Do you catch up on your email first thing in the morning? Do you read the daily news while still in bed? Do you turn on your TV as soon as you get home? Do you whip out your phone from your pocket while you’re waiting for the bus? Do you check social media when you’re having dinner with a friend and he/she goes to the bathroom? Do you feel tempted to whip out your phone of your purse or pocket at the slightest feeling of boredom or loneliness?
As much as you want to say you don’t relate, you know you do, right? I pledge guilty! I’ve always preached I wasn’t addicted to my smartphone and that I could go a whole day without checking social media (which has actually happened while I was working at “no signal” locations) but the truth is when I started answering these questions, I realized I was in serious trouble and that I really needed to take a break!
So that’s why I started to read about “media fasting” and decided to try it ASAP! Want to know what I found out about making a “media fast”?
1 – When you take a break from electronics you’re not bombed with commercials in the beginning of YouTube videos or on your Facebook feed so you don’t crave for new stuff to buy! Most of the time our wishes and needs are manufactured by these powerful consumption weapons, making us believe we want and need something we wouldn’t even think about in the first place. You know what they say: out of sight, out of mind!
2 – Do you do endlessly scroll on social media before falling asleep? Oh yeah, I used to do it too! But then I discovered that TV, computer and mobile screens give off this so called blue light which is similar to the bright midday sun and that it tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daytime! I now leave my phone away from my bed (well, still close enough so I can hear its alarm ringing in the morning) and I put it on airplane mode during the night. That way I started falling asleep faster and having better quality sleep, since I stopped waking up every single time my phone would vibrate with a notification from some app.
3 – When you’re waiting for a bus, a friend, a doctor’s appointment try not to look at it as ‘waiting’ but as an opportunity to look around and actually see stuff. When you’re at home, every once in a while you crave for social media. The next time that happens take the opportunity to do anything else around the house and you’ll see you’ll start to check social media less often and saving time for more important things. This will also help you to live more in the moment and slow down the pace of your life, eventually leading to a much less stressed life! Most people don’t realize how much stress media brings to their lives until they shut it off, so we might as well give it a try, right?
4 – Ok, so let’s be even more honest about this: on top of all those things I said before there’s another one I constantly do – I go to a restaurant and I check-in on Facebook, I post a picture of what I’m eating on my Instagram, then I share another picture or video of the decoration on my Instagram story feature. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal (some people might say I’m a show off and some might even argue that people who do this on social media are actually miserable in real life), but if there is one thing that bothers me is that while I’m doing it, I’m not seizing the moment! Whether it’s alone or with company, I’m consciously trying not to have my phone on the table while I’m eating… I’m just trying to, like, just REALLY eat, you know?!
These are only some little discoveries I made while reading more about “media fasting” and trying some strategies in my daily life, but I guess it’s time to step up the game! Do you want to join me? My plan is (and yes, I think you’ll need a plan!) to define a starting day and to decide which media to refrain from – it will probably be my smartphone. Then I will define how much time I will block it off for and whether or not I will do it alone. I’m thinking about starting by forgetting about my phone every time I’m having a family dinner or catching up with friends and, in time, move on to a longer fast, like a whole weekend with no media around!
I dare you to just spend today’s evening, from the moment you sit down for dinner at home until the moment your morning alarm goes off, without touching your phone. Try it and tell me how did it go and how far you are thinking of taking the media fast to!
Head over to MW’s Cleanse page to check other New Year improvements suggestions and click here to download the calendar illustrated by Elsa Poderosa. No worries if you are late – no one is controlling you, we are here for support. Just start on day one at any day of the year. Feel free to leave any questions and let us know how you are doing with your cleanse in the comments section. And share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #mwcleanse. Happy New Year!