Using Social Media in a Healthy way, so it Doesn’t Have to Become a Bad Thing

Two words: Social Media.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

We all have our different opinions on this topic, and I think most of us would agree that like anything else, it can be a good thing if we use it correctly and in moderation. But what is the “correct” way to use social media? And how much is considered too much before it becomes a “bad thing.”

I think about this topic just about every day. And after spending 90 days living abroad with a group of 18-24 year olds (mostly girls) for the second time around, I decided to share my opinion on the matter. Because, as you all know… I really like sharing my point of view on things. 😉

I’ve loved social media since I first got my Bebo account at the mere age of 12. After that, it was downhill spiraling effect of Tumblr, Myspace, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. Not all of these accounts are still active, but I have loved them all at one point in my life, some a little too much. They’ve brought me new hobbies, new friends, inspiration, and sometimes embarrassing to admit, self worth and validation.

So…what’s wrong with loving social media?

My answer is nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having social media as a hobby, just like there is nothing wrong with having video games, or binge watching episodes on Netflix as a hobby. But like I’ve mentioned before, and like most of you will agree, there is a line that can be crossed when a hobby becomes unhealthy, and I’ve personally crossed that line.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to teach myself over the years how to get away from that line as soon as I find myself using social media in an “unhealthy way” or having an unhealthy mindset about it. In good ol’ Wren fashion, I want to share some of those lessons I’ve learned over the years, so that maybe you can change your perspective of thinking social media is a bad, unhealthy thing. Or change your mindset because you feel like you’ve personally crossed that unhealthy line. Because just like most things, it can be a really good thing if you use it correctly.

1.Post because you WANT to, not because you NEED to.

I’ve heard it many times “I need to post that photo that I took today. I need to edit that video, so that it is up in time. I need to post something right now, because it is a certain time of day, and the algorithm will mess it up if I don’t.” Unless you have turned your social media accounts into your career, there is no reason to feel the pressure of having to post. Wouldn’t it sound silly if you said something like I need to watch my Netflix show today, instead of wanting to? Just like any hobby, posting and using social media should be a fun thing that you do in your spare time. I’m guilty myself for thinking this way, but I’ve learned to remind myself that there is no timeline, or restrictions on when I post. I post for the sake of posting. Because I want to, not because I need to.

2. Ask yourself if you would be “doing this” if there wasn’t anywhere to post it.

Another helpful tip I’ve learned to get out of the unhealthy social media trap is asking myself if I would be doing the thing I am currently doing, if I didn’t have anywhere to post it. I think of this a lot as I am taking pictures, or recording videos. Would I be eating this same meal if the food didn’t look as pretty? Would I be wearing this outfit today, whether it matches my feed or not? Would I even be taking this photo or capturing this moment?? Or I am just doing all of these extra things for the sake of pretty content and likes…?

I can remember a time in my life when my friends and I would get all done up, and take pictures for fun. We would spend hours doing our hair and “re- doing” our make up just to go outside to take a million photos of each other. But that wasn’t the fun part. The fun part was editing the photos, uploading them to our Myspace profiles and watching the notifications flood in. We would spend hours reading photo comments, comparing the number of likes to each other’s, and telling our selves that we could do better next time. This was very fun… until it wasn’t.

None of us were interested in pursuing careers in modeling or photography, so there became a point when we stopped “taking pictures” for fun. Obviously, I continued to capture my life, and pose for photos in the days and moments I want to remember. But my mindset changed when I started asking myself, would I be doing these things or capturing these moments even if I had no where to post them? Most of the time, my answer is yes. I am glad that I have photos of my vacations, my birthdays, my holiday parties with my friends. Even though I post a lot of those photos, I know that I would still be capturing those moments even if I never had social media to post them on.

3. Ask yourself if you would take this picture even if nobody else saw it.

A lot like the prior, I ask myself would I be taking this photo if I was the only person who would ever see it? If you think about the million of selfies you’ve taken just to get that one “good one” this question might make you laugh.

There are so many photos I have that bring me back good memories, remind me of good moments, or just make me genuinely happy looking at them. And if I was the only person to ever see those photos, I’d still be very happy to have them.

On the opposite end, I could do without the hundreds of bad selfies so I don’t waste time taking those anymore. Because if they aren’t making ME happy, then why spend so much time taking them? However, I am not saying I am not for a good selfie. If you are feeling great about yourself, or your having a good hair day, capture it. Just remember to ask yourself if you’d be happy with that photo if you were the only one to ever see it.

