What I Learned From My Instagram Break

What I Learned From My Instagram Break

As many of you know I took just shy of two weeks off Instagram at the end of 2021. I needed a break to reset and hopefully find some clarity. At the beginning of 2021 I set out to create clear boundaries with how I used the app, and in some ways it helped, but as the year went on they started to fade, along with my creativity and mental clarity. Here’s what I learned from two weeks away, if you took a break as well, let me know how it went.

What I Learned From My Instagram Break

First, two weeks is not enough. I barely scratched the surface of what my mind needed. I spent the last few days leading up to when I would go back on with a feeling of dread. When I finally downloaded the app again and opened it this morning I didn’t feel good about it. I mindlessly scrolled through realizing how much I didn’t miss it. And I felt myself wasting away my morning as I scrolled through my feed and tapped through stories watching recaps of 2021, NYE celebrations and general highlights of people’s lives. I felt tired and closed the app. I didn’t want to go back but I did anyway. And that leads me to my second realization.

I’m addicted to Instagram.

I’m also addicted to my phone. I’ve lied to myself thinking I could set boundaries, make rules for myself, somehow beat the system. But I can’t. That’s not how the system works. This technology, these apps, they’re made to be addictive. To keep us there, to give us that hit of dopamine so we keep going back for more. I spent the first few days of my Instagram break picking up my phone and searching for the app. Without even thinking about it. It was SO mindless. Like I was on autopilot, a robot needing my fix. It made me feel sick. As the days went on I found myself needing it less but Instagram would pop into my email inbox reminding me of the unread messages, likes, comments and new followers I was missing out on. And that leads me to the third thing I learned.

I’ve tied my worth to Instagram.

It’s not necessarily something I just realized but the break made it feel all too clear. My self worth and my actual financial worth are deeply intertwined with the app. The last year made it drastically apparent. While I’ve chartered my own path in many ways I’ve also subscribed to the formula so many writers and creatives find themselves trapped in. Play the game and get rewarded, but at what cost? As more brands spend their advertising money on Instagram, creatives are pushed to spend more time there. Take time away and you’ll be punished. The more breaks I took from Instagram in 2021, the more I saw my following dwindle and my engagement tank. In order to win at Instagram you have to play by their rules, which are ever-changing, but the number one rule is don’t leave.

I asked myself the following question during my break “if Instagram wasn’t responsible for a large part of my financial livelihood would I still be there?” At first I wasn’t sure, maybe I would still go on. Maybe I’d enjoy it if there wasn’t the added pressure of doing it for work. But as the days went on it became pretty clear that the answer is no.

I watched an incredible film over the break called The Alpinist.

Without giving too much away, it follows the journey of free solo climber Marc-André Leclerc. So much of the film stuck with me. But there’s one point in particular I keep playing over in my mind. Before he’s about to do one of the biggest climbs of his life he says during an interview “It’s kind of funny. The actual achievement doesn’t really change your life, like you think it might, but what you’re left with is the journey that got you to that point.”

To me, so much of life is lived in the mundane, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. So maybe it’s not the right word to describe it. But some of the best parts of life, arguably much of it are not “Instagram-worthy.” The more I watch each day, week, month and year fly by, the more I crave to live it with meaning and intention, to experience it. That’s not to say a meaningful life can’t co-exist with Instagram or social media. But I wonder how much we are missing out on because of it.

I thought by the end of this I’d have a simple answer and the truth is I don’t. I haven’t even scratched the surface of community and what that means in a changing world so connected by technology and apps like Instagram. It’s not all bad, and that community, the one you are a part of, is something that means a lot to me. But if I’m being honest, it feels like it’s time for me to make a plan, and break free from the world of Instagram. Life passes by regardless of how we fill our days, I don’t want to look back and have regrets about the journey.

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63 Comments

  1. Lizzy wrote:

    I usually schedule my social media breaks around elections. I deleted my Facebook around the 2020 election for probably 6 months. I only got back on for school parent FB groups I needed to be a part of. I find FB to be more toxic to my mindset than Instagram because I can’t edit what I’m seeing as easily. Why am I seeing comments other people leave on news articles? It makes no sense to me.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      Because it makes you spend more time there scrolling to find relevant content.. every second your eyeball on a page a penny is deposited for company etc. The Center for Humane Tech has more info.

