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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Give A Little: Self-Help

I know there are a lot of people out there struggling with a variety of issues.  School is starting back up again, and for many students school isn’t a happy place. Bullying is real and a major problem in our schools. If you are being bullied or just want someone to talk to, here are some truly wonderful organizations that want nothing more than to help you out and some ways to better help yourself. This week is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day, and I just want you to know that your time isn’t up yet. You have so many gifts, words, and memories to make and share with others. You are wanted and desired and there is hope, my loves.


Personality Tests

I know I have shared this before but be sure to find out what your personality type is. This will help you realize what your stress triggers are and how to prevent or work through them more easily. Be sure to take the test about once a year, because believe it or not, personalities can change based on life situations. I love the 16 Personalities Test because it is free and not as time consuming as the real Myers-Briggs test (which took me around 2 hours to complete! Crazy!) . This test is much shorter but still offers up a good starting point for making better sense of the self.

To Write Love On Her Arms

I love TWLOHA. They are such a wonderful organization and have such a wonderful desire to give immediate and long-lasting help to those who feel alone and like life is too hard to keep living. If you are struggling and don’t know where to turn, TWLOHA has a 24 Hotline for immediate calls. Or if you would like to help spread their vision, there are many donation and fundraising opportunities available. Also be sure to follow them on Twitter because they have a great campaign for Suicide Awareness Day using the #IKeptLiving and it is truly inspirational.

Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is genius. Instead of a phone call, this hotline uses texting. This way there is more anonymity in the conversation. The texting hotline connects the texter to a trained counselor who is trained to help with relationship, friendship, and family issues. People can text if he or she is feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork or career related issues and isn’t sure where to turn.

 Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you ever need someone to talk to please call this number. There are trained professionals on the other end who will listen to your concerns and give wise counsel.


Be sure to take a moment out of today to just take a breath and feel thankful for what you have in life today. It may be one thing or five things, but know that there is always something worth living for. There is always someone who is on your team rooting for you to do well in life, even if you don’t think it’s true. You are so loved and you have so much more of your life to live!

You are so loved.

Much love. Much grace.

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When Facebook Becomes Too Much To Handle

 

First, I want to apologize for a couple of things. I haven’t written/posted in a couple of weeks, and I am sorry for the inconsistency. I also want to apologize for my content. It has been fluffy, and unreal the majority of the time this year, and I am sorry. I’m sorry I haven’t had the guts to discuss things that really matter. I only have one excuse: Fear. I am afraid people will be angry and upset or hateful. Unfortunately, most of the people who will behave in these outbursts are already saturated in these emotions. They are afraid of the future, people different from themselves, and don’t know what to do to protect their current way of life besides act out on social media.

I have been trying to keep away from Instagram and Facebook, but the other day I couldn’t help it and I just had to see what was going on in the Facebook newsfeed. And for the first time in a long time, I felt such an array of confusing emotions. I was exhausted after only 30 minutes of looking at the newsfeed.

Friends, it was the most hateful stream of articles I have seen. We have turned a social media into a hate-fest and fear-mongering place. No longer are pictures of vacations or breakfast foods, now articles about how Muslims are all bad, Black lives don’t matter as much as All lives, and Donald Trump are all I see. Facebook is now a place to hatefully share an opinion and openly share racist comments, all from behind a computer screen. Facebook is not a positive place.

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My heart aches as I see my Facebook friend’s opinions about groups of people who pose no threat to their way of life. My heart hurts because now I know what his/her heart really believes. People who claim to love others, instead are calling for the exclusion of people based on race and religion, or are voting for someone who is. Now I know too much about the hate that is placed in my friend’s hearts. I know they dislike my friends who look different. I know they are scared of my friends of different faiths. I know my friends value their own life over any other person. I know that they are willing to leave the lost, hungry, orphaned, and nationless in a state of instability, or even wish these people would return to the war-torn country from which they came. I know the truth now about people I looked up to as a teenager or had solidarity with as a peer. I know the only interest these people have, is in themselves. And my heart is so so broken.