4. Post for yourself, and nobody else

In addition to tip number 2 and number 3, this tip is to remind you that in order to get in a healthy mindset of using social media, post for yourself. And yourself only. Not for anyone else. If you are spending hours getting ready, finding the perfect outfit, getting frustrated with your friends for not getting the perfect angle, and taking hundreds of “not good enough” photos, just to delete them for not getting enough likes… you are crossing the line of using social media in an unhealthy way.

5. Connect to connect.

This one may be difficult for some of you, but it shouldn’t be. Social media was created for connection. Which is why it is called SOCIAL media. I come across so many accounts that are filled with beautiful selfies,  and people who get their comments and likes, and that’s that. If that’s how you want to use social media, so be it. I just think after awhile you’re going to be spending time scrolling through beautiful photos of beautiful people and wasting time feeling sorry for yourself and your life because you didn’t get a similar amount of likes as a super model.

Personally, I like to use my social media accounts to connect to others. I like to follow accounts that communicate with others, ask questions, do polls, etc. because if I am not connecting or getting my point across to others, what is the point of spending (or wasting) time on these apps? I’d rather spend all that time connecting, then feeling sorry for myself and I think you would all agree.

6. Unfollow non thought provoking, uninspiring content.

I know I know, you don’t want to offend that girl that once sat by you in 8th grade by hitting the unfollow button. But this tip is probably the most important! Do you listen to music that you don’t like? Do you watch movies that you don’t like? Or listen to podcasts you don’t like? Exactly. My point is, social media is a hobby and if you are scrolling through content that isn’t speaking to you in a way that you enjoy, then why are you even logging on?

A little thing I do that has helped me, is keep those “friends” of mine from middle school on Facebook, but only follow accounts on Instagram that really inspire me. This way they are separate, and when I care to see how the babies of my middle school peers are doing, or who is getting divorced, I scroll through my Facebook. (which is rare). My Instagram is filled with content that gets me excited for future travels, makes me think, inspires me to get off my phone and practice yoga, redecorate my house, dive into a new hobby, or that simply just makes me happy.

I am not saying all of the content you follow should be thought provoking and inspiring, but a majority of it should be. After all, you are choosing to open these apps, spend time on them, and look at this content. You should at least enjoy what you’re looking at.

7. Like posts because you actually LIKE them

Just like choosing the content you follow, you can choose the content you see the most. I understand liking posts because you’re supporting your favorite photographer, or because your sister’s selfie deserves more likes. But you actually like that content right? (I hope you like your sisters face. 😉 ) I’ve never understood liking photos just to “like” them.  Again, you get to choose what you fill your feed with, so why not choose things you enjoy?

If you are constantly liking videos of pig slaughter houses, just because you want to support your vegan friend who constantly shares them, then your feed is going to slowly become filled with pig slaughter houses. And I don’t think anyone would enjoy logging into social media if it was filled with those horrid videos. Personally, I stopped following super models and girls who had “perfect bodies” because those posts weren’t inspiring me, they were making me feel bad about myself and I didn’t like seeing them.

So, only double tap or thumbs up the posts that speak to you in a healthy way. Do you enjoy looking at this post? Does it inspire you? Can you relate in some way? Or does it simply just make you happy? Go ahead and like it, sis. If not, keep scrolling. Fill that feed with joy.

8. Remind yourself that every post is “good.”

I hear it way too often. “that picture isn’t good enough” “I need a better caption” I won’t post this one because it’s not “instagram worthy.” What does that even mean??  We already live in a world that makes us feel not worthy, and the pressure of being “good enough” shouldn’t come from a dumb little hobby that we share online. If you find yourself thinking these thoughts about your self, or your content, take a step back from that fine line. (you know, the unhealthy one.)

If you capture a beautiful moment, or a memory from a special day and you want to share it, DO IT. Whether it’s your best head shot, or the worst angle you’ve ever seen of yourself. If you want to share it, it is good enough.

9.  Don’t look for validation and self worth through social media.

Ahhh the most difficult tip of all. This is so much easier said than done. And if I wasn’t guilty of this one, this blog post wouldn’t even exist. You may have read number 6 and thought “no Wren, it isn’t good enough” and if I heard you say that, I would ask you “why do you think that?” And your answer would be “well because the people of social media didn’t think so. I only got this many likes.” And that’s what brings us to number 7.

