Like. Love. Eye Roll. Laugh. Mindless scrolling while nursing, riding in the car, in the waiting room, while my baby naps and any other occasion where a moment of boredom could be filled, I would often spend online.
I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed by any stretch, but time on social media was cutting into my day and adding up to a lot of distraction from time with family, friends and getting outside.
While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the topic of taking a social media break came up. It was 2 days into Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter when many abstain or fast from an activity to give more time to what they value most, so I decided a social media fast was what I was being called to and I haven’t been on Facebook or Instagram since. Over the last few weeks I’ve tried to dig deeper into why and when I was tempted to scroll through my feeds, what my motivations for posting were, the benefits and drawbacks of a break and my overall thoughts around life online.
The timing couldn’t have been better. We were in the middle of a move and there was a lot to be done. Being offline removed distraction and helped me stay focused on what I needed to get done each day and have space to do things I had wanted to make more time for – prayer, meeting up with a friend, engaging with my son more, better talks with my husband, cooking a good meal, working out and I even started some new fun projects and have been working towards some new goals.
More macrame and a new interest in weaving has sparked projects to fill my time with.
There have been times when I thought about posting but instead of just telling myself “no” because I’m on a break, I go further to ask myself why I want to share it and what my motivation behind it is. Most of the time I’m wanting to show the world the cool place I’m at or the interesting thing I’m up to because I’m looking for affirmation or validation. Admitting that is a bit embarrassing, but it’s the truth. Then there are times I want to capture a pretty moment because social media is a good way to archive memories. This break has brought about a freedom to stop living for an audience and to address unhealthy habits.
I dislike unnecessary angry, hateful, bragging and offensive posts. They make me have negative thoughts about the people who post them which challenges my desire to love people better. Now that I don’t see these posts I am having more positive thoughts about others.
Out of the Loop
Unless I have a conversation with you directly, I probably don’t know about your engagement, promotion, pregnancy, recent trip or other great life event. I miss knowing what’s going on in the lives of people I like and care about! I suppose this would be a good motivation to reconnect with friends and family I haven’t talked with in awhile, but I don’t have a lot of time for long catch up phone conversations with everyone and this is where the benefit of social media shines.
I get a lot of my news from online articles and many of those come to me on my Facebook page. We don’t watch a lot of TV so staying informed is an extra effort now. I didn’t even know there was an earthquake in San Diego until my mom asked me if I had felt anything. I’m definitely less informed during this break.
Overall, it’s been a great experience because it’s made time for me to do more of what I like to do and less of what I don’t. After Easter I will likely be back online but I enjoy having limitations on it and will be keeping many of those in place to have a good balance. Has anyone else taken a break and if so, what did you learn during your time away?