I’ve always been very interested in things like fasts, cleanses and detoxifying. It all sounds so... satisfying, doesn’t it? It’s like watching those pimple popping videos or looking at your razor to see how much hair you just shaved off your leg after not shaving for many moons. (don’t lie, I know you all do it.)
Lately, I’ve felt like I was caught in a bit of rut. After working for years to improve my self-esteem and stop comparing myself to others. I felt like I was slipping up and feeling a little blue. I started to notice the “they are way more successful than me” and the “I could never look like that” thoughts start creeeepin’ into my head. I wanted to catch it before it got too bad, but I didn’t know how to do that exactly.
Then, a couple days later, I was sitting at Church with my husband and my “screen time” setting sent me a notification. According to that setting, I had spent an average of about FIVE AND A HALF hours A DAY on my phone.
I was horrified!!! And very embarrassed. My husband’s average was an hour a day... I honestly thought that it must be some sort of mistake. But NOPE!
I really had to reevaluate my life. That’s over 35 hours a week, staring at my phone screen. That’s basically a full-time job. Granted I do most of my work on my phone, but I know a lot of that time was being wasted on social media apps. I swore to myself I would make an effort to look at my phone less that week.
The following Saturday I went to my Grandma’s house to watch a few messages from our church’s national leaders. (link here) In it, the President & Prophet of the Church encouraged all of us to take a 10 day social media fast. This is what he asked us to do: Decide what qualified as “social media” and which platforms we should remove. Write down what changes we noticed while on the fast. Have your priorities changed? What else do you find doing with your time and energy?
My first reaction was to reject this because of my classic excuse, “my business is on social media, I can’t take a break.” but then I got home and thought about it some more... why can’t I take a break? Am I literally going to die or lose all credentials because I take a 10 day break? Probably not.
I committed to trying it out.
1.) I deleted the Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook apps off of my phone.
2.) That’s it.
Really it was as simple as that.
The first couple days were annoying at first, but here is the thing.... I GOT SO MUCH DONE! I couldn’t believe how much I had done in one day!
My problem is my finger naturally just drifts over and clicks on the app. It’s like muscle memory and then 40 minutes later I realize I have been stuck in a black hole of watching funny dog videos. I don’t go out and seek social media, it’s just scarily accessible whenever my mind registers more than a few seconds of boredom. Now that the apps were gone, I didn’t have anything to click on and get distracted by. I found myself tidying up more, writing more, being more active, talking more... I know these sound like cliché results but it’s the truth and it was awesome.
I was happier. But not for the reason I had originally figured... I thought that I was going to stop comparing myself so much because I didn’t have Instagram or Facebook and I wasn’t constantly being bombarded with other people's highlight reels. It was definitely nice not seeing them but it wasn’t what was really making me blue. What was making me unhappy was my lack of purpose and progress. I felt stuck because I was distracting myself with social media. It was a way to stall myself from taking the steps necessary to succeed. I was so comfortable where I was, my subconscious was keeping me there because I was afraid of change and the possibility of success. As soon as a huge distraction was gone, it was clear to see I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I needed to start DOING instead of just wishing and envisioning.
The next Sunday, my screen time said my average went down to about an hour on my phone every day. (Most of it was my music app playing.) It felt really good to see that number.
You can’t afford to be distracted. Maybe social media isn’t a huge distracter like it was/is for me. What is helping you NOT reach your goals? The little things you do every day may not seem huge day to day... but those little things are what collectively make up your life.
If you are considering a social media fast, I highly endorse it. Take time off, use your phone less, and start doing “real life” more without having to document every second of it. Write down how you feel, write down what you notice, if anything at all. I promise, you will benefit in some way.