Travel & Eating Out | October 19, 2018

What I Learned from my 10 Day Social Media Fast

What I Learned from my 10 Day Social Media Fast

What I learned from my 10 day Social Media Fast…

Why on earth would anyone go off of social media for 10 days in the first place? A question many of you may be asking, and the topic of many discussions I’ve had with friends and family since October 6. The conversations went something like this  “I’m off of social media this week, but I know you can’t be, because of your business.” After thinking about this for days, I feel I need to share my thoughts.  Normally, I share recipes on A Bountiful Kitchen. But occasionally, I share about things of the heart. Issues that impact my life, and yours and how I feel about those issues.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the evening of October 6, 2018 at the General Women’s Session, the president of our church, Russell M. Nelson challenged all women 8 & up to participate in a 10 day social media fast. He gave us 4 challenges, listed below, but the most talked about was probably the call to fast from social media! Here are President Nelson’s challenges in short form, the full text, video and audio may be found here:

  1. Participate in a 10-day fast from social media and any other media which may produce negative and impure thoughts to your mind. Pray to know which influences to remove during your fast. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit?  Have any of your priorities shifted? Record and follow through with each impression.
  2. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year. As you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. 
  3. Establish a pattern of regular temple attendance. Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever have before.
  4. For you who are of age, participate fully in Relief Society. Study the current Relief Society purpose statement. It is inspiring. It may guide you in developing your own purpose statement for your own life. 

Sitting in a local church building watching the meeting, I knew I was witnessing something special. A call from the president of our church to make a difference in the world started with his prophetic words… “My dear sisters, you have special spiritual gifts and propensities. Tonight I urge you, with all the hope of my heart, to pray to understand your spiritual gifts—to cultivate, use, and expand them, even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so.”  How would refraining from scrolling through Instagram going to change the world? Here’s what I learned from my 10 day social media fast, and how I went about my fast:

Dropping My Net

Getting off of social media was an uncomfortable task. I knew as I listened to his talk that dropping my net (giving up social media) right away was the right decision for me. I had committed to a couple of collaborations with brands previous to the challenge issued by President Nelson, but as the meeting went on I felt something in my heart.  I made a couple of calls and sent some emails. Ultimately, both of the collaborations were postponed until the fast was over.  The choice to commit to a 10 day fast from social media is, and was, a very personal decision. There was no timeline given, no date to start, simply a call to  “Participate in a 10-day fast from social media and any other media which may produce negative and impure thoughts to your mind.” President Nelson also asked the women to “pray about what influences to remove during your fast”. This was a highly personal directive. For some this may have meant Facebook, for some Snapchat or Instagram. And for others, who are not on social media, giving up tv shows or movies. There are some who rely on income from their business online to pay the mortgage. For those women, I know many who continued to post but exited social media once their obligations were completed, which worked for them. Again, this was a very personal decision, which I respect no matter if a person decided to take a social media fast, or not. 

A  TEN  Day Fast? Really?

In my mind, I thought why would President Nelson ask us to do this for TEN DAYS, and not 7 as he asked the youth of our church in a word wide meeting in June of 2018?  Did he mean a 7 day fast (that actually went through my mind…I’m sure he meant to say 7 days, not 10, right)?  Wendy Nelson, wife of President Nelson spoke to a group of women in our church 5 days after the challenge was issued. I had the privilege of being in attendance when she spoke that day. She spoke about the challenge and on a projector screen showed the caption “WHAT WAS PRESIDENT NELSON THINKING??” The next slide said “WHAT WAS THE LORD THINKING?” She went on to explain the directive came from the Lord, through President Nelson.  Why would the Lord ask us to do this? All we have to do is read about the negative effects of social media on women to understand why. I have challenges in my life. I’m often too critical of others, I don’t have a lot of self control when it comes to eating healthy,  I’m disorganized, I start too many projects I don’t finish and often overcommit myself, and the list goes on. But unlike many women,  I’ve never been caught up in the comparison trap which can be debilitating. Social media only magnifies this issue which seems to plague so many women. I know women who say they are discouraged on Mother’s day or when they listen to General Conference because they feel like they never measure up. And social media…well, it puts many women over the edge. They feel like they are not pretty enough or skinny enough or rich enough or anything enough. They think that the cookies they make will not be Instagram worthy, or the party they throw would never be featured on Pinterest. The list of comparisons go on and on and I think our Heavenly Father knows if we can get our eyes off of social media where we get bogged down in comparison  and focused on the Savior, we can get our feet on the ground and our heads clear enough to know we are children of a loving God. And that, my friends can change everything! 

