What I Learned in a Weekend Without Social Media

Keep reading this if you’re on your phone... Gotcha! Do you hear your parent yelling “Put the phone down!” I’m guilty too! 🤦‍♀️ (#convictednotcondemned #Romans8) Unplugged and unnerved, I embarked on a digital detox last weekend.

In starting a new job and schedule, I have slacked in my devotional life. I’ve fallen into a bad habit of scrolling through social media for thirty minutes instead of reading my bible in the morning. Again, guilty! Last week, the Lord convicted me of not spending enough time with Him and challenged me to disconnect from social media and television for the next four days. This would have been easier if it wasn’t the Fourth of July holiday weekend. I did not plan for this. I literally planned out my entire weekend around the television shows I wanted to watch. I was going to spend my days rooting for Rachel and Bryan to fall in love on the Bachelorette. But God wanted me to spend time with Him. 🙈  Today, I’m sharing the highs and lows of a digital detox.

In Today’s Blog:

20 Thoughts You Have on A Digital Detox

  • Maybe taking a walk will take my minds off things.
  • Do I look like that when I stare at my phone all day?
  • Why is everyone on their phone?!
  • I’m. Still. So. Bored.
  • How long have I been here? I’m losing track of time.
  • Look a puppy! That guy’s been standing there for hours. There’s a baby! Oooh I wonder if those people are on a date or just friends? OMG am I people watching? I’ve turned into a creeper [emoji]
  • Wow what a beautiful sunset … How am I going to remember this moment without taking a photo for Instagram?!?!?!
  • Hey, there’s a cute guy. Maybe he would notice me if he was not on his phone!!! [angry emoji]
  • Let try doing another devotional.
  • I could read this scripture all day. God’s word is so fulfilling. It’s good to be back.
  • Good morning world! Time for a devotional.
  • It feels so good to reconnect with God. This detox isn’t so bad!
  • What a beautiful day! I’m going to take photo for Insta- oh wait
  • How long has that pile of clean laundry been there? Maybe I can pass some time.
  • Is Pinterest cheating? Is Youtube cheating?
  • Ahhh I just want to watch my shows!!!!
  • Does listening to my friend watching TV in the other room count as cheating?
  • What if there’s a cool event on Facebook and I’m missing out on everything?! [sobbing emoji]
  • Are games on my phone cheating?

As you can see, I went through a full spectrum of quite hysterical emotions during this digital detox. To be honest, I have physical and emotional attachment to my phone. Like most people, my devices and social media are a part of my daily life. I wake up, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email. Throughout my day, I check them during downtime and again before bed. I did not realize how much time I spent on my devices until I let them go and was left with a ton of free time. According to the Huffington Post, over 60% of people admit to being addicted to the internet and their devices. In other words, we know we have a problem, but don’t want break our habits.

Do You Need a Digital Detox?

  1. Are you in a dry season with the Lord and feel like you haven’t heard from him in a while?
  2. Are you having trouble focusing and staying productive at work or school?
  3. Have you experienced a recent life event and moved on too quickly?
  4. Do you feel overwhelmed by bad news and other digital messages?
  5. Do you sleep with or wake up to your phone? Does social media make you feel negative about your own life?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need a digital detox. Here's three steps to start

  1. Delete all social media apps on your phone.
  2. Log out of social media and TV streaming accounts on your computer
  3. Put your devices away in a place you can't easily get to.

The Benefits of a “Digital” Vacation

  1. The Lord will speak to you in new ways. Want to hear His voice? Have faith, my friend. The Lord is always present and speaking, we just need to open our ears to hear and cut out any distractions. During your devotional times, try meditating for a few minutes. Quiet and open your mind to what the Lord has to say.
  2. Allow your mind to mono-focus instead of multi-task. Do that one thing you've been putting off for weeks. Notice how it's easier to focus when you don't have your phone sending notifications every second. 
  3. Take time to process the last few months. What was a high point? What was a low point? Evaluate what you loved and what you need to work on.
  4. It’s time to shift your focus from others’ lives and take care of you. When’s the last time you did something just because you want to? Treat yourself to something you enjoy. Sit and read with your favorite drink. Go for a nature walk or hike. Craving something sweet. Try that new recipe. I baked blueberry greek yogurt muffins!
  5. You can live in freedom from your phone. I know it’s hard. It’s so easy to get sucked in. The easiest way to detox and disconnect is replace your phone with something else. Keep your hands and eyes busy with a new activity, such as a sport or chores.

Although last weekend proved to be challenging, this detox was exactly what I needed to live in the present. I took the time to truly dwell in the Lord’s presence. I walked around with full awareness of my surroundings and thoughts, soaked up the summer sun and cherished time with family and friends.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time Distraction Free

  1. Spend some quality time with the Lord. Crack open your bible. Put on the new Hillsong album and open your heart to hear God’s voice.
  2. Read a book (I highly recommend the Memory Watcher by Minka Kent)
  3. Do all the chores you’ve been too busy to do. Clean Your Room. Wash those dirty dishes in the sink. Do your laundry.
  4. Grab coffee with a friend
  5. Go for a walk in your neighborhood and explore new streets
  6. Be active and go for a run, or to the gym, take a yoga class, etc
  7. Try a new recipe, cook a good meal and savor every last bite #mindfuleating
  8. Venture to a new part of town and explore
  9. Take out your journal and reflect on your day/week/month.
  10. Take a few deep breaths and meditate.

In this digital detox, I expected my mind to quiet down without constant messaging, but in fact, I experienced more stress as my thoughts only got louder.  My introvert brain runs a mile a minute, and sometimes my thoughts are my worst enemy. This challenge made me realize how many problems I was avoiding by distracting myself. From Instagram to daily vlogs to reality TV, television and social media provides me an escape from the day’s stress as I’m transported to another person’s world. I now understand the importance of taking those breaks from reality in moderation. Because God isn’t online. He is omnipresent. He is calling us here and now, ready to help us cope with stress and trials of life.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
— Romans:12-2

Best Long-term Practices for Digital Self Control

  1. Practice mindful eating and put your phone away before each meal.
  2. Set an alarm to log off your social media apps at least an hour before going to bed.
  3. Remove email from your phone
  4. Leave your phone at home when you go for a walk/workout/etc.
  5. Turn off Push Notifications on your phone
  6. Declare your bedroom a device free zone. Try an analog clock.
  7. Take the first hour of your day digital free.

It’s time to take a “digital” vacation. Away from the online world, you can find rest, growth and mindfulness. Want to try the digital detox?  Download my digital detox challenge worksheet below.