      It’s all engineered (socially engineered)- to steal your time. Just like food engineering to bliss point for processed “food” products devoid micronutrients: addictive, buy more, make it cheap = profit. It goes on and on.

      1.9.22 | Reply
  2. Jamie wrote:

    Try bringing the mundane into the sphere of Instagram. It’s become so polished. Strip away the layers of “perfect captures”. Help reshape what it is that is to be valued. I think most of us are ready to shift away from perfect and find ways to make ordinary extraordinary through experiencing it with our presence, our actual presence. Rough captures of things that spark joy and wonder. Your voice matters. Help make the shift!

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Em wrote:

      Thank you for this! I truly hope that we can start seeing how unrealistic Instagram makes life look – especially these days. I’m so tired of fake perfection!

      1.3.22 | Reply
  3. Brie wrote:

    Totally get where you’re coming from…I know it’s none of my biz but I’m also curious as someone who would prefer to not rely on IG for income either…is PINTEREST driving enough traffic to your blog that the affiliate link click-throughs would still be high (and sponsored posts would receive enough traffic?)?

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Hi Brie,

      At the moment no, but Pinterest is a really good tool to and it is a very high traffic driver for me. Optimizing SEO is really crucial too.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  4. Lindsay wrote:

    I have been off Instagram and FB since 2017 and I haven’t looked back. I use Feedly to keep track of all the blogs I read and am able the get inspired by the content posted through the blog vs. social media. There is a newsletter I follow called Morning Person and she just quit her job at Cupcakes and Cashmere to get a masters focusing on social media addiction. Her content is inspiring and she dives into her Instagram journey and how she maintains sanity.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Good for you! I NEVER go on Facebook, but because I have a business IG I am required to have an account. Yet another reason I can’t wait to get rid of IG. Thanks for that recommendation I’ve actually heard a few people mention that newsletter and I’m going to check it out.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  5. Elizabeth wrote:

    I totally understand what your saying. It’s really a quandary especially because use Instagram for your livelihood. So feel for you. I also think social media is just all around bad for us. It is addicting. It’s mostly mindless. It a waste of time and unproductive to just keep looking at it. I truly feel like it’s going to permanently change how humans live life. In a bad way. Think about it…there is still plenty of adults who aren’t addicted, you know an older generation that could care less. Well once they go all we will have left is the addicts. Honestly, I’m scared for us. But also I don’t know what the answer is because it (social media) is not going anywhere. Having said this I do enjoy many sites like yours. It seems more genuine than most and those more genuine pages are the ones I enjoy more.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Betsy Hill wrote:

      I agree! Jess’s accounts are some of my very favorites!

      1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      I think it is already changing how we live and in so many ways that scares me. I really don’t know what the solution is but Facebook/IG/Meta(UGH) is not good and has too much power and influence. I know we can say that about a lot of things but for me, leaving makes the most sense. Hopefully I can provide more clarity on why in the coming months.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  6. Nicollette wrote:

    Hi Jess,

    Everything you mentioned here I feel the same way. I’m curious to know if you are on Facebook and if so do you feel the same way about that space? I got off of Facebook years ago, I can’t keep up with too many forms of social media at once so I’m just down to Instagram. But lately I feel like life is just going by mindlessly and I may have to say goodbye to Instagram as well. If so how would we all stay connected ? Whatever that platform may be will it too end up becoming an addiction or mindless scrolling?

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      Connection isn’t valid/genuine online the way it is in person and over the phone. In fact: blogs are social media that cultivate para social relationships to capitalize and profit (but I like them and read them! They give some value to me personally). Same for YouTubers etc.

      1.9.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      I never go on Facebook and only have an account because I have to (business IG requires it). Once I get off IG I will also delete my Facebook. I think there are plenty of ways to stay connected without IG. The reason I’ve always maintained my blog is because it’s an owned platform, meaning I can connect with people in my own way and without the interference of someone else’s agenda (for example IG). I also have my newsletter and honestly, with my close friends I just text, none of them are even on social media!