All or Nothing.

For me, getting off of social media had to be all or nothing. Instead of deleting the App off my phone, I simply pushed it to the last screen where I never go. It was sitting there by it’s lonesome, away from my other apps and email which are on my home screen. Out of sight, and after a few days, out of mind. Honestly, if you remove the temptation, it’s less of a habit to push the button every time you pick up the phone. I checked direct messages for a few days, but realized most people who follow me were either off of social media or they realized I was off and stopped tagging me or sending me messages via Instagram. It was good to completely unplug from Instagram. I have other social accounts including Pinterest and Facebook which I also use for A Bountiful Kitchen. The other social accounts are managed by members of my team. We decided to post to those accounts after the 10 day fast was complete as well. My dad was a 3 pack a day smoker back in the day, and one day, he quit, cold turkey. I asked him how he did it, and he said it was easier to just stop than use medications or slowly abstain. I totally agree. 

Accomplished.

Last week was one of the most productive weeks I have had in a long time. I try to convince myself I don’t spend an excessive amount of time on social media, and I have to be on social media because that’s how I drive traffic to my site, but the truth is, I spend far too much time on Instagram. I manage to run a small business, volunteer at my church and in the community, and socialize and keep up with friendships. But how much time do I waste scrolling through social media feeds? The day I got back on social media, my eyes were opened wide to the truth. In the time I was off of social media, the latest iPhone update added a Screen Time feature. Haven’t seen it yet? It is found in Settings, right under the Do Not Disturb feature. It’s an eye opener. The feature allows you to set time limits on social media. I’m now using this feature to alert me when I’ve spent more than 30 minutes on social media. Interestingly, the majority of women I spoke to about the social media fast said they were actually dreading getting back on. My thought exactly. Which brings me to the question. What’s wrong with this picture? 

Last Big Takeaway From My 10 Day Social Media Fast

The tie in with President Nelson’s second request or challenge to the women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his address on October 6: “I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year. As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it. And, as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation. As you read, I would encourage you to mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior. Then, be intentional about talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ with your families and friends. You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior through this process. And changes, even miracles, will begin to happen. Please teach those whom you love what you are learning from the scriptures. Teach them how to turn to the Savior for His healing and cleansing power when they sin. And teach them how to draw upon His strengthening power every day of their lives.”  

The admonition to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year takes time. It requires a commitment of regular reading. For me, the time freed up when I was off of social media made reading and studying easy. I read scriptures every day and have for several years. But there are times when I don’t read first thing in the morning.  When that happens, the day gets away from me and I sleepily read just before turning out the light. When I make time to focus on reading, pondering, and studying the scriptures, my testimony of and love for the Savior Jesus Christ increases beyond measure.  His name is written upon my heart when I give my undivided attention and learn of Him. I found my ability to read without interruption was simple without the distraction of my phone. One of my friends said to me “When you’re not looking at social media, there’s no reason to look at your phone!” HA. Maybe an exaggeration, but true in the sense we don’t tend to spend hours on our phones when we aren’t caught up in the scrolling game. 

Social Media and Women – A Force For Good

I believe there is a healthy way to use social media. Social media can and is used for good every day. We have had sweet and positive experiences with social media in our family (see video below).
https://youtu.be/JqnvE_xWb8U
My daughters Corrine (Mint Arrow) and Brooke (Female Foodie) also each run an online business and have large social media followings. We discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly effects of social media regularly. Each of our brands would suffer without the interactions we have with our loyal readers on social media! The relationships we have through social media are rewarding, but at the end of the day, we try to keep each other in check as we spend time talking about focusing on what matters most.  