Once you start to change your mindset and tell yourself that it doesn’t matter how many likes or views you get, because this is just a dumb online hobby, and not the deciding factor of your whole self worth, you will stop caring how many likes or views you get. Once you change your source of validation from social media, to other real life things (genuine connections, accomplishing goals, etc.) you will stop caring about getting likes from social media, and your self worth won’t be affected by it anymore.

And let me tell you, it is the most freeing feeling once you do this. I remember getting 40 likes on a post that I really liked, and do you know what? I didn’t erase it, or tell myself it “wasn’t good enough” I just looked at the photo, reminded myself of that great day, and felt happy about sharing it on my feed. The post I posted after that one, got 180 likes. And I felt the exact same way about that one as I did the prior.

I finally taught myself to stop looking for validation and my self worth in numbers and through this online hobby. And even though it took about 10 years of practice to do so, I have never felt more free to post what I want, when I want to, because I want to.

10. Disconnect when connecting.

This is the one I focused on most this summer. I constantly notice that people (mostly the younger generations) are so attached to their phones that they don’t know how to make genuine connections in real life, which is why I think of the topic of social media so often. I understand that things change, and times are different now, but this tip is a simple reminder to disconnect from your phone while connecting in real life.

I could sit with someone over coffee, tell them everything I love about them as a person, thank them for being a great friend, etc. But if they leave that coffee shop and log into their social media and see that their post didn’t get the likes they were hoping for, or that cute guy didn’t snap chat them back, suddenly they’re not enough. Which leads to blaming social media for depression, suicide rates, etc. I don’t think it’s social media’s fault at all, it’s the fact that this person didn’t feel good enough through a real life connection and their self worth is based off their life online.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I personally think human connection is the most important thing in this world, and I think it is the stem for all self worth and validation.

Maybe you need this small reminder, or maybe you don’t. But next time you’re with a loved one, listen to them, pay attention to them, communicate with them. Next time you’re with your grandparents, don’t take a photo of your food, or scroll through memes. Instead pay attention to their old hands, and their stories that they love to share with you. Next time you’re in bed with your lover, put your phone down. Pay attention to the way they breathe, and the way you feel curled up to them. Nothing is going to give you more validation or the feeling of being enough like genuine connections and love do.

I hate to see a world that people don’t understand this, and it’s happening so fast. So, I hope this small tip gets through to at least one of you.

Some of you may have read this novel (really, that’s what this is at this point) and thought to yourself, I don’t need any of these tips, I do all of these things. But most of you who are reading (and are still reading) clicked on this post for a reason. Maybe you want more out of your social media accounts, maybe you feel as if you’ve wasted a lot of time online for nothing, or maybe you feel yourself close to crossing that line and thinking that “social media is BAD” or that you need a break.

Take a break if you need to, but eventually you will get back to using social media, and get back into the bad habits and unhealthy mindset. And it’s not going to take long before it becomes a bad thing in your life again. Instead, take these tips into consideration and try to change your mindset and habits while using social media. After all, it is just a dumb online hobby. 😉

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

 

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Goodbye to this chapter, and A very “busy” April.

IMG_4758Today is May 1st, and to be honest getting through the month of April has made me feel like I can do absolutely anything. I know I always start my posts by saying that me being busy is an understatement, but I have recently learned that “busy” is just a sad word to say that I have been taking advantage of every single moment.

I love being busy. I love being on the go. I love taking advantage of every single day. And even though I feel like I haven’t had “a break” since February, I’ve had so many beautiful experiences in the meantime, and have been surrounded by so much love. Here’s a few moments that I took advantage of and captured from this crazy month:

Celebrating our beautiful angel, Ashley, with my work family.IMG_3944.JPGHiking those beautiful red rocks with our best friends.IMG_4757Practicing yoga in my backyard, and cuddling way too often with Harvey

IMG_4741Being crazy hooligans with my favorites, including my sissyIMG_4755Our first swim day of the year at Grandma’sIMG_4122.JPGThe prettiest work sunset IMG_4193.JPGVisits from Kenzie from San Francisco IMG_4761.JPGCoffee date with MarieIMG_4754

Visits from Auston from Salt LakeIMG_4752

Loving on and saying goodbye to my favorite girls
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Double date with my sissy and TylerIMG_4256

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve consciously taken advantage of the time I have left before we leave the country again, but I’ve learned that when I am “busy” time slows down…

A LOT.

