How to take a break from social media

Last night I spent just under a good hour worrying about my Instagram. I used to have better hobbies, I swear. Instagram has become one of my favourite platforms to mindlessly scroll through in the past year or two and it’s the platform that I’ve lead myself to believe I can be more ‘genuinely myself’ on. Last year I told myself to curate my Instagram feed so that I’m only seeing things that make me feel good and inspire me but what happens when you get to a point where you’re not even taking in the ‘positive vibes’ that you’re pushing in your own face and sit bothering yourself for minutes on end about how many of your ‘friends’ are liking your posts or interacting with that dumb poll you put on your story? What happens when you feel literally agitated that your photos aren’t as ‘pretty’ and ‘high quality’ as an ‘Instagram influencer’?

Ridiculous Instagram obsession happens, that’s what.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

I found myself considering deleting all my accounts – to take a break and then if I wanted to come back to Instagram I could start afresh. But even that idea filled me with pathetic stress – but what if I regret it? What about the really nice photos I’ve taken, what if any new account in the future doesn’t look that cool? What if people won’t care if I delete my account?

If I’m worrying that people won’t care if I delete an online account that I literally survived my whole life not having up until like 2014 and that if people don’t acknowledge me deleting it is suddenly an equatable value to people not liking me in reality, then I think I’m having a completely different problem. Social media is both a blessing and literal hell. It can be a great place for sharing your art, sharing your creations, your achievements, building a career or finding people with common grounds to begin long distance friendships and communities – but it can also grind your confidence down until you find yourself putting your own worth into the number of followers or likes you have.

What I’d like to do is give some tips on how to reduce your social media usage. Scroll time, if you will.

Put your phone in the bottom of your bag

Sounds daft but almost everyone now keeps their mobile phone in their coat or trouser pocket. If you stuff your phone deep down into your bag, it makes the mindless act of grabbing your phone and tapping away much more of a chore and you can start teaching yourself to think ‘do I really need to check my phone right now?’ Obviously take safety into account with this one, if you feel much safer carrying your phone on your person when walking down the busy street do so, but when it comes to chilling at a friend’s house or in the library pop it away – it will help you stay more present in the moment.

Check in on a friend instead

Easier said than done from someone as shy as me, but if you are feeling nosey about what your friends are doing and find yourself opening Facebook or Instagram to seek out what’s occuring – consider texting or calling them instead and asking how they are – maybe see if you can meet up for coffee. There’s two sides to this idea; either you’ll start a lovely conversation with your friend and you’ll also make them feel cared for by checking in and you will then be distracted from endlessly swishing through your Twitter feed for gossip. Maybe even buddy up with a friend who wants to spend less time on social media and encourage each other!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Use the Forest – Stay Focused app

I have mentioned this phone app before but it really is such a good concept for reducing the time someone uses their phone! On the Forest app you pop in an amount of time you want to stop yourself from using your phone, start the timer and lock your phone. As your phone is locked and you don’t unlock it you grow trees and plants on the app to build a mini forest – if you unlock your phone, your tree dies. Using this and turning off your lock-screen notifications is a great way of reducing your scroll time. Perfect for when you need to be studying or you are sat down with a group of friends or loved ones.

Delete your social media apps

Stop panicking I’m not saying delete your accounts! Whenever you feel you’re spending too much time obsessing over an app or scrolling through a platform is just distracting you too often try uninstalling it for a bit. Maybe tell yourself you can have them installed on the weekend but on Sunday night 9pm you delete Instagram and you can’t reinstall it until Friday 5pm. Short breaks from a platform are better than nothing and eventually you might find yourself not even feeling the need to reinstall a particular app.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I know from experience, when you have a bit of a social media dependency, this is all easier said than done but I hope some of these tips help you take a much needed break from social media and it’s fierce grip. Remember to check in on yourself 3-4 times over a day and ensure you are looking after yourself in a way that suits you and your beautiful self. Not the ‘bubble bath and cheeky prosecco’ self care that Instagram shows off. Although there are more and more people acknowledging how fake social media photos can be and claiming they are showing a ‘truthful’ side to their lives, it’s very rare you will see anybody’s properly low days. Never equate yourself to a face, body or lifestyle that you’ve only seen through a screen.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a beautiful week!

Header source: lalo Hernandez on Unsplash

Missing Illustration

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If you didn’t happen to know what I studied in college, it was Art and Design. I’ve always had an on and off, complicated relationship with art. I love it, I love studying it and looking at it and creating it can be extremely therapeutic but some days doing art just frustrates me and can rough up my confidence with it. I struggle with making art I’m happy with and I always feel like if I had better tools (brushes, watercolours, pens etc) for it, I’d maybe be more motivated, however I do not have the money for that.

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I am choosing to study English/Creative Writing in University because I do long to improve my writing skills and study it a lot more. I’d love a job in the future based around/influenced by my degree, so that’s why I didn’t choose to go on to do an art degree, however I do miss making art a lot. I look a lot of pieces I did in college and it makes me miss sitting down and putting time into a project and liking the outcome. For example, a lighthouse painting piece I did on canvas in my first year of college always makes me long to do a canvas painting again, however I do not have the patience or concentration in my free time. It’s such a shame.

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As well as painting, illustration is one of the loves of my life. I get so envious and overwhelmed stalking the instagrams and portfolios of really talented illustrators. Some artists can make illustrations just so gorgeous and humble that I want to cover my walls in their prints. Therefore, I honestly wish I had their talent, however growing up I have definitely learnt illustration/art skill comes from constant practice and is not just gonna be right there when you touch pencil to paper. I recently followed a beautiful illustrator and lovely girl on Instagram who goes by the username of @AnniePancake! One of her posts talking about facts about herself appeared on my recommendations and honestly her whole style is something I wish I had. She’s been studying at University and says she first thought she couldn’t draw but her art style is just so eye-catching and cute! Her portfolio/store is at http://www.anniedornansmithdesign.co.uk and honestly I recommend everyone check her out because her illustrations are gorgeous!  The typography/font she paints on her designs are so pretty too!

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Greetings Card by Annie Dornan Smith £2.99

So inspired by talent like Annie and a lot of other illustrators I follow on Instagram. I hope in the future to do a lot more illustrations, maybe even some to have on my blog posts to give it a lot more individuality and unique design. Is there any illustrators you love on Instagram that you think I should check out? Tell me!

Thanks for reading,

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