shine day 25: spark your self-acceptance with a media fast

80% of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad.  $20 billion is spent on beauty marketing in the US annually.

Clearly, there is a huge investment being made in the beauty industry and one of the dividends is that it makes us feel insecure, self-conscious enough to want to buy all that make-up.

Yet, here is the irony.  What we see in those ads is not what we will get from those products because all of those after photos aren’t just after the product has been used.  They are after the lighting has been done up, after the model has been handled by professionals, after the picture has been photoshopped.  Infinite afters that we don’t get in life.

But print media isn’t the only medium that makes us feel adequate.  There’s television and movies where women have been styled and prepped by experts once again (and aided by professionals outside of their screen time to keep them physically maintained for what has been deemed screen time acceptable).  Heck, we can feel bad about ourselves by surfing the internet, by reading someone’s blog post or Facebook update and interpreting it to mean that her life is perfect compared to ours.

Sometimes, all of our access to information really isn’t the best thing in the world.  And yet it is so hard to moderate it without being deliberate.

Today, we are going for a little moderation.  For twelve hours, I want you go to go on a media diet.  This is the only time I am willing to suggest a diet, and I do more than just suggest one for my students every semester.  I insist.  For 3 days, they record absolutely everything they take in via media– from Twitter to Facebook, video games to reality tv, music to movies.  Then for 3 days, they go cold turkey.  They can email.  They can text their family and friends.  But they cannot take in media.  It is so hard for them, media has become such a necessity to them, that very few of them are able to go 72 hours without media.  Yet, when they write their follow-up papers, they are struck by how much more time they have than they thought they did.  They are startled by how the media they take in really stresses and negatively influences them.  They are struck by the racket media brings into their life and how it quiets when they quiet the media.  They sleep better.  They talk to people more directly.  They get their work done for school.  They go outside more.  Obviously, these are all good things.  I try now to go as unwired as possible every single weekend, and it is so restorative.  I am such a believer in unwired time, that I am suggesting a media fast to you.

Go ahead and unplug from all media (anything that gives you messages about who/ how you should be- even if the messages are in your interpretation.  ) for twelve hours today and give yourself the challenge and gift of that experience.

1.  How did your media fast go?  Were you able to do the whole 12 hours?  How long were you able to go?

2.  What was the hardest thing to go without (for my students, it is always music)?

3.  What did you discover during or after the fast?

4. In what ways do your media choices influence you?  How can you moderate that?

Remember your comment noting your participation gets you an entry in the great giveaways!

Excited about this journey?  Want more?  Pick up Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance for a year long plan and guidance.

Want to give feedback on your shine experience so far?  Take just a few minutes to answer this survey to help me determine how to improve shine and other experiences like this in the future!


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9 responses to “shine day 25: spark your self-acceptance with a media fast”

  1. Susannah

    I’ll have to take a rain check on this one, I am preparing a load of lessons, and I’m afraid I need media for it. But I promise to do this someday soon – it sounds like something I could really enjoy, at least, after the twitching ends…

  2. Valerie

    I do this to a point, on a daily basis, but I can’t legally say I completely do a media fast…I’m in my college finals, and my college is online, so alas…I must be on my computer. I will say, though, that on a normal basis, when there is no school, I regularly fast from the tv…no music…no computer, and I don’t really mind. Several years ago, when I got a divorce, I lived by myself for almost a year, and had no media…none. I did finally get a radio, but even that was limited.

    The biggest influence media has on me is making me feel inadequate. I feel the need to look like so and so…or do my hair like so and so…or look younger…and I don’t need any more self-loathing in my life. Overall, I really don’t miss media much; music is the one thing I do let back in.

  3. Jenn

    O.k. This worked for me for a little while. I am not a big TV person – was not raised w/a TV around and did not own a TV for many years as an adult. However, my husband is a TV addict. And although we do not own an actual television set, sadly there are plenty of shows, movies and sporting events that can be found on the internet. Our space is very small and there is no way to get away from the noise of the television (for some reason he just won’t wear headphones). This was a source of contention for many years until i simply gave in to the nonsense.

    As far as print media – pretty easy to stay away from ….. didn’t really have time to read.

    The computer was easy to relinquish only b/c i spent the majority of the day in a yoga workshop then took the dog for a looong walk.

    Music was of course a part of the workshop so that could not be avoided. I have found that music has the least negative effect on me & usually helps me to feel uplifted and sometimes even empowered.

    I think that the biggest issue w/media and me is that i waste so much time on the computer or zoning out w/hubby watching stupid TV shows. & unfortunately, my computer time isn’t always productive – a lot of game playing and facebook lurking.

    So maybe i can at least try to be a bit more productive when on the computer or simply walk the dog a bit longer everyday.

  4. Jamie

    I did this earlier this year. It was a real eye opener for me and I’ve slipped back into some not so great habits. One thing I want to do is WAIT on the media. I check email right away when I wake up and there really is no need to check it so quickly!!!! It’d be great if I could get myself to check email only once or twice a day. Maybe I need to do this media fast yet again and see what else I might learn….

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  6. Ann Becker-Schutte

    This is often how my Saturdays are spent, but I must admit that I had a really hard time giving up my NPR–especially the broadcast of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” I find that on the days when I am away from the radio or the computer (less the TV, since it’s not often on), I do get a lot more done.

  7. Cecile

    No problem for TV and music – with a 3yo we are used to not being able to listen to any program anyway, and we want her to avoid TV junk. My current temptations: internet and catalogs (mostly craft and kids fashion). None of them give me a bad feeling about my body. I don’t even buy things. But they are:
    – a vicious circle: I want to make all these wonderful crafts, I have so much new ideas, …. but because of the time spent looking for things, I don’t have time to make them happen. Being passive generates frustration, whereas action would reinforce my self-confidence and self-wellbeing.
    – an escape from reality. The less energy I have, the more time I would spend “off reality”. These are no real breaks though, not regenerating at all.

    As I got a new catalog in my mail box, I almost forgot my decision to diet…. just before opening it, I remembered and had to laugh – such an implemented habit, a reflex! An addiction?…
    Otherwise the diet went quite good. Each time I would make a break, I had to struggle for some seconds what I could do instead of internet/catalog reading. I spent some minutes crafting (yeah!) and most of the breaks simply laying and consciously doing nothing but be. Wow! That was a real, powerful break! And I guess it did not last longer that it needed to – where I might have spend much more (too much) time with internet/catalogs.

    I have already tried to manage my consumption, but I did not achieve long-lasting results. My rules for myself are either too severe, or too lax. I guess it is like a food diet: yoyo-effect, too much expectations on oneself, and impossible to remain motivated while having a chocolate bar laying there. It is probably all about a good daily balance, in order to last.
    Maybe I could pack the catalogs (even the new ones…sob…) in a box, instead of having them laying around – one less temptation. Internet is more complicated to manage.

    I’d love to hear how you or other people have handled concretely with this kind of self-regulation? Any step-by-step diet recipe available? It could be the inspiration I need to find my way. Thanks for your great challenges!

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