I gave up Instagram for lent and here's what happened

Dear Readers,

The story as to why I decided to give up instagram for lent begins a few months back, when myself and some of my closest friends were chatting about the perils of social media - instagram in particular.

It got us all to thinking as to why we feel like we have to publicise everything on our stories? Why we only put up pictures of the best moments in life, where we look the most appealing and are doing or wearing the right thing to get as many likes as we can?

The reason I think I used instagram so much, is because it became a habit and because for me, it had the best content. I'd scroll endlessly on the explore page looking at memes, famous people's pictures, satisfying videos, comedy sketches and of course fan edits and tumblr text posts about my favourite book and tv series. I found it a constant source of entertainment that other platforms, such as facebook, just didn't satisfy.

The more we all thought about it the more ridiculous the concept of instagram itself seemed. A few of my friends talked about how they had gone on a few bouts of deleting the app and having a break, saying it had done them good.  I admired them, but couldn't help thinking, after comparing our screen-times and seeing that I literally spent hours on instagram each day, that I would never be able to give it up.

Then, as lent drew ever nearer and the prospect of giving up chocolate for another year made a pit of dread form in my stomach, I thought - screw it. I'll give it a go...and it was sort of surprising what I figured out along the way.

1. My screen-time increased

At the moment my screen time has actually decreased to less than what it was when I had instagram, however, for the first week or so I found that  the habit of getting out my phone far too often and using it to procrastinate was very much still ingrained in me.  I definitely had an addiction.
Instead of scrolling through instagram, I exhausted every snapchat story and scrolled through endless Big Bang theory clips that came up on my facebook feed.

I actually ended up spending about an hour more on my phone every day, partially because I wasn't satisfied with my other social media platforms, meaning I scrolled for longer seeking what I wanted, rather than on instagram where more time spent on it has meant its tailored posts I like seeing and will be the most entertained by.

Just shows how bad my usage was.

2. I missed it and I didn't...

There were definitely times where I missed it, and this came and went.

Towards the last few weeks I had completely gotten used to not having the app and so didn't even think about it most of the time. In fact, I still haven't re-downloaded it today even though lent has finished, largely because I forgot!

The times where I did miss it was when friends would say "did you see that video" or "You never replied to my comment." Forgetting or just not knowing that I'd given it up.

These moments happened surprisingly often, but the longer I didn't have the app the less I minded and got that FOMO feeling.

3. I was exposed to better news

A lot of the time, I feel like I'm so up to date with what's going on in the youtube and internet world, largely this is though instagram. Without instagram, I found out things I'd normally know straight away much later.

This, I think, was actually a good thing. It made me realise how much time I spend obsessing over the latest internet 'scandals' and not on the important news that I really care about. My facebook feed and news app were used far more often for looking at articles about mental health and climate change and Brexit, all things that I think is better to fill my mind with then Kylie Jenner's latest lip kit release.

4. I care a lot more about what people think than I think I do

Obviously, I think to an extent, everyone cares what people think. I want people to think I'm a nice person and that I'm smart and well mannered.

Instagram, however, focuses on appearance. Appearance is something I've honestly not cared much about. Sure, I have my insecurities, but generally they don't consume me and I don't spend much time over how I look. Make up and clothes just aren't the biggest deal.

getting rid of instagram made me care more, which might seem like a surprise. I don't know if maybe I was just going through a bout of low self esteem, but I began to judge myself harder and want to look nicer on a day to day. I think perhaps getting rid of instagram made me look not at my own best moments and pictures, but at me in reality, with nobody to compare it to but real people, which I think is sometimes a harder thing to do.

5. It made me realise how toxic instagram can actually be

Instagram is not the be all and end all. When I had it I assumed everyone else did. NO! I got chatting to several people who don't have it or hardly use it and they all seemed indifferent.

When it came to posting I wasn't editing all my photos and spending hours coming up with the best caption, but I really did care about likes. It is so sad thinking about how happy getting a certain number of likes or nice comments made me feel.

In love languages, I belong to the 'words of affirmation' category; I look for others to say things to make me feel liked and wanted. This definitely translates to social media and how receiving gratification online makes me feel good and how much I relied on that as a source of positive energy.

People are so much more likely to comment on social media than they are in real life. For example, a girl I haven't spoken to in months will comment something like "OMG you're so CUTEEEEE", but probably wouldn't have complimented me if she'd seen me in that moment, and we're all guilty of it. We are all so different online than in person, and it's scary - you can literally be anyone!

6. It made me love myself more

I know I've mentioned lower self esteem and not getting as much gratification like this whole experience has made me feel awful, that's actually not the case. I think giving up instagram came at the right time for me.

Giving up instagram made me think more and reflect about how I act and treat myself in everyday life at a time where maybe I wasn't doing the best job of it.

It made me realise that, actually, although its nice, I don't need my friends and family to constantly tell me they love me. I know they love me, and I shouldn't doubt that. I don't need those close to me to tell me I look pretty or I said something funny to think that I am these things.

It made me realise that it's time to stop waiting for other people to make me feel good and start relying on myself to give me a boost.

How I feel now...

Well, I'm going to re-download instagram onto my phone again tonight or probably tomorrow and I'm not really looking forward to it. The amount of posts to catch up with at the moment seems a bit overwhelming, but, I know when I click on it I'll enjoy it for a bit.

Right now I'll put my phone away when I've seen what I wanted and definitely won't be spending hours a day on it...at least I hope!

Hebe x


  1. Loved reading this! I know we've chatted about your thoughts on giving instagram up, but it was lovely to read all the points that we didn't discuss and your thoughts/feelings etc. Amazing post as usual <3

    1. Thank my love, means a lot coming form the queen her herself. A really hard one to try and explain what I was thinking and get my point across actually. Can't wait to see you and chat about it properly with a nice cuppa x