As the week progressed, I was surprised by how simple life became without electronics. Media technology is very important in my life; frequently, when I awaken, I check my phone. My entire existence is on my phone, which I use for extended periods daily. My household was pleased to see me without my phone this week because I frequently admit being responsible for being easily sidetracked by it.
Media Fast Experience
Over the past few years, I have been using media platforms to post experiences, photos, and videos and connect with friends. After perceiving that I was addicted, I attempted a media fast for two weeks. Yes, I did not post anything or look at any media app for the period since I was trying to be what my parents and colleagues wanted me to become. During the first two days, I kept myself busy by reading storybooks and performing other responsibilities; therefore, I did not feel like I was missing something. As the week progressed, I sought other things that would distract me from making me feel calm. I became incredibly overwhelmed since anxiety would sneak in after seeing comments and message notifications that I could not access. However, I had a positive experience in improving my time management skills since I lived a life free of constant notifications. Media fast allows people to gain control over their lives (Cooper 4). So, I completed duties that I had neglected due to the lack of time; thus, I found my daily life less hectic.
Lessons from Media Fast
One of the lessons I learned from media fast was that the platforms prevent me from physically engaging with family and friends and limit self-time. I noticed that I don’t get involved in social interactions with some friends since I mostly spend my free time on media apps. During the fast, I changed my ways, spent the most time with family members, and reflected on my daily activities. Slowly but steadily, I became present in my life and with my family and colleagues. Also, I learned that I should stop accepting everything. I am the kind of person who finds it difficult to say no to proposals, but my fasting experience forced me to get better. For instance, I accept joining multiple Facebook or Instagram accounts and responding to all messages and comments. I understood that I should learn to decline some suggestions to accept the best. I also acknowledged that although media platforms allow us to interact with virtual friends, real connection occurs during face-to-face connections. The most important aspect of my fast was spending time with family and friends without distractions from notifications. Although I am now back to using the media, I understand that it is essential to set boundaries and perform the most important activities. Therefore, I recommend that everyone attempt a media fast, even for 2 days.
What I Did and Did Not Miss
I missed knowing what was happening in my colleagues’ lives. Since one of the reasons I log in to media platforms is to keep in touch and be updated on what is taking place in other people’s lives, I felt like I was missing a lot during the fast. I felt lonely because multiple people had escaped from my life. Also, I could not access my inbox to follow up on particular things, as I could not post or comment on videos and posts, impacting my social life negatively. Likewise, I missed important information about trending events and news about my favorite actors. The fast deprived me of my phone and computer, preventing me from accessing news feeds. However, I did not miss significant things since the fast led to positive impacts like enhancing the sense of self. Media fasting eradicates unhealthy comparisons, increases one’s self-esteem, improving people’s moods. It also eradicates negative mental outcomes (Gomes). Therefore, disconnecting from the media and other people’s lives helped me feel better about my life.
What I did With the Extra Time
During the extra time, I engaged in physical exercises for about I hour before and after work. Physical exercises are important to a person since they improve mental and physical health. In addition, I engaged in networking events after classes and work, including weekend dinners and breakfasts and holding gatherings for conversations with family and friends. Despite my professional boundaries, I stepped out of my comfort zone to meet and make new friends. Media fast makes people abandon the media for a modest lifestyle (Cooper 4). Interacting with close ones improved my mental health due to a reduction in stress and anxiety as I shared my problems with family and friends. It promoted a sense of security and belonging because I easily confided in others. Likewise, I engaged in hobbies since I had nothing to distract me, enabling me to divert my attention to activities like playing football and reading storybooks. Such activities helped me relieve stress by exercising and building skills that supplemented the ones I use at work and school. Similarly, reading books allowed me to gain a broader knowledge of the world by introducing me to new characters, cultures, and ideas. Undertaking media fasts help people focus on more important events in their lives; therefore, individuals should try to take some time off the media.
When getting used to staying off your phone, you discover other ways to work around it. I discovered three. Firstly, when checking their email, most individuals have a smartphone to answer emails from work or school quickly. If possible, restrict your email checking and responding to business hours (9 am-5 pm). Inform your supervisor and coworkers that they can expect a response from you the following morning if they contact you after those hours. This helped me create boundaries between work life and home life. If it ever came to the point where I needed to check my email outside of working hours, I used a laptop or desktop computer. Secondly, observe the time with a watch. Purchasing a wristwatch is an easy and efficient way to keep track of time. You won’t need to look at your phone to see the time, which prevents you from checking alerts or scrolling through social media. Thirdly, spend the time you would have spent on your phone doing something else. Take advantage of this chance to renew or discover new passions. Alternately, use that extra time to interact with those nearby. I learned I have new hobbies and am a fast runner. I love not using my phone now; I also feel that, in a way, it helps with mental health.
Cooper, W. Thomas. “Fast Media, Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate your Life in an Age of Media Overload.” Gaeta Press, 2011. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=F4s3xtaUh_QC&oi=fnd&pg=PR4&dq=media+fast+importance&ots=IzH7x97Og5&sig=vFtij1DAqWtYSMHlEzg07pwDaJ4&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=media%20fast%20importance&f=false.
Gomes E. Mary et al. “The Electronic Media Fast and Student Well-Being: An Exercise in Transformational Teaching.” Teaching of Psychology. doi.org/10.1177/0098628320965260.