I recently came across a movement happening across the Pacific in Australia. It’s called Febfast. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until a friend of mine living there shared that she was participating. With her family, she’s giving up digital distractions, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar for the month of February. No coffee or energy drinks, no Instagram or Internet for THE ENTIRE MONTH? Are you kidding? Nope, she’s serious and even roped her family into getting involved. When I looked into what Febfast actually was, I realized that it wasn’t simply an arbitrary choice my friend made to better herself. There was a larger purpose behind it.
Febfast is a charity movement that asks participants to give up alcohol consumption for 28 days to raise awareness and funds for youth addiction. This year, they’ve taken it a step further and introduced three new “detoxes”: caffeine, sugar, and digital.
Let’s face it, too many of us can’t imagine our lives without the little pick me up of a cup of coffee (guilty!). We have “sweet tooths,” consume alcohol to alleviate social anxieties (guilty!), and spend way too much time and energy online (oh, the irony). Any one of these habits can become harmful to us as living, breathing, loving, interacting humans.
The hope is that by removing these harmful habits from our lives for the entire month (28 short days), we will not only reset those tendencies, but we also raise awareness and funds for those who struggle with even deadlier addictions. Think of it as a mental marathon for people who need help.
Addiction is still widely regarded as a choice, and so those addicted are without the resources they need. It’s an issue that I feel very strong about and support. We’ve all heard the stories, or worse, experienced the disease in our own families and communities, and we know the truth of its devastation.
Inspired by my friend and a cause that is so close to my heart, I’ve decided to participate in the digital detox. Why? Because I spend too many hours online particularly on social media, and it really messes with me. My detox has to be modified a bit because my jobs require me to be in front of a computer and in the interwebs (plus, how would I write here?), but I don’t need to look at Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. So I’m saying adios to social media!
Also, because I’m not able to commit fully to the detox as it’s listed, I’ve struck a deal with myself. I’m going to give up my beloved television screen instead. No more mindless time wasting. I’m done watching Pawn Stars or Duck Dynasty or Say Yes to the Dress, simply because it’s convenient.
I’ve been doing this for the last few days, and I’ve got to tell you it feels amazing. There were a few moments when I caught myself automatically trying to open Instagram on my iPhone without even thinking. The detox requires me to carry a book around at all times because I can’t wait for friends and simultaneously check Facebook, but I love that! Four days in and my anxiety is almost nonexistent. I feel accomplished and productive.
I encourage you to check out Febfast. The cause is important, but it also reminds us that just because something is socially acceptable, doesn’t always mean it’s good for us. Also, if living without any one of the four vices scares the crap out of you, it’s probably a good idea to give it up. After all, it’s only for a month.