platform too much that I forgot there are millions of other fun things to do out there. It’s only when I got out of it I could finally see that I do have interests in so many other things such as writing, digital journaling, learning a new language, cooking, or even gardening.

So I highly recommend you find a new hobby right away. Make a list of at least five new hobbies you’d like to try so you won’t get bored, and this keeps you from feeling bored because you know you have other exciting plans in place.

Parting words

I cannot tell you how much difference it made in my life since I get rid of Instagram.

  • I become way more confident with myself; my skin, body, and overall taste in fashion. I appreciate it a lot more, and it’s a good feeling to have.

  • I found hobbies that I love: It’s crazy to think that life is 100 times more exciting now with my endless list of things to try out.

  • Career-wise I achieved more because I’m more focused in what my job. It also helps me earn a higher income every year.

  • I’m happier and more stable in my relationship because nothing random gets into my head anymore, and I have full control over my emotions.

Suppose you still think that Instagram/other social media won’t affect you much, but you keep finding yourself feeling so insecure, and your anxiety goes up right after you open the App. In that case, you need to consider taking a break fully.

I know it’s hard to do, primarily when your life is mostly revolving around it, but I can promise you that it’s very much worth it because nothing cares more about your mental health more than you do.

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