How to detox from Instagram

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Instagram has become an indelible part of our daily lives. The routine of liking, commenting, and scrolling has become so cemented as a part of our day that some people check their Instagram feed even before they roll out of bed in the morning.

This means they start their mornings bombarded by pixels and overloaded by information, which is not a good start to anyone’s day.

 Since the pandemic, and maybe even before then, there has existed a phenomenon called doom scrolling.

 According to Wikipedia, doom scrolling is the act of spending an excessive amount of time reading large quantities of negative news online.

 A 2019 study has found that this has been directly tied to a decline in physical and mental health.

It is advisable, therefore, to take a break from Instagram now and then. However, this presents most people with a dilemma; if I am not scrolling, then what am I doing?

 If one of your resolutions in 2023 is reducing or controlling the time spent on social media, these tips will come in handy for you.

 A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The key to spending less time on Instagram is training yourself to reduce screen time spent on the app. Apple Store and Google Play Store have plenty of apps that essentially lock you out of your Instagram for a specified number of hours a day.

Some even get you to write what you’ll use that time for instead. You can start small, say, half an hour, and then increase that time limit until you get to your goal. This needs active and conscious effort and willpower.

 A tweet called Pinterest the media without the social and that is the most accurate description of that app. On Pinterest, one can find ideas about almost everything: how to decorate your room, fashion tips, music recommendations, the list is endless. Without the addictive obstacle of dealing with comments, one can create mood boards of their dream houses, photoshoot ideas, or even DIYs to try. This will give you an active goal to work towards.

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 The first thing most people think when they see this suggestion is, what if I am not into hands-on hobbies like cooking, crocheting, and working with hair?

 Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case, to trigger the release of dopamine, the satisfaction hormone. Universities like Harvard and MIT offer free online courses in fields such as psychology, sociology, history, and computer science (think simple coding). Websites such as Coursera also offer free short courses that you can take advantage of. Keep yourself occupied while learning new skills.

 Get out of the house

 Although this may seem like an obvious solution, it is rarely, if ever, that easy. For some people, going out without company is anxiety-inducing and at the same time, finding someone to go out with is stressful. This makes for a lose-lose situation where they then decide to stay indoors and just scroll instead.

The trick to going out alone is romanticizing every second of your time outside. Take a second and breathe in the sights and sounds, make up stories of the people you see, and listen to music. It also helps to go outside during sunrise or at sunset to soak in the beauty.

 Engage your mind

 Part of the reason people stay so long on Instagram is the fact that as a collective, our attention span is decreasing at a noticeable and alarming rate. A study placed the current human attention span at seven seconds.

Therefore, doing activities that actively engage your mind such as meditation or watching an engaging show will reduce reliance on the dopamine rush of short videos and photos on Instagram while simultaneously increasing your attention span.

 Getting your mind in the right state might not require therapy, all you need to do is throw your router out of a high window. An exaggeration, sure, but there’s a kernel of a point there.

In this fast-paced reality we have created for ourselves, sometimes it is best to step back from the fray for a minute, breathe and remember that we exist as living beings, as more than just consumers of pixels on a three-by-six-point five-inch device.

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