Earlier this month, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had its General Conference during which we are able to hear the leaders of the church give talks about spiritual guidance and personal development. During the session that was specific to the women, the prophet, or leader of the church, challenged all the women to participate in a 10 day fast of social media and all other sources of technology that interfere or have become sources of distraction in everyday life. At first I wasn’t going to participate, I had two thoughts go through my mind. First, as much as I use social media I don’t use it nearly as much as other people. My other thought was I don’t get affected by what I am seeing on social media. The challenge was issued on Saturday of the weekend of General Conference, I started on Tuesday because on Sunday and Monday I was suddenly very aware of how much my phone had control of me.
I couldn’t go more than half an hour without checking my phone and seeing what was new on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. If I wasn’t checking a social media I was playing a game on my phone. I was spending so much time looking at my phone that my interactions with my husband, coworkers, and even family members who are in other states were taking a toll. So on Tuesday, I decided that I would participate in the 10-day social media fast and see where it would take me. I installed an app locker on my phone that locked the apps that I have the hardest time with and the 10 days began.
Yesterday was my last day on the social media fast, and I can say that this truly was a challenge. As I mentioned before I installed an app locker to help me curve the temptation to get on certain apps while no one was looking. For some other apps, more specifically games I just deleted them off my phone. I’ll be honest, I still had to go on Facebook for my job, but I would just go to the organization’s page but I wouldn’t look at anything for my personal account.
The first couple of days were very difficult for me, I was itching to get on Instagram or Snapchat. I was so unaware of just how much time and energy went into staring at my phone. On a normal day, I wake up and the first thing I do is check my news feeds on all my social media. I’m not even fully awake and I am already scrolling. These last 10 days instead of scrolling through social media I’ve used those 10 minutes before I actually have to get up to read or meditate, both of which helped me a lot more than looking through social media. I won’t lie, Even though I wasn’t using social media I still found myself staring at my phone A LOT, for the silliest of reasons, but more so just an excuse to get to use my phone. I did pretty good overall with this challenge, I’ve been putting projects off because of “lack of time” but now that I wasn’t spending 25% of every hour on the phone I was suddenly very productive. There’s always been plenty of time to do some of the things I accomplished these past 10 days but I’ve had my priorities messed up.
A few things I learned from participating in this challenge:
- Human interaction is always a priority. Sounds silly but I don’t know how many times I’ve been having a conversation with another person and I’m staring at my phone.
- Technology isn’t the center of the world, and shouldn’t be a time eater. I was able to complete projects I had on the back burner for a long time during just a short 10-day break.
- Social media is a great way to stay connected with everyone. I missed so much during these last 10 days!
Now for changes I plan to implement after this experience:
- Be more in the moment. If I’m in a social situation then I don’t need to be on social media.
- No phone use in the morning, and no phone use at least 1 hour before bed.
- Try to be more mindful of doing less mindless scrolling.
I learned a lot these last 10 days, and it was nice to have a break from the noise. But I’m happy to be back on social media, more specifically Instagram! So much to catch up on but keep everything I learned during this break.
How much control over your life does social media have? Have you attempted a social media fast or something similar? How did it go and what did you learn? Let me know in the comments!