Each day felt like a whole week, and the month of April felt like a whole year. It was filled with so many emotions, temporary and final goodbyes, growing pains, life lessons, and so many little moments that made me feel thankful to be living. I took advantage of every single one of them, and every single emotion and feeling that came with them.

A no sleep, beautiful night in Vegas with my Derek

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Crying and dancing not once, but twice to my favorite band, The 1975IMG_4753Celebrating Derek’s birthday at dinner with our DurstelersIMG_4749.JPGShowering these two beautiful mamas, super model best friends of mine (both of those bellies will be babies next time I see them!)

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Pulling off a 400 people Easter brunch (and a handful of more events) at workIMG_4748.JPGVisits from mom from Arizona (I hadn’t slept in 3 days in this photo)IMG_4583.JPGGame night/ going away party with my work famIMG_4747.JPGLeaving town again to celebrate this girl’s birthdayIMG_4729And so many more, that I didn’t remind myself to capture

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IMG_4746.JPGI know I’ll look back on April 2019 of being one of the busiest, hardest, but most beautiful months of my life. I’ll remember it as the time that I learned that “busy” doesn’t always mean something bad. Sometimes  being “busy” just means that you are living your life to the absolute fullest and taking advantage of every single minute with the people you love, the places you’ll miss, and the feelings you want to hold onto forever.

IMG_4760We leave to the Dominican Republic in just a few days, and even though

I CAN NOT WAIT

to “have a break”, live on the beach, and spend every single minute with my Derek, I can’t help but feel so proud of the things I have accomplished in the last few weeks. I am proud of myself for looking at my to do lists and thinking “I am going to miss this” instead of “I am so stressed out”. For still working 50 hour work weeks, because I know how much I’ll miss the job that I worked so hard to get and the people who come with it. For giving up sleep to cuddle Harvey a little longer,  and taking advantage of my good internet, bath tub, air conditioner, and washing machine. For giving up my alone time to spend time with the large amount of people I want to see and hug before I leave, and constantly thinking “I am so lucky to have so many people who fill my heart”. And the most important, for allowing myself to feel every single emotion, instead of blocking them out.

I know that change is always good, but I am also very aware that it means new chapters, new self growth, and changes in relationships. I know from past experience that things will be much different when we come back home, and this month has taught me that that is okay.  It taught me that emotions, busy-ness, anxiety, stress, tears, love, happiness highs, and missing moments before they’re gone, are all a part of being human and living. And if you read my previous post, you know that I think, there is nothing wrong with LIVING. 

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

Using your Limited Time to Live Your Freaking Life

IMG_3985.JPGIn the light of recent events, I’ve been paying more attention to time. Time has always been something I’ve been observant of, but for some unknown reason, I’ve felt more thankful for the subtle reminders lately that our time here is limited and that it all eventually comes to an end. The time spent with the people we meet, and love. The time we spend in the places we go or call home, the certain little moments that we want to hold onto forever, it’s all limited. And it will all eventually come to an end.IMG_3984.JPGYou may be thinking to yourself “wow Wren, now I am depressed, thanks for the reminder.” But it’s the truth. And the thought that we’re not here forever shouldn’t make you depressed, it should make you want to live. All too often I hear these lines, and lately I’ve paid way more attention to them:

  • “I’ll do that one day.”
  • “I’ll be happy when… I lose the weight, I find true love, get a better job, move away.”
  • “I wish I could do that.”
  • “I am jealous of their life.”
  • “If only things were as easy as that.”

Do you know what I think when I hear these? Unhealthy mind sets, excuses, and future regrets. I know that things come easier to some people than others and it’s a natural reaction to feel jealousy, compare, and wish for different life experiences especially in this time in society.

It’s also a natural reaction to make excuses as to why you’re not doing the things you want to do with your limited time, but I’ve learned over the years that even though they’re easier, excuses are just blocks to living our best lives and taking advantage of our time here. If you really want to accomplish something, you’ll stop putting it on the back burner and do it. No matter how difficult it is, how crazy it sounds to others, how much sense it doesn’t make, or how the timing might not feel just right.

