Courtesy of Univision
Lena Hansen
December 05, 2017 11:59 AM

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When her church in Miami organized a week of fasting for its members during the week of Sept. 4, Univision TV host Lourdes Stephen did not give up her favorite food: She gave up social media. “The point was to use that time for praying instead,” the Dominican journalist told PEOPLE CHICA, “so I felt a calling to do just that, to abstain from social media for a week, and that’s what I did.”

Sticking to her promise wasn’t easy, she admits, but praying helped her resist the urge to check her news feed. “It was very hard because for me resorting to social media is like an automatic impulse. You open your phone and automatically you start receiving those seemingly endless notifications, which drive you to the app and you just start doing it, almost instinctively. It was super tempting! But with the grace of God strengthening my resolve, I was able to stick to it.”

Stephen, 41, has since returned to her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, but she says those days offline taught her to live more in the moment. “When you spend more time looking at your phone than with your loved ones, that is a red flag!” she said. “I use it to be on top of news, connect with my followers and keep in touch with my long distance friends. Social media is a great tool, but unfortunately it can also expose you to bullying. I believe you have to have certain level of maturity to be part of this. My advice is that if you don’t know how to internally filter the good and the bad, and it gets to a point that it’s affecting you in a negative way, then social media is not for you.”

The journalist will make sure to pass that wisdom onto her son, Michael Victor, 1, when he’s older. “My son is the best gift. He changed my life dramatically. It’s like seeing the world in color for the first time. It’s learning to prioritize the things that actually matter in your life,” she said of motherhood. “It’s a little bit of heaven on earth. When I’m with him, all I can feel is joy.”

She also finds joy and affirmation in her Christian faith, she said. “My faith is what keeps me going. Even in the most distressing times, you have this inexplicable peace that can only come from the Lord, and it surpasses all understanding. It keeps me grounded.”

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