Lenten Challenge 2017: No Social Media

It’s been almost two weeks since I cut myself off from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Believe me when I say it’s been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Up until March 1 (Ash Wednesday), I had been spending a lot of time checking out my feeds and getting caught up with what’s happening in politics and current events. I hadn’t realized how much time and energy that was sucked up until I stopped cold turkey. 

What made me do it? January was a tough month for me. In fact, ever since this past election I’d been on edge and depressed about the state of our country and the world in general. To me, the election was a rude awakening. I had hoped, like millions of people, that the person most qualified for the office of President of the United States would be so, but it did not happen. It also bothered me to realize that we didn’t really live in a democracy, but an oligarchy. How the hell did 304 electoral votes get to overrule the popular vote of 65.8 million (and a margin of 2.8 million)?

It didn’t help to be reading all these stories of racist, xenophobic, homophobic, self-righteous folks coming out of the woodwork, as well as reading about all these executive orders that violated everything that I believed that the United States stood for. I did not like feeling helpless, angry, frustrated, and worried over things I had little control. It also upset me to see posts on “friends'” timelines which made me see them in an unpleasant light.

What have I learned so far? I feel lighter in spirit and calmer. I’ve also found that I’m writing more and getting through some tasks which I’d been avoiding for a while.

The first week was the hardest. I felt twitchy and anxious like a recovering addict. Early on, I logged off all my accounts on the browsers of my computers and removed the apps from my phone, especially since I almost broke my vow by tapping into Facebook the moment I woke up on the first day. Thank goodness, my phone was half-asleep so nothing loaded before I quickly quit out of the app.

The second week has been better. The key to success has been finding replacement activities for those times I’d check social media. My new ritual has been checking and clearing out my junk email which I use for all the loyalty memberships and sign-ups. Plus, I’d set up some new challenges for myself, such as drinking more water, moving at least 250 steps each hour, and committing to the action items on my daily to-do list.

Temptation still lurks at each moment and around every corner. The quick links on my browser toolbar wink at me. I get regular reminders in my junk emailbox about messages/posts from Facebook and Instagram that await my attention and occasionally get texts from Twitter as well. I avoid typing letters that will autofill the URLs of the formerly frequently frequented sites. It was especially difficult on my birthday to not open Facebook.

My absence hasn’t been that significant as far as I know, but I do miss getting updates on what other people are doing, getting a glimpse of what’s on their mind, as well as learning about what’s going on in the world. Now I have no choice but to mind my own business and be productive keep on keeping on.

Counting down the days, hours, and minutes until Easter (April 16). ;-P



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