A Much-Needed Digital Break & The Lessons Learned
I had just prepared myself an afternoon snack. The most beautiful, ripe, yellow heirloom tomato with red stripes, accompanied by a piece of crusty, toasted baguette, all doused with olive oil and sprinkled with the flaky Maldon salt I had just been introduced to. As the plate sat in front of me, mouth salivating, all I could do was think about the best angle to photograph it from.
Or, how about snuggling with my love on the couch, getting ready to watch that much-anticipated show on Netflix, pressing play, and instantly reaching for my phone to scroll mindlessly through the latest posts. Why did I have the urge to look at something else while I’d just decided to watch a show I was so excitedly waiting for?
These are only a few of the many examples of when my brain went instantly into photographer-mode in order to prepare an enticing shot to share on Instagram, or my hand instinctively twitching for my phone in the single second my brain had nothing else to do, taking me away from enjoying what was right in front of me.
My constant urges to reach for the phone to scroll while my brain had nothing else to do, the habitual instinct to swipe-over to IG as soon as I finished another task such as texting or writing notes, and the fomo whenever I wasn’t connected or posting my latest meal, these were all signs that immediately sealed the deal on the important decision I needed to take.
It came to a point where reaching for my phone was the first thing I did on waking and the last thing I did before tucking in for the night. That was enough! I knew I had to wean myself off of Instagram before I kept wasting more time away from what was really important to me. It was then I decided to take a month-long Instagram break.
While it took me a few days to get used to not automatically reaching for my phone, the second week in I noticed I was more mindful of making the decision to read a book rather than check IG (and I use kindle on my phone, so you can imagine the temptation!). I enjoyed my daily activities and was more present when I waited at the carwash or for someone to arrive, just observing my surroundings, without the stress of having to scout the perfect shot to share later.
It seems I’m not the only one feeling this. As I returned to IG after my break, I saw many other people I follow sharing the same story. And whether on blogs or newsletters, I’m hearing about the unnecessary need to make everything public in order for it to be real. Such as with this quote from Jonathan Fields who seems to always say the perfect words that are stirring inside my mind:
So now I’m being more mindful with how I use my phone and more purposeful with what I share on Instagram. As someone I admire has said constantly, let’s “CREATE MORE rather than just CONSUME”. To have moments where we live purely for us without the need to share all aspects of our lives, because to feel the need to share it all is not healthy. It’s then when we lose the present moment we’re living and only yearn to style more events to share and make it “real” for others.
While yes, it’s a fun platform when used consciously, it can also be used for so much better. For inspiring, for sharing our art, for contributing to the learning and expansion we all need to make this world a better place.
But above all, it’s a pleasure. A pleasure we must be mindful of, as with any other, to use it for that simple reason, and not in need of it.
What do you get out of using Instagram? Do you feel you have an addiction to constantly checking and scrolling through it? If so, how do you keep yourself in check to have a healthier relationship with your phone? Please, share in the comments below.
With much love and gratitude,