      1.10.22 | Reply
  7. Lisa wrote:

    Thanks for the idea and for all your thoughts on this, Jess. I took the break too and the biggest realization I came too is that I am influenced WAY too much to purchase things I don’t need. Mostly because I feel I have to because the “sale” is so great or whatnot. Stuff I use for a minute then forget about, or even never use at all. I did NOT miss that aspect of Instagram. Honestly I really didn’t miss anything except you and Madi Nelson lol. I love following you for your honest opinions and real talk, as well as the few products you endorse. I know when it comes from you it’s good! Hello Follain and Able. Been using Follain for a while and just got my first clothing order from Able a few weeks back and LOVE it.
    Upon my return I have unfollowed pretty much everyone I don’t know personally except for you and Madi. Oh and I think IG punishes tiny accounts too. I usually get 40-50 likes per post and I got 7 when I said I was taking a break from Instagram. They definitely monitor words and hide posts! Hoping as a society we can all start to move away from social media, but I think it’s going to be a tough sell to most. 🙁

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Hollie wrote:

      The “high” of getting a deal/discount is real!

      1.3.22 | Reply
    • Betsy wrote:

      Jess’s recommendations are always so spot on. Whether it’s a down jacket or a skin care item, she knows what she’s talking about. But, she writes about these things in her blog, so I will always have that. 🙂

      1.4.22 | Reply
  8. Hayley wrote:

    I’m currently in the middle of an Instagram break and it’s so good! So much better than I was expecting too. I don’t rely on Instagram for my income so my detachment from it is far simpler than yours, but I hear where you’re coming from. I myself realized over the last year that I really prefer reading blogs to following bloggers on Instagram. I do both because I want to help support their work, but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels that way. Is there a way to pull content back to places you own that’s financially feasible? Scary I’m sure but an interesting question.

    I was talking to my sister-in-law about her plans for her tiny e-commerce business in 2022. She was saying she had to learn to make reels as that’s what Instagram pushes now and she gets so much of her business from social media…I just thought that was insane. She’s a clothing manufacturer, not a social media specialist. It seems like so many things which shouldn’t rely on social media now do, and to the detriment of everyone.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      That’s the goal! I want to bring my content back to my own channels and other places that make earning an income less dependent on an algorithm, but also less dependent on how much time I spent actually using it (IG forces you to be on ALL the time to be successful on it). I really feel for small businesses because FB and IG have turned into such a necessary evil. I don’t know what the solution is (and I know IG is a good thing for a lot of small businesses).

      1.10.22 | Reply
  9. danielle wrote:

    Hi Jess,
    You inspired me to take a recent break off Instagram. I decided to begin the day after Christmas and when that Sunday morning came, my hand twitched towards clicking the app, but I didn’t do it. I’m so grateful I didn’t. And honestly, I didn’t look back for my entire planned time off. I thought the days off would be difficult and I’d cave at some point, but I didn’t. I had zero urge to check in. Today was set to be my first day back on Instagram and it truly gave me have feelings of dread. I logged in to see if you had posted yet, curious to see what you might say about your break, but I didn’t see a post from you and haven’t clicked on Instagram again since that one try this morning. My thoughts were to do a brutally honest comb through the people I follow and eliminate anyone that didn’t bring joy or made me feel less than. For any reason. I wasn’t going to think twice – if someone made me in any way feel inadequate or even if I enjoyed the experience and information they provided but it made me feel anxious about purchasing something they were promoting, unfollow. But I honestly just do not even think that would be helpful. Why continue to fill my time with something that brings negative feelings? The week I spent off Instagram I enjoyed those mundane moments you referenced. I watched movies and didn’t spend random minutes scrolling on Instagram, I just watched the movie start to finish. When outside playing with the dogs, I didn’t stop in the quiet moments to scroll, I just watched them sniff and move slow and decided to just be. Moving forward, I am trying to think of the best way to stay connected. Luckily, I am in a place where social media doesn’t directly tie to my livelihood, it’s purely for enjoyment and engagement. Except there’s not much enjoyment happening. In a comment above, someone referenced a site that keeps them up to date with blogs, I really like that idea. I do also like checking in with some friends/family through the app. And I ran into a few moments of navigating things like not being able to check in with my local coffee shops for their posted hours and special offerings or using their app for an online order. My thought is perhaps doing a strategic pair down of who I follow and only accessing the app when I log on my computer, which would significantly cut down on my time on the app. Or I may just walk completely. Either way, thank you for the inspiration! I always appreciate your honesty and how hard you work to reach your community. I hope you find clarity going forward in the space of social media. I will always follow your blog even if I step away from Instagram. Thank you!

