By Becky Weber, Crosswalk.com
Social media has become such a regular part of our lives now, it is hard to remember what we did without it. It provides us with a way to connect with people, let others know what is going on in our own lives, and be part of different communities when we are not physically able to be present. We can also use it to try and inspire people like I do with my writing on social media, it can be used to advertise a business, and it comes in handy when we want to get rid of something we don’t use anymore. Social media really does have a lot of things going for it.
As with anything though, the upside comes with a downside. Social media can be very addictive, making us glued to our phones for a good part of the day. It can have negative affects on our relationships, make us less productive, and it can give us a skewed perception of what reality is. Most of us like to share all the good, and not the bad. Social media can make us very isolated, and when people are behind a screen, it has shown that people don’t have a filter. We learn to live for the likes, which does not satisfy for very long.
What can we do to make sure that our lives don’t get consumed with social media?
When something becomes harmful to our well-being, it might be time for a break. It can be good to take it out of our lives for a period of time, so we learn not to rely on it so much. We may need to fast from social media, which just means to abstain from doing something, or taking something out of our lives for a while. It helps to free ourselves from anything that we might be holding onto too tightly. We can do this with social media.
Here is an easy 4 step social media fast to free your soul:
1. Make a plan.
In order to make something succeed, it is good to have a plan of how you will get it done. One way to do this is to write down a goal, and steps you need to complete in order to achieve that goal. Start with deciding on how long you would like your fast from social media to be. You can do a week, maybe 2 weeks, or even a month. There is no wrong amount of time. Do it as long as you think will be necessary to develop some good habits again. Decide on specifically what you will do to make sure your fast is a success. Some of those steps could be leaving your phone in a certain place for a while, or turning it off for a couple of hours. You could have people contact you through email instead of messaging you on social media. Think about what it will take for you to make it work, and do it.
2. Get people to do it with you, or keep you accountable.
When you have something that you want to accomplish, it can be a good idea to do it with a group of people. Ask some friends if they want to join you for the whole fast, or for even just part of it. You will not feel alone doing it if you have others along side of you. Create some sort of reward at the end of your time together to celebrate what you have done. Go out for a meal or a special treat so you have something to look forward to. If no one else will do it with you, ask a close friend or a mentor in your life if they will keep you accountable while you do it. You don’t have to announce that you are doing it, but it is good to have someone who can ask you the hard questions about what you are doing. Have them check in with you each day, or specify when they should. Be honest about you are really doing even if you mess up. That person is not there to shame you, they are there to cheer you on so you will finish what you started.
3. Take all social media apps off your phone.
One of the most effective ways I have learned to deal with too much social media is to get rid of the problem. If I need a break, or I have been scrolling too much, I will delete the apps off of my phone. It makes it a lot less tempting when it takes more effort to get to. If you still struggle after that, delete the internet off of your phone. Do whatever you need to do, so it is not right in front of you. You don’t need to worry about losing your information either, because your phone saves your password, and everything will still be there when you come back to it. Set yourself up so you are not tempted to cheat on your fast. You will be glad that you did.
4. Find some activities or something you can do when you are tempted.
If you are really struggling to stay away from social media, find something that you can replace it with instead of scrolling. Get that book that you have been really wanting to read, and spend more time doing that. Are you wanting to talk with a friend, or check in and see how they are doing? Text or even call your friends to catch up, invite them to grab a coffee, or grab a meal together. If it is nice outside, go for a walk, or do some outdoor activity. Is there a hobby you have been meaning to spend more time on? This is the perfect time to do it. The point isn’t to be busy all the time, but instead to fill the time that you were typically using for social media consumption.
There is no wrong way to fast from social media. You may even find different ideas that work for you, other than the ones listed above. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you do mess up while in the middle of your fast. Have grace with yourself, and start again. The point of doing a fast isn’t to do it perfectly, but to develop healthier habits that we can take with us in the long term.
It's amazing how much time we can waste on social media. It is good to learn a balance of using it, but also knowing when to stop. Being on social media is helpful when it is used to improve our lives, not taking over them. The problem is when we think we can’t live without it. Things in our lives start to suffer when we use it too much. Taking a break or fasting from something is sometimes the answer when we need to get rid of a problem. We might be surprised how much better we feel after the fast, and how much we don’t need social media. We might actually feel refreshed after taking some time away from social media.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Manuel Faba Ortega b
Becky Weber is a wife, and mom to 4 kids. She loves to write and speak. She is a pastor’s wife in Sioux Falls, SD where her husband Adam is the lead pastor of Embrace Church. Her passion is to encourage others (especially women) to learn how to walk with Jesus on a daily basis. You can find more writing over at www.becweber.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.