Fall(ing) Fast

One would hope that the title of the event would actually indicate that the experience would move rather quickly; but this is never the case with a “fast” of any kind,  I have come to find out.

I am no stranger to fasting – every first Sunday of the month I participate in a 12 hour-24 hour fast (depending however long my poor hypo-glycemic body can do without food…) with the members of my church congregation.

However, when I contemplated trying out a 10 Day social media fast, I felt like it could be a good thing for me. And I hoped, naively, that it would go quickly and I would finish it and say something dumb and whimsical like, “Oh man, it’s already been 10 days? That sure went fast!” (stupid dad jokes, I know…)

Well, clearly I was wrong. That social media fast was more difficult for me than I want to admit. However, some really great things happened because of it too.

Keep reading to see just how it went, and what I learned (and accomplished) without my beloved social media.

7>10

So, for starters, I did not make it the 10 days like I had hoped to do. In the beginning I was like “I got this! 10 days is nothing!” But, after 4 1/2 days I was really struggling. In fact I had to end up deleting the apps off my phone until after the fast so I wasn’t tempted to look at them!

It was almost scary to realize what a habit it was to just open my phone and click open either Instagram or Facebook. I kept accidentally doing it without even realizing it, then would have to hurry and close out of it.

But, once I removed the actual apps from my phone, it was easier to not look at them.

Granted, I definitely still felt that void. I constantly would wonder, “I wonder what so-and-so is doing today” and absent-mindedly go to check their stories. It was a learning curve for sure without it.

But, I am proud to say that for 7 days I was about 99% social media free (the first 3 days I was legit 100% free from it… the rest of the week there were a few times I peaked and broke my fast…)

But even so, I feel pretty good about even doing it as long as I did!

To Do List

I noticed on the first day (last Monday) that I had a lot more “free time” on my hands now that I couldn’t steal glances or waste a few minutes here and there scrolling through social media.

So, I started checking things off of a personal to-do list that is on my phone; mostly things I want to achieve as goals, or things I want to look into pursuing.

Here is a brief list of the things I accomplished without social media this past week:

  1. Looked into Grad School, and started researching my financial options
  2. Completed an online training video series that has been sitting in my inbox for weeks!
  3. Started officially planning my next international adventure
  4. Finished 1 1/2 books (which is huge considering I have a giant stack waiting for me to finish on my nightstand)
  5. Wrote 4 whole chapters in my novel
  6. Re-branded my blog
  7. Also, planned out and made an actual calendar of things I want to blog about (crazy I know!)
  8. Reprioritized my life goals (which means I made a new To-Do list, but I cut some things out and added some new things too!)
  9. Finally finished the recent season of The Walking Dead on Netflix! Now I can watch the new episodes airing on tv! 🙂

I mean.. I literally was more productive than I have been in a long time!

Beyond feeling productive, here are other side-effects I felt during my social media cleanse:

  1. I made it a goal to get to bed early every night; by 930 or 10! And guess what? I did it! I also fell asleep easier, faster, and woke up before my alarm every morning! What kind of sorcery is this social media fast stuff anyway…
  2. I noticed I had more energy. Probably from the extra sleep!
  3. I felt less stressed
  4. I noticed I felt more confident
  5. I felt more motivated than ever to attain my biggest dreams
  6. Overall, I felt happier! (Even though I would complain about missing social media.. I’m not perfect people!)

It was interesting to see how I felt without constantly scrolling through photos of the so called ‘perfect’ lives we all try to show on there (and I do it too!) I think we tend to get into the mindset of comparing ourselves to everyone we see on there, even if we don’t realize we are doing so.

And comparison is the thief of joy… right? If we live our lives comparing it to everyone else, we will never be happy or satisfied with what we have!

I have to assume I felt less stressed, because I didn’t spend my time wishing I was out there going on adventures and already fulfilling my dreams, like so many of the Instagram accounts I follow. Instead of stressing and wishing I could be doing it, I made a real game plan and started doing the work to hopefully get there myself!

Your world won’t change unless you yourself change it!

Fall Back

The big question is, will I ever do a social media fast again?

And the answer is – yes.

I don’t know if I will do another one for quite as long as this one, but I want to continue to take breaks every now and then, to recalibrate my “reality” and make sure I am on track with my own goals and dreams.

In the past month, Utah has become emblazoned by the fall changing colors. A few weeks ago I was able to hike up to Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

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Two weekends ago I made it up into American Fork Canyon here in Utah, on the famous “Alpine Loop” to go explore and admire the gorgeous leaves changing colors for fall.

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Finding a deeper symbolism from the fall leaves and the new seasonal weather (of course):

– Fall represents preservation of life: as animals store food and prepare for the winter

– The colored leaves represents life changes

 – Trees shedding the leaves represents letting go

Thinking about these, I definitely don’t want to “fall back” into my bad habits. I instead want to fall forward, going head first into my endeavors.

Preservation of life is simply having a plan to continue to do what I love, and make my dreams a reality through hard work, and storing up as much of my free time for those goals.

Life changes also correlate with changing my priorities, to do what matters first, and start cutting out the things that end up wasting my time.

Letting go of old ideals, old memories, old notions… it’s definitely the hardest of the three for me. But sometimes letting go leads us to the new places we need to go, and to the new person we need to become.

Make It Fast

This whole social media fast become a much deeper concept to me than I realized it would; and I really am glad I decided to do it!

I can whole heartedly recommend anyone to try it, even if it’s just for one day. Or even make goals to be on it only during certain times of the day.

I dare you to try it! And please write me in the comments or email me and let me know how it went for you and what you learned!

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