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I personally think humans make excuses because we can’t comprehend how it will feel when our time runs out. We think we will always have the weekend, the summer, the next year, the “one days.” Until it runs out and we don’t have any more time to accomplish the things we once promised ourselves that we would do. 56622488_2078565578863187_5963440933763547136_nCan you imagine how different your perspective would change if you knew for a fact that you only had 5 more years to live and that the count down started today?

You would quit your job that you hate. You would go do the things that you always wanted to do and see the places you always wanted to see, no matter how much money or uncomfortable situations it took. You would tell everyone how you felt about them, because why does it matter if they feel the same way back? You would capture more moments; write them down, photograph them, record them, so that your life and your moments would be remembered when you were gone.

You wouldn’t care about the way you looked, or the way you did things. You wouldn’t try to impress anyone and be unapologetic-ally yourself.  You probably wouldn’t care that your food order was wrong or that someone pulled in front of you while driving, or that a certain person ignored your text or phone call. You would begin to care more about making each day better than the last, and not let the little inconveniences upset you. You would absorb the moments that make your heart sing and surround yourself with the people and things that make you feel complete. You would take in all of the beauty of the world because you would constantly be aware of how much time you have left to enjoy it all.IMG_4124Your whole perspective would change, and that is the point I am trying to make.

I don’t mean to depress you, or rush you to spend the money that you don’t have on that plane ticket, or make you think “wow, what the hell am I currently doing with my life?” But all I’ve seen lately is time passing… excuses, wishful thinking, and not a whole lot of living. I hope that this post is a simple reminder that your time with a person, your time in a place, your time here on Earth… it’s all limited and I think we should all take advantage of these beautiful lives we are lucky to live.

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So, if you want to start living, start small. Tell people how you feel, how much you love and care for them.. even if they don’t care to hear it or don’t say it back. Visit the places you’ve always wanted to see, not for the Instagram photo, but for the sake of fulfilling your dreams. Study hard in college because you want that education, not to impress your parents or your friends. Sing really loud with your windows down, jump into the swimming pool, dance like a fool, crowd surf, get the tattoo. Do everything you’ve always wanted to do, and be everything you always wanted to be., all for the sake of feeling alive. Fulfill yourself and your life as if all of your time is limited, and remind yourself when you need to, that it is.

Onto the next adventure, (with my favorite quote lately ) Wren
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A Farewell to my Early 20’s

Whenever I hear an older person talk about their best time of their life, it is most of the time “without a doubt, their 20s.”  In our 20s, we’re young, we’re allowed to be selfish, we’re usually in the best shape of our life. We are learning who we are and what we want, and how we want to live out the rest of our lives. The world seems like a whole new place filled with new memories, experiences, close relationships, and celebrations. So it’s no question, why this is usually the answer.

I remember finally turning 20 years old and thinking to myself, I am going to make these next 10 years the best years of my entire life, and live every day like it is something to be celebrated. I learned to subconsciously teach myself that these are my “good old days” and that one day, I too, will be a much older person, talking about how great my 20s once were.

Now that I’ve officially reached the age of 25 (birthday blog post coming soon) and am the middle of this wonderful decade of my life, I understand what all of those people were talking about and why our 20s are usually “our best days”.

Here’s a little nostalgic farewell to my early 20s, with photos from my birthdays. (you know for me to look back on):

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20 years old:

  • I traveled out of state alone for the first time without family, just with Derek.
  • I became friends with so many great people, who would eventually feel like family. (shout out to our continuing friendship!)
  • Derek got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

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21 years old:

  • After 6 years, I finally made it official, had my dream wedding, and became Derek’s wife.
  • I found a lot of new passions such as teaching, yoga, and event planning.
  • Derek and I traveled out of country for our first time together.

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22 years old:

  • Derek and I bought our first house, and renovated it for 3 months.
  • We adopted our Harvey boy, and became dog parents.
  • We took a 10 day road trip, and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.

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23 years old:

  • Derek and I moved to the other side of the world for a semester, and crossed off two more countries together.
  • I rode on a total of 16 airplanes, and fell in love with this world.
  • I put my focus on accepting the person I was, and thought a lot about who I wanted to become.

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24 years old:

  • I spent a week in my fifth country with some of my favorite people.
  • I got promoted at work, to my dream position, as an event coordinator.
  • I had a lot of growing pains, and struggled with mental health issues, but became genuinely happy, and found self love.

