We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with data. We know this. If we are self-aware, we also know how this makes us feel.
Lately I have been a pretty dedicated social media addict.
I can say with confidence that scrolling facebook, instagram, and pinterest on an everlasting loop is not improving my quality of life whatsoever. Yet, I still find myself doing it.
While social media can have its place in our world, I personally find that the more I am “plugged in,” the more disconnected I feel– with myself, with others, with the world, etc.
I refuse to be dependent on artificial life online for my experience of the world… even for a limited period of time.
So, I am going on a social media fast.
I do this fairly regularly. Usually, when I find myself sucked into the virtual world more than I would like, I start to feel lousy and I decide that it’s time to quit.
The timing could not be better for this media fast!
I have exactly one month before leaving this place and embarking on a new chapter in my life by moving to Austin and beginning my “big girl” job.
Because I am so far ahead in my schoolwork, I really have very little left to do to finish out the semester. In short, I’m bored.
I would like to spend this time energizing, empowering, and preparing myself for this new adventure. Zoning out in front of youtube definitely does not assist in this goal.
I am excited to spend this month with myself: journaling, reading, creating, catching up on my favorite tv series, spending time outside, playing with Leben, and cleaning out for the move.
I don’t know how willing I am to set particular goals for this month; the perfectionist in me wants to set a to-do list of books to finish, seasons to get through, and numbers of trips to goodwill. I think it might be healthier to set myself a list of “OPTIONS” for how to spend my time.
Each day will involve a choice. Each day will end with a pleasant surprise, celebrating what little things I accomplished.
Spring is here, and I feel empowered to give myself this incubation period before blooming into my next adventure.
In case you’re wondering, here are my (loose) rules for a media fast.
(Note: This is not about self-deprivation or punishment, so my overall goal is to be kind to myself during this time as I remove external influences from my life.)
Media Fasting 101
1. Delete all social media apps from phone. (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, online dating apps, etc.)
2. Create a lovely list of fun-sounding options for how to spend this time instead.
3. Create post-it notes of encouragement to place around the house.
4. Place approved items (books, journal, crocheting) in places where you’d normally media-binge: beside the couch, in the bathroom, beside your pillow, in your backpack/purse.
5. Make a plan of action for when you feel yourself needing a “scroll break.” Decide already what questions to ask yourself, and have an encouraging mantra ready to recite.
6. Enjoy your new-found time! You’ll finally have the extra hours you wish for every day.
A caveat I allow myself is that I am allowed to POST content on social media, but I don’t allow myself to CONSUME the content that others produce.
This may sound silly, but as I’m trying to create more of a presence for myself online through my blog, instagram, and etsy shop, it is important that I continue posting with some consistency! These are important creative outlets for me. I want to honor the good that they do in my life!
When I want to post something, I will simply take the time to do so on my laptop. This extra step really helps me to eliminate the pairing I have of always reaching for my phone.
This is not a super-strict “giving up” scenario. I will not be posting about my absence on facebook, and I will not be putting up a “be back later” sign on my instagram. If you send me a message or tag me in something, I will eventually get around to seeing it.
All I am trying to do is to give myself a period of detox so that I can utilize social media in the capacity that I choose.
I just want to cut the tether and be free for a little while.
Here are just a few of the things I am so excited to do instead of mindlessly scrolling:
Finishing a dress I’ve been working on for a year, hopefully for wearing to my own college graduation.
Completing Smallville Season 10 for the first time and finding out how my favorite show of all time really ends.
Re-reading some of my favorite dystopian YA series.
Journaling my way through some lovely poetry.
Clearing out my living space of unwanted and unneeded things so that I can travel light.
Of course, I will be posting about my progress as this month goes on. Wish me luck! :)
If you ever decide to go on a media fast, for any reason, I would LOVE to hear about your experience. Any strategies you have, any struggles you’ve faced, and any victories you’ve celebrated would be welcome stories to me!
“Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.” ― Hermann Hesse