I was recently challenged to do a 10 day social media fast. And at first, the challenge seemed quite innocent. But once I let the reality sink in, a small amount of panic crept into my body. Since finishing graduate school classes, I have devoted much of my newly found time to this blog; building up a following, creating interesting content, etc. Social media has been my main source of advertising and I was finally beginning to gain traction. How could I possibly disappear for 10 days? What would happen to the progress I had made?
I am happy to report that giving up social media turned out to be a great blessing; not only for my happiness, but also for the future of my blog. I never truly realized how much time I wasted mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed. I had no purpose. The app was simply available. All I had to do was pick up my phone and I was instantly taken into a new e-world.
Living without social media for those 10 days was freeing. I found that I was happier. I found myself being more effective with my time. I found myself enjoying each moment more, recognizing things I had been too distracted to notice before. A dog sticking his head out of a moving car window with an expression of utter joy, as if he wanted to yell “THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!” A man and woman looking lovingly into each others eyes, a tender smile spreading across their faces, sharing within that glance the knowledge of all their past joys and sorrows. A child meeting a dog for the first time and watching that initial skepticism turn into a friendship. There are so many small, beautiful moments that make up our lives. And if we aren’t careful, they may come and go without us noticing.
I do believe social media can be a powerful and beneficial tool in connecting us with others and promoting a cause. Hence why I am currently sitting here and writing this blog. I just think we need to be careful not to let it distract us from the important things in life.
During my 10 fast, I decided to listen to a TED Radio Hour podcast titled: Simply Happy. As I sat in my car listening, I was struck by one powerful sentence. The sentence stated: mind wandering is the CAUSE of unhappiness, not a CONSEQUENCE. Social media is probably my biggest distraction and the thing that causes my mind to wander the most. No wonder I felt happier, lighter, and more free without the Instagram app on my home screen. There was no opportunity for distraction. There was no temptation. I was completely present to the world around me.
My time without social media led me to a few realizations:
- I need to stop comparing. My obsession with peeking into the lives of others caused unhappiness, as I constantly compared, and still compare, myself to others.
- I need to focus on relationships. My obsession caused the relationships that mean the most to me to suffer. I put more time and attention into my social media feed than I did reaching out to the ones I care about. I put more thought into “what would be a good caption for this photo” than I did to sending a simple “how are you” to a friend.
- I need to keep my blog and life true to me. I want this blog to represent who I am. It is difficult when you are first getting starting not to compare yourself to other bloggers, especially when their websites are big and more successful. I need to remember that no one ever became great by following the crowd. I need to pave my own way, find my own voice, and stay true to me.
With all that being said, I highly encourage all of you to take a social media break. Whether it be for a day or an infinite amount of time, you may be surprised what you learn about yourself and those around you.
Please like this post and leave a comment below. If you except the challenge, share your experience below 🙂