Every year seems to get better than the last. Obviously, this isn’t the case for everyone, but I do believe that the last 5 years of my life wouldn’t have been as great as they were, without the mind set I’ve taught myself to have. I’ve said yes to new opportunities, I’ve reached out to make my connections with people deeper, I’ve learned that my comfort zone only exists in my mind, I’ve dug deep, and got in tune with myself and my life. And I’ve lived every single day, and every single moment knowing that I am going to miss it one day.

So, farewell early 20’s!

25, and the next 5 years have a lot to live up to, but I am planning on continuing the rest of my life like I am currently living in my “good old days.”  And that alone, makes me so excited for the adventure, growth, and memories they will bring.

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Onto the next adventure, Wren

Creating a Balanced Life from an Extroverted Empath

IMG_3285Finding balance in my life has been something I’ve struggled with for years, and I know I am not alone. A lot of us get overwhelmed with too many things to accomplish, too many people to devote our time to, too many goals that seem out of reach, and somehow there is never enough time to do it all. If our lives feel off balanced, we may experience anxiety, not feeling good enough for our loved ones, disappointed in ourselves, not sleeping or eating (or forgetting to) and putting important things on the back burner. And when this constantly happens, our mental health starts to take a downfall.

As an extroverted empath myself, finding balance is something that doesn’t come easy to me, but it is crucial if I want to keep myself sane and my mental health in tact. The extroverted part of me absorbs energy from going to places with groups of people, spending time with others, or even just calling or texting a friend or family member to interact.IMG_3282The empath part of me absorbs energies from outside sources or other people like my bloodstream absorbs my morning caffeine.  And if I am around any energy that isn’t compatible with my own at the moment, I start to feel exhausted and drained. I’ve always known I was a highly sensitive person, in fact EVERYTHING about me is sensitive: my emotions, my personality, even my skin. But I didn’t notice how sensitive I was to the energies around me until about a year ago and have since learned how much of an empath I am.IMG_3287.JPGSince then, I have accepted my personality traits and have learned to find a balance between the extroverted and the empathetic side of me. These two traits are polar opposite, and if I can find a way around them and continue balance throughout my life, I believe you can to.

  • Priorities should take most of your energy, but not all of it.

Everyone has different priorities in life. Maybe you’re working towards becoming the next CEO of a big company, maybe you are in the middle of a weight loss journey, or maybe you are trying to be the best house wife and soccer mom there ever was. Whatever you’re working towards, keep working towards it. You’re doing great! However, just because you have a priority, doesn’t mean that you should put all of your time and energy towards that one thing. If all of your time and energy is only directed towards one thing, the other parts of your life will start to crumble.

Take the CEO for example. This guy still has a family, friends, a body that needs food and sleep, a home that needs to be cared for, and a brain that will go insane if it is overworked. When all of his focus and energy is on working towards that position, it will be difficult for him to find balance in other areas of his life. He may start to lose his relationships with friends and family, his living space will always feel messy, and he may experience panic attacks, insomnia, or weight gain. Even though he will have the euphoric feeling of all of his hard work paying off (IF and WHEN) he becomes the CEO, his life will become out of order, and always feel imbalanced. Simply reminding yourself that priorities should take up most of your time and energy, but not all of it will help you find a healthy balance.IMG_3281.JPG

  • Do what you’re doing, while you are doing it.

This one may sound a little confusing, but it is actually pretty straightforward. I’ll start with a few examples. Most of you go to a place that you call work, this place is where you work. You go to a place called the gas station, this is where you get gas. You go to the gym, this is where you exercise. You go to a family dinner at your grandparents, this is where you eat dinner and spend time with family. You hangout with friends, to socialize and have fun. Pretty simple right?

The problems occur when you start doing other things other than the thing that you are doing. When you start putting your focus towards other responsibilities other than the one you are focusing on, things become messy and imbalanced. When you are at work, your focus should be on work, not on the vacation that you are planning next year. When you are at the gas station or the gym, your focus should be completely on the task that you are there to do. When you are spending time with family and friends, you should focus on being presently with them, not answering work emails and phone calls, scrolling through social media, connecting with others who are not there, etc.

