Why Minimizing Your Social Media is Good for the Soul │ Simply Minimally

Last year, I went off Instagram for two months.

A hand holding a cell phone with apps on it

It was probably one of the best things I've done in a while and I documented a little bit about it at a great minimalism site called Minimalism.com. 

While lessening social media isn't a popular thing to do - heck, it's the opposite of popular - it's something that I needed to do.

More importantly, it was something my soul and heart were crying out for and I didn't know how much it was crying out for it until I pulled the plug.

While you may not be ready to get rid of a social media app (or ten), you may want to think about lessening what you do have, or at the very least, getting rid of aspects of the app.

Maybe you're following way too many accounts.

Maybe you want to be a minimalist but you're following high-consumption lifestyle bloggers.

Maybe you're following people because they follow you and it's all about the numbers rather than the authenticity of your account.

These are all valid reasons for going through your accounts today and unfollowing the superfluous accounts. 

When it comes to being you and living a life meant for you, following folks who go against what you're striving to attain will not help you. More than likely, it will only serve to thwart your good intentions.

Here's how minimizing social media is good for the soul and a way to keep you living intentionally.

It resets your compass: When I was on Instagram, it always felt like I was in it for the validation, at least in the later years. While validation can be helpful, when that's all you're seeking, it changes the motive behind the app. This was not at all why I began my way onto Instagram. 

In the early days of Instagram, there was so much honest connection. I was friends with like-minded individuals, we bonded over the things we liked and photographed. Then over a few years, Instagram changed. It wasn't so much about the connection anymore but about the bottom line. It was ad placement; reels; or someone always selling something. 

I missed the old days. I missed people posting for the sake of an item or person or thing being beautiful, not because it could up one's commissioned sales. I fell prey to this as well, focusing more on what I could gain from it, rather than what it originally started out: a connecting app. 

While Instagram is a completely different animal in 2024 than what it was in 2014, I restarted my account (I even did this in 2017 when my love for minimalism began and then restarted it again in 2023- so I've restarted my account twice!) And now, it's strictly for my closest friends and family. I'm back to posting what I love: things I think are beautiful and make me happy to look at.

It refocuses your priorities: This was the biggest shift for me when I left Instagram for a couple months. I was sick of myself, sick of people posting for their selfish gain, sick of all of it. Going off of it showed me where my values lay: in taking care of myself, lessening my carbon footprint, and being a better human. I was a minimalist. Following people who bought and continued to "show and tell" their items were not good for maintaining my minimalism.

My priorities (the ones I felt that mattered) took first place. I got rid of the accounts that were physically nauseating me, kept only the ones I truly cared about and liked, and made it my account one that focused on living with less, living with slow fashion, and slow living, all surrounded by people I care about. I can't think of a better way to have an app than that way. 

Instagram doesn't make me angry anymore - I don't think about what I've lost, or that it's not "like the good old days." I only focus on what I've gained by intentionally choosing what I want from it now.

It reveals people you don't want in your life: I kind of mentioned this in the "reset your compass" section. But this one is so important. What's the saying? You are the sum of your three closest friends. While Instagram friends are somewhat superficial, the truth is, I allow who I want in my little world of squares on my phone. I'm in charge.

There were plenty of people I followed who were nice, had beautifully curated feeds, and reflected a well-put-together life. But their content was constantly showing items I could buy from them, so they could get a commission. It was all about money. I'm not against money in any way. I own my own business! But, when Instagram became more about marketing than genuine friendships, that was my cue to get out of there, or to at least change the way I was viewing it. The "friends" who rarely commented on anything I posted (and took my comments for granted), got the boot. See ya!

That felt great to do. When you get rid of the accounts pulling you down it leaves room to revel in the accounts that pull you up! They pulled me up to freedom, truth, authenticity, and beauty.

Maybe you're not ready to get rid of accounts. That's fine. But remember: the people you surround yourself with - even if in some small way - affect what you believe in, what you do, and how you perceive the world around you.

If it's that strong of an influence (even if it's subtle and sometimes subconscious) we need to be very careful who we bring into our world. We are the sum of them.

I'd rather have fewer but quality, good, amazing, "friends" than a ridiculous amount of followers who are trite and only follow me (so I follow them) to raise their rankings. Maybe it's not Instagram but Facebook that you have problems with. Maybe it's Snapchat. Whatever it is that's bringing your soul down, it needs to change!

Today, I feel like a different person. Because I am a different person. And all because I decided to "clean up" my social media accounts.

As is the case with all things minimalism (and living a slow meaningful life), less is more.

Way more.

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