How to Do a Social Media Fast & 10 Reasons to Fast from Social MediaJan 14, 2022
Do you feel like you need a break from social media? Are you thinking of fasting but are not sure if a social media fast makes sense for you?
As social media fasts become more and more popular, we’ll discuss how to do a social media fast, including:
- What social media fasting is
- Why you would consider fasting from social media
- How long a social media fast should be
- When you should consider fasting
- Things to consider before fasting from social media
- 10 benefits from a social media fast
As I write this blog post, I’m currently on a social media fast, and I can tell you that I already feel more peace and less anxiety in my life after fasting from social media for only a few days.
Less anxiety is just one benefit from fasting from social media.
We will also talk about 10 benefits from doing a social media fast, and things to consider before you start social media fasting.
What Is a Social Media Fast? What Does Social Media Fasting Mean?
A social media fast is abstaining or refraining from social media for a specified period of time.
During a social media fast, a person may choose to avoid using all forms of social media, including but not limited to: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok.
Fasting from social media would include avoiding social media on ALL types of devices, including on a phone or a computer.
Some people delete the apps on their phone altogether to avoid being tempted to check the app.
Why Should Someone Do a Social Media Fast?
The main purpose of any fast is to draw closer to God.
While some people may do a social media fast to reduce anxiety and depression that can result from social media, the biblical purpose of fasting in the Bible is to seek God.
Since the purpose of any fast is to seek God or to become more rooted in Christ, you’ll get the most out of a social media fast when you replace the time you normally spend on social media with time with God.
And it’s important to note that the Bible encourages fasting in many circumstances.
Jesus talks about fasting in Matthew 6:16, and notice how he says “when you fast”, and not “if you fast”.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18 NIV
Since Jesus talks about “when you fast”, a lot of Christians believe that fasting should be a regular part of one’s spiritual life, just like reading the Bible and spending time in prayer.
The Bible also talks about fasting as a way to prepare for ministry, to seek God’s wisdom, to show grief, to seek protection, and to worship God.
If you want to learn more about fasting in the Bible and the purpose of fasting, check out what the Bible says about fasting.
And if you’re wondering whether it’s okay for Christians to be on social media, check out what does the Bible say about social media.
How Long Should I Fast From Social Media?
The duration of a social media fast is up to you, as people decide to fast for various lengths of time.
Pray and ask God how long you should fast from social media.
A social media fast can be as long as:
- A day
- A week
- A few weeks
- 21 days
- A month
- 40 days
- 6 months
- An entire year
Some people fast from social media for a week or a few weeks, while others may decide to fast from social media for 40 days to align with the length of time that Jesus fasted in the Bible.
And some people even decide to fast from social media for six months or even a year.
When deciding if you should do a social media fast, pray and ask God how long you should fast for.
Before doing any type of fast, it’s important to pray and make sure it’s something you feel called to do.
If you’re just fasting because someone told you that you should fast, or even because it sounds good after reading this blog post, your heart may not be doing it for the right reasons.
You will get the most out of a social media fast if your heart is in the right place, and you truly have the desire to give up social media and to spend more time with God.
When deciding how long to fast for, you should also pray and consider if a full or partial fast makes sense for you.
For example, as a blogger and writer, using social media is a big part of my job.
So sometimes I decide to fast from social media only on the weekends, or after 5 p.m. in the evenings.
Or maybe you decide that you want to fast from social media on certain days of the week to get a break from your phone and focus on God that day.
While you’ll be able to reap most of the benefits from a full social media fast, you can still reap the benefits from a partial fast too.
When I’m taking a break from social media in the evenings, I’m able to experience more peace as I intentionally unplug and connect more to God.
When Should I do a Social Media Fast?
You should do a social media fast whenever you feel prompted by God to do a fast, or at certain times throughout the year to be more intentional to focus on God.
For example, a lot of Christians do a fast to start every New Year as a way to draw close to God at the beginning of each year.
Churches will do a corporate fast, where they decide to fast together for a certain period of time.
Others may participate in social media fasting during the holidays when they want to focus on time with their friends and family.
I personally have fasted from social media whenever I find myself starting to focus too much on social media, and where I start to feel the unhealthy side effects from it like anxiety and lower self-esteem.
Christians may also decide to do a fast whenever they need clarity from God on a particular decision, or for a particular area in life.
So if you have a big decision to make, and you want to make sure you hear God speak to you, doing a social media fast may help eliminate the noise and distraction from social media so you can hear from God more clearly.
Before Starting a Social Media Fast
Before fasting from social media, I recommend the following:
- Pray and ask God if and how long you should do a social media fast
- Set your goal or intention for fasting from social media (What are you hoping to accomplish? Is there a specific decision or area you want clarity from God? Which areas do you want to see God move in?)
