Admittedly, I used to hold the naïve belief that the benefits of a Social Media Fast were almost exclusively reserved for my fellow introverts. But I've recently realized that potentially, they provide a ton of benefits for absolutely everyone. In a world that convinces us that we need to stay continuously plugged in order to keep up - It's important to remain aware of the many hidden treasures that lie in the freedom to occasionally 'switch off' and successfully 'plug out'!
These are my seven personal favourites:
1. Ego Transcendence: Moving beyond the chains of 'social acceptance'.
They say that if a tree falls in the middle of a forest and nobody is around to hear it; then it doesn't make a sound. Now, this might well be true. But what is not true, is the apparent belief that this also applies to the happenings of our lives! Judging by the content on social media, it appears that our ego's seem to believe that whenever we do something, if nobody's around to witness it - then it 'hasn't actually happened'. We seem to have collectively convinced ourselves that it's inescapably essential to have a few posts, a few likes, a re-tweet here and there or some other form of public acknowledgement to co-sign our activities and give them some sort of 'existence value'.
But these little fasts have reminded me that there's something extra-specially-beautiful about occasionally experiencing amazing things and being comfortable with refraining from telling the whole world. I find that when we do this, our lives become sort of sacred again. It starves the pesky ego, while providing a feast for the soul!
2. Purification: Making room for the divine.
This is what we turn to when our 'Bullsh*t Filters' fail. (See The Art of Successfully not Giving a F*ck.) Social media makes it way too easy for negativity to sweep in through our news feeds and into our minds and lives. So pulling ourselves back from other people's excessive pollution offers us the space and time to cleanse our own.
3. Liberation: Plugging out in order to tune in.
Plugging out of the social media static allows us to tune in to our own stations and subsequently remember the song that we originally came here to sing. It's so easy to find our inner voice drowned out by the screams of others, while finding ourselves trapped between the weeds of social media's murky waters.
The level of freedom, emotional bliss and clarity that plugging out can actually bring us, is pretty insane. So get ready to ride in an indestructible bubble of self awareness, wrapped in a halo of joyous light.
4. Humility & Selflessness: Letting love take the drivers seat.
Sometimes it's cool to share our exciting shenanigans and achievements, especially if they might inspire others in some way. But what if the addictive routine of posting means that we're at risk of becoming distracted by the external frailties - and lose sight of what's really important?
Well... I felt that I was potentially at risk of this slowly happening to me. I was becoming slightly afraid that every time I did something... the backdrop of the scene would be decorated with the 'potential thoughts, perceptions and expectations' of the unknown audience at the end of each post. (Even now as I write this, I'm faced with that very struggle!)
These distractions can begin to take away from the natural enjoyment, the momentary presence and the core driving force behind our actions. Unfortunately, social media puts us all at risk of allowing our lives to become more of a performance, rather than a spontaneous act of authentic expression.
5. Lightening the load: Following Freedom's Footprints.
A good Social Media Fast encourages us to drop the extra psychological baggage that comes with the social media hype. It stops us from feeling as if we're at the beck and call of every notification, 'blue tick' and 'last seen'. Similar to travelling on holiday, dropping this baggage gives us a hell of a lot more freedom and enjoyment, while making it a trillion times easier to get more done!
Which swiftly moves me to my next point...
6. Focus: Running your own race.
The best athletes are usually the ones that realize that the only person that they need to focus on 'competing against' is themselves. Sprinters who look to the left and right to see what their opponents are doing are generally going to run much slower than those who are focused solely on running their own race. A social media fast provides us with this valuable athletic focus.
Stepping back allows us to refrain from watching the lives of others, so that we can focus on mastering our own.
7. Gratitude: Making the most of social media
In the same way that Food Fasts aren't about hating food; Social Media Fasts aren't about hating social media! They're actually more about renewing the appreciation for the platform and reviewing the perception of its values and uses. This is why a good old Social Media Fast prepares us for the times that we do need to re-engage. It reminds us of why we do it, purifies our reasons for doing so and prevents us from becoming too attached, taking it for granted or overusing it. The detachment prepares us to use social media without becoming a slave to the perceptions of others. It motivates us to reclaim our personal freedom and reminds us to not allow ourselves to be controlled by the unknown audience at the end of each and every post!
Keeping up with the social media sphere definitely has it's perks. But remember to be kind to yourself & give yourself a detox!