I love this statement by Russell M. Nelson “No one can do what a righteous woman can do. No one can duplicate the influence of a mother. Men can and often do communicate the love of Heavenly Father and the Savior to others. But women have a special gift for it—a divine endowment. You have the capacity to sense what someone needs—and when he or she needs it. You can reach out, comfort, teach, and strengthen someone in his or her very moment of need….”

May I add, as women, we can only do this if we are present, looking upward and outward instead of down at our phones. I’m putting limits on my social media use and the time I have my phone in hand. There have been many times my kids and Grant get a little impatient when I don’t answer my phone or a text right away! I’ve never been one to stay tethered to my phone. But I know I can make improvements to waste less time when my phone is in hand, and focus more on things that matter most. 

I’ll end with something President Nelson said which really made an impression on my mind. He said “Women Shape the future.”   I know this to be true. It’s an absolute truth in my life.  If you’re still reading, you are one of those women. Make a commitment to make a change if you’re spending too much time on social media and too little time snuggling your littles  (with both hands)!  Resolve to spend more time reading, cooking 🙂 , serving and testifying of the things you know in your heart to be true. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. 

loves,

Si

53 thoughts on “What I Learned from my 10 Day Social Media Fast

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  1. As a fellow sister in the Church, I agree completely with the observations you’ve made. How much richer my time is and how much more genuine and effective my prayers are by following the counsel of the Prophet!
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful feelings you’ve had!
    (Btw, I think you and my daughter Krista are in the same Stake since she also heard Sis. Nelson!)

  2. I was just talking to my husband about needing to journal about my fast before I get back on social media…and then I got your email! Thank you for your thoughts. I love that you tied the fast challenge to the Book of Mormon challenge.

  3. Loved this post, and like you, I did the 10 day fast. (By the way your son in law Cody did his mission here and served in my area for a time and I have some great photos of him.) I was asked why I would do that by some and I just told them, it is an act of faith. I was asked by the mouthpiece of the Lord to do so and was told I would be blessed in doing so. I didn’t think I had been spending an inordinate amount of time on SM anyways, as I don’t snap chat etc. Mostly just Instagram and FB. Instragram because of my food blog and FB because of family. I confess I did message my developmentally challenged Adult daughter each day as that communication is important to her and to myself and well, its family. My husband also participated with me which was nice and we both took on the BOM Challenge as well. My life feels nicer because of it, and I think I have switched my focus a tiny bit as well. I have never been a huge scroller anyways, but I did get a lot more other stuff done!

    1. Marie,
      Nice to make a connection with Cody, England and food blogging! I loved your thought “My life feels nicer because of it” My life feels nicer too, Marie. One of the things I appreciate about social media and the online community here is the opportunity to make connections and form friendships with readers like you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts <3
      xo
      Si

  4. Thanks for your inspiring thoughts Si.
    I have been feeling those same thoughts .
    Thank-you for motivating and Being such a great example to many women.
    Love you!😍

    1. I love my sister Brenda! Thank you Si! Your words are an inspiration and written so beautifully! Grateful for your influence, and yours, too, Brenda! I love you sweet women!

  5. May I say, I purposefully have never put email on my cell phone or facebook or Pinterest. I am not a gamer and neither are my children ages 29 – 37 (5). Early on in my life I took control of my phone rather than my phone taking control of me, my conscious decision.
    I don’t instagram. I take 30 min during the day to reach out to my family/friends via email. I privatized my facebook, which i am ready to dump due to the insane posts that can bring a solid spiritual person down when they humanly compare their lives. WE CAN’T AND SHOULDN’T. We all have different paths and circumstances in life. Please love who you are and remember “Thou shalt not covet,” compare, or wish to be something or somebody you aren’t. God loves you for who YOU are. Love yourself. That is what I learned in the fast. Don’t waste time looking and comparing.

