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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My Favorite Insta’s

A while back I took a week off from Instagram to free up some of my time and really just to see if I could do it.  I talked about how I wanted to be more selective in who I follow and what I post, so today I am sharing my absolute favorite accounts on Instagram! Yay! (Obviously, I follow more than six people… but these are my top favorites)


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Photo cred: @whitehouse

The White House

I know, I know… you don’t like politics. One thing I love about The White House’s Instagram account is that it is mildly about politics and more about day to day life and activities in The White House itself. I mean… who doesn’t like pictures of our National Leader playing football?

To Follow:  @whitehouse

 


 

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Photo cred: @pnwonderland

 

Pacific Northwest Wonderland

Ever since Mr. Yell and I went to Seattle, WA for our Honeymoon, I have been obsessed with the Pacific Northwest. This account shows pictures of nature and some urban pictures, which make it a fun feed to follow. If you love travel, the PNW, or just pretty pictures be sure to give this account your attention.

To Follow:  @pnwonderland

 

 


 

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Photo cred: @elsielarson

Elsie Larson

I love colors, crafts, food, and cute things so obviously I follow the blog A Beautiful Mess. Elsie is one of the writers and founders of the site and her feed is so lovely! Always full of color, she shares her blog posts and just pieces of her everyday life making it a fun feed to follow.

To Follow: @elsielarson

 

 

 


 

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Photo from: @emmaredvelvet

Emma Chapman

I LOVE Emma’s feed. LOVE IT. She is Elsie Larson’s sister and works as a co-writer/c0-creator of ABM. Emma’s style is more like my own, with more dark colors and a little edgy, which is why I love her Insta. She also posts pictures about blog happenings and her personal life, but I love how she has a different perspective than Elsie when it comes to her picture-taking.

To Follow: @emmaredvelvet

 

 


 

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Photo cred: @yoga_girl

Rachel Brathen

Rachel was one of the first accounts I followed when I was getting into Instagram and yoga more. Her posts are full of island pictures (she lives in Aruba so…) and of course, YOGA. If you are interested in yoga, travel, or just love beaches, I recommend following this awesome yogi. (Also, she just got a baby goat, which is amazing.)

To Follow: @yoga_girl

 

 


 

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Photo cred: @pudgethecat

Pudge the Cat

I’m going to be honest… I follow A LOT of cat Instagram’s (post to follow!). Pudge is one of the first ones I found and is still my favorite, because I mean, look her face! Too cute. If you are in need of some cuteness or giggles in your life follow Pudge for your daily dose of adorable.

To Follow: @pudgethecat

 

 

 


 

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Photo cred: @rachelynn_ak

Rachel Willyerd

Ya’ll, I love Rachel’s feed. She lives in Alaska and takes the most amazing photos. I don’t know why more people don’t know about her, because her photos are dreamy! If you love mountain photos with great colors, Rachel’s feed is the best for you.

To Follow:  @rachelynn_ak


So I guess this is more than just SOME of my favorites, but there is too much diversity on Instagram to just have one favorite, or even two. I love how Instagram is more than just a social media site… it can create and encourage community if you allow it to. You can meet people who struggle/enjoy/travel/live like you do. It’s a whole new dimension to friendship and relationships.

What are some of your favorite Insta accounts?

Much love. Much grace.

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No Fear November

Fear is such a tricky and subtle thing. It can creep up in unexpected ways, like being scared of whales. Or it can develop over time coming from insecurities or traumas.

This past month I was asked to write as a guest blogger for a regional blog about marriage in my area. While I was so excited at first, I slowly began to become nervous and somewhat stressed. I began to become so stressed that I developed writer’s block.

I mean, how could I write about marriage when I have only been married for five months? I know nothing of trials and struggles that marriage can bring. People keep saying I am still in the “Honeymoon Stage”.

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As I began thinking of what to write about the more desperate I became. I would try writing whatever I could just to try to find an idea that stuck. I started and stopped about eight different times just trying to write one post.

As I said before in a previous post, writing was never my strong suit in school, and I began to remember the comments and even my grades as I would try to write this guest post. I was struggling.

Insecurities have a way of tearing us down.

Not quickly like outside or hurtful comments do. No, insecurities come from the inside. They come at us from our core and who we think we should be.

“I should be more graceful by now” “Why can’t I just stop eating Oreos?! That’s probably why I am so chubby” and on and on.

These little thoughts of negativity eventually bring us to a place of inhibited living or avoidance of certain activities, just like true fears do.

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This month is November, and in honor of Halloween being over, I am dedicating this month to overcoming my fears and insecurities. I will continue to write what is on my heart and I will begin conquering the insecurities that make me doubt myself.

Who’s with me? Let’s overcome our fears together this No Fear November. If you want to do this challenge with me, be sure to fill out the contact section on the blog and let me know!

Let’s see just who we can be without fears and insecurities weighing us down.

Much love. Much grace.

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#InstalessChelsea

This week I went without Instagram. Now I am somewhat of an Insta fanatic, it’s my favorite form of social media. I love documenting life through pictures, and challenging myself to see the world in a new way. However, I started noticing that I was missing out on the world that I find so fascinating. 

This came to my attention at first through my husband as he jokingly would tell me that I was addicted to my Instagram. “Um, no! I just like pretty pictures!”, I would say. But as I started thinking I realized that while I may not be fully addicted, I had a problem putting down my phone. So began the week of #InstalessChelsea. 

  
When I first started this challenge it was very difficult for me. I had formed the bad habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning, and with the challenge I didn’t. I found myself enjoying other things like coffee or yoga to start my day instead of doing it in the midday. This really helped me to feel fresh and awake the rest of the day compared to the days when I had my Instagram mornings. 

  
Later in the week, around the third day, I didn’t really miss Instagram as much. I missed taking pictures and I did miss a couple feeds that I really enjoy, but I didn’t feel the pull to check it all the time. 

When I finally got back on Instagram a couple days ago, I realized I hadn’t missed much. The world kept turning, feeds kept updating, and I lost a few followers. But overall, I felt better. I felt a little more content with my life, my body, and just me in general. 

Am I going to quit Instagram? No. But I am going to cut down on the feeds I follow. I’m only going to have my very favorite accounts that I want to follow, and I have stopped worrying about how much people like my pictures. I like my feed, and that is all that matters. 

Much love. Much grace. 

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