Girls taking photos for social media.

Don’t delete social media. Do this instead

I got my first tattoo this week. When I told one of the boys I nanny (he’s 8) that it took 2 hours, he asked what I did in that time. I said I just sat there. He was completely baffled by the fact that I sat in a chair for 2 hours with no stimulation, other than listening to the buzz of the tattoo gun and the quiet hum of people around me. Hearing this made me feel old, and it also made me think about how much time we all spend online. But I am, surprisingly, an advocate for healthy consumption of most social media platforms (though I will be talking mostly about Instagram). So why should you not delete social media? And how can you use it the right way?

Why you should use social media

Let’s start with why you should even use it – for those of you who have a desire to completely erase it from your life. Social media (in healthy doses) can actually enhance your life. It connects you with the world. That’s amazing. There’s so much information that it allows you to access. This is the point of the internet. Listen to other people’s stories, points of view, advice.

When I travelled to Turkey in the summer, I spent a week on a goulet. There was wifi (much to most people’s delight), but I wanted an authentic experience. I wanted to hear only the lapping of the Mediterranean sea against the boat – with no thoughts of getting the best picture or seeing who was next on my list of high school acquaintances to shower themselves in blue or pink coloured confetti. So, I switched off. It surprised me to know that I actually missed it. Social media is not the enemy – it’s the way that we use it.

Limit mindless consumption by making it hard to use

When I first recognised my need to slow down, instead of deleting Instagram, I just removed it from the folder on my home screen. I couldn’t fully commit. This worked for a while (and it still does for Facebook), but I found that it was relatively easy to access it again, and flipping up to click on the app started to become a mindless habit. I’ve now set timers to remind me when I’ve spent 10 consecutive minutes on it, and a 30 minute daily timer. Most days I go over that slightly, but it is a process and being aware is the most important step. The idea here is to make it harder to use – the harder it is, the less likely you are to want to use it as a mindless activity.

Don’t use Instagram to communicate

My biggest downfall when trying to limit Instagram use was maintaining it as a messenger app. After I’d sent a cute voice note, I often found myself back on the feed, scrolling away without even realising it. It’s much harder to avoid scrolling if you’re already in the app. You have to be aware enough to recognise that you’re done with the message and you need to exit out of it. Most of us don’t have this awareness, and consequently, down the rabbit hole we go. There are plenty of apps that are designed just for communication – Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, your phone’s text message app. Use these for talking to your friends and family, and go on social media mindfully when you want to.

Be mindful of who you follow

I only want to follow people who bring energy, joy, passion, and teach lessons. Lessons that can remind me everyday to be present, to be grateful. Follow people who show real life, in all of its messy and complicated forms. And follow people who make you laugh. This one is so underrated, but it is arguably one of the most important. I was tired of feeling left behind and inadequate when comparing myself to picture perfect people that I was following. Please know that you don’t have to put yourself through that. It’s also a good idea to follow as few accounts as you can (to avoid an overflow of information and stimulation).

My favourite Instagram accounts

I thought it was only right that I share a few of my favourite accounts that bring me joy and make me not want to delete social media:

  • florencegiven: British artist & bestselling author. Incredible energy, a great taste in music, and absolutely hilarious. She gives you permission to do whatever the hell you want and not care what anyone thinks.
  • ollybowman: Australian internet personality. Famous on Tiktok for his ‘shoulder injury’ dance. As another Aussie in London, I find it so funny watching him be unapologetically himself in a more reserved English culture.
  • thedailyvictorian: American yoga teacher & poetry writer. Her words are beautiful and warming and soul-hitting. And she’s saying them to you all while doing yoga poses. What more could you want.
  • whitneyysimmons: American fitness influencer. One of the most beautiful souls on the internet. She shares workout videos, her pups, Taylor Swift lyrics, mental health, and her incredibly wholesome relationship with her husband.
  • northvalleygrp: American realtors. You will not regret following these guys. They create hilarious content and their dance choreography is on point. And they’re not too bad to look at either.
  • robertirwinphotography: Australian wildlife conservationist and zookeeper – son of Steve Irwin. The whole Irwin family are national icons. This boy has so much charm and character, and it is so wholesome to see him, and the rest of his family, take on their dad’s legacy.

I personally believe that you do not have to delete social media to enjoy your life. You can still be present, while simultaneously maintaining an Instagram account. Be mindful about what you consume and for how long. Good luck!


Kait x

Cover photo by Kool Shooters