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I joined Instagram during college. I remember being so excited to get an iPhone so that I could get the app. My first photo was from a hike that I went on with my parents, but, pretty quickly, my relationship with Instagram became more growth-oriented. I was an aspiring lifestyle blogger who dreamed of getting as many followers as the bigger bloggers.

Over time, being on Instagram felt less dreamy. I talked with friends and hosted events about creating Instagram boundaries, but I still hadn’t created sustainable boundaries for myself. 

I decided to take an Instagram break for the better part of two weeks at the end of 2020. It was the longest I’d ever been off the app. The end of the year felt like a safe time because I wouldn’t really be missing much. 

The first few days were the hardest. I’d pick up my phone, forgetting that the app was no longer there. I still approached moments as potential pieces of content. Then, I started feeling less and less attached to the app. It was a relief to be away, and I wasn’t in a hurry to get back. 

I saw people like Marlee Grace and my friend Amelia quitting the app entirely, but that didn’t feel like the right step for me. 

What Next?

Instead, I started experimenting with a new set of Instagram boundaries. They’re still a work in progress, but I’m happy to share this iteration:

  • I delete Instagram after each use
  • I log on up to twice a day
  • I log off each weekend
  • I only create content when it feels aligned

I’m about a month into these new boundaries, and I don’t think I’ll ever go fully back. 

What I’ve Noticed 

  • I still use Instagram as a measuring stick. I find myself looking at the profiles of journalists or potential partners, and I’m trying to figure out how useful that practice is
  • I still use Instagram as a measuring stick. I find myself looking at the profiles of journalists or potential partners, and I’m trying to figure out how useful that practice is
  • My phone feels boring, in a good way. There isn’t much to do on it
  • I have more time to process. Instagram encourages us to move so quickly. We have to respond to a current event right away before the world moves on to the next thing. I don’t have to do that anymore
  • I’m more observant. Lately I’ve been particularly entranced by footprints in the snow
  • New distractions pop up. I have Instagram boundaries and a better relationship to email, so naturally my mind is looking for fresh distractions. Lately, it’s been Google Analytics and LinkedIn
  • I don’t feel like I’m missing much. If there is a life update that is truly worth knowing, I’ll find out in due time

In sharing my story, I’ve found that so many others want to scroll less, too. That’s why Inner Workout created Instead : A card deck for scrolling less. It’s launching on Kickstarter on February 16. Be the first to know.

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