What Is A Digital Diet?
Simply put, it is the act of cutting back on all forms of digital entertainment or work.
In today’s world, we can choose to distance ourselves from a humongous variety of things. Take a moment and think about it; caffeine, social media, video games, blogging. These things aren’t necessarily sins, aren’t really anything that we should be ashamed of.
But…how many of them become a crutch? An addiction? Do they replace time that could be spent growing closer to God or interacting with actual people?
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Today you cannot go into a public place without seeing a face glued to a phone screen. Something I truly hope we can start to move away from. It has become I daresay, an epidemic of sorts. I can’t count how many people I see eating across from each other, completely involved with their phone instead of the face two feet from them.
I’ve seen it called a digital diet or digital fasting but I’m going to call it digital dieting because the term fasting should still be used for going without food as it is in the Bible. I thought a lot about this and it seems like using the term “digital fasting” you would expect this to bring the same spiritual enlightenment as going without food – which it would not in my opinion.
But enough technicality, let’s go on to why I wanted to try this out.
When I started blogging again, I was nervous. I am not a huge social media fan (I actually deleted my Facebook profile years ago and don’t care!). Now I only have one for my blog and that is okay because to me, that’s totally different than a personal Facebook.
Bloggers need technology! It’s the very basis of the job. You can’t blog without Internet or a computer and sadly, a lot of that time working is being in front of a screen.
I am finding the key is balance. I’m starting a digital diet but I will be making it more of a permanent routine because of the great benefits that I have noticed. I want you to find this out too! There are way too many of us giving up things you don’t even realize for that dumb “smart” phone!
Why You Should Think About Cutting Back
I realize not everyone will care about this. They may not see the problem. Look at all the wonderful things technology has done for us!
Hey, I love computers and TV as much as the next girl but I also love to get outside. To go for a walk and enjoy the birds singing, without checking my phone to see “what I’ve missed”.
Here are a couple of reasons you may want to consider giving this whole digital diet thing a try.
- It can be very rewarding to feel the effects of having self-control (a fruit of the spirit!) when you decide not to reach for that phone. It can be really hard when you think of something you want to check. It’s so easy to pull up Instagram or Facebook to “quickly” check those notifications. But when you resist that urge, you get a great sense of accomplishment. (Sounds lame to celebrate not picking up a phone but hey, it’s a start!)
- You are going against the grain! Nothing brings me greater pleasure than to know that I’m going against the norm. God’s followers aren’t supposed to fit in. And I think what we do can be contagious. Have you ever noticed for example that if you drive politely; like letting someone in traffic, the person behind you may do the same thing after they see you do it? I think that’s where this can really make a difference, let’s spread the example of being engaged in our lives.
- Have you ever envied the Amish? I know I have. We took a trip to their country in Pennsylvania once and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Seeing the simple way they live, so less complicated than us. I don’t think I could go that far with things but there is quite an appeal to living an unplugged life. And you do get the feeling that they could be more satisfied with their simple life than all the rest of us combined. (They must be on to something!)
- You could see that you don’t even miss what you’re temporarily giving up. I can firmly say I don’t miss Facebook one bit. At first it wasn’t easy though, the withdrawals were tough. Eventually it was as if I had never signed up in the first place and posting a status update was the last thing on my mind. (Like I said earlier though, I do like FB for business, connecting with readers is very different than comparing yourself to others and looking at who’s having a pumpkin spiced latte – why we feel the need to broadcast things like that to the world is beyond me).
- You will find other ways to entertain yourself. When we unplug, we become more present in our lives. Talking to the kids or husband at dinner instead of staring at the phone screen adds so much more value to the little time we’re given.
Ideas to Get You Unplugging!
As a blogger, I’m not giving up technology altogether. You shouldn’t either. I do hope I’ve inspired you though to pare down some things that may be adding negativity to your life that you possibly didn’t even realize.
So how does one go about getting started?
One simple tip that I do is get up and move! When I feel anxious to check my phone, I look around the house for a distraction. It’s hard to break any habit but dealing with boredom in a way other than a TV, computer or phone can be downright difficult! Usually I’ll find something laying around like a magazine or look out a window and end up going outside to look at my flowers in the yard.
Better that than spend another hour looking through my Instagram’s endless feed.
Start with something small and manageable, like only on weekends. Take it down slowly instead of going cold turkey, you’ll just be miserable if you try too much too fast!
Set mini goals – no checking Instagram or FB before you’ve cleaned that bathroom. Bump up the challenge from there and celebrate your mini-successes. (Just don’t go overboard, enjoying a board game with your kids should do. No, you don’t deserve to go on a shopping spree!)
Is there a hobby you want to pursue but are either afraid to try or just “don’t have time” for? Maybe that screen time sucks you away from other things you could be out there trying like playing piano or learning how to sew or cook. Distancing ourselves from digital things leaves the door open for so many more interesting and creative opportunities.
What I Want to Get From All This
I love being outside. As a kid, nothing could stop me. Rain, snow, heat, cold – pshh! As an adult…yeah I complain a lot more about stuff like allergies, too hot, too cold. I am trying to stop that and just really enjoy nature again (without snapping a pic of everything!)
The biggest difference is that when I was a kid, technology was quite different. We didn’t own a PC until I think I was almost a teen. That meant that I spent my childhood using my imagination and being a boundless explorer outside! I do hope we can go back to letting our kids have this kind of childhood, new technology just robs them of the blast they could be having.
One thing I learned from being an amateur photographer – always being behind a lens makes you miss out on moments. Sure, you have printed proof of it later but you don’t need tons of photos to make memories. The memories are stored in your heart and I remember plenty that I don’t have a snapshot of. I’m definitely putting down the camera more, especially on vacations, just so I can breathe and live in the moment instead of worrying that I’m going to miss a perfect shot.
I am setting limits for myself and blogging. I don’t actually do social media for personal things, so that’s not my trouble. My trouble is balancing everything with this new blogging journey I’m taking.
If you’re struggling with too much media time and can’t seem to find anything else to entertain yourself, I think you should give a digital diet a try. After all, technology is man’s creation, not God’s. The good Lord gave us so many wonderful ways to pass time that don’t include a keyboard, let’s encourage each other to go out there and enjoy them!