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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Marfa, TX: Follow Me to El Cosmico

As I mentioned in a previous post, Mr. Yell and I enjoyed our 1 year anniversary in the desert a few weeks ago, and we loved it! One of our favorite parts of Marfa was where Mr. Yell and I stayed for the last half of our trip: the magical El Cosmico.

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We stayed with an Air BnB for the first couple of days of our trip, but once we moved over to El Cosmico, the Marfa Magic was amplified. El Cosmico has everything including:  tipis and yurts, outdoor hot tubs and showers, and several areas for hammocking around the property.

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El Cosmico caters to really anyone since they offer camping spots to pitch your tent and have a community kitchen if you would rather cook than eat out. While Mr. Yell and I were there we saw couples, families, and friends making road-trip stops; proving that not only is this place for everyone, but that El Cosmico is a must see!

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Going into this experience, I had some very high expectations due to some other places Mr. Yell and I have stayed (similar to El Cosmico) and honestly this place was wonderful. While we were mere “honeymooners”, there have been movie stars who have stayed here to really experience the real Marfa Magic while filming. (Kevin Bacon and Matthew McConaughey were rumored to be in town while we were there…. so you never know who you will see!)

I really just loved the relaxed atmosphere and the community house in the front of the property. The house has free coffee and teas in the morning, records playing constantly, a fun gift shop, and cool drinks for sale.

The only things El Cosmico could improve on would be working on providing more of the “little things” (see Tree House Point for some GREAT examples) and having some of the lights and campfires going during non-festival times. There was a night we would have loved to make s’mores or enjoy the full experience, but there are only two festivals in Marfa a year, and we happened to miss them both… so that meant way less lights and no campfires. So if you want the full experience, be sure to hit up the music festival in March or the film festival in July.

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Other than that, everything was lovely and Mr. Yell and I felt so refreshed after our visit to the desert, and El Cosmico definitely played a part in that.

So if you’re ever in Marfa… head on over to El Cosmico!

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Much love. Much grace.

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Marfa, TX: Food Guide

Recently, Mr. Yell and I went on our first year anniversary trip (yay!) to Marfa, Texas (By the wonderful recommendation of a Marriage Roots post). Marfa is in the Southwestern part of Texas, so if you have ever wanted a great mix of art, desert, and continually saying “hmm, that’s interesting…” then Marfa is the place for you.

Before I get deep into this post, there are a few things that need mentioning. The first thing is that Marfa is a bit of a slow-moving town. Seriously, the business hours on many of the food places, shops, and art exhibits are basically just guidelines. There were several times we would plan out a day’s worth of meals just to be scrambling because the times were merely suggestions.

Second, Marfa is for those who enjoy already-developed artists. This was only one of a few disappointments that I experienced. I was expecting a town with more street art and “starving artists”. Instead, Marfa has developed in the last 15 years to be more upscale in many aspects including food and retail prices. While this isn’t necessarily a negative thing (unless you are a local—a post for another time), it came as mapa bit of a surprise. So if you are planning on going to Marfa, plan to spend $15-$20 on food for every meal, or try to bring some PB&J’s.

 

Marpho

Mr. Yell’s (and mine!) absolutely favorite place to eat was Marpho. This was not only the most reasonably priced, but also had a wonderful atmosphere and some amazing pho! While the pho is obviously the specialty, they also serve Vietnamese sandwiches and have finger foods during Happy Hour.

 

Frama

There is really only one place in town for the best locally brewed coffee and somewhat locally made ice cream, and that is Frama! This place is very cozy and has SO MANY options! There are hot and iced drinks, smoothies and juices, and of course ice cream with unique flavors (I had the Rosemary and Olive Oil… DELISH.)

 

Food Shark Museum of Electronic Wonders and Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour

This place was AMAZING. On the outside (like most things in Marfa) it doesn’t look like much, but the interior was pretty cool. The only lighting used in the tiny restaurant is the glow of antique TV screens and music is played on an eight-track player. Not only is the atmosphere killer, the grilled cheeses are INSANE. You can choose from four different selections, which rotate out as ingredients run low, and each cheese is grilled to perfection. It was definitely a fun, quirky, experience; and I would definitely love to go back.

