Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lately: Social Media Fast and Learning to Disconnect

A couple of weeks ago, I felt a really strong urge to take a break from social media. Anyone that knows me, knows I spend too much time on my phone. I have a friend that hates smartphones because they take up too much of people's time. I wish I could be like her. Unfortunately, I'm pretty attached to my iPhone.

In an attempt to connect more with my family over Christmas, I deleted Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook from my phone for seven days. Wow. That taught me a lot. For starters, I realized just how many times a day I pick up my phone to get on some form of social media. During my social media fast, I would pick up my phone, unlock it, and then realize that the app I was going to get on isn't on my phone any more. I'd put my phone away, and repeat the process a short time later. It was ridiculous! I had no idea I used my social media apps that much, but when I no longer had them, I realized how often I turn to them for entertainment: when I'm in line at the store, when I'm waiting for food at a restaurant, when I'm waiting for my coffee to's absurd how often I get on my phone!

After the first couple of days, I began to realize I really didn't miss the apps much: I missed the constant entertainment. I can never be bored if I have an abundance of social media posts to peruse. Without social media, I began to choose other ways to spend my free time: reading more (because clearly I needed more time to read), talking with friends in person instead of through social media, playing games with my family. It was great. All because I deleted a few apps off my phone.

Not only did deleting my social media apps change how I spent my time, it also caused my thinking to shift. Instead of thinking, "this would make a good Instagram shot" when I was doing something, I simply enjoyed my time. It changed the way I thought about my life because there was zero pressure to take a cute picture or come up with a clever caption because it simply doesn't matter. That change in thinking was shocking to me because I never even realized I had been thinking that way to begin with.

I found this quote while Googling social media statistics and I really like this guy's advice.

After the week ended, it was nice to be able to download the apps again and browse. However, I've decided on a couple of changes I want to make: social media can no longer be the first thing I check in the morning, nor can it be the last thing I do before going to bed. I don't want my days starting or ending that way. Rather, I now read a devotional first thing in the morning, and read whatever book I'm working on at night. 

I decided that I'm going to take a social media break one week out of every month for the next several months. I'm sure it will become easier and easier the more I do it. It sure was a struggle when I did it a few weeks ago. I can definitely say the experience grew me and revealed a lot about my thinking to myself.

It feels appropriate to end this post with this Albert Einstein quote. I've always appreciated this quote, yet I often forget the implications of it.

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