I know I'm dating myself here, but it's absolutely CRAZY how much media consumption has changed for us over the last couple decades. If you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or like there is just TOO MUCH going on in your head, it might be time to try a media fast like I did. Check out what a media fast did for me below, or watch the video!
Why You Might Need a Media Fast
I decided to try a media fast because I was just feeling super stressed and like I had too much going on in my mind. It was almost like I had “head clutter.” I couldn't focus well, and I was just feeling stressed for no particular reason. I talk about decluttering our stuff all the time, but we forget to declutter our minds. If you're like me, you don't even realize how much media you're consuming or how many hours your spending on your phone (you know– unless you're an iphone user, and you get that embarrassing screen time notification on Sunday– ugh)!
Types of Media You Might Need to Take a Break From
By far, my biggest media stressor was Instagram. You're supposedly looking at “real people” on IG. Although I logically know that I'm seeing only a highlight of their lives and not the whole picture, there's still a disconnect there where I compare myself to them. It's easy to see moms spending so much time with their perfect kids, people losing weight and getting healthy, etc. That stuff just sits in my head and makes me feel like I'm not enough.
I stopped looking on IG altogether about 6 months ago, and let me tell you, it helped me SO much. I'm in a better mental state and feeling better about myself in general. I'm hopping back onto IG stories to post some myself, but I'm doing it with more boundaries about what I consume.
Facebook and Pinterest can also fall into this category. Pinterest can be really helpful, but sometimes it just gives me too many ideas, which leads to overwhelm. No one has time to do all the things, and Pinterest can make me want to do every house update or organizing project. It stresses me out because it's just not possible.
I'm talking about Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube– I didn't really cut much out here because for me it wasn't the biggest problem. You can definitely spend too much time watching TV, but it wasn't causing me stress or taking up too much space in my head.
YouTube is a bit more like social media, but I tended to watch it when I was looking for something specific like in a “how to” or DIY situation. It didn't give me the same mental stress. If you find yourself spending way too much time here, then maybe cut it out for a while or even limit a certain person's content if it's causing you problems.
I just LOVE e-courses. I'm an info junkie, so I love learning about new things. I'm a pretty heavy e-course consumer. I will take courses on productivity, business things, how-to tech videos, etc. They are all good things, but it was totally giving me overwhelm. I really needed a break without pouring new things onto my mental to-do list or giving me so many ideas that I couldn't actually do any of them.
Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Physical Books
This may just be a personal thing, but I get WAY too sucked into books. When reading something I'm really into, it is almost all I think about– to the point where I obsessively want to finish reading or listening, and sometimes I'm less present in my life because of it. I also like non-fiction, which does kinda the same thing that e-courses do for me. It can just be too much!
Listening to audiobooks can be great while I'm doing chores, but if I don't have that audiobook while I'm folding laundry, it gives me quiet time to process other things. I found myself brainstorming ideas for my business or for our virtual event coming up, or thinking about things to do with my kids. I also spent more time outside, which was great for clearing my head.
How to Do Your Own Media Fast
There are no hard and fast rules, here, but I really think a media fast would benefit anyone. Think about what causes you the most issues. Where does your mental clutter come from? Your media issues might be totally different than mine, so your fast should be tailored to your needs. Here's how to do your own media fast:
- Set a period of time (probably a few days, but not longer than a week to start).
- Decide which media is or is not allowed. You probably don't have to eliminate everything, but take an honest look at your media habits.
- Just try it– It seriously helped me re-set my mental state, and I was kinda shocked at how much it helped me de-stress.
Let me know if you decide to do your own fast, and if you've given this a try before, did it help you as much as it helped me?