Every year Ash Wednesday comes around kicking off the start of Lent, and every year you’re probably surprised when you Google it and find that it’s 40 days long (not including Sundays). Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Good Friday and Easter), spanning all of March and a good portion of April.
If you think you want to give something up, but you can’t quite say goodbye to your vice, whether it be alcohol or sweets, consider giving up social media. Lent can be a time for self-reflection, and not the kind you get from the front-facing camera on your phone.
The rules of Lent have changed quite a bit since it was first celebrated but the general idea is to make a sacrifice as a form of penance (repenting for your sins), to renew your faith and to prepare to celebrate. Whether you’re Catholic or not, the act of giving something up or cleansing your life of something for a month and a half is an idea most people can get on board with.
Think about it, in posting a picture of a big meal on Instagram you’ve potentially got gluttony, envy, greed, pride and sloth either on your end, or invoked in the people viewing or liking your pic, from a strict Catholic standpoint, all of that is sin.
A broader point of view is that the feeds social media present us with are constant updates of what other people have and are doing, as well as reminders of what you want, and ways to brag on what you’ve already got. Yes, social media has more to offer than a way to brag to all of your friends, but the point is, when you’re inundated with so much information, it can be really difficult to reflect on yourself.
According to the rules of Lent, you’re technically allowed to have whatever you’ve given up for Lent on Sundays but most people don’t take advantage of this rule.
There other perks to giving up social media for a while. Social media can reduce your self-esteem, cause sleep problems like interrupted sleep or trouble falling asleep and increase your anxiety. Not to mention it’s a tremendous distraction and it can warp your sense of reality.
You may be thinking social media is just another way to stay in touch with friends and family. But there are plenty of alternatives, you could make time to meet up, talk on the phone or text. Giving up social media for Lent doesn’t have to be permanent decision, but it could be a great way to form new habits with your social media and cell phone use.
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