How to Take an Instagram Addiction Detox (and Not Let Your Business Suffer)
In today’s business culture, time spent on Instagram is vital to growth and success, but that doesn’t always mean its a good thing. The average person spends about 1 hour and 40 minutes on their favorite social media apps. That's time that could have been spent on another aspect of your business. When you look at that time over a week, 11 hours and 40 minutes could have been spent building a course, writing articles, creating new videos, learning new skills, etc.
Social media is supposed to help serve us, but has it actually been improving our lives?
When we the last time you went without Instagram for one day – no notifications, no story updates, no mindless scrolling?
A couple times a year, I detox from Instagram for 7 to 14 days while still posting and engaging regularly. It may not seem like a long time, but a week can be long enough to reset the brain and the dopamine system if done right. It takes a little discipline and new habits built of your own.
But the first step is admitting if you have a problem.
Are you addicted to Instagram?
Hi, my name is Justyn, and I am addicted to Instagram.
Yes, I said it! I’ll admit that I am well addicted to the social media platform.
Having an Instagram addiction is probably one of the safest cravings that you could have. There's no harm to anyone, and no one is dying from being addicted to it, but life could be better without it occasionally.
The dopamine system related to Instagram shifts your brain into a reward-seeking mindset. This means that when you want something and satisfy that want, your brain releases endorphins which is pleasurable. Instagram then abuses that system entering a loop – cue, craving, respond, and reward.
A Cue, your phone buzzes with a new notification for an Instagram comment.
A craving, you want to learn what the comment says about your post.
The response, you grab your phone and look at the comment.
The reward, you satisfy your craving to see their new comment.
Grabbing your phone becomes associated with your phone buzzing from a new Instagram notification.
Reading your comments and scrolling your feed feels excellent but you’re never really satisfied, so you keep going back. A notification will trigger dopamine and keep you hooked. You then anticipate it before it happens, constantly checking it because you have feelings of withdrawal when you’re gone for too long.
Don’t feel bad! Instagram pays its engineers big bucks to make it as deliberately addictive to users as crack cocaine. When you stop you experience withdrawal because you fear missing out making those notifications even harder to stay away from.
What are the benefits of an Instagram detox?
Instagram can be a false reality. People selectively post the good sides of their life while hiding the bad ones. They show what they want others to see even to the point of depression while trying to keep up with their friends and followers.
Take a break from the comparison.
Whether we like to or not, we end up comparing our current situation with those who we follow. This can mess with our self-esteem, lead to anxiety and depression.
Receiving likes after your post is one of the most significant rewards because it satisfies your own gratification. It’s about you.
Take a break from sharing your life.
Posting online doesn’t mean you need to give up your privacy to share your experience. Post what is necessary for your brand or business.
I am completely open and transparent about my own journey as an artist, but I don’t talk about my personal life and what I do with my wife and kids. I’m cautious with what I share on social media – more specifically I don’t put my daughter on my public feed.
Take a break from being competitive.
We all know the business goal of social media is to attract attention – likes, comments, follows, dm’s, customers, clients, etc. is how ‘popular’ you are. If you didn’t receive the attention you desired for a post, how could you outdo yourself and also surpass others? This isn’t a healthy way of thinking which could lead to anxiety with
Take a break to gain more free time.
How many times a week do we say that we wish there were more hours in the day? Well, you could possible regain almost 2 hours a day with a detox. Use that time on a hobby, read, exercise or just rest and meditate. Shut off your mind for 30 minutes.
I guarantee if you are feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, your mood will improve as you set aside time for self-care.
Use Later to maintain your Instagram business during a detox.
You can do everything that you need to for your business on the Later app – post, schedule, respond to conversations, monitor analytics, and engage with hashtags.
Remember, a detox doesn't have to be permanent, just long enough to re-wire the brain and the dopamine cycle. You have to cut off the dopamine rewards to allow your mind to return to normal and the best way to do this is to stop feeding yourself.
This isn’t a substance-related abuse that needs a gradual wean. You can go cold turkey with this because it is a psychological addiction and can completely cut it off.
It’s easy to start, but the hard part is continuing to stick with it. I suggest starting with a 7-day detox, and then you can always increase the time for the next break. Below is a set of rules and boundaries to help you accomplish your goal of no social media for a week.
Uninstall the Instagram app from your phone.
First things first, delete Instagram. (Now that’s going cold turkey!) If you remove the trigger, you can change your behavior. By making it difficult to even access allows your detox to be off to the right start. You will notice yourself unconsciously go to where the app used to be, and that’s ok.
Choose a day to schedule content for the week.
Download Later on iOS to continuing monitoring your posting schedule during your detox. Before you begin, choose a day to schedule a week's worth of content in Later. Use the app or desktop to upload all your media into the library. Begin to drag and drop your images into the calendar, add a caption then set it to automatically post. Continue to the next day until you have filled the week.
You can now schedule stories in Later as well. Click the Stories tab at the top and drag your media in place.
Get someone to engage with your community.
If you’re posting daily, it is still necessary to engage with your community. If your followers aren’t aware that you’re taking a break, you don’t want them to feel like you abandoned them especially when you are very active.
Hire a virtual assistant or even ask a friend to respond to comments on your behalf while you take care of yourself. If you have a spouse or significant other, you can alternate your detox's so you can cover for each others community.
Choose an activity to do during your detox week and live in the moment!
Do something fun with the extra time you have for the week and be present. You will have 11 additional hours for the week. Do something you’ve been putting off for a while now.
The best part about not putting my daughter on social is being in the moment with her. I love being able to enjoy and interact with the experience instead of seeing it behind a lens. So much so that I forgot to take pictures for myself or family when we go to the library or park.
Where to Go From Here
Have you ever detoxed from Instagram or any social media before? Leave a comment below and let me know some tips that worked for you. This is just a week, and it will be hard to start, but you will have a clearer mind because of it. A future detox on a weekend or vacation won’t send you into panic mode.