How A Social Media Break Restored My Soul

I can’t believe it! The three (almost FOUR!) months I took away from social media is up, and I am back on the Instagram grid and Facebook feed. I am so surprised I could do it, I did have one slip-up, but for the most part I was able to keep my distance from social media and I am so proud of myself.

While I have done social media breaks before, none have been as long as this one. For me, this was the last ditch effort to see how much social media makes, and breaks, my world view.

I began this experiment because I was in pretty bad shape. I didn’t really like anything about myself, both personally and physically, and I would find myself just throwing some serious hate at my “flaws”. I was constantly comparing every little thing about myself to a pretty picture on my phone screen, and I could never match up. I knew I would never match what the perfect feeds created, and that made me feel even worse about who I was.

I doubted my abilities as a wife.

I hated my body and was ashamed of how I looked.

I really wished I could just be someone else.

Seriously, a little over 3 months ago, those thoughts were continually running through my mind and I needed a break. I needed to remember who I was, what I enjoyed, and honestly spend less time on a screen. So I told Mr. Yell that I would take a week off of social media, and in his honest fashion he said, “Why not stay off of social media for longer this time? This way you can see if it really works.”

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So, I made the plan to give up my Insta and Facebook feeds for the summer, until the first calendar day of Fall… and this is how it restored my soul and what it did for me.

Less screen time meant more ME time.

I spent an OBSCENE amount of time on social media. Like, it was ridiculous. So once I cut it out, I had so much time to do what I wanted to do. I dove into doing more yoga, journaling more often, reading books and the Bible more consistently, and thinking about myself. I started making lists of things I enjoyed for fun and what I wanted out of a career. I began thinking about what I valued from a job, and from my personal life, and made some life-goals to reflect those things. That may sound really simple, but I hadn’t really thought about what I really wanted to do with my life as an individual in a long time. I always felt pressured to be unique, or a “creative”, or whatever; but with this time off I was really able to look at myself and my talents and try to find what matched those things.

My life became a bit more messy.

I really did! I know this sounds silly, but being on social media really took me out of my creative element. By eliminating some social media, I picked up messy hobbies again and really enjoyed them. Painting, calligraphy, watercolor, and yoga were just a few things that created a bit more of a messy life. My life didn’t look picture-perfect this summer, because I didn’t feel that it needed to look that way for a picture to post. My messier life gave me more freedom and honestly, more fun!

I learned how to be more intentional.

When I first started this challenge, I felt like I was missing out on all my friend’s adventures and what was going on in their lives. This was such a great thing. Wanting to be more in-touch with my pals but not having social media to rely on, made me so much more of an intentional person. I would have to message someone to see how life was going, or even mail a letter, and it was something I hadn’t been good at before this started.

I realized I played less comparison games.

By not having complete access to other people’s projections of life, I had less to compare my own life to. This allowed me time to really think about what I wanted as a person professionally and personally without feeling like I “needed” to be doing certain things at this point in my life. With only myself to compare to, I (re)realized that I love painting, hiking, and reading. I began journaling more often and was able to work out some pretty difficult things between me and the Lord. Without social media being at the fore-front of my mind, I could very easily focus on the more important things in my life; like my husband, my spiritual life, and my health.

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I really have enjoyed my time off from social media, but I am really glad to get back going with sharing things with you all and having that part of the internet community back. I feel refreshed and prepared to dive back into social media; as well as ready to hear from you all again.

Thank you for your patience with me as I have been a bit off the grid, and for encouraging me during this time!

Let the InstaLove begin!

Much love. Much grace.

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Wear the Bikini

I love swimming!

When I was a teenager I was on a swim team and have honestly just always felt at home in the water (salt or chlorine… doesn’t matter!)

I always wore a one-piece or a tankini for most of my life up until pretty recently when I decided I really wanted a bikini. Cute one-piece suits are hard to find, and I always loved how bikini’s have mix-and-match options.

