What I learnt from a 5 day Instagram detox

Thursday 05 April

Create Space

I am truly excited to share this piece with you. Last Friday I decided to stay off social media because it was making me feel incredibly negative and I was spending to much time on it. My decision turned into a 5 day instagram detox with the intention of creating space to stop the negative momentum and refocus.

Read on for what I learnt.

Photos by Brit Gill (I picked these because I had no idea she snapped this photo of me taking in the Cabo Sunset)

I never thought I would be writing a piece on any type of detox. Addiction is not in my wheelhouse, I have never had a problem with abusing or even using any mind-altering substances so the word detox never spoke to me. Not even a juice cleanse. 

Until now. 

On Good Friday there was a moment while scrolling on Instagram when I felt this huge momentum of negative thoughts toward every single thing I saw on there. One post in particular lead to this “detox” and it was a post celebrating something that was just not the truth and it was an easy catch and it frustrated my brain to the point of me wanting to start a confrontation, which is not something that comes naturally to me at all and suddenly I realized how disconnected I was from my truth. 

Over the past few weeks, I had been giving Instagram so much negative momentum that it was consuming me and leading me away from my own path with every double tap, search, dig and unfollow I was getting. Instead of starting any negative communication between this specific post and my ego within a split second I decided it was time for me to disconnect from this platform in a way I never have before. Enter “detox”. Of course, I had no idea how deep this would actually end up going. So let’s start here. 

Tips for starting a Social Media detox: there are two. Turn off notifications, all of them. Step two move the app to the very end of your phone.

Within 30 minutes I was having a dance party by myself in my living room, completely connecting with joy! I felt free.

Within an hour, I realized how many times my brain triggered me to go to my phone and open the app. (This is why you need to move it). Within 5 hours I realized that this Instagram thing is a full-blown addiction. It has all the characteristics, the constant trigger to go back to something that fills some sort of a void, whether it is an emotional one or a numbing void it is an escape into a reality that is not your own, which is not natural, aka not your path. 

Realizing all of this within the first few hours of taking myself out of the lives of the 2000 people I follow and fully focusing on my own was more than just eye opening. 

This was when I decided I would also write about this experience as I want to be a vessel for inspiration for others to maybe do the same or at minimum take the power back from this platform and use it in a more aware and conscious way.

This is what triggered my first lesson. Why do we actively choose to go to those virtual places and look at things we well know are not going to make us feel good or inspired? Our human life is not meant to know things about 2000 different people at the same time, or constantly be streamed with their lives, where they are and what they are doing. It is not in your path to know what girl is liking your ex-boyfriend’s photos and the other way around, the story you attach to it is simply a story and is not part of what your brain should be focusing on, it should be focusing on you because you are important. It is not part of your path to be eating a macaroon and jumping off of a waterfall at the same time. Truth is, we can choose again, we can choose not to over stimulate with other peoples life paths. I am not saying to give up instagram all together and I am not even saying it is entirely a negative place to be, I am just saying mostly to myself let’s look at it differently. Or at least I will from here on out, my good friend brought this lane theory to light and it could not have resonated more! Just stay in your lane and actively choose not to be thrown out of it. What we have forgotten is that what is not right now right here is not part of your life and should have no negative effect on you, you are the creator of your own life, triggers that make you feel less than joy have no business being part of your brains daily activity. 

On day 3 I realized the epic pull towards multitasking my brain has. Maybe that is why it’s constantly so noisy in there. Why do we feel the need to constantly shift focus? When was the last time you really watched a good TV show and I mean, 1 episode of quality TV. For me, the answer to that was “I can not remember.” I am supremely guilty of watching TV shows I already know inside out so that I can, also scroll on Instagram and not miss anything important. I feel like Instagram encourages unfocused living when abused! I managed to start watching This Is Us. 1 episode a day fully engaged and it was an entirely new way of watching TV. If I am being completely open, which I am, the reason I didn’t start watching it sooner was that I knew I had to focus on it, this thought is the reason I bring up the TV show in the first place. It got me thinking about all the other things in life I am just not doing because it requires my full focus and what my brain is triggering is a distraction. This thought could be spilling into the rest of my life and that is scary. Without even knowing it you are shifting focus constantly and constantly letting yourself get triggered by bad decisions that give bad thoughts more and more momentum and then you numb, with Instagram! What a cycle! 

Things I found myself doing more of because I did have Instagram to steer my mind off of my surroundings.

1. I laughed out loud to myself more than ever

2. I talked to myself more

3. I texted with my friends and family more often

4. I forgot where my phone was more than once

5. I felt myself being way more present in conversations and in other human interactions

6. I meditated every day

7. I went to bed earlier because it felt like I already did everything I could that day 

Day 5. My mind feels calmer than it has in a really long time. I feel like I am in control of every interaction I have, whether that is with someone in the elevator, on face-time with my family or even with my own thoughts. I feel like I have successfully detached myself from the negative momentum that makes me actively search for things that I know will make me not feel good. These are just a few realizations that really shook my core at how Instagram serves us/me, again when overused and abused. 

Now that I have created some distance I feel like I owe it to myself to set some boundaries around Instagram. 

1. Do not judge my own creativity on unfollows, likes and comments it is about quality, not quantity

2. Unfollow who truly does not serve your own well being there is no need to be involved in lives that don’t make you feel good at all you wouldn’t do that in real life, keep someone around that constantly makes you feel depressed, would you? 

3. Actively choose to not look for “joy” in the wrong places

4. Stay in my own path and believe in it with every inch of my being

5. Vow to be the positive influence to others as I would want to see in my feed as well

6. Take moments to show a struggle as well, everyone’s lives are messy at times and its OK to share that too

This was one of the most incredible experiments I have ever done for myself. My intention was not ever to actually write about it, it also was never meant to last 5 days but it felt too important not to and it feels really good to share this with you all. Whoever it may reach, whoever made it to the end of this article, you are the person that I hope is now smiling with relief that you are not alone and you are the person who I consider a friend a follower a confident and a peer. So thank you, for being on this journey with me.

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