On what was a rather cold night in February 2017, I simply needed a break from Instagram. In the weeks prior to this a created the #whatifirunyou movement which went viral. It was an amazing time and experience which I would love to revisit one day. In short, #whatifirunwithyou was runners simply dedicating their run to someone. Pretty simple yet powerful mental health movement. In the weeks following the viral movement, a marathon was ran in Oxfordshire with a T-shirt covered with names of people who needed some support. However running 42.2km’s for hundreds of people took its toll on my own mental heath. A small group was created to help grow the #whatifirunwithyou message however it turned sour due to some people losing sight of what the purpose truly was. In the end, the movement broke down just as fast as my mental health did. After a quick google search, I realised for the first time that I could disable my Instagram account and ran away from social media. Annoyingly I was forced to returned to Instagram soon after due to a contract I had signed with a company I was working for. Yay.
We always hear the saying ‘if you don’t like it, don’t follow me’. Well I didn’t like Instagram so I got the right fuck out of there. Why? Because at the time it was simply too much for me to handle. Instagram is a wonderful place to connect with people, however it can also get too much. Even Instagram knows this! When you choose to disable your account it even gives you the option select that you ‘just need a break’. How can a photo app put so much pressure onto out mental health? The reality is that it actually doesn’t. Instagram is not damaging to your mental health. It’s the way we view things and then in turn take that onboard. Its something I struggle a lot with and am fully aware of. Instagram simply is a platform where photos and captions are stored. And yet here I am returning from a break from Instagram. I’m such a hypocrite.
Over the years I’ve had many breaks from the app, all due to my mental health. 90% of the accounts I follow are runners, 5% are companies/race events and 5% is probably bacon related. So when I log on, all I see is people smashing out epic runs. Look fit, posing for that ‘perfect’ running photo and loving life. I know it’s all bullshit. They don’t run like that in real life and a lot of the time they certainly don’t look like they do in their photos. Stomachs sucked in, double chin hidden, filters for days, it’s all about posting that photo that people will interact with the most. I’ve been on Instagram since 2014, an OG of it hahaha so I know how the game works. I just refuse to play it now. However my head has other ideas. I want that filter to be real for myself. I want to be doing these amazing runs and times that everyone is posting about. I know it’s all bullshit, but my head is a prick at times. I get a mixture of emotions, get jealous and then really fucked off with these photos. All to the point where I catch myself and switch off. A few weeks later I go back in and the cycle begins again.
Last year I had a rather big fall out with a very close friend of mine over Instagram influencer adverts and her doing them. It felt like quite a public fall out which resulted in me yet again taking a break from the app. Jemma (@thisgirlcanrunfar) called me to check in. She’s amazing like that. She explained that she read a book and encouraged me to read it as well. It was ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Mason. Do I even need to tell you what it’s about? It’s in the title. I’m yet to read it, I really should I know! Anyways she (Jemma) takes his approach. Doesn’t give a fuck about what everyone else is doing, doesn’t take things personal and just focuses on her journey. Maybe that can be my 2020 goal? Focus on myself and not take things so personal? Sound silly I know, but I’m honest about my own insecurities.
Anyways, temporary disable your Instagram account whether you feel the need to or not. Why? Because it’s just an app/game we play. It’s very refreshing and helps you focus on other things and the people around you. By stepping away, you give yourself the chance to be you without the subtle pressure of ‘fuck, what am I going to post today?’. You won’t care as much about your running times, that perfect lunch photo nor will you such your stomach in as much. Especially now in this crazy time, we need to be focusing on our real lives and what matters. Not trying to impress a group of strangers with the hope they click the follow/like button. I really do strongly recommend you all take at least a weeks break from Instagram. If you can’t actually do it, then maybe you’re addicted to it? I’ve been there and constantly fight it myself. Though most certainly a major reason why it would be time to step back.
To temporarily disable your account:
- Log into instagram.com from a mobile browser or computer. You can’t temporarily disable your account from within the Instagram app.
- Tap or click your profile picture in the top right and then select Edit Profile.
- Scroll down, then tap or click Temporarily disable my account in the bottom right.
- Select an option from the drop-down menu next to Why are you disabling your account? and re-enter your password. The option to disable your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu and entered your password.
- Tap or click Temporarily Disable Account.
If you need support to do this, hit me up. I know what it’s like being addicted to Instagram and seeking validation from it. It’s not a popular thing to talk about, but maybe it should be? Either way, my name is Andy and I hope you have a good race… and time away from Instagram