What I Learned from 10+ Days Away from Social Media

During General Conference a few weekends ago, our Prophet, President Nelson challenged the women of the church to go ten days without using social media or any other form of media that could bring about negative feelings. He also challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I didn’t think

10 Day Social Media Fast

I’ll be honest, when I first heard the challenge to stay away from social media for ten days I initially thought, no way. I love it too much. But it didn’t take me too many seconds longer to remember that if the Prophet is challenging me to do something, its wise of me to do what he says. So I agreed, in my mind, to do it. I started right then and there. I knew immediately that I would cheat only three times and that would be on Instagram – twice to post my weekly Sunday family picture on my instagram, and once on the day that E turned 11 months old and I’m proud to say that those were the only three times I logged onto Instagram and I never got onto any other social media platform. The only one I stuck with was SnapChat because I really only Snap Wild Man and my sisters and knew there was no harm in that.

The first 2 days were rough, I’m not going to lie. I was embarrassed to realize how many times I picked my phone up during the day to mindlessly open Instagram or Twitter. It all felt really foreign and uncomfortable for those first couple days. Like why did I even have a phone if I couldn’t get on to social media? Pretty quickly I learned to ignore my phone. I would leave it in the other room way more often. I’d hear a buzz come from it and not be so fast to run to see what was happening on my screen. I became more and more comfortable away from my phone and I didn’t realize it at the moment but I got happier, too.

It wasn’t until about six days into my social media fast that I realized I was genuinely happier. I’ve always preached that social media doesn’t get me down or change my mood. I truly didn’t think it did. But I guess I was wrong, because only using my phone for texting, calls and picture taking made me see my world in a whole new light. I felt like I was a much, much better mom and a better wife. I felt more attentive, happy and patient. I was pleased with what I had and felt good about myself. I don’t really know how to explain what I felt, but I just know I felt lighter and brighter. I felt good.

There were still a few times where I’d wish I was scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. I wondered what people were posting and what I was missing out on, but I gradually became more and more ok with feeling out of the loop. I was more invested in what was happening inside of my own little families loop and I knew that was more important.

During the times where social media really would have been nice to have, like during nursing, at night while I lay in bed trying to get tired, etc, I decided that in place of social media I’d read my scriptures from my phone since I had this new deadline to reach by the end of the year. Again, it was a little tricky at first, but ultimately became something so refreshing and so needed even though I had no idea previously how badly I needed that.

Read The Book of Mormon by the End of the Year

This challenge came at such a perfect time for me. The week before Conference I had acknowledged that I was in a rut in my scripture study. I was somewhere in the middle of The Book of Mormon but wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to read or really study. So when President Nelson asked the women to read the scriptures from beginning to end by the end of the year I couldn’t help but smile and get excited. I started at the very  beginning, eager to accomplish this goal – and I’m well on my way.

There haven’t been any life altering blessings coming to me since I’ve started The Book of Mormon this time, but I have felt a lot of peace. I’ve felt more patient and kind. I can feel the spirit easier and I am happier. I’ve been reminded that there is joy and there are blessings in simply obeying the Prophet.

Today

I have only logged onto Twitter four or five times. Maybe I’m speaking too soon, but I think I may be done with Twitter all together. I’ve realized that each time I log on I see a lot of negativity. I’m planning on going through everyone I follow soon and removing a lot of accounts. I want it to be a happy, uplifting place for me and if I can’t make that happen, I’ll likely be saying bye-bye to my once favorite platform.

Instagram, however I really did miss. I wasn’t miserable without it and I could have gone longer, but I was happy to return. Honestly Instagram doesn’t make me feel negative. I only follow friends, family, Disney accounts and some skin care and make up accounts and a couple bloggers so how can it really be that negative? But again, I saw the benefit in not feeling so addicted to it. I was cautious when logging back on because I wanted to make sure I didn’t get sucked into mindlessly scrolling again. So far, I’ve been pretty good about not spending very much time on there. I am back to posting, commenting and liking, but I’m not back to who knows how many hours a day spent scrolling and staring at a screen instead of spending time with my kids or doing something around the house. I’m proud of myself. I’m back on my blogging as well and feel refreshed. I don’t want to spend forever on here, but when I do post, I hope they are positive, happy and uplifting posts. The world has enough heavy, negative stuff – I want to make this tiny portion of my world light.

I’m still plugging away at reading my scriptures. Some days I get a lot in and some days I get a little. I’ve been loosely following a guide to keep me on track to finish by the end of the year and I’m doing pretty well. I’ve found a few new things within its pages I haven’t caught before. More than anything I’m feeling so much peace from reading The Book of Mormon daily. My anxiety has gone down significantly. My confidence has grown and I feel more well-rounded and happy. I’m proud of myself for listening to the Prophet and taking on his challenge. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. I’m grateful to my loving Heavenly Father who ensured the world today would have this book to read and learn from.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think Social Media is bad. Used correctly, it can be really good. But it can suck you away so easily from whats really important. I learned that I spent way too much time on it. Seriously, I wish I would have counted the number of times I picked my phone up throughout the day those first few days only to remember I wasn’t doing the social media thing for a few days. I was embarrassed and I felt bad that I spent that much time behind my phone and not being present in my kids lives. Thats all changed now, though. Like I said, I still like it and will still use it, but I’ll do it so much less. I’m fine with leaving my phone untouched for hours at a time. Texts can wait. Social Media can wait. Emails can wait. I’m fine not being as active as I once was online. I’m so excited about this new life this fast showed me. I’m a better person because of it, I really am.

As for this Book of Mormon challenge, I just want to say again, there are blessings in listening to the Prophet and obeying his council. His words come from God. We are blessed when we are obedient and I’m seeing that in so many ways since starting and sticking to this challenge. I just feel so much better than I have in a long time. I’m in a really good place and I completely credit that to reading The Book of Mormon.

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