I am so broken over these actions because these hateful words are what create outsiders. The fear of the people sharing these opinions is what causes the very acts of which they are afraid.If we continue to create a space of dislike for those different than ourselves, how can we expect those people to like us, let alone become a member of our society? We create outsiders who then feel wronged by not only the government or institution, but by actual people in society. People that may have appeared friendly, and then share hateful words minutes later on the internet only to create friction.

How do we share love, when that very love is continually picked-apart by people who claim to believe the same thing? How do we continually forgive after every single racist, hateful post? How do we keep from falling completely apart like the world around us?

I wish I could say that we have the power as people to rise against the hate, to really let love win. I wish I could say we as individuals can come together to love the hate out of people. But we can’t. Not on our own. Everyday is a battle of good against evil. Positivity over negativity. Light over dark. And it’s a battle we cannot do on our own. Christ is the only one who can give us the unconditional love we need to rise above the fear. Christ is the only one who can help us continue to forgive our scared friends, even if they never change their minds. With Christ’s love, I can continue to love my friends who dislike other people in my life based on skin color or religion. I can have hope that maybe one day, they will see His love, and will actually choose this love over fear.

With Christ, love truly wins; every time.

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And to my friends who are feeling the heat of this election or anti-difference articles:

I am so sorry for the hatred directed your way. I am sorry this the way America is choosing to display herself. I am sorry for any ill-will you have received. I love you all so much. You are so very loved and I am so thankful for each of you. I love your skin being the same or different than mine. I love you in spite of religious differences. I love you if you speak English or a different language. I love you if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or meat-lover. You are so loved, even if people try to tell you otherwise.

Much love. Much grace.

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This Is YOUR Summer

I have been particularly struggling with this idea for some time now, not because I don’t think it needs talking about, but because I wasn’t sure I was qualified to write about it. Body confidence, and confidence in general, is something I have struggled with for a while. For many women, this struggle is a life-long battle in loving herself.

This summer I am going to write about the most difficult topic; self-worth.

Let me preface this by saying I am not a professional by any means. I don’t know five easy steps to loving yourself, I don’t know how to help you lose/gain weight, nor do I have a killer workout to help you with your booty gains. I am just a 23 year old woman who knows the struggles of finding, keeping, and desiring self-love. All I know is what I wish someone would have told me, or what I wish I would have listened to about loving myself.

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Those are the things I am going to work on in myself and try to share during this season. This won’t be every post, but it is a theme that I am wanting to challenge myself during these warmer months.

Much grace. Much love.

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If you have a story or comment or anything you would like to share on this topic, please let me know by contacting me. I would love to hear/share your story in growing or searching for coming to like/love your physical self.

Loving The Skin You’re In

Let me be completely honest, I did not know that photoshopping women’s bodies was even possible until I was 17.

I fully believed that those girls in the magazines were real; their bodies, faces, and clothes. I believed that these women were perfect models, I didn’t know where these magazines found them, but I knew they had to exist for magazines to put them on spreads and in articles.

Ladies:

THIS IS A LIE.

I know now, that magazines, celebrities, and even “normal” people photoshop or reshape their bodies and faces everyday. That these body sizes, lip shapes, and perfect women do not exist.

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”

I recently learned that other women have similar imperfections to myself. I learned that other women have stretch marks.

I had always thought that women get stretch marks from pregnancy until last year when I gained a bit of weight. I began getting stretch marks on my legs and hips; and I was completely mortified. I’m not talking about a little bit of embarrassment, but completely humiliated. I was so ashamed that I wouldn’t even wear shorts anymore. I felt that my struggle with my food choices was finally visible, and that I was the only one with these marks of shame.

Recently, I watched a video about women and their stretch marks. How each woman received them and how that made each woman feel. I loved seeing this because it brought me to a point of community and understanding about my body, and it’s imperfections.

Thank you for a whole year of Go Giving!

All the scars, stretch marks, and other markings you have are so important. They tell a story about the life you have lived, who you have become, and who you used to be. Your scars add depth to your first impression and should be celebrated, not create embarrassment. I know this is all easier said than done, but if us ladies can each work towards loving our scars and talking about them, maybe other women and girls wouldn’t feel the shame we have felt.

Maybe we can all start loving the skin we are in.

Much love. Much grace.

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