So this February, I decided that if I could lose a certain amount of weight, I would wear a bikini in public. So I set a goal, created a time-table and eating plan, and got to work. I have lost some of the weight I wanted, but not nearly as much as I planned in my over-zealous schedule. But you know what? I still wanted to wear my bikini… at the pool… in public.

Such a conundrum.

I had bought the cutest two-piece as a motivation to work out and be healthy, so I already had a cute suit. And Mr. Yell and I were going WAY out of town on an anniversary trip, so no one I knew would even see me wear it. All I had to do was wear it.

And wear it I did.

You guys, at first I was totally self-conscious and worried about my “problem areas” but after about 30 minutes, it felt so free. I forgot all about my weight and “fluff” and just enjoyed swimming. It was so wonderful to not worry about what other people were thinking and just enjoy my time swimming.

 

For the first time in quite a while, I was able to feel comfortable in my body and who I am in this point and time. This is who I am right now, and this is how I look. I can love it or hate it, but in the end it is the only body I have.

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This is the first post in the “Summer Series” and I wanted to show ya’ll how committed I am to this being MY summer. And YOUR summer. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you want to do. This summer is for you and for your confidence to shine. We are in this together! So wear the bikini, or not. It’s YOUR choice. Wear what you want to the beach… and own it.

Much love. Much grace.

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Why I Wear Black

“Why do you wear so much black?”

This is the most common statement I have been hearing in the last few months as I have transitioned from bright colors to black, grays, and other neutrals.*

Some people have found this to be a little different, but others have made the change  before me to neutral colored clothes for a variety of reasons. To help explain my transition to darker colors I have put together a list of the reasons why I have started eliminating colors from my closet.

  • I can’t match colors. Let’s be real. I have a really hard time matching my clothes. I used to be better, but as I have started having less and less time, I can’t take a whole day to plan outfits that match perfectly together. Only having colors that all match each other helps me to match outfits. I no longer have to find the perfect shirt that matches that vest or my bright patterned pants (why did I think that I would ever have success with THOSE?) because all my clothes literally already match everything else. So basically… I am now a fashionista. (jk JK) Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.53.38 AM

 

  • Saves me SO much time. I am student teaching and my mentor teacher was telling me about how people try to have uniforms with their everyday clothes. (Think Dwight on The Office– Mustard shirt, olive tie, brown suit… EVERY EPISODE.) Well I looked this crazy thing up, and it turns out that there is a study about how intelligent people in society all have uniforms. Apparently, getting rid of this one decision helps these people to get ready without stress and then they can focus on more important things other than clothes. I have to say this is totally true for me. Having to dress as a professional now vs like a college student makes me have to spend more time getting ready in the mornings. With all of my clothes being neutrals and already matching, I don’t have to plan outfits or spend time picking out my clothes at all. I can just throw them on and go. (Which I LOVE.)

 

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  • I am saving money. I am an impulse buyer. I love pretty things, and I love how the stores display them. I am any retailer’s dream because I totally buy into staging and lighting and atmosphere. When I made the decision to only buy neutrals, it totally changed my shopping habits. I no longer make impulse buys because the things I would be buying wouldn’t match anything that I already own. I don’t even look at bright clothes or patterns in stores because I don’t need them. I also don’t feel the need to buy a whole outfit when I buy a new shirt anymore, because I have tons of clothes that already match it at home.

 

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  • I like black. I really do. When I was in high school and middle school, my favorite outfits were the dark colors with black and white patterns. I love the overall style of dark clothes like skinny jeans, cat-eye makeup, and dark nails. When I got older I tried to experiment with more color, but now I am circling back to black because it just feels more like me. All the options that come with black clothing are amazing. An outfit could be classy, grungy, cutesy, vintage, etc. with just wearing black and other neutrals. Wearing black allows me to experiment with different outfits.

 

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I love this new lifestyle and I have to say, the transition was pretty simple for me. (But that is a post for the future!) What about you? Do you only wear certain colors or do you go all in? Be sure to let me know what you think!

