During January, I completed a 21 day fast through my church of giving up all social media. I was up for the challenge but y’all, it was HARD. My husband and I did it together, which helped tremendously. As I began, went through, and completed this social media fast, I learned so much about myself and where I find my strength. I give you, the 4 stages of my social media fast…
STAGE 1: COLD TURKEY
I gave up my social media apps without even saying goodbye to my large number of followers (HA!). But seriously, I decided I needed to take a break from the “noise” that can often soak up much of my free time. I had some areas of my life I needed to refocus. I wanted to spend more intentional time with God, spend more time with my husband, read more books, and be more present with my kids. The first 48 hours were pretty much touching my phone and putting it back down every 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe how much I would reach for my phone whenever I had a free second.
I would catch myself thinking “this would make a funny post!” or “Let’s tag us all here!” Being off social media altogether made me put the phone down, and just BE. Just be in the moment, without feeling like I needed it to be documented. It put so much pressure off of me. I didn’t feel guilty when comparing my microwave mac n cheese lunch to someone’s organic homemade entree. It gave me a sense of relief!
STAGE 2: FOMO
The fear of missing out. It’s real, and it’s a struggle for me personally. Throughout my fast, I often found myself wondering what everyone might be sharing and posting. What significant life changes might my friends possibly be going through? How was everyone else spending their Saturday? What was I missing out on?!
I discovered a week after being social media free that I didn’t need the approval of others to have a good day. I didn’t need to see what others were doing with their kids, families, or friends. Actually, I was better off not knowing altogether. My phone began to be left upstairs in the bedroom and forgotten about all day. ALL DAY, PEOPLE! It was kind of amazing.
STAGE 3: RELAPSE
The Last week was actually the hardest of them all. “Just a second of scrolling won’t hurt…” as I tapped on my Facebook App. I found that the weekends were the hardest to contain the urge, due to the slower paced days. When it was quiet time during the last week, I blacked out for 5 minutes and found myself scrolling through Facebook. My husband was walking into the room, and I couldn’t throw my phone off the couch fast enough. I felt guilty for giving in. I replaced the urge with a new book and kept charging on my way to the end of this fast.
STAGE 4: FINDING BALANCE
Like many things in life, finding balance is key. I discovered how less stressed I became when I wasn’t constantly comparing myself and trying to keep up with the Jones’s. Trying to keep up is exhausting, y’all. After coming off my fast, I am more self-aware of my time on social media, and I search for my phone less often. It’s all about finding that happy BALANCE.
What I learned from my social media fast…
- Put the phone down and just BE. Leave it in the other room.
- Read positive, life-changing books (instead of feeling shame from social media) and work on self-development. (Brene Brown is a MUST in this department!)
- Spend some quiet time reflecting. I found great Bible studies through the YouVersion Bible App on leadership, motherhood struggles, and developing vision.
- PLAY with your littles. Play superheroes, play Candy Land, play Hide-and-Seek….
- DREAM. I forgot how much my husband and I loved to just sit on the couch and talk about our dreams and goals in life.
Moving forward after my social media fast, I hope to remember the feeling of contentment, peace, and belonging I experienced when dropping the phone. My identity is not found in others and my newsfeed. My identity is found in Jesus and who He says that I am, and I don’t need a certain number of likes on social media to confirm that.