Ha – not a typo. I am going to fast.

I want to give a heads-up to everyone. I’m taking 40 days to step away from social media. In the interest of keeping my business alive I’ll be only taking a few steps…not walking all the way away…and only for 40 days. My commitment to this will start Wednesday, February 17th.

Although I was raised Catholic, I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore, I still find value in fasting during Lent. And, truth be told, I feel like social media has a tighter grip on me than is reasonable. I know this, because when I think about the 40 days, I think it’ll be hard…really hard, to stay away. Did I mention I think this will be excruciatingly hard? Don’t get me wrong, Instagram and Facebook have been instrumental in building my art business…but I reach for my phone at the most inopportune times…and there’s tension around it. This seems like a good time to address my unproductive behaviour.

I heard author Wendy Speake on the radio. She talked about how screens come between us – between us and our families, our children, our friends. Screens come between potential exchanges with strangers. Ever notice how everyone is looking at their phones when they’re waiting? In a line? Ear-buds clearly indicating “I don’t want to be bothered by anyone.” Do you ever wondering if they’re listening to anything at all? Confession – I’ve put them in on airplanes to avoid 5-hour conversations. Yet, some of the best conversations I’ve had are on airplanes…go figure.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like there is enough in between us right now, we should be

Human hands open palm up.

having conversations, sharing thoughts, helping one another, building bridges. Phones and ear-buds seem to be a way of saying “Don’t bother me!” But, at what cost? The quality of our interactions about the experience of living life together on this planet?

Wendy Speake is a Christian author and she advocates using the new found freedom to develop a deeper relationship with Christ. I’m down with that. As a baby Christian, it sounds like a plan for me. It may be a plan for you, too. But, even if you’re not seeking a spiritual connection, think of how you could use the time, and capitalize off the slack in the electronic leash. Would you practice desperately needed self-care, work on and complete a special project, call Mom more or take the time to cook healthier meals? What do you not have time for that’s really important to you?

So, I’ll be planning posts “off the line” and limiting my social media time to a total of 30 minutes a day. Just enough to answer any comments, questions and check to see if someone DMed me for a painting. Please don’t give up on me. I’ll be there a little bit. As an artist, I do need people’s support on social media, but I’d like to give this a try. Sign up for art updates and we’ll be in touch before it’s over!

If you’d like to join me, you can find out more at 40daysocialmediafast.com

Stay Well!

Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own WellLived
Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passions, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.