I hate Instagram. I’m addicted to Instagram. I hate Instagram. I’m codependent on Instagram.

…but really, I hate Instagram.

At the end of the year aka 4 weeks ago, I spent time accounting for my ’21 habits. In a section titled, ‘changes I want to focus on’ — I plugged in, ‘less social media, less digital dependency.’

According to my screen time tracker, I spent an average of 41 minutes a day on Instagram in 2021.

That’s 14,760 minutes

or 246 hours

or 20 straight days on Instagram.

Ouf. Embarrassing.

I try to assuage the discomfort, telling myself that part of that time is devoted to ‘work’ — Instagram is how I sell tickets to events, its how I raise awareness, its how I ‘build buzz’ (whatever that means).

As a result, I’d let a compulsive open / check / refresh / click / view / comment / exit pattern take over. Any spare or blank moment, got filled with a reach for my phone, and a click on that camera icon.

In addition to ‘work’, IG is how I pick the scab that is an inclusion and belonging craving. Its so backwards: I compulsively check other people’s feeds, to see what cool things they’re doing — most of which I’ve not been invited to — cause I’ve been to slow to belong to myself, all of which makes me feel an empty pit in my stomach, a knot in my chest, in an original desire to feel ‘better’ by satiating an urge.

It all feels codependent, automated and unhealthy.

Earlier this year, I had a painful fracture with people I care about. A world of friends and fun that I’d been connected to, was no longer mine to find a sense of belonging in. But they still continue/d to gather. Seeing slices of it all on Instagram felt like a specific kinda torture.

Suddenly, a new way was the only way. It ain’t no time tested formula, but here’s what I did. When I say I felt *so much better* implementing this, I’m not joking. My quality of life increased significantly, immediately.

  1. I turned it off. Sounds so obvious + basic, but hard when you’re in the throws of addiction. Alas I knew that holiday time would be super hard for the reasons stated above, so I deleted the app for 10 days. I set a start date and a stop date. There were def moments I was tempted to peek — and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t for ‘work’ on my laptop twice. But for 99.9% of the time, it was off and I was *happy*. It felt so good, that since then, I’ve deleted for 2–3 days at a time, which also feels really good.
  2. I muted — a lot. I observed that there’s accounts that make me feel a pang of something ‘healthy’ — seen, inspired, motivated, grateful, expansive, connected — and there’s accounts that cause(d) a band around my chest to tighten. The latter category — those have all been muted. The accounts I see now have less charge, which serves to diminish the amount of time I want to spend scrolling, which feels like progress all around.
  3. I appreciate limits. I admit there are days that I exceed my self-imposed limit of 40 minutes (actually — often) and turn off the controls, but consciousness around the time spent feels important.
  4. I stay aware. Part of why I’m addicted to Instagram, is cause curating my life and bathing my face in filters feels good. The emojis in my DMs, the likes, the affirming comments from people — those also feel good. Instead of judging or fighting against that — I notice it, I feel grateful, and I know that its my job to self-generate joy as much as I receive it from an external source like IG.

Q’s for you //

  1. What habits are you aware of, that no longer serve?
  2. How do you know that they no longer serve?
  3. How does social media add value to your life?
  4. In what ways does it extract value? How do you know?

If you feel called to share responses, email me → allie@equanimityequation.com

Currently exploring at the intersection of experience design, community + inner work.

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Equanimity Equation

Equanimity Equation

Currently exploring at the intersection of experience design, community + inner work.

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