  6. Loved it! I too don’t feel competitive (maybe because my children are grown) and I really missed my daughters Instagram posts about her children (she fasted too) but I found it so much easier to do my scriptures.. the stories are much more interesting when they are read every single day before I forget what happened the chapter before. Lol. I feel that your posts ADD TO THE GOODNESS OF MY LIFE so that’s a good thing. Thank you!

    1. You are a light to so many Earlene. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree, reading the Book of Mormon is a short period of time leads to more memory and less forgetting! love you.
      Si

  7. Thank you for your beautiful words and your testimony of following a living prophet. I have always loved your recipes, and now I love you! Thank you for being a light!

  8. I did the social media fast as well. I also use Instagram and Facebook to drive people to my website and I had already made commitments to others. I chose to only look at and post to my work account for the 10 days. I did no scrolling and I only looked at it once a day. It was so nice! I have chosen to use social media differently because of the fast. I’m planning to only look at it one time a day from now on. I don’t need to keep interrupting my day with it all day every day. I’m grateful for amazing women like you in my life!

    1. Social media can be exactly what you stated an “interruption” and keeps us from attending to LIFE if we let it! Thanks for your thoughts Cathy <3
      xo
      Si

  9. Hi Si! I did the fast and while I didn’t notice that I had an loads of extra time, I was just proud of myself for following the prophet with exact obedience. The day I got back on, I was reviewing an invitation to a party and noticed that someone who has been my friend for many years had deleted me as her friend on Facebook. I thought “well, if I had still been fasting, I wouldn’t have known and therefore would not have been hurt by this.” I’ve decided to leave notifications for both sites turned off and I left Facebook in a folder so I won’t check it that often. I also deleted a bunch of people I follow on Instagram. Besides some who at times post questionable content, I then reasoned, “if I don’t want to take the time to watch their stories, why am I even following them?” I want to fill my life and my day with good and I hope I can continue with my new habits of checking 1-2 times a day rather than hourly, at times.

    1. Jeanelle,
      You brought up some great things to think about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject! The desire to “fill my life and my day with good” is one I aspire to as well. Thank you!
      xo
      Si

  10. Like so many I participated in the 10 day fast as President Nelson ask. It was wonderful to have a real purpose in not feeling a need to check in everyday to see what was new on Instagram. I’m one of those that is skeptical of starting over, it is a time consumer for sure. I read you post last night and again this morning. I agree with you 100% and so appreciate the beautiful way you share your thoughts, Testimony and heart. I am excited to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, I love its message for our day, for our life. You have a beautiful inspirational family.
    ♥️Brenda

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and your kind words Brenda! Here’s to hoping we all learned how to be a little better and focus more on having a purpose when we use social media <3
      xo
      Si

  11. You put into beautiful words exactly what I have felt during the last 10 days. It has been a mind expanding, spiritual journey that I plan to return to every few months. It truly changed my life for the better. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your heart and soul with us.

    1. Thank you Carolyn! I have heard several people say they have a goal to fast from media once every few months now as well!
      loves,
      Si

  12. I have been looking at instagram and Facebook slightly the past 10 days thinking I’m a grandmother at age 70 and like to check out posts from old friends and family once in a while. I’m going to start again for 10 days and it television too. Your words are spot on and spoke to me personally as I should have listened to Pres. Nelson’s words as they apply to me more care fully . Thanks for sharing

    1. Wow. Thank you Becky. I love to use Social media to check out what my grandkids, scattered in CA and MT are doing as well. I found that we face timed more, and also text and called more during the fast. Sister Nelson Said during her talk that she often keeps the tv on while making dinner or doing things around the house, and said she sometimes listens or watches “Murder, She Wrote” but during the fast, she left the tv off and loved the time she spent without distractions. Isn’t that interesting?! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. let us know how your second fast turns out!
      xo
      Si

