Starting an Instagram Cleanse
In the world of health and wellness, it is not uncommon to hear recommendations for starting a juice cleanse or a dietary detox in order to remove toxins from your body and improve overall well-being. This idea of a temporary reset does not only apply to physical health but to mental health as well. About a year and a half ago, I decided to start a 6-month social media cleanse in which I deleted my account on Instagram in order to focus on my individual mental wellness and purify any thoughts or behaviors that were not supportive of a balanced lifestyle.
In deciding to remove myself from social media, I did not plan how long the break would last since I wanted to provide myself with the opportunity to assess my personal progress each day. This experience significantly changed my perspective on social media and when I finally did return, it was from a very different mental state than when I originally left.
Getting Used to being Disconnected
I remember feeling a weight lifted off of my shoulders once I first deleted my Instagram account in July of 2019. This decision came after the honest realization that my time spent scrolling through the posts on my feed was doing little to help my perceptions of self worth and overall mental health. Much of my focus became centered on social comparisons and crafting an idealized image of my life in the eyes of my followers without truly considering the toll that this was taking on my emotional state. After realizing the negative influence that social media played in my daily life, I felt inspired to make a change and advocate for my own well-being.
Initially, my social media cleanse brought a great degree of freedom and contentment into my life, and I quickly realized how much more time I had to spend time doing activities that were conducive to my own emotional growth. I spent more time with my friends, I went to the beach often, and I set aside time for myself to read, paint, or exercise. I began to focus more on myself, and I paid less attention to how my life looked through the eyes of my peers.
As the months passed, I grew more comfortable with remaining disconnected from the world of social media. It was not uncommon, though, that my friends or peers would ask about my decision to leave Instagram, wondering how I am able to stay off the app for so long. At times, I did feel somewhat cut off, but I knew that it was my decision to help improve my own mental health and well-being. I saw my life from a more holistic perspective, and I gained a more objective viewpoint of the largely hidden impacts of social media. Additionally, I considered myself separate from my online presence, and I realized the importance of maintaining a steady distinction between my true self and the version that I portrayed on Instagram.
Returning With a Different Perspective
After about a period of 6 months, I finally decided that I would end my social media cleanse and return back to Instagram. This decision came at a time when I felt more internally balanced and fortified, realizing the beneficial aspects of social media in terms of staying connected with others and spreading positive information. Additionally, I had come to realize that my own self-worth and identity were inherently separate from my Instagram account, thereby diminishing the app’s influence over my individual mental health. I considered it as a tool to remain associated with my peers and participate in the culture of social media without letting it direct my personal thoughts and behaviors in the same way as it had done in the past.
Now, after returning to Instagram about a year ago, I consider it as a way to remain relatable to my friends and peers and also to spread information that I am passionate about with others. My cleanse helped me to recontextualize the power of social media apps, limiting their impact on my own sense of self-value and personal identity. It is not who I am, but rather, something that I use to share parts of my life and show support to others.
Hey I’m Delaney! I’m a junior at UCLA studying Psychology, and I am extremely passionate about raising awareness for the importance of mental health. I believe that fostering a community of mutual support can profoundly help to reduce stigma and encourage daily focus on mental well-being.about:blankGalleryDrag images, upload new ones or select files from your library.UploadSelect Images