Skip to main content

Social Media Fast Ends: Here's What I Learned


When Russell M. Nelson urged the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take a 10-day fast from social media, I gladly accepted the invitation. Although I had actually been revving up my use of social media in the preceding days, and felt like I was getting into more of a groove with my blogging and online presence, I also recognized the value in what President Nelson was suggesting. He said:
The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted—even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.
I knew immediately that I needed time away from distractions. A smartphone, computer, and even my Fitbit constantly turned my attention away from what was happening right in front of me. Little minutes here and there added up to big chunks of time spent frivolously. I determined to break free of the addictive nature of my devices, and I put them aside (for the most part) for ten days. (I did spend some time doing family history research one day,  I checked email a couple of times, and visited messenger to retrieve an address.) 

Without the screen constantly beckoning, how did I spend my time? Well, we now have two cars parked in the garage. The basement is also organized. I attended the temple. I am well into a major sewing project. I visited a neighbor in her home, another neighbor dropped by to see me, and John and I went to see friends we hadn't seen in 20 years! One car got tires, another got brakes. I got a haircut, and Drexel went to the groomer. I spent some time with youngest daughter. John and I went to a movie, and out to eat. I started reading one book, and started re-reading another. In short, projects big and small got accomplished, and I had plenty of time for fun, too. 

Today, my Fitbit is back on my wrist. My smartphone sits beside me as I compose this post. However, I still have most notifications turned off. I responded to friends' posts on my Facebook timeline, replied to comments on past blog posts, and commented on posts that had linked up to last week's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. 

I still have tasks online that need to be done, but I feel the pull of real life. It felt great to take a break from my devices. What I hope to take away from this 10-day fast is the ability to build into my day large chunks of time that are distraction-free. While I might still be online each day, I plan to limit the time I spend there. I will dedicate time for online tasks, and get done what I can in that time, rather than think, "I need to get x, y, and z done," and then continue pursuing those tasks until completed, no matter how long they take. For me, that seems a better balance. 

I'm thankful for a break, and the insights I gained. 

Have you taken a break from social media before? What did you learn?

Comments

  1. Yes, I've taken breaks from social media - this summer and last summer, and five years ago, I stopped watching television. I read more, quilt more and knit more. I've reached out and made new friends. I think it's important to shut off the world and final a balance with it and with reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My parents got rid of our television when I was little, so I had the advantage of not having one around. While I do have television in my home now, I've never been one to watch endlessly. The computer and smartphone, however, can be major distractions for me if I'm not careful.

      Delete
  2. I loved doing the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I turned off all app notifications (with one or two necessary exceptions) and deleted all games and social media from my phone. I limit my online time to my "office hours" for the most part. It's made an amazing difference in my productivity (and my mood). I love my online friends and colleagues. I love the connections there. But I needed to restore balance. I am a much happier person. Glad this was good for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you. It's not about rejecting online connections; it's about me freeing myself from the addictive nature of devices.

      Delete
  4. The word 'perspective' (in your post) jumped out at me, as it always does.

    If there is a secret to (life/the universe/finding the Way) it is, in my opinion, to be found in the 'power of perspective'. To be able, and more importantly, willing to allow for more than we can see/know/sense or feel to life and the world and such, is surely the key.

    For better or worse, we all have only so much time in our day and how we live the moments are, for the most part, our choice.
    The tendency to form habits and routines seems to be a natural force within life, making it easier to repeat the myriad decisions we make in the course of a day.
    Interrupting a routine (such as online routine) not only can be refreshing, it can be instructive, provided we look. If we are observant we will see beyond the 'well, I have a blog to run, comments to reply to, a message to leave.' and, if we are very observant, we see how we relate ourselves to these routines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And NOW I get the "how we relate ourselves" idea! :-)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Even in Times of Uncertainty

  A railroad switch point on the tracks at the Golden Spike National Historic Park There is a lot I don't know. I don't know who will lead the United States for the next four years (at the time I'm composing this post, that hasn't been determined yet.) I don't know when covid cases will stop rising in my state and start decreasing. I don't know how challenging situations will turn out. There is much uncertainty in life. Living in limbo-land is hard. It's emotionally exhausting. It can be immobilizing. My body seems to think chocolate is the answer, but I know that isn't a long-term solution. What do I need in times like these? I need to REMEMBER . 1. R esilience. People are resilient. I am resilient. I'm thankful for resilience. 2. " E ach Life That Touches Ours for Good." So many people, both those I know in "real life," and those I have only met virtually, have taught me, encouraged me, and been examples to me. I'm thankful

Ten Things of Thankful: Dad's Influence Edition

Infant-me, sitting on the wood floor, looks up at my dad, who is sitting on a brown sofa and smiling down to me Here in the United States, it is Father's Day weekend. I did not realize until recently that Father's Day was not officially made a holiday until 1972. 1972! Now, while I realize that many people consider 1972 eons ago, I do not. I'm glad that fathers have a day of recognition now, because they surely deserve acknowledgement.  I thought for this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, I would list ten lessons I'm thankful my dad taught me. My dad is a teacher. Not only did he impart his knowledge to countless junior high aged kids throughout his career, he taught--and still teaches--my siblings and me. He is not a preachy teacher; he's a humble man whose lessons I feel like I learned through osmosis. When he would get home from work, we'd all sit down as a family for supper. Often, our phone would ring, and on the other end of the line would be a paren

Ten Things of Thankful: Summer Strawberries and Procrastinated Projects

A brilliantly-colored dark pink and purple fuchsia blossom You would think that by the time a person reaches my age, she would not be surprised by the passing of time, yet I find myself nearly constantly amazed that a certain amount of time has passed--whether that be a week, month, year, or couple of decades. Earlier this year, I planted a garden. Yesterday I harvested my first strawberry. Earlier this year, I also planted fuchsia starts, and now the flowers are blooming. How is that possible? (And why am I surprised?) Sometime around the turn of the century (and it still seems strange to use that phrase about the year 2000), we bought a circa 1935 dresser. It needed some TLC, but had a cool curvy front. This past week, I finally got around to applying some Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax, and now the dresser still looks old, but not dilapidated. I still need to apply some hide glue to some loose pieces, but I'm counting progress as a win. For as long as I can remember, I've be