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks for sharing this Danielle. So much of what you described is how I felt with my time off. It’s amazing how much you NOTICE when you step away from Instagram. Just made me so sad to think about how much I was missing in my own life because IG was taking up so much of my mental space. Whatever you decide I’m happy for you that you took a break and I hope you find a way to use it (if you choose) that feels good.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  10. Su wrote:

    Hey Jess,

    I do agree with you on the documentary “The Alpinist”. Such a fantastic documentary.
    I enjoy reading your blog.

    Regards,
    Su

    1.3.22 | Reply
  11. Jess wrote:

    Hi, Jess,
    First, thanks for inspiring me to take a break from instagram. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t see you talk about it. Truthfully, I wasn’t feeling totally committed, so I just took the step to take the app off my home screen, rather than delete it altogether. The thing that made me actually commit was realizing the sheer number of times I picked up my phone to open the app. It was gross. I also told friends that I’d normally interact with on instagram and it made me feel a bit more accountable. Over the past few days I’ve been spending a few minutes per day on the app again, but I am getting way overwhelmed with the amount of things/photos/stories bombarding me and haven’t spent more than 20 mins on it daily. I think I can happily settle into checking in a few times per week to see my friend’s and family’s photos but not use it as a source of entertainment anymore. Or, that’s the new goal! Thanks again,
    Jess

    p.s. For what its worth, I of course follow you on insta, but I will happily continue to follow your business/blog off-social!

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      I totally agree Jess. I think stepping away makes you realize how overwhelming it can be once you go back after taking a break. And taking the app off your home screen is also a REALLY good way to realize how much we reach for it without even thinking about it. It did for me.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  12. Amanda wrote:

    If I’m being honest I really enjoyed not seeing the Instagram app on my phone. I’m hesitant to download it again and am strongly considering a “dry January” from Instagram. Cheers to you and for reminding and inspiring us to pay attention and to really live and experience life. Thank you!

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Good for you Amanda. I totally hear you I can’t wait to be off.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  13. Brita wrote:

    I deleted the app from my phone about two months ago after realizing I was spending literally hours (I’m so embarrased…) on it a day. The first few weeks I did the same thing you did — I’d grab my phone to open the app without even thinking, and then remember it was gone. After a while, that stopped.
    Now I occasionally sign on via the computer, but it doesn’t hold the same appeal to me it once did. I mainly use it for inspiration, but I’ve realized the content I actually crave can often be found on people’s blogs! Funny how that came back full circle for me.
    My New Year’s Resolution is to engage more with people I follow/used to follow by finding them on their OWN platforms. Instagram is toxic, and I think we could all stand to use it less.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Don’t be embarrassed Brita. IG is addictive by design and I would argue most people spend hours on it everyday. Awareness is so key, it sounds like you’ve set up really healthy boundaries and habits. Good for you!

      1.10.22 | Reply
  14. Megan wrote:

    So I have to start by saying thank you! I know you say your followers decrease when you take breaks. But for me you give me: Peace that the world will be okay, normalize being present, and hope. You are not a blog mom. You are you. So I hope it brings you comfort knowing that the people who stay love who you are and what you bring us.

    As for what I learned. I felt like I could accomplish everything I needed to with extra time for my family. I learned that I take more photos and have more memories. With that im back. I love the idea of Instagram I don’t love what it turned into. But that’s life. Thank you!

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Megan that’s really nice of you to say. I’m so glad you were able to take a break, it’s so important.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  15. Hollie wrote:

    Hi Jess, I am still on my Instagram break! But was so happy to see your blog post pop up in my Feedly app. I’ve missed some of my favorite thoughtful content creators. I’m going to stay off IG for January. I read the book “indistractable” and thought it had some great takeaways (although could have been a long blog post tbh). My plan is to try to use social media on the computer only, try to have 1-2 online shopping days with a list I make throughout the week, and tie in my computer time to another habit so it can become routine. I also feel addicted and want to figure out how to use technology in a way I’m proud of so my boys can use me as a model someday when they’re old enough. This is hard work. But worth it. Thanks for the suggestion to take a break and loved reading your post.

