Good ole’ social media. Equal parts fun and bane of my existence.
Like the other 99% of the population, I too struggle with counting likes and comparing myself to strangers on the internet. Instagram? I wish I could take photos like that. Pinterest? I wish I could decorate my house like that. TikTok? I wish I knew how to dress like that.
It’s crazy how one picture or video can lead you down a rabbithole of “I wish… I want… I don’t have enough of… I’m not good at… Fill-in-the-blank”. While my relationship with social media is healthier these days, I still go through bouts of comparison and trying to keep up with the Jones’. My post bombs, I don’t know what to write about – The trip down the rabbithole continues.
I’ve taken much needed breaks from social media before, sometimes up to a month, but it’s not feasible for me to forgo it all together. Not only do I genuinely enjoy it to an extent (I met one of my best friends on Instagram!), but much of my business comes from social media. Instagram especially because it’s like a mini portfolio for my future clients to peruse before they reach out to me. All in all, social media is a handy tool with a healthy perspective, but it can easily change from handy tool to torture device if I log on feeling down on myself.
In an effort to continue using social media as a helpful tool for my business and a means of connecting with people, I decided to not just take a break from it, but to fast for a full forty days. Since I take a month off from December to January, I knew this was the perfect time to commit to this fast.
I followed Wendy Speake’s book The 40-Day Social Media Fast and it was brilliant. There was a devotional for each day written in a down-to-earth style while still prompting deep thinking. It was a challenge for me because when I’ve taken social media breaks in the past, they’ve been breaks from posting and would still scroll through my feeds. With this fast, Wendy instructs you to essentially “go dark” on all social media platforms. I didn’t delete my apps from my phone, but I did remove them from my home screen and kept them “hidden” in my app library so at the very least, Instagram wouldn’t be the first thing I saw when I unlocked my phone.
It went about how I imagine doing a body detox would go; it started off exciting, then it got difficult, then it slowly got easier. This was a detox of the mental variety and a great way to kick off a new year. I stepped into 2022 without the comparison of strangers, without feeling pressured to share my work or market myself, and feeling more grateful for the countless gifts the Lord has given me.
If you’re a small business owner, you run all the things from accounting and inventory to marketing and customer service – you name it. Like me, you probably spend a fair amount of time on social platforms, even if only for your business. If that’s the case, I encourage you to give this fast a try. Detox your mind by slowing down, spending more time with your Father, more time in the present moment, and less time reel surfing. You won’t regret it.