- Have an accountability partner to follow up and help you stay on track
- Post on social media that you are taking a break if you want to give your followers a heads up
- Delete the social media apps from your phone
- Have a plan on how you’ll spend more time with God during the time that you normally spend on social media
- Journal how you feel throughout the fast and also how God speaks to you
10 Benefits from Doing a Social Media Fast
While fasting for spiritual reasons should be the main focus, you’ll be able to reap several other benefits during a social media fast.
#1 - Reduced anxiety and depression
Reduced anxiety is one of the biggest benefits you should experience from doing a social media fast.
According to Addiction Center, excessive social media use can not only cause unhappiness and a general dissatisfaction with life in users but also increase the risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Constantly comparing oneself to others can lead to feelings of self-consciousness or a need for perfectionism and order, which often manifests as social anxiety disorder.
Another aspect of social anxiety triggered by online media use is the fear of missing out (FOMO), the extreme fear of not being included or missing a social event.
People may see pictures of events that they weren’t invited to, or posts of fun things that they weren’t unable to attend, and experience anxiety that no one misses them as a result – or a fear that they will be forgotten since they weren’t there.
Social media can also cause anxiety with a false pressure or expectation to post or show up on a regular basis.
Do you ever feel pressure to post, or pressure to respond to people on Instagram right away?
I don’t know about you, but some days I feel too much pressure or anxiety to show up and make sure I’m being active on Instagram.
During my social media fast, there was no pressure to post or show up since I had allowed myself to take a break.
And the best part about taking a break from social media? I realized that I don’t have to show up when I don’t want to.
The world creates this expectation and pressure to be everything to everyone at all the time, but this is just exhausting.
If you’re experiencing pressure to show up and be more active, take a deep breathe, and realize that the world will still go on if you don’t show up on Instagram.
Should you feel guilty for taking a break from social media from your audience?
If you post and show up regularly for your audience, you may already start to feel guilty from taking a break from social media.
How can you take a break when people are expecting you to show up?
Share a post or story letting your audience know that you are taking a break.
It’s kind of like setting up an out of office email when you go on vacation at work.
You let your coworkers know ahead of time that you’ll be out, and you let them know when you’ll be back.
Everyone takes vacation. Even all those mega influencers that have a huge following.
It is not natural to show up to Instagram 365 days out of the year.
If you still feel like you can’t take a break, hire or ask someone to show up for you on your behalf.
#2 - Increase in self-esteem
Did you know that social media can actually lower your self-esteem?
If you’ve ever felt worse after being on social media, then you know what I’m talking about.
According to Addiction Center, research has shown that there is an undeniable link between social media use, negative mental health, and low self-esteem.
While social media platforms have their benefits, using them too frequently can make people feel increasingly unhappy and isolated.
These negative emotional reactions are not only produced due to the social pressure of sharing things with others but also the comparison of material things and lifestyles that these sites promote.
When fasting from social media, you'll experience higher self-esteem because you won't be presented with perfect photos of other people's lives all the time that may make you doubt how awesome your life really is.
#3 - Prevent or break a social media addiction
If you feel like you’re becoming addicted to social media, or already think you have a social media addiction, fasting from social media is a must to break the addiction and detox.
And since more and more people are using social media, social media addiction is also on the rise.
Addiction Center estimates that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction.
This means that out of 10 people, at least 1 is addicted to social media.
If you’re not sure if you’re addicted to social media, check out what is social media addiction for signs you may be addicted to social media.
#4 - Fewer distractions and more focus
We live in a busy, busy world with more distractions than ever.
Pause for a second and think of all the notifications, texts, and emails you get on a daily basis.
How many times has social media distracted you from what you were doing?
Or how many times did you check Instagram for a quick social media break, only to find that you wasted time scrolling for a half hour?
A social media fast will help eliminate distractions and give you more time to focus on what matters.
If you really want to limit distractions, you could even consider turning your phone on silent, or turning off email and text notifications as well.
I do this all the time and it’s complete bliss.
Imagine being able to read or walk on the beach without any distractions. And imagine being able to get your work done faster since you were able to focus.
#5 - More peace in your life
Since fasting from social media reduces anxiety and distractions, you should experience more peace in your life.
After fasting from social media for only a few days, I already felt more at peace and wasn’t worried about checking social media all the time.
I was able to sit in quiet, and read or spend time with God without worrying about the number of likes or comments on a post.
And I was able to walk on the beach, taking in the sunshine streaming down on my face with the feel of the sand between my toes, without worrying what others were doing on Instagram.
I don’t know about you, but I think most of us can use a lot more peace in our life.
