7 Things I Learned from a 3-Week Instagram Detox


I’m no stranger to the digital detox, but this was the longest stretch I’ve ever taken and solely focused on a break from Instagram. And I must say, it was fantastic! I almost didn’t want to come back. Though complete cold turkey isn’t necessarily the best way to cure a digital addiction, I found it profoundly illuminating and helpful. Here are the 7 things I learned across the past 21 Instagram-free days of my life:

  1. Holy hell Instagram takes up a lot of time! I had so much more time on my hands. Not only do I tend to spend a lot of time crafting what I want to share, but I love seeing what everyone else is up to.  Without this time-burden, I could actually accomplish much of my to-do list. 
  2. Every little thing doesn't need to be documented. I distinctly remember slicing open a beautiful, perfectly ripe avocado and reflexively wanting to capture and share it on the Insta. I realized that the compulsion to document every tiny thing in my life is unnecessary. Yes, perfect avocados are spectacular and I’m sure I’ll share more in the future. No, not every beautiful morsel of food I eat needs to be captured and posted.
  3. I had to confront my habits of escaping discomfort; One can only refresh email so many times. It was hard to ignore how much I use my phone to take up blank space or to distract myself from an uncomfortable (boring/annoying) situation. It’s so easy to allow oneself to get lost in other people’s lives and images when waiting in line, stuck on the metro, on hold, etc., but it is profoundly  more difficult to sit there with your feelings, realizing there’s no way you’re getting any new emails and you have to just feel the discomfort or change your perspective on it. 
  4. I am a better (dog) mom, partner, daughter, auntie, sibling, and friend when I’m not checking my Instagram feed constantly. I don’t think this needs more elucidation.
  5. I didn’t feel the inadequacy of constant comparison and visual FOMO. This was also incredibly poignant. While, like so many of us, I’m drawn to the beauty and the community of sharing, there is still a constant bombardment of the things others are doing that may feel better, bigger, shinier. Without that, you start to feel pretty good with who you are and where you are. I highly recommend it.
  6. I could minimize interruptions. I didn’t have the ability to document every great line I read, flower I smelled, every exceptional meal I ate. And though these are beautiful moments to capture at times, I found the streamlined experience was much more valuable and nourishing than the interruption that comes from pausing to take picture or a push to share with others immediately.
  7. My friendships, and clients, and business didn’t fall apart in the absence of this platform. And I have to admit, there was a part of me that thought it would! But this break from social media was affirming that I have a strong sense of friendships, clients, and purpose even without a platform I had so often blamed my constant usage of on purposes of growth and continued connection.

To summarize: I am deeply moved by how transformational my time away was and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. While I am excited to share more of what I’ve been up through with new blogs, recipes, events , I’m going to attempt to do so in moderation. Because while a digital community can be wonderful, nothing – absolutely nothing – beats the real-life thing.