What I learned by taking a month off Instagram and Facebook

calendar with 3 months showing january greyed out

January first brought new year’s resolutions and healthy actions. At my son’s request, I reluctantly agreed to not use Instagram and Facebook for an entire month.

That exercise was helpful and stretching. But it was not the amazing revelation and breakthrough that some bloggers claim… words like “detox” are overstating the point a little, at least for me. I think my dependence on those apps may be less than for some people.

Positive aspects of the break:

  1. I gained many free small moments sprinkled throughout each day. I hadn’t used Instagram and Facebook enough before the break to read a whole novel┬áin my new free time, like some bloggers.
  2. I learned how often I click on my phone’s Instagram app – very frequently!
  3. Feeling the pain of loss most intensely happened during that first week. Not having those two avenues available became less of an issue as the month passed.
  4. Rather than wishing friends a happy birthday via Facebook, I used Messenger, which provided a greater connection in a few cases.
  5. I discovered that I definitely use Instagram more than Facebook. I found myself wanting to click my phone’s Instagram icon much more often than the Facebook icon.
  6. I sent more emails and made more phone calls.

Negative aspects of the break:

  1. I missed out on a few friends’ life events.
  2. I had to look elsewhere for super quick bites of entertainment. I cheated and did keep using Twitter… so my frequency of tweets increased compared to December. However, I actively tried to limit my use of Twitter.
  3. I found myself looking forward to February.

Results of the exercise:

  1. I’ll pare back the number of accounts in my Instagram and Facebook feeds. That will improve the quality of my browsing moments.
  2. I will try to use Instagram and Facebook less. The very fact that quitting for a month was not a huge revelation shows that I wasn’t missing much.
  3. One month may not have been long enough. At the very end of the month, I was at a restaurant alone, waiting for my lunch, and I reflexively had the urge to launch Instagram. That feeling had not hit almost since the first week. But it was still very deeply ingrained.

Caveat: During January, I went on Instagram and Facebook a few times for professional reasons since my work requires those platforms.