A few days ago I woke up to a message on my phone from my friend in Australia, it read, “are you okay? I saw you quit Instagram, what’s happening!” My message back was “I did quit, and I’m doing better than ever.”
I was so nervous as I sent my last Instagram story two weeks ago, my final adios. I am not good with goodbyes, and the finale of anything really makes me anxious and sad. I was so fearful that I was flushing two solid years of work down the toilet, and that I would regret this in a few months. I thought I’d need to fill the void with something else..if not instagram and being an influencer, then what will I do?
I will tell you what happened in the hours and days after stopping Instagram…I felt FREE. FREEEEEEEEEE. Like a huge brick building was lifted off my shoulders, like I could breath, like my life wasn’t under a microscope, like I didn’t have to keep up with this stupid agenda that I had created in the first place. Truth be told, I don’t miss it one tiny bit. Not at all. I miss nothing about it. I had started My Eclectic Grace 2 years ago to be a blogger, writing is my passion. I love blogging, I love sharing my thoughts and my design expertise. I thought I needed Instagram to succeed. Even though I had worked my way up to 11k followers in less than 2 years..I was very unfilled. It was never enough. The algorithm stopped favoring me when I stopped spending hours finding the best hashtags, using trendy lingo, and storying all day long. It exhausting to try to keep relevant. I wasn’t in it, I wasn’t feeling like Instagram and my influencer career belonged in my life anymore. And it felt so damn empowering to say “no” to myself and quit. I’ve never been so grateful to myself for quitting something that was so toxic in my life.
The thing I didn’t expect was this; my anxiety went down automatically and my confidence went up. I wasn’t seeking anyone’s approval..even though I wasn’t doing this intentionally on Instagram either. It’s just the way the app rewires your brain. Insta..like instant. Instant gratification. Trust me, that serves no one well. I thought taking breaks would solve the issue..people told me I’d regret stopping Instagram. So I would take breaks, come back with a plan of action…feel great for a bit, but like clockwork, it never ceased. Social media and mental health are not friends.
I’m not here to tell you that Instagram in the root of all evil. Social media is incredible, it connects so many people. I’ve met so many amazing people, learned a ton, and had opportunities I never would’ve had if I didn’t put myself out there. But it has its downsides too. The negatives outweighed the positives in my life, and I was in denial of that for a year. Now that I don’t use it (other than to chat with some special people!) I don’t miss it, nor do I feel like I’m missing out on anything. I feel so much more in-tune with my life and my own needs.
What woke me up was many things, many personal things, including the lockdown where I was spending every waking minute in my house with my fiance. I realized how much I had been ignoring and how many people I had unintentionally shut out because I was constantly thinking about Instagram, Influencer opportunities and how to out-do myself. It was like a constant competitive sport with thousands of people I didn’t even compare with, because I didn’t want too. I was me and they were them. Does that make sense? I just knew it wasn’t for me, I was not cut out for social media, and it wasn’t cut out for free-spirited people like myself.
So I stopped. April 26 was my last post, and it felt so good. I didn’t deactivate my account because of all my friends who I chat to on there, but I did delete the app from my phone. So I only check it every so often.
So why am I telling you all this? Why am I even bothering to blog and share this? Because when I announced I was quitting Instagram, my DM’s were flooded with over 100 mesages from my followers saying they want to quit too. Saying they wish they were brave enough to say goodbye…saying they just feel like a slave to social media. I am writing this for them.
Guess what? Life didn’t stop when I stopped being an infleuncer and Instagramer. I found joy again in the time I regained. I didn’t do DIY’s and think about photos or people’s approval or how I could make an affiliate link…I have done so many home projects out of pure joy! It feels so freeing and amazing. There is no pressure or second guessing myself or doing things for the ‘gram.
I might continue to blog…after all there is no schedule I have to follow, I love to write and I’m still doing house projects so if I ever feel like sharing it again it will be here!
If you feel like Instagram is the toxic friend you just can’t ditch, I encourage you not to shove that feeling down or ignore it. Try a break from Instagram, maybe a few days, maybe a week, maybe a month…and see how you feel. Be really honest with yourself..if you feel free and less anxious, don’t go back. I promise you, you don’t need social media like social media makes it seem like you do.
Anyway, I will be over here, enjoying my summer with my newly designed outdoor space, hot tub and margarita in hand! Thank you again for everyone who has reached out to me and who has been honest with their struggle..you’ve made me feel not alone in this.