    1.3.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      I love that you use Feedly Holly! I use it as well and plan to keep sharing it as a tool for others to keep up with their favorite blogs. I think for many of us as parents, at least based on conversations I’m having, we want to model behavior that’s healthy for our kids. I want Marin to have what I had as a kid, and that was one that was PHONE and social media free.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  16. Sarah wrote:

    I really appreciated the nudge you gave us all to try to step away from social media. I knew I didn’t want to go off for as long as you did (I don’t celebrate Christmas and my husband is a resident physician who worked most of the time, so I knew that I needed something manageable while I was trying to corral my toddler on my own for this period), but I did give myself a goal of 5 days. I made it 3.5 before I caved. So similarly to you, I came away recognizing that I’m fully addicted, but I recognized that for me, I think I can try to be more intentional about how I use it. My takeaways were:

    1) So. much. mindless scrolling. Like it’s a reflex that I don’t even know I’m doing. And I hate that. So, I moved my apps to a folder so I have to scroll through to actually find it. I’m hoping that 2 seconds extra will help give me pause about why I’m using it.

    2) I hate that I use it when I’m with my kid. Parenting is SO HARD. It’s especially hard when you have a spouse (who is AMAZING when they are home) is never home because of a work schedule out of their control. So I’m parenting alone a lot and sometimes Instagram feels like a mental break, which is fine. What’s not fine is when I could be interacting with my child and I’m choosing to scroll social media. I’m OK with not playing with him 24/7, but I can read a book or complete a chore. I want to be modeling better behavior and it’s not being glued to a screen.

    3) I don’t want to quit. My husband does not usual social media and that works for him. But I like that I can see what my friends and family members are up to. I was actually sad I missed some posts from my brother about his weekend trip with his fiance. That being said, I think I follow a lot of content that isn’t serving me and I plan to do an audit. I don’t need to follow celebrities or influencers that don’t align with my values. I want to get back to the roots of social media, which was keeping up with friends, including you 🙂

    Sorry for the long comment but I really appreciated this opportunity to take a step back and reflect. Thank you!

    1.3.22 | Reply
  17. Stephanie wrote:

    Lead the way! Here for it.

    1.3.22 | Reply
  18. Love the post! Thank you for sharing~

    1.4.22 | Reply
  19. Kristie wrote:

    As someone whose majority of friends are spread out across the country, social media makes it easier to stay in touch. Honestly I’ve never felt my worth or having likes validate anything by being on social media, however I’ve never built a “brand” based on myself. I share what I like and have made new friends through shared interests. It’s sad that those who have built businesses through an app and are successful because of those of us who follow, now claim it’s “toxic”. It’s toxic because you’ve (creatives, etc.) made it that way, not the app.

    I know that’s not the general consensus or feeling based on the comments here, but I felt called to share an opposing opinion since I enjoy social media and the joy I’ve derived from making connections.

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Laura wrote:

      I agree with this completely! I follow people who inspire me but mostly family/ friends I want to stay connected to. The toxicity of the app came from monetization from bloggers/ influencers/ creatives which led to an onslaught of ‘perfect’ lives. Perfect lives who are only vulnerable when there’s conveniently a sponsored product that helped them. I love Jess but realized it was solely a business for her when she quickly switched from a Shark vacuum to a Dyson within months and claiming both were life changing. When I saw that I just thought this is why people feel less than perfect and always need to keep up with the Jones’. Silly analogy but it struck me as how the app has become toxic and who was pushing the toxicity.

      1.4.22 | Reply
    • Meg wrote:

      I don’t think it’s quite fair to say creatives/influencers have made Instagram toxic. What is toxic about Instagram is that it is specifically designed to be addictive. It is specifically engineered to keep you coming back again and again by giving you hits of dopamine. It is also specifically engineered to make influencers dependent on the platform to make money so that they don’t leave and so that they thousands of people that watch them don’t leave either. Individual users on Instagram of course can contribute to the toxicity on social media, but don’t hate the players, hate the game!

      1.5.22 | Reply
  20. Ashley Boileau wrote:

    I really appreciate your perspective and being honest. I too find myself on the app more than I want to admit and am looking forward to breaking free in 2022.

