Have you ever felt like you couldn’t live without social media, but you knew at the same time how much of a time waste and energy suck it was? I’ve been there too and was excited and curious to take this challenge!
Yesterday, I completed a 12-day social media fast that I was encouraged (during general conference) to take from the prophet of my church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We were encouraged to write down a few things as went through the challenge as it related to our feelings, thoughts, impressions, our spiritual and emotional state.
Now in the past I was really bad about allowing social media to overtake my life and just become too much. It completely disrupted my personal relationships (especially with my husband) as I was always “on“ and had to share every single detail of my life… Since a really tough conversation with him about a year ago, I have really cut back and I’ve tried to be better and “be present” especially around friends and family. So honestly, I wasn’t sure what exactly a social media fast would do or what kind of effect it would have on me, but I was willing to try it out, even if it was only for the sake of science.
*I should also mention that in addition to cutting out all social media, I also cut out TV in the form of Netflix and Hulu (as I knew if I didn’t have social media I would probably turn to binge watching shows to fill my time) which might have defeated the whole purpose of this exercise.
So here are my 5 Biggest Takeaways:
1. Less Anxiety
The first thing that I noticed was that my anxiety was way, way down from what it normally is. I wasn’t very surprised by this as a lot of studies and reports show how social media is linked to depression and anxiety. I’m normally around a 6 or 7 on a scale from 1-10, but during the fast I was down to a 3 or 4! Not too shabby.
2. No FOMO
The second thing I noticed was that my FOMO was completely gone. I will be the first to admit that I totally get FOMO (fear of missing out) when I am on social media, it just happens. When I see other people traveling, or doing fun things, or renovating their homes… It’s hard not to look around at my life and see what “improvements“ I could be making too. Because I had no window into the lives of anyone else, this temptation virtually disappeared over the 12 days.
3. Better Sleep
This one really surprised me, because I always fall asleep to my TV… But, because I wasn’t watching TV, I also felt like I was able to get more restful sleep (where a lot of times in the past) I forced myself to stay awake for “one more episode“… Without the option of TV at bedtime, instead I would read my scriptures or a book and fell asleep very quickly.
4. More Productive
Without exaggerating, I was probably more productive in the past 12 days than I was in the past six months! Because I had fewer distractions and entertainments filling up my days, I was able to really hustle and buckle down on some big projects I’ve been working on for a LONG time, including finishing my Ecourse, and organizing Dance Parties for 2019!
5. More Gratitude
I think one of the biggest surprises for me is how much more gratitude I felt every day. Simple things like my life, for my husband, for a healthy pregnancy and my sweet daughter. For the good friends and relationships I have and just for how over-all good my life is.
Obviously each of us could have more stuff, go more places, do more projects… But when you take away all of the outside distractions it is much easier to focus on yourself and to feel an immense appreciation and gratitude to God for all that He blesses us with just because.
I think at the end of the day everything in moderation is a good motto to live by… However if you have been feeling overwhelmed with the added stresses of social media and the whole comparison/FOMO game… I’d recommend taking a small break to see what wonders it could do for you!
Did you take the 10 day challenge/social media fast? What were your biggest takeaways!?