I am not catholic but I have a lot of friends and family who are. This year for Lent, I decided to give up Facebook and Instagram. Here is what I have learned:
1- The first few days are really hard. Its weird how just like a smoker that has certain times in a day that they light up ( after breakfast, 2pm, etc), I realized that I had developed a habit of when I would log in. I would grab for my phone and only then to be reminded ” No Facebook”. I deleted the apps from my phone and the iPad which helped out. The first 72 hours made me realize just how much of a habit social media was for me.
2- I actually looked forward to seeing my friends and family to hear what was going on with them and to share my world as well. Meeting up for runs, yoga, drinks, or a family dinner was exciting again.
3- Less anxiety, anger and stress. Facebook was getting to feel like watching the news for me. After watching the news, I often feel sad, discontent and lost. Difference of opinions is fine but shoving these opinions down someones throat is not. The only negativity I was experiencing was my own and even so, I was able to nip this in the bud because I didn’t have an audience to feel my woes with ( misery loves company). Also, I was not feeling anxious to “do this, buy that, run this fast, eat this food, be this mom”…. The daily voices that I allowed in my head to make me question my “enoughness” (I don’t think this is a word but oh well!) was silenced. This was a huge realization for me. I didn’t realize how much I was allowing other peoples messages to dictate my day, intentions, goals, ands feelings.
4- My love for reading came back. Instead of scrolling, liking, making comments, etc, my “free time” was spent with actual books. Over the Facebook break, I managed to read 3 nonfiction books and 2 fiction books.
5- I got a feel for who I truly wanted to communicate/spend time with and vice versa. Out of my 200 and some friends, I was communicating with maybe 10 of these folks.
6- Being more present with my kids, husband, friends and family. When I was making breakfast, I was not doing so while also checking my feed. When out to dinner, my phone was tucked away in my purse. Being present during a playground trip or even brunch with friends, was a wonderful experience. I was able to “be here now” without feeling like I was missing out on something that was not even involving me.
7- My life is not for everyone. Broadcasting pictures, things my kiddos said, new adventures I am taking on , etc. Why did I feel the need to share with “friends”? What was I trying to gain from this? Attention, love, being liked more? Was I lonely? It made me realize that I was seeking something and made me contemplate why.
My no Facebook and Instagram streak ended on Monday. We had just returned from Florida that day and I was getting messages that I was being tagged in posts. Insomnia drove my interest to see what was going on. Since Monday, I have logged on to Facebook a few times but only allowing myself 5-10 minutes. I don’t think this will be a daily thing or a habit for me any longer. I may even give it up again.
For now, I will take the lessons that I learned and make them a daily practice. Something I recently read said ” If something or someone is no longer working for you, give it up”. This just may be my new mantra.