    1.4.22 | Reply
  21. Betsy Hill wrote:

    I think you are very smart about detaching from Instagram and very brave
    and authentic conveying your struggle with it. I think alot of us feel this same way about social media and are equally caught in its trap. I have friends who are out, living their life, doing things, and I will often just scroll and comment, but not do anything. Thanks for posting this article, because no doubt it will help others deal with their feelings towards social media and maybe our mental health will improve. Thanks for always using your platform for good, Jess! 🙂

    1.4.22 | Reply
  22. Jennifer wrote:

    You inspired me to take a break but not as long as I wanted. By day 6, I began to get nervous about loosing momentum. I don’t rely on the brand deals I get for IG but they do pay well. I’m finding fewer brands will pay for a blog post these days. They just want IG. I detest the whitewashed lives I see posted but admit, they’re intoxicating at the same time.
    I did find you there, so there is that but for the most part I dread time I must spend there.
    I have a friend who pays $2,000 a month to have a company produce her reels and manage her account. It’s insane but she’s growing like crazy and getting tons of collabs.
    Fear of missing out keeps me there, and that’s not healthy.
    Thanks for keeping it real.

    1.4.22 | Reply
  23. Sara wrote:

    After Lynzy shared Digital Minimalism I decided to delete Instagram over the holidays, too. I was glad that others I follow, like you, were also doing it because I felt like that would mean I’d miss less. My experience is exactly like what you described. I did pop back on for something (and did so on my computer) and immediately had a sense of anxiety I could have sworn I didn’t have previously. It was all I needed to know and I don’t want to go back. I realize I am lucky in that I don’t have a financial stake in Instagram. It will be easier for me to just move on and never look back. But I want you to know that I will continue to support you in other forms to help you be able to make the switch to something that serves your life in a more meaningful way. I hate how insidious social media has become. I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to determine when it all went awry for me–and I think it was when I started watching Stories on Instagram during the pandemic. The draw of the human interaction I craved was too much to resist. But it did so at the expense of relationships in my life–most notably with my son–who recently told me that he thinks the only time I’m happy is when I’m on my phone. How gross. Anyways, I just wanted to validate everything you shared and offer my support as you look to build your work elsewhere.

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you for sharing Sara. I think IG became a big draw for all of us during the pandemic, and that’s not surprising. We need connection as humans, in the beginning of the pandemic we were so isolated, some of us still are in many ways, especially for those of us with unvaccinated kids or immune-compromised people in our lives. That said, to your point, our addiction to social media comes at an expense and often it’s those closest to us who suffer. I don’t ever want my daughter to think of me as someone with her eyes glazed over looking at her phone 24/7. Ugh. I can’t wait to break free of IG. Thanks for your support.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  24. Sydney wrote:

    Hi! I love reading the blog and will continue to follow that even without Instagram. I’ve always viewed your Instagram posts/videos as bonus content. Personally, I wouldn’t mind ads or sponsored content on the blog if that meant more time off Instagram. Do what’s best for you and your family!

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Sydney! I really appreciate that.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  25. Ananda wrote:

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing your experience, and thoughts on this.

    While I didn’t take the same amount t of time off that you did, I did do a few days. I have a small business and I feel the “need” to be on there for that. I acknowledge that I do go on for more than just work though. I go on and watch stories from some of my favorite people, and hop back off.

    I also know I’m addicted. I set a timer for the app, but just having the phone around is the problem. I’m more so addicted to my phone.

    My 16 year old son has a Light Phone 2 that he’s had since he was 13. He’s never wanted to deal with the addiction he sees…and I’m so tempted to make the switch. No apps, no blue light, no camera. Just call, text, music/podcasts, and directions.

    Thank you a million times Jess.

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Wow that’s really interesting I’ve never heard of a Light Phone but your son sure does sound wise beyond his years.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  26. Clare wrote:

    Happy New Year Jess!
    I really intended to do the complete SM disconnect, due to complete lack of will power, it didn’t happen. I did significantly reduce the amount of time I spent on it though and came to realize a few things – first, I am very easily influenced by influencers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I’ve found brands and products that align with my values that I would have never discovered otherwise. But looking at it ALL creates a certain amount of anxiety I didn’t realize was happening. I mainly joined Instagram for inspiration but secondly, discovered that I often get sucked into reading the vitriol that is everywhere – also creating anxiety and just general negativity. I came to the conclusion I need to spend less time on SM and look for more excuses to be outside (not always easy when you live in the northeast). So we bought ice skates and snow shoes, in addition to the snow skis we already have. We started using our fire pit in the evenings/afternoons and invited our friends over for a socially distanced drink or hot chocolate. And noticed that neighbors walking by would stop and say hi also. It seemed to me that this is how we are meant to be living – not mindlessly scrolling. So I’ll be doing a big clean up and be more intentional about all of this. Long winded way of saying I feel just like you and happy to follow and see where you go with all this. I’ve been here since the Prosecco and Plaid days…I’m not going anywhere! ?

