6 reasons why you need to just say no to social media, once a week.

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As you may recall, I ditched social media for Lent.

It was a powerful experience, mostly because I learned (again) that I don’t need to be as tied to social media as I think I ought to be. After the experience was over, I refrained, for awhile. But then, life happened. Excuses happened. I reinstalled Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest on my phone, and even though I turned off the notifications button (much to the dismay of Facebook Messenger which annoyingly reminds me every single time I get into the application that I MIGHT MISS OUT ON VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGES FROM MY FRIENDS), social media was still an ever-present reality in my life.

I blame it on my work: I write a piece and I need to promote it (or so the gods of today’s writing world tell me I should do). I need to make sure I follow up with comments, and like all the shares, and do all the things I think I’m supposed to be doing.

But it makes me dizzy, man.

And it’s no way to live. 

So, there’s a new way of doing things in the Meredith household that seems to be working for this season: I’ve ditched social media (and technology all together) on Sundays.

As I should. As I should have been doing all along.

Sabbath is necessary for all of us, whether or not we find ourselves adhering to a Christian or Jewish faith (where the term originated in Genesis 2). God rested from all that he had created. And then he instructed us to do the same, even when the buts come.

So, here follows Cara’s handy list of six buts you might encounter were you to do the same. Enjoy! (Then do it, please).

1. But I only get so many hours in the week to write/work/play/do whatever it is we think we need to do on the internet! And that is exactly why you need to take a break. A professor of mine once said that in the midst of his dissertation, even though he was reading thousands of pages (and writing hundreds more), he always – always – refrained from writing for one day a week. He knew his writing would be better if he rested, instead of trying to get it all out, day after day after day.

2. But it’s impossible to avoid social media for 36 whole hours. Actually, it isn’t. And actually, this is exactly what Facebook would like you to believe. Did you know you can turn off notifications on your phone? Did you know you can leave your phone in the other room? Did you know that you don’t even have to open your laptop if you don’t want to? I know. Crazy.

3. But what if I miss out? See again, other lies social media wants you to believe. So, you’re scared you’ll miss out on what other people are doing by not scrolling through your newsfeed? Now here’s an idea, and it might sound a little scary to you, but what if YOU did something that’s worthy of not missing out on? And, better yet, what if you participated in said life-giving activity and then DIDN’T EVEN POST A PICTURE ABOUT IT ON INSTAGRAM? (Would it have even happened?)

4. But what if inspiration comes, and I’ve no way to type out my thoughts?  I’ma tell you a story: once upon a time, in the olden days, there existed something called PEN and PAPER. A pen was something with ink in its tip that you held in your hand, and a paper, was a very, very thin piece of TREE that you used to write with the pen on. I know, it’s all very complicated to take in. But when said inspiration comes, scavenge your house for these two items, and then use them for good. (I still tend to have a million thoughts running through my head of Everything I Need To Do come Sundays, so I write it down on Monday’s to-do list. Hence this post. And you’re welcome).

5. But what am I going to do with myself? See also “But what if I miss out?” There are actually infinite possibilities to this question. Yesterday, I went to church and to the zoo with my boys. I read Esperanza Rising, our book club podcast pick for the month of May. I seared shishito peppers in sesame oil and I roasted a pan full of vegetables. I made a bowl full of guacamole and I lamented not being able to dip my corn chips into it. I talked with the HBH (Hot Black Husband). I cleaned house, a little. I supervised our master gardener, Cancan, as he watered the vegetable garden. I did not even run out of things to do, not once.

6. But what if people need to get ahold of me? I have one more story for you: back in the day we had these things called land lines and answering machines. (I know, along with the above thoughts on “pen” and “paper,” this is a lot of new information for you to take in). If you weren’t home when people called your house, they left a message. [“Leaving a message” is when you talk into a tiny little box and hope that your voice doesn’t sound too high to the person listening.] Then, when said friend you called got home, they’d listen to your message. And they’d call you back, if they felt like it. But sometimes you’d have to wait days or weeks even, if they went on vacation or something. So, wait. If you establish a routine of not being available one day a week, people will eventually learn that they too can wait (and that they don’t have to try and reach you through 12 different modes of communication to do so).

That’s it. Ditch technology for one day a week. It just might do your body good.

Good luck, superheroes-

c.

So, what do you think? Yea, nay? Do you participate in a weekly Sabbath, and if so, what does it look like for you? 

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7 thoughts on “6 reasons why you need to just say no to social media, once a week.

  1. I am so glad you wrote this! I totally added social media back after Lent. (Slowly, but still…) And I’ve felt blech about it but every time I delete it again I find a reason I need to add it back. I love the idea of sabbath – more manageable. More intentional. Thanks for the encouragement – and the grace.

  2. I’m taking a break right now for an indefinite amount of time (though I do check in with my redbuds), because I am hearing too many voices!! Thanks for this post. I love your style and wisdom.

    1. Oh, thanks for your encouragement, Leah. And YES. Enjoy this time away. It’s rather refreshing if you ask me. 🙂

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician. carameredith.com

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  3. You make some great points.
    A funny thing happened to me. I am new to the world of “smart phones” and often leave it in inaccessible places, forget where I put it, forget to turn the volume back up, and often leave the house without it. One of my friends was a bit shocked. She said that she was “tethered” to her phone. I wondered aloud why, and she had no answer.
    I like your idea bout taking a day off from social media–I often take weeks off–could by why my blog is not so successful, but I don’t really mind.

    1. Oh Anthony, I get it. Just the other day I was telling my neighbor about the woman in the car next to me (whom I was behind for a while) who visibly checked her phone at every stoplight. “People do that?!” he replied, as he’d never even think of doing the same. But it happens. Here’s to living life FREE of smart phones!

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