How taking a short break from social media helped me regain a sense of self, develop an unconventional understanding of mindful moderation in real practice, and led to newfound appreciation for Instagram.
Don't lose sight of yourself amidst the infinite scroll
I took an intentional posting break from Instagram. Although it was only for a little over a week, it felt way more dramatic. When I decided to do this, I received a dichotomous split reaction from people. Some said, "wow good for you!" and others, "ooof, really?" Despite the responses, I knew it was very much needed. The results were humbling for my own mental well-being to say the least. I gained a refreshing sight of reality through my own eyes rather than through the gilded vision of my social media account.
Publish or Perish
By nature, I am a social media introvert. I am not much of a "DM slider" nor am I naturally inclined to be a moment-by-moment vlogger on Instagram Stories. Regardless, I truly commend those who are seamlessly skilled at it. I've enjoyed posting content pretty regularly, but I'm not a natural at the social media game - call me a 24-year-old "old soul". That being said, I noticed that I started getting caught up in the pressure-to-post syndrome. I don't think this is actually a recognized term - yet. I would assume this phrase I just made up is the social media equivalent to the well-known rule of academia known as "Publish or Perish" for professors. I'd be curious to read up on well-conducted research studies about the cognitive effects of social media on the psyche that include actual psychology terminology. Suggestions to credible scientific publications are welcome.
Acceptance of Addiction
At a point I found myself feeling this constant need to share with my self-inflicted pressure-to-post-syndrome. Engaging in this incessant feedback loop of opening my phone, opening up Instagram, and commencing with mind-numbing scrolling. Multiple times a day. Often multiple times even in a given hour. One day during a meditation practice, I even caught myself visually picturing an Instagram feed and mentally scrolling down. I'm not joking. It was time to admit I was developing an actual problem and I needed to reevaluate what my focus was energetically being drained by. It wasn't just the act of scrolling or posting for the sake of posting. It was bigger than that. It was this growing, deep-rooted resentment of my own self-value based on the "perfection" I was comparing myself to - constantly. It was this sense of self-loathing as I noticed precious hours of time slip through the tiny pixelated cracks of my phone screen. It was the complete disregard of my external surroundings in any given present moment. As someone who has endured anxiety and perpetually addictive habits for years, I knew I needed to change something regarding my relationship with social media.
Taking a mini break helped me regain a newfound appreciation for what Instagram truly offers to the world at its root purpose. I allowed myself to shake off the negative baggage I was holding onto every time I opened the app and saw another person trying to sell me a product or prove that their life was more fulfilling than everyone else's. I could let it bother me, or I could just focus on the positive. We are able to connect, meet, and share in a way we have never been able to before. It's absolutely incredible. It's given me the opportunity to share my content, appreciate the beauty of others', and has inspired me creatively. It's given my personal brand and growing business an open outlet for expression. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to expand horizons and exchange stories through just a few quick touches on a screen. Instagram has challenged me to really question my raw core values while finding ways to maintain inner peaceful grounding among the noise. It's helped me understand moderation on a deeper level. After my little self-reflective break, I feel that I've shifted my perspective around engaging on Instagram to a more positive and healthier mindset.
There's something to be said about finding balance that works for you. This goes for everything and anything. I cannot emphasize this enough. Some people are very skilled at keeping social media as an integral part of their day-to-day without feeling overwhelmed. For me, I know moderation is absolutely key. Know thyself, and explore ways to find your personal equilibrium. What are some ways you maintain a healthy relationship with social media? Let's continue the conversation in comments!