Once you start your social media fast, get ready to instantly feel more at ease.
#6 - More time with God
Just like with any fast, the main purpose of a social media fast should be to spend more time with God.
And without being on social media all the time, you don’t have any excuse for not having any time with God.
If you’re not sure how to spend your time with God, download this free spiritual goals worksheet for specific examples of how you can grow your relationship with God.
You can also download these free Bible reading plans to help you get started as you spend more time in the Bible.
I’ve found it most helpful to spend time with God in the mornings right when I wake up, and right before bed.
When I spend time with God during these times, instead of on social media, I have more peace starting my day and before I sleep.
Have you ever woken up and checked your social media right away, only to see a post or comment that you didn’t like? How did that make you feel?
Checking social media first thing in the morning or right before bed can only cause more stress and anxiety.
But when you spend time with God instead, you’ll feel closer to God and be able to listen and hear how he wants to speak to you during the fast.
#7 - More time doing things you love
After spending time with God, you should have more time to do other things that you love.
If you’re not sure how much time you are spending on social media, check your phone.
Most phones have the ability to track your time on each app, and give you a screen time report.
What could you do with this extra time?
Maybe you want to read more books like me. Or maybe you’re able to go for a fun date night during the week.
If you love to cook, maybe it’s trying a new recipe in the kitchen.
When you don’t spend all your time either at work or on social media, you’ll realize you have more than enough time to do the things you love.
#8 - Less comparison and jealousy
We’ve already talked about how social media can lower one’s self-esteem, and comparison and feeling jealous of others is one of these reasons.
Social media shows everyone’s highlight reels, and it’s easy to start comparing your life to someone else’s.
We can often forget that these reels and posts are heavily edited versions of someone’s lives, or sometimes they are staged photos altogether.
And all this comparison and jealousy only makes us feel worse about our own lives.
According to Addiction Center, the constant barrage of perfectly filtered photos that appear on social network sites can also cause disordered eating in young adults.
Though many teens know that their peers share only their best pictures and moments on social media, it’s very difficult to avoid making comparisons.
The ongoing exposure to unrealistic beauty standards through social networking sites can affect how teenagers perceive their own bodies.
If you’re struggling with comparison, check out how to stop comparison.
#9 – Increase in meaningful relationships
Social media does not replace the interactions we have with people in real life.
And if you were using social media to replace other relationships in your life, that can only make you feel lonelier and prevent you from forming true, deep friendships.
During a social media fast, pray and consider which relationships you want to invest more time in.
Your relationship with God should be #1, but who else can you connect with during this time?
Perhaps it’s a friend you haven’t seen in weeks, or someone at church that you’ve been wanting to connect with.
Make plans to meet and hang out in person, and notice how you feel after.
The social interactions you have in person will never compare to the likes or comments you get on social media.
In-person connections are so much more powerful, and we all need to hang out with each other face to face.
If you aren’t sure how to develop meaningful friendships with others, check out how to make Christian friends for tips on how to make and be a better friend.
#10 – Increase in self-control
When you abstain from anything, your self-control or the strength to say no will get stronger.
If you’re following Jesus, self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you.
Meaning that the Holy Spirit is the one that gives you strength and self-control when you need it.
But when you fast, you are actively participating in activating this self-control by saying no to the desires of your flesh.
During a fast, you’ll recognize when you have the urge or desire to do something, and you’ll be activating self-control not to act on it.
And when you start to say no to every desire or craving, you’ll realize how often you said yes to things just because it was there.
When fasting from social media, it’s much easier to avoid being on social media when you know it’s off limits.
But when you return to social media after the fast? You’ll find your self-control stronger and ideally be able to resist the urge to check social media all the time.
Your brain will remember how to fight off the urge to be on social media, and you’ll have more strength to put that phone down.
Grow Spiritually During Your Fast
Download the free Spiritual Goals Worksheet to set your own goals of how you'll get closer to God during the fast.
Get examples of how you can grow closer to God in 10 different areas.
Books to Read During a Social Media Fast
If you’re fasting from social media, you probably have more time for other activities, like reading.
And if you want to press in and learn how God can speak to you during this fast, I highly recommend reading one of the books below on your fast.
Both books talk about how God wants to speak to us, and how to hear his voice personally in our lives.
Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer is structured as a Bible study, with daily readings to read each week.
Right People, Right Place, Right Plan by Jentezen Franklin has reflection questions at the end of each chapter to assess how God wants to speak to you in a particular area.
And there’s even a 40-Day Social Media Fast book with guided devotions and prayers to consider throughout a social media fast.
If you’re a book lover like me, you may enjoy these other Christian books for women for my top Christian book recommendations.
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