Planet Marfa

Outdoor games, snacks, creative seating, and a bar… Planet Marfa is the place to be on the weekend. With a teepee, renovated school bus, and a loft, there are so many places to sit and chat, and cool areas to experience little pieces of the Marfa Magic. Live music and dancing adds a bit of a party to the place as well as ping-pong tables and other “lawn” games. Even if just to check out the atmosphere, Planet Marfa is a must-see while in town.

 

Cochineal

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From: WestTexasWeekly.com

While in Marfa, Mr. Yell and I decided to do at least one “fancy” dinner for our anniversary, this dinner being at Cochineal. Located in downtown Marfa, Cochineal was the perfect place to enjoy the desert air and fine dining all at the same time. They have a large selection of delicious dishes, just be aware that the menu changes often and reservations are needed.

 

These are just a FEW of the many places in Marfa to eat, but these were by far mine and Mr. Yell’s favorites. These places had very consistent, and LABELED, hours of operation as well as delicious food and creative atmospheres.

Much love. Much grace.

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Polska Polska.

It has been well over a year since my summer travels took me to Poland in 2014.

Recently, my then teammate (and now good friend!) Madi rearranged her blog to have a special place for her Poland adventures. As I read through them all I was filled with some fond memories of community, love, and service while living in Poland. While reading, I began to think about so many things that have happened since that time. How I have changed, how events have happened, and whether or not my time in Poland truly changed me.

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This inspired me to find my old blog (which was really lame and only had about 8 posts on it) and try to share those adventures with you.

I created a new category (Poland) and a new tag (Polska 2014) to make them easy to find.

Poland 2014

Proszę

Pokora

Pasja

Reszta

Do Widzenia, Rzeszow!

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I have also taken the time to put them in the order in which they were written. Keep in mind these blogs were written a couple years ago, and my writing style has changed and developed even over just this past year. I decided not to change the wording to keep the authenticity of what “2014 Chelsea” was thinking. I did add some photos to help with each topic.

I hope you enjoy these posts from so long ago and that they help paint a picture of beautiful Poland and maybe a bit about me as well.

Also, if you are interested in reading about these Polish adventures from a different point of view, check out Madi’s wonderful blog posts!

Much love. Much grace.

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Munich Airport

Ah yes. I am back in the States, and have been for a couple weeks. I’ve only been at my family’s house for about a week, and I have found “re-entry” into the American culture interesting to say the least.

As my friend and team-mate, Madi, wrote in her blog (bottom of page) , there are a few differences between Polish and American culture. These were differences we all had come to love and cherish while spending our summer in Poland. However, one thing that did not cross my mind until our ending meetings, was “Reverse Culture Shock”. Reverse Culture Shock is when someone who has been overseas, comes back to his or her home culture. They had culture shock visiting the new country, but now have to readjust to the home culture they have been out of for a period of time.

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The Cloth Hall in Krakow, Poland

So yes. That is what I have been doing for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been getting used to the noisy, hustle, and attitude that defines American culture. It’s not bad… Just different. Re-entering America has been hard. It has been hard not to be overwhelmed by everything.

The English conversations and being able to understand them.

How people run, jog, or hurry in general to get where they need to go.

The noise being well over the quiet tone of Polish culture.

Seeing how parents treat children, and how those children treat each other.

How Americans have such pride over our country and the freedom we have.

The friendliness of meeting random people in airports… and that being welcomed.

The dramatic, confident way people behave.

Not better or worse. Just different.

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It has been a crazy couple of weeks. I am sure I will have more issues, especially as school starts, but I feel somewhat ready.  I believe that being back here, happened at the right time and place for a reason. To share my adventures, sadness, and joys from Poland. To observe things between cultures and try to embody the characteristics I love about both of them. To share what I have learned with whom I am able, and to be understanding when others just want a short answer.

Learning how to do what I learned how to do this summer.

Be GRACIOUS.

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First thing to do in the USA is enjoy Frappuccinos  from Starbucks

Much love. Much grace.

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Want to know more about Poland? Check out my teammate and friend Madi! Her posts are such a joy to read.

ENJOY!