This is a long overdue post that people seemed very interested in. I was so busy in April that I kept putting it off, but it turns out the gap between gauging my followers’ interest in a ‘things I never do on Instagram‘ post and actually writing it gave me a chance to reflect on an idea that I’m trying to bring into every part of my life this year (and not just social). There are, indeed, things I try to avoid on Instagram and social as much as possible — but I don’t always stick to these rules. In fact, they’re not really rules at all. They’re simply guidelines that I know will keep me feeling happier and lighter. Having said that, do I stick to all of these “guidelines” 100 percent? No. And that’s totally fine! In fact, I would personally rather be able to find a balance that makes me feel good on social rather than making myself adhere to strict rules. I think this is important for everyone to remember.
I try not to do the below things because not doing them ultimately makes me feel better — but I recognize that that’s not going to be the case for everyone. If you do these things that I try to avoid 24/7, that’s fine. Feeling good about social is like feeling good about anything. It’s about discovering what works for you and building around that.
If you’re looking for a way to feel a little more balanced when it comes to social, or are trying to cut back, the following points may help spark your imagination as to things to try out to find your balance. But they don’t have to. This is just me.
1. Mindlessly Scroll
I still do this from time to time because I am only human, after all. And honestly it’s only because I’ve been actively trying to cut back on it that I’ve realized exactly how much I do this. It’s not that I don’t scroll through my Instagram feed now, but when I do so I try to actually engage in people’s content. Unfollow people who make me feel bad or who I don’t know why I’m following at all. Comment on the things that make me happy or inspired or think differently about something. It makes everything feel more meaningful and makes scrolling feel like less of a time suck. I’ve also stopped doing this first thing in the morning, which I’ve mentioned in a past post. It has made a huge difference.
2. Unfollow People At Random
One thing that I’ve mentioned before is that I routinely unfollow people who make me feel bad — but I almost never do it at random. These days, I actively ask myself whether someone on Instagram is making me feel bad because of my own insecurities, or because they’re perpetuating an idea I don’t know, producing content that doesn’t inspire me, or some other real reason. Sometimes, I feel the urge to unfollow account — even if I like the content it produces — because some part of it simply make me feel insecure. At the end of the day, that feeling is on me, and it’s more important that I question it and process it than immediately unfollow. When I get to the root of it, I often find that the things I’m insecure about aren’t important at all. It’s forced me to reframe how I think about people I follow and to weed out accounts that are actually detracting from my happiness.
3. Post In Real Time
I touched on this a little on this post from last week, but this is something I really, really try to avoid. I’m always thinking of photos to take and ~content~ to create, but I don’t actually post + write captions in real time almost ever. I designate my commute as the time I plan captions, edit photos, and post them. It helps me create more thoughtful captions, which is something that I’ve tried to prioritize this year. I’m a little more relaxed about this on the weekends, but in general I try to stick to it.
4. Turn On Notifications
I haven’t had notifications turned on for Instagram on my phone since college. It’s distracting. Do I still check Instagram way too often? Probably. But I still prefer it this way in comparison to having notifications pop up on my phone every five minutes.
5. Ignore Direct Messages
I make it a point to do my best to reply to every single DM and comment I get if it’s, you know, something other than a single emoji. I’m sure I’ve missed some in the past, but if I have I promise you I really intended to go back later and reply. It’s not that I get an absurd amount of messages every day (I probably get around 20 – 25), but it’s still important to me to engage with the people who are engaging with me! I really want to get to know the people who care about what I post, and replying to messages is key in this.
As someone who’s on a mission to find balance in all things, especially social, this little list helps me have a home base to go back to when things start to feel off. If I’m feeling uninspired or constantly caught in the comparison spiral of Instagram, I go back to this list. Am I following people who make me feel bad? Or unfollowing people for the wrong reasons? Am I not making time to connect with my followers? Am I spending too long in real life posting? etc. etc.
For better or worse (I like to think for better), social media and Instagram is part of every day life. So I’m on a mission to find ways to feel as good about it as possible, and this little list helps.