40 Days Social Media Fast: My Experience

In the middle of May, I found myself feeling very miserable. I had a hard time being motivated to do anything. My days were repetitive and unproductive. I woke up late to spend countless minutes scrolling through social media. I wasn’t working out or participating in any particular hobbies. I went to work, hung out with friends, drank wine with my mother and crashed around two in the morning. Every. Single. Day. In between these repetitive actions, I scrolled and scrolled through my social media outlets and became consumed emotionally. I read the troll comments under the scandalous and taboo posts. Everything and anything offended me and I found myself being irrationally frustrated  with people online. I never commented back or posted anything to counter attack, but bits by bits, these emotions were taking over me. Social media was an amazing platform for my creative works, but I was not uploading any. I was not contributing in any shape or form: I was just an angry spectator.

On May 8, I decided to start a social media fast. I had no idea how long it would last. I projected ten to fourteen days. I wanted to take enough time to reconnect with analog pleasures: painting, drawing and handwriting. I wanted to take walks, listen to movies and read books again. And I did all of that, and more, for forty days!

The first couple of days were hard for me. I will not lie, browsing through social media became an automatism. I deleted the applications to help me remain focused. I started journaling to channel all my emotional turmoil. I wanted to heal from the inside. I knew I could not stay away forever because of the kind of work that I do (social media content creator - as well as managing many social organizations through Facebook)  – but I wanted to enjoy using Facebook,and Instagram and Twitter. It was very lonely. I did not realize how much my day-to-day interactions were ingrained in my social media. It took a few days before my friends started calling and texting me, but it felt good to be alone with myself.

Without the continuous scrolling, I found time to do things I enjoyed. I started painting and perfected skills I forgot I even had. I was reading more and listening to audiobooks during morning walks. I researched recipes and tried them. I slept earlier and woke up energized. Whenever I was with company, I was fully invested in conversations.

Tragically, a good friend of mine passed away during my social media fast. Everyone found out through Facebook while someone had to notify me through text that it had happened. That was the only time I broke my fast – to find more information about what had happened to her. Partially, I think grieving is also one of the things that was better done without social media. Without it, you are truly left alone – without the opinions and the noises of others. The only words you are really tuning with are your own. You cannot block them or distract yourself from them. It was raw at first to hear myself talk this loudly, but I finally heard me and listened to what I was feeling.

Being off social media saved me. As dramatic as it sounds, it gave me a new perspective on life. I was the master of my decisions on a daily basis and I was my only consultant, my only audience. Did I still like me even without the likes, the shares and the responses? Was my personal approval enough? Would I still rock certain clothing if I knew no one would see them? I lived for me for forty-days and it gave me an imprint on how to live the rest of my life (or at least until the next meltdown).

I encourage everyone to try it. Even if it is just for 72 hours. There are no losses and so many benefits. Your heart, your mind and your body will thank you. There is a beautiful world to see and experience once you put your phone down.