10 Reasons to Go on a Social Media Fast (Excluding Time Spent Building Your Business)
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Social Media has become such a part of our lives, occupying our minds and time. Social Media has taken place of intimate contact, relationships, accurate news and social interaction. I have found it healthy to step away from Social Media at times and simply take a break. However, sometimes a long-term “fasting” is needed from Social Media so that we can get back to real life! Here are some ideas that I would like to share about the benefits of Social Media “Fasting”.
There is More time for Self-Care
If you have spare time on your hands, who better to spend it with than you? Some great self-care activities are,
· Watching your favorite movie,
· Journal writing,
· Arts & Crafts, and
· Redecorating your personal space
“ME” time is necessary for personal growth! We must check in with ourselves regularly to ensure that we are enjoying the best life journey possible. It’s important to remember that when we are by ourselves, we are not truly alone. There are friends and family that love and support us, and if there ever came a time when we think that no one loves us, we can take comfort in knowing that God certainly does!
2. We Feel Less Need to Compete with One Another
We as Black Women are the most undervalued and least respected minority group in the history of the world. We are in a never-ending fight for equal treatment. Yet, we tend to compete with each other more than other groups of women. This is probably most true with social media.
Social media images may evoke feelings of low self-worth, insecurity and jealousy which add unnecessary pressure to what we already face every day. We focus on another woman’s exploits and filtered pictures, comparing ourselves to them. Instead of scrolling through some random woman’s posts from her trip to some foreign country, why not do something that adds to your personal development? You may not be able to go to go on a fancy trip at this point in your life, but maybe you could learn a foreign language or delve into studies of some unknown culture.
I enjoy the line from rapper Light Skin Keisha’s song “Spend Sum Cash”, where she sings “My only competition ever is that bitch in the mirror!” I interpret her to mean that we should be our only competitor, seeking only to improve ourselves! There is no need to compete with each other as we are individually beautiful! Even when we experience failure, it’s never a loss, because failure leads to personal growth!
3. It Frees Up Valuable Time to Create Deeper In-Person Relationships
Have you ever seen a group of people at a restaurant and everyone's on their phones? More often than not, they are checking their social media feeds. In our communities, we are losing loved ones to gun violence, police brutality and a deadly virus. We have a president who encourages violence against our people. With so much going on in the world today, we should cherish the time that we have with our family and friends in the real world. Relationships that play out on social media can often be transactional or superficial. However, there are people in our lives with which we can invest that time in. On a social media fast, you can call an old friend, or better yet, meet them for lunch if the urge to use social media arises.
4. You will experience enlightenment
Historians believe that humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Not only is fasting known to have many health and wellness benefits, it can also lead to spiritual transcendence. Food is the most common thing that people fast from. However, you can fast from anything that may hinder spiritual growth. Abstinence clears our mind, sharpens our view and allows us to focus on more important aspects of our life, such as our relationship with God, our family members and friends, career goals and passions. During a social media fast, you will likely experience some form of clarity which could help you realign your priorities.
5. It Allows for Healthier Self “Feeding”
To “feed” is an act of giving food, obviously. Yet, food is not merely the food we eat. Food is anything healthy, fulfilling and nourishing to the mind, body and spirit. Have you ever taken an assessment of how healthy, fulfilling and nourishing your social media “feed” is? Sometimes posts and pictures come into our timelines that are offensive, violent, sexually graphic or traumatic. It happens so quickly and often that we don’t realize those energies are present until they have already affected us. Unhealthy social media “feeding” often affects us is so subtly that we often don't realize it.
When it comes to forms of entertainment, we are in control. When we choose a book to read, or a movie to watch, we have some idea of what that book or movie is about. We are making a conscious choice. The truth is that social media has taken some of our choices away as we do not control what appears on our timelines. Therefore, social media fasting can give us a break from unhealthy “feeding” and allow us to reclaim the power of healthy “feeding”!
6. It could lessen your dependency on “likes”
“Likes” on social media posts should never measure happiness. The most popular social media platforms use a validation system of people judging others on what they present to the world. It is so important to people that it is now a science. People actually study ways to increase their likes on social media, such as using hashtags and posting at certain times of the day. Some business owners can attribute monetary gain to their use of social media as a tool. However, if you are not using social media to run a business, then what is the true value of the “likes” that you receive on your pictures and stories? Happiness is a choice. It comes from within. You have 100% control over whether you are going to be happy or not. A social media fast will reveal if you have an issue with seeking validation from others, or if you can truly and organically choose happiness in your life.
7. It is a good way to take inventory of your online “friends”
Friends and well-wishers are not the only people liking our pictures and commenting on our stories. Most people are harmless, but some show up for reasons that are not always in our best interest. If you abstained from social media for three months, how many of your social media contacts would call to check up on you? Could it be that not all of your relationships are genuine? Could it be that some relationships seem more genuine than they really are because of how our social media activities so cleverly overemphasize those connections? It only takes a second for someone to respond, “praying for you and your family” after you post a despairing personal story, but who in your circle would stop at your home just to give you a hug or pray with you in person?
8. You may need to break a stalking habit
Be honest. Have you ever lurked around on pages that were not the healthiest to be on? Whether it be your ex-boyfriend, your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, or some other person, we can get caught up in following other’s timelines with unhealthy intention. Because it’s accessible, we can find it hard to resist checking out timelines obsessively, especially when we are in a bad spiritual place.
The problem with social media is that we can become unwitting stalkers. This behavior can become addictive. It may begin as mere curiosity, but whether or not that curiosity is satisfied, and we run the risk of falling into a dark hole of obsession. Going on a social media fast will help us to discover why we’re allowing something into our spirits that has no benefit. It may even help us to do some much-needed soul searching and discover the key to escaping the unhealthy obsession.
9. It promotes rest
Statistics show that people who use social media do so for an average of about 2 hours and 23 minutes per day. That’s a significant amount of time. During a social media fast, you could simply rest more. Silence your phone, shut your door and rest your mind, body and spirit.
Most of us can benefit from a bit more rest, more time to simply sit and do nothing. As women, we are natural jugglers, sometimes running ourselves ragged trying to hold everything together. As mothers, wives, doting significant others and career women, it feels strange to rest. Most of us work so hard doing everything for everyone, yet we seldom take time out for ourselves. We often feel guilty and feel that our worlds will fall apart if we give ourselves permission to step away from our responsibilities and unwind. However, rest is very necessary because it breeds rejuvenation and alleviates stress, which allows us to be there for others in ways that don’t hurt us. We work hard so we are absolutely deserving!
10. It could give you a break from family drama
Social media exposes so much family drama. Some of our family members have gone beyond trading pictures and sending poems. Some express personal family issues and engage in online family arguments, often oblivious that others outside of the family are watching! When loved one’s clash on such a public forum, it can be embarrassing or even traumatic. Sometimes it’s hard to resist participating or taking sides, but in order to maintain good mental health, it’s a must that we do just that. We don’t want to block our family members, but we can avoid social media altogether, if only for a short while. Just as we can excuse ourselves from the gossip conversations over the phone, or walk out of the door when the holiday conversations get to heated, we can simply excuse us from social media to avoid family drama.
*Nyeasha is a working mom of two, writer, and innovator from Philadelphia, PA, Nyeasha is a social services worker, investor and artist. She is a Lincoln University Alumnist with a degree in Liberal Arts and is a former contributor to The Philadelphia Weekly Newspaper. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her children, traveling and creating art. Nyeasha’s goal as a Muzilog Ambassador is to support other women in all aspects of their lives and to promote the unification of Black women.