I quit Instagram for an entire year and here are 5 things I learned from it


Before I tell you what I learned from not using Instagram for an entire year, let me tell you why I did it. 

So, Why did I quit Instagram?

If I could just sum it up, the reason behind this decision was because it was messing up my mental health basically by comparing myself with everyone on Instagram.

Maybe you don’t know this about me but I’ve moved around A LOT which means that keeping in touch with friends can be hard. Like really really hard.And because of this I very often experienced (and sometimes still experience FOMO) aka the ‘Fear of missing out’. It was so sad for me to see how my friends were having the time of their lives meanwhile I “started all over again” in a new place. 

Sometimes social media is the only way to keep in touch with people you don’t get to see in person. 

Also, I was comparing my life to everyone else’s. I started noticing that using the app often ended up in me being sad or angry with myself.

Once I graduated from high school, I decided to take a gap year. It was then that I decided not to use Instagram for an entire year. 

The only time I used the app was to either respond to a message or to search for a product. So no, I didn’t delete the app, I didn’t t delete my account, I just didn’t opened the app for 1 year. 

instagram detox

Here are 5 Things I learned from my Instagram detox

1. Numbers don’t define you

Most of my friends have like 1000+ followers and I used to compare my account to theirs so much that I started accepting requests from people I didn’t know.

Side Note: I forgot to mention that my account is private/personal. So all of this experience is not coming from having a hobby-professional account. 


Subconsciously I think that I used to think that the number of followers you had represented some kind of acceptance that society gave you.

Let me tell you something. More followers ≠ More friends. 

Personally I don’t treat anyone differently if they have a huge amount of followers or if they are influencers. And no one should do that. 

Numbers don’t define who you are or the level of your success. 

2. My Instagram feed is 90% filled with everyone’s “perfect moments”.

No one really posts pictures from the time they were having a bad day. AND if they do, they never say that it was a bad day for them. 

An online presence does not fully represent someone’s life or what they are going through. No one really tells you what goes behind the scenes.

Life is NOT an aesthetic. 

3. You are meant to have fun while using Instagram

You should post what YOU want to post. 

I want to start a bookstagram because I feel like this is a way to be creative. It’s also a way to connect with other book content creators!  

I learned that my personal/private account is what it is: PRIVATE. I don’t need to prove to anyone that I had an amazing vacation or that I went to an amazing birthday party. OR that I have x amount of followers.

4. Instagram helps you keep in touch with people

This is one of the things that didn’t like about my hiatus. I didn’t know what was going on in my friends’ lives and I felt bad about it. 

Remember how I told you that sometimes social media is the only way to keep in touch with friends?

Well, that’s true. At least for me. 

For example, I was the last one to find out that a friend was in a relationship and that she had been for the last 7 months. She had posted about it but since I wasn’t using Instagram, I didn’t know when or how it happened.

Yeah… I found out a lot of news like this one later on in the year and I can say that the fact that you can keep in touch with many people, is one of the good things about Instagram. 

5. Social Media (especially Instagram) is NOT EVERYTHING

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people take a million pictures of their food before eating it. Also, when they are hanging out with other people and all they do is be on their phones. Once, I had invited some friends to come over and my mom joined us, and guess what???… they were on their phones the entire time! I felt so embarrassed!

Or, the one that really really really gets on my nerves is when people use their phones. I mean, especially for social media when I am in the movies. Or worse, when I invite friends to watch a movie …

I know it’s cliché to say that you should “live in the moment” and whatnot. However, it’s something that I want to do more of.

I learned that using Instagram is not something that I NEED to do. This detox was so important for me and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. 

The only thing I can say about this experience is that yes, I will be using Instagram again. BUT not as often as I used to. I want it to be a place where I’m happy to share something about my life or be creative and share my love for photography or books or movies or whatever I feel happy/passionate about. 

I’ll be keeping you posted on my experience coming back to Instagram and hopefully, I will be able to connect with you if I decide to create a bookstagram account! 

I hope my experience inspires you to maybe do a detox from any social media platform that affects your mental health or to look at it in a different way!


Your Thoughts:

Have you ever done a detox from social media? 

Do you think taking a break from social media is important?

  1. Patricia Logan

    I really have not detoxed from Social media. I have slowed down a bit because I have a business to run. I just got to 1000+ subs and I have been on IG at least 5 years. I do not have a personal IG account, I have a business account.

    • val @behindthatstory

      Omg that’s amazing! I don’t have a business account but I bet it’s really different to a personal account. I think doing a detox with a business account is hard but hope your business is doing great!

  2. Jirah Merizz

    You gave really good points and you did amazing quitting instagram for a year! I myself love Instagram and even though I don’t post everyday, I still like to use the stories feature. I don’t really care about the numbers in my personal account as long as my close friends know my account, I’m fine with it! x

    Jirah Merizz | https://writingsbyjm.com/

    • val @behindthatstory

      That’s great to hear! I feel like everyone sees social media (specially Instagram) in a different way so I’m glad that you love it this much 🤗

  3. Marta @ the book mermaid

    These are very important messages! Thanks for sharing these, Val! <3 I also kinda quit Instagram a while ago, for more or less the same reason (it was messing with my head a lot), then missed it a lot and tried to go back but everything was SO different and I kinda got lazy and busy, so I haven't touched it since. I would love to go back, but at the same time I don't know if that's a manageable decision :/


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