Ashley Graham Says She Deleted Instagram After the Birth of Her Twins: 'It Felt So Liberating'

The supermodel mom tells PEOPLE she took a six-week break from the app to prioritize her mental health

Photo: Courtesy Revlon

For Ashley Graham, "keeping it real" is way more than just a catchphrase, it's a lifestyle.

The supermodel, entrepreneur and activist — who is known for her candor and honesty — recently revealed to PEOPLE that while she loves the community she's created with her followers, she also knows when it's time to unplug from social media and prioritize her mental health.

For the mom of three that meant deleting the Instagram app from her phone for six weeks following the birth of her twin boys Roman and Malachi in January.

"I tandem feed the twins, and I'm just sitting there trying to keep myself awake. And what do you do when you try to keep yourself awake in the middle of the night? You go on social media," Graham told PEOPLE at a recent panel event hosted by Revlon and the mental health platform, Real. "I am such an unconscious scroller, and when I deleted Instagram from my phone, I recognized the shift so much that I started telling everybody, and it felt so liberating cause I'd never done that before. It was like this breath of fresh air."

The Revlon Global Brand Ambassador, 34, said having Instagram off her phone opened up space for her to read books and allowed her to be more present as she bonded with her growing family. Graham and husband Justin Ervin also share 2-year-old son Isaac.

"It was just a different way to keep myself awake instead of sitting there, comparing myself, judging, fantasizing about the things I don't have," she said.

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Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham/Instagram

Graham added that taking a pause from social media also allows her to check in on her mental health and realign her priorities.

"As a mom now, if I'm not in a great place mentally, then I am not going to be present there for my kids. And I don't want to miss these moments" she said. "There's so many precious moments and every moment is a stage. As messy and active as it feels, I always remind myself, this is just a stage and then we're going to go to the next stage."

Partnering with Revlon to help raise awareness about its initiative with Real has allowed Graham to connect with more people about the importance of taking time for yourself.

The Real x Revlon campaign, titled "Caring For Your Mental Wellness Is Beautiful," highlights the positive impacts beauty and wellness can have on mental health when it comes to establishing self-care rituals. As part of the initiative, beauty product consumers can scan the QR code found on one of the co-branded Real x Revlon displays in over 7,000 CVS, Rite-Aid and other regional mass retail stores across the country to receive a one month free of charge subscription to Real when purchasing a monthly membership or receive three months free when purchasing a six-month membership.

Real offers access to licensed therapists who provide educational resources to discuss issues related to beauty and mental health, including how to have a healthier relationship with social media or teaching children how to deconstruct beauty ideals.

One of Graham's biggest pieces of advice? Know when to ask for help.

"Me, my assistant, my mom and my husband, we all share Google calendar together. So if they see that there is a 30-minute block where I am taking time for myself, everybody just knows, she's going and doing whatever she needs to do," Graham shared. "You just have to be open and not afraid to be like, 'I need time.'"

The model added that on weeks when she feels particularly stressed, she practices a form of touch therapy called self-havening that her midwife taught her.

"Stress will take your milk supply away, so if my supply is low, I'll go and I'll do what my midwife had taught me. You just rub your arms down and you have these like conversations with yourself. It's something you can do in the moment, wherever you are. And those moments have helped me."

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