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.”

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-7-24-30-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-7-23-25-pm

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.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

 

 

 

 

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.

computer

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.

facebook (1)

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.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

 

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)


Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 2.13.59 PM.png
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

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 2.18.49 PM.png
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

 

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 2.43.53 PM.png
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

 

 

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.57.52 AM
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

 

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 2.46.41 PM.png
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

 

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 2.49.42 PM.png
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

 

 

 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.24.26 AM.png
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.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

#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. 

wpid-wp-1440793877962.png