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      This is so wonderful Clare thanks for sharing. I love that you were able to connect with neighbors and get outside. I totally hear you, it’s hard in these cold Northeast winters, but also feels so good. Thanks for being here all this time. So grateful for your support!

      1.10.22 | Reply
  27. Taina Rhodin wrote:

    I’m 68 year old architect and mostly has missed the whole business aspect of making money with instagram or any other online business opportunity. It’s hard for me to understand why young people are so willing to put their private life on display. I have a Facebook and instagram account but use them very little. I work at my office, meet my clients there or at construction site. After that the day is over and my door is closed. And private life begins. However it’s interesting to follow your instagram posts and couple of others too. Instagram seems to take over Facebook but where it all leads who knows. Good luck with your life forward.

    1.4.22 | Reply
  28. Christina wrote:

    Your post inspired me to delete the app yesterday. I would spend hours of mindless scrolling. I still check instagram on my computer during the work day, but when work is done, I am done on the app. I look forward to more content on the blog and wish more would go back to the ‘old days’ of blogging!

    1.4.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Good for you Christina. And thank you. Look forward to sharing more here.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  29. amy wrote:

    Brava! Thank you so much for your brilliant honesty. It takes courage to write with such candor about something to which you are so deeply linked, socially but especially financially. I so appreciate the call, at least for me, to examine how I spend and how I want to spend my days, hours, minutes and with whom i spend them. I love how you wrote the life goes by no matter how spend it. My mother used to always say “time marches on” and growing up that was something that would elicit and eye roll from my younger self. But I am so aware of it now, not as a pressure point but as a reminder to be mindful, pause, look at where my feet are, take a breath and look around me. Life isn’t a contest or a race to be won and this essay was such a beautiful reminder of what is important and true. So with deep gratitude I wish you love and benevolence on your journey, no matter the path it takes you.

    Happy healthy peaceful New Year to you and your family,

    Amy Howell

    1.5.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you so much Amy. So appreciate you and the support.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  30. Megan wrote:

    Just signed up for your newsletter and excited for you to help bring me off Instagram too 🙂 Best of luck!

    1.5.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you!

      1.10.22 | Reply
  31. Kristen wrote:

    I think it’s really brave to step away. If it’s not bringing you joy and peace, then you shouldn’t continue to use it. Take care of yourself and your family! As a follower, I much prefer blogs to Instagram anyway. I will be checking in here regularly!

    1.6.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you so much Kristen.

      1.10.22 | Reply
  32. Ann wrote:

    Yes! I so agree. We are inundated with information. It is overwhelming. And YES we are missing out on being present in our lives. I too am scared about what will happen in the future with this type of thing taking over the world. I have my own online business for home decorating and the sheer number of daily posts and articles and information in this area are overwhelming to me. I mean I love looking at interior design related things, but it’s too much. And I too am trying to find some kind of balance to strike.

    1.6.22 | Reply
  33. Jenny wrote:

    I have had chronic pancreatitis for 12 years and that means a lot of down time. The past two years have been spent in my home, mostly in bed. That meant a lot of phone time. I decided my health could not survive that any longer. I’m having an auto islet transplant in two weeks. I started painting and decided to get off Instagram about a month ago. Game changer. I do not miss social media at all. I feel more even with my emotions and far less grumpy. ❤️

    1.12.22 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Jenny I’ll be thinking of you. Best of luck with your transplant and I wish you healing and a good recovery. I love hearing you started painting. I definitely notice a difference in my mood when I’m on social media and when I’m not.

      1.13.22 | Reply
  34. Melissa wrote:

    I read this when you posted and thought, “hmm, I could try that for a few days.” I immediately deleted instagram from my phone, and haven’t missed it since. I feel happier, have time to explore hobbies, and have no intention of getting sucked back in. Thank you for starting this conversation!

    1.28.22 | Reply
  35. Thanks for providing recent updates regarding the concern, I look forward to reading more.

    3.16.22 | Reply