What being off of Facebook for 54 days taught me.

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.

 

Attacking the Attachment

Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments. I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.

For lent, I declared with my dearest friend, C, to give up booze and sugar.  I added mediation and gratitude. We are 14 days in. Let me be honest from the get go.  I have consumed booze and I have had sugar.  I have also meditated and made my grateful list.  3 times I have had some sort of alcohol and I think it is about 4 times that I have had some sort of sugar treat.  Prior to lent, I was partaking in sugar daily and booze at least 4 times a week.

Some may look at this and declare a fail. Some may also look at this and think perhaps I have a problem with booze.  Some may understand 100%.

I am not Catholic but I wanted to support my friend.  The times that I have “given in” the guilt is present and very real. Setting goals and meeting them are motivation for me.  I think that is why running is always my “go to”.  Training schedule indicates to run 3 miles.  Check. Done. Next.

Lent has taught me that I have attachments to above mentioned items as well as others. I am a complete asshole if I do not get to run and do yoga.  My body NEEDS these things for me to feel complete.  Coffee also makes the list.  Mediation is now on the list too.  Every morning, I make myself take 5 minutes to sit with my thoughts.

Are these attachments such bad thing?  If push comes to shove, could I give up living with no attachments?  If they are ok then why the guilt?

Let us also not forget my old blue Nike sweatshirt ( its has multiple stains- including bleach).  For whatever reason, I remember THE exact day I bought this sweatshirt in college.  It provides security for me.  I can not get rid of it and I do not want too.

I will continue to do my very best with lent.  I do feel much better and have more energy for my runs. I have also been straight vegan for 24 days. All I can do ( or all that we can do) is show up and do the best that we can given what the day brings .

Lent is also teaching me to be gentle with myself.  Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments.  I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.