The simple change that has improved my sleep

Deleting Instagram off of my phone. 

That's it. No routine or meditation download. I'm not even off of Instagram completely - I check it roughly once a day on my desktop computer Monday through Friday. I don't think Instagram is the enemy and it's necessary to keep up with my friends who live far away; I love seeing their lives. 

But the death scroll has started to mirror the 24-hour news cycle that sucks me into a blackhole of cortisol spikes. I think it's important to take a step back sometimes and evaluate the things we bring into our lives to discern if they are valuable to us or not. Right after the 2016 election, I was listening to Pod Save America and the other Crooked Media podcasts almost daily. I drove a lot for work at the time and listened almost every time I was driving so it was a ton of media consumption. While I thought the hosts were smart and funny, I eventually realized (thanks Mom!) that my anxiety was through the roof listening to them lament the latest horrendous thing that Trump had done / was doing day after day. I had no control over the administration or their actions; I did have control over how deep I waded into the pool of freaking out. So I stopped listening to the podcasts and chose shows/music that calms me or just makes me laugh without at the same time filling me with dread. It's a trade-off : I know less about the daily news and political landscape and I'm happier and less anxious everyday. 

It's the same with Instagram. Sometimes I open it to check on what friends are up to and I truly enjoy seeing their updates. But more often, it causes me to lose time looking at things I have no vested interest in, makes me angry at things I disagree with, or leaves me feeling bad about myself for not being able to "keep up" in some way or another. Plus, with the app, it's far harder to control the amount of time spent because Instagram is designed to keep you on it, to keep you engaged. So what can I control? Not having the app on my phone. So I deleted it mid-December. Problem solved. 

I'm not saying I'll never re-install the app but I'm so enjoying the break. And the increased time to read actual books. And the sleep.