  13. Thank you Si! “Never suppress a generous thought!” You are all that is right with social media! Thank you for your example. In our Relief Society we studied President Nelson talk. We focused on three areas of his talk. 1. Our divine nature and purpose 2. His invitations to us and 3. His promises. So powerful! The ten day fast was so good for me. I was in the book of Mormon so much more and my understanding increased. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 😊

    1. Thank you Carrie! I am continually impressed with women and their willingness to listen and think about how they can be become better instead of doubting the good word. We all benefit when we follow our hearts and the Savior! Thanks for sharing here.
      xo
      Si

  14. Thanks for your post, Si! I loved it!

    I also completed the 10-day fast, and incidentally, I also completed the 7-day fast for the youth because I had just been released from serving as YW president in my ward and still felt that connection, plus I wanted to experience it with my last two daughters who still live at home. Like you said, I wondered why President Nelson asked for 10 days from the women instead of 7? And immediately I thought that as the mothers and leaders of those youth, why shouldn’t we be able to do a little more?

    I’m so hesitant to get back on my Instagram! I have a private and a public account, and at this point I’d really just delete them both if I wouldn’t miss my daughter’s posts about my grandchildren! 🙂

  15. I also had one of the most productive weeks that I have had in a long time! I was able to spend time working on some creative projects that helped me to recognize my talents and gave me a desire to share them with others, especially my own family. I realized that it is the “doing” that I feel the most fulfilled and that mindlessly scrolling through my phone was really getting in the way of that! I loved reading your post today and appreciate your righteous influence and your amazing cookie recipes!!!

    1. Sometimes it just takes a little adjusting to open our eyes to new ways of living. I’m sure your family and friends are grateful for the time you are spending sharing your talents. Thanks so much Karen,
      xo
      Si

  16. Hi Si,

    I’m new to your blog and loving it. Just moved to Bountiful from VA and happy to be here. I did the 10 day fast too, but reading this post helped me to recognize the blessings I’ve received. I’m glad you reminded me of the blessings President Nelson promised. Maybe I’ll see you in the temple!

    Thanks,
    Nancy

    1. Thanks Nancy, I loved the way President Nelson gave us questions to consider and promised blessings with each challenge. And yes, I hope to see you in the temple as well 🙂 Welcome to Bountiful!
      xo
      Si

  17. Thank you, beautiful Si for your testimony and writing the words of our prophet President Nelson! I need to step up and take the challenges.❤️

  18. Hi Si,
    I love your insights and testimony of President Nelson’s talk. I was so touched listening to him too! I am a fairly new Instagrammer and decided to only follow those uplifting people/hobbies/church type accounts. I don’t post anything but learn so much from others like you who have a special talent that I would like to improve on! And I loved the short video of your daughter and the family that had a desire to find the church. Thank you for sharing what you did. Just so inspiring. And thank you for sharing so much goodness with your blog. I look forward to reading A Bountiful Kitchen and have shared with others your blog and recipes.
    PS – I have made the Levain choco chip cookies 4 times and they are a hit! I purchased the scale online (which is the bomb!!!) and make the recipe exactly the way you suggested and they turn out perfect Every. Single. Time.

    1. Susan,
      Thanks for your kind words and your thoughts. I love our online community where we all try to make the world a little better, the best we know how. Thanks for sharing ABK recipes and YAY for the Levain cookies. They are so fun to give to friends and family!
      And thanks for reading ABK,
      loves,
      Si

    1. Yandary,
      You’re welcome, I think many people wondered the same as you, I heard this discussed several times during the weeks that followed the talk by President Nelson.
      Thanks for reading ABK,

  19. My personal theme for this week is going to be “Snuggle your littles with both hands!” Thanks for your good example and inspirational words.

  20. You said it all so well, and eloquently. Thanks
    so much for sharing and reminding me what a great women’s organization we have the privilege to be a part of with a loving Heavenly Father who directs our dear Prophet, Russell M. Nelson. I applaud you and all you do and hope, as I get my blog off the ground and running, I can turn to yours for both, delicious recipes and words of advice
    Thanks