Much love. Much grace.

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*One of the first blog posts I wrote about a year ago talked about why I wear flower crowns and cat tees. Let me just say that I still do, but I only wear them if it matches my “new” wardrobe.

 

 

Life As An American In Europe

Taylor has been a friend of mine for over eight years. He is such a sweet person and I am so excited to have him on Go Giver! He is currently going to school overseas reversing his role from a welcomer of international students to becoming one himself.

Introducing our first  of “Perspectives Men”,  Taylor Anderson! 


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Living in Germany has definitely been a huge change in my life. I had to learn the national language when I came here and there are some things that classes can’t teach me. I have to venture out of the classroom to experience the culture first-hand and how to use the language in everyday life. By learning the language, I have grown to love the people here. I find them to be wonderful caring people, and I value the friendships I have made here. I love being able to go see my friends close by, being able to go out into town, and meeting up with people to talk.

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All this to say… It isn’t an easy life.

I have had days when it is frustrating that I can’t talk with another person and they can’t understand me.

I have had days when I wish I had enough money to run home really quickly just to be with my family during a problem.

 I am trying to live a life with no regrets.

I only have one shot to do things and I have a big list of goals that I want to accomplish and I don’t want anything or anybody to get in the way of my goals.

Yes, it may seem a bit strange that I decided to study abroad for a full year of my life. It might be strange that I have decided to do something different than most people in the US would not choose to do. In the end I don’t regret making the decision to go study abroad in Germany.  I have been able to learn so much about myself.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Getting out of my comfort zone has really brought a new perspective about life and the love I feel towards international relations and the cultures around the world. Studying abroad is not for everybody, but I do value and respect people who take it upon themselves to travel. To see the world and to care for other people who might not be Americans. You never know when someday you might need a person that you can’t understand or is not like you. People need to care for people that are different and or who might think in a different way. 


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Taylor Anderson is third year junior from the University of Southern Indiana. He is studying International Studies, German, and Anthropology currently in Marburg, Germany at Philipps Universität Marburg as an international student. He is a proud United States citizen living in Germany and is truly enjoying learning a new language and culture.  By being an international student he has learned that one country does not have to define a person, but instead people can be defined by multiple cultures.

New Year, New Intentions

Last year I adopted the idea of having a word that would help me to remember my ultimate goal for the year.  Just one word, not a list or  goals for the new year. Last year my word was “Breathe”. I have a hard time resting, and when I chose this word I was in the midst of planning a wedding and working on school things. With all the stress in mind I decided that for 2015 I could truly benefit from stopping every so often to breathe.

This was actually such a wonderful idea for me because 2015 WAS a crazy year for me! To be honest, there were several times that I forgot to breathe. I would get stressed or disorganized and I would allow myself to get wrapped up in the issues. But there were also times when I was able to put things into perspective by remembering to breathe.

This year I hope to do the same thing. I have chosen a new word, a new hashtag, and a new goal.

2016’s word is: KIND.

If I can be real for a second… Being kind is so hard. Anyone can be nice, but kindness, true kindness, is more difficult. I find myself being more nice than actually caring of others and this year I hope to change that. With choosing “kind”, I am choosing to be more outwardly kind with my words and actions.

I am also deciding to be inwardly kind as well. To me, kindness is a heart issue. It can be the thoughts we have of another person, the emotions we feel when we hear a person’s name, and whether or not we harbor feelings of anger or guilt about people. Kindness can be towards others, but also towards oneself. I could always be a bit nicer to those around me, as well as myself.

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So here we go. A full year of remembering the be kind. A full year to being inspired by the Lord to give me the gift of kindness to others, and myself. Which is a theme that most of us desire and need. To be kind to ourselves is a theme that I have been seeing more and more of this past week with people making new resolutions.

Let us all be kind to each other and to ourselves this year.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have a word you are working towards?

Much love. Much grace.

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