I know it’s easier said than done, and this one will take practice, but if you truly want to feel balanced- stay in the moment and put your focus on the task that you’re doing while you’re doing it. Overall, this will help you feel more balanced, fulfilled, and accomplished.

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  • Plan ahead. (emotionally)

A lot of you may look at that first word and want to skip right over this tip. I know planning ahead doesn’t come naturally to some of you, but keep reading along because I am not talking about “five year plans” or “itineraries and timelines for your week.” I am talking about emotionally planning ahead. As an empath, this step is very important in keeping myself sane. And even if you aren’t an empath yourself, I think this little trick can help you too.

I’ll use my sensitive little self as the example here. When I emotionally prepare myself for a future event, I get less overwhelmed and anxious when the event actually happens. If I know I am going to Vegas with friends for the weekend, I can mentally prepare myself to be surrounded by large groups of people, loud noises, a lot of traffic, and a night of no sleep. About a week prior, I will stop communicating with a lot of different personality types, and push my errands and social gatherings back a week to save my emotional energy for the weekend.

If I emotionally prepare myself to spend the whole night alone with my dog and my favorite Netflix series, I can prepare myself to not get stir crazy, unmotivated, or lonely. I will put my focus on being alone, practice new hobbies, and enjoy the peace and quiet. Emotionally preparing ahead is nothing like physically planning ahead, it’s more a mind trick that I’ve learned how to subconsciously teach myself over the years. It takes practice, but I think preparing for the energy that will soon be around us can prepare us from negatively absorbing it, or getting exhausted from it.

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  • Learn how to say no.

Who else struggles with turning down opportunities or invitations? As an extroverted person myself, I have a large group of close family and friends and my weeks are usually filled with many different social gatherings. I used to never say no to an invitation, to anyone in need of help, or to staying extra hours at work. I always covered shifts, showed up to gatherings, and always replied with a YES, even when I didn’t really feel like attending (or working an extra 10 hours a week). Even though this brought me many great people and opportunities into my life, I  eventually wore myself thin.

After a while of living this way, I learned that I had no time or energy left to focus on myself. And in the midst of it all, I became exhausted, I became depressed, and I became lost. Who was I? What did I enjoy doing? What were my hobbies? The extroverted side of me felt this desperate need to always be surrounded by others, but the empath part of me was drowning, and begging for some time to decompress from the constant variety of energies that I constantly surrounded myself with.

It wasn’t until I learned how to say no, that I finally found a healthy balance of social time, and alone time. I have now learned where my exhaustion point is and even though most invitations and opportunities sound exciting and fun, I have no problem with turning a few of them down- For my mental sanity and to keep my life feeling balanced.

If I have a long, exhausting day at work, and a friend asks me to get dinner, I simply reply with a “no, a different day?” and look forward to my quiet house with no other energy filling the space besides my own. Plus, moving dinner to a different day gives me time to emotionally plan ahead. 😉 Empath or not, I think it is crucial for all of us to be alone with our own thoughts and energy every once in a while, to learn about the person we are, and what we enjoy, without the influence or energies of others.

Side note: to keep your alone time consistent, pick a place or a time of day that you always spend alone. Example: the gym, your morning coffee, your bath tub, dinner on Thursday nights, your yoga mat, a evening walk every Sunday, etc. (And remember do what you’re doing, while you’re doing it. This is your ALONE time, stay disconnected from your phone, so you can connect with yourself.)

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  • Remember, there is enough time

When your life start to feel imbalanced, for whatever reason it does, most of us always seem to say the same or similar excuses of “I am soooo busy.” or “There is just not enough time.” “I can’t keep up..” Sound familiar? I know we’re all guilty of it.

There is nothing wrong with being busy or having a lot going on, but guess what? There is always enough time. You have just as much time in a day as Beyonce. We all do. Stop blaming your sad imbalanced life on the time you don’t have. Not only is this an unhealthy way of thinking, it is also going to cause anxiety and make you feel overwhelmed about all of the time you’ve wasted, or the “not enough” you have left.

Instead, learn to prioritize and manage your time. Maybe you need to buy a calendar, maybe you need to wake up 2 hours earlier, maybe you need to spend less time on your video game, and more time with your parents. Or maybe, like me, you need to learn to say no, and reschedule with loved ones, or take a day off from work. Whatever you need to do, do it. Just please stop telling yourself there isn’t enough time, because eventually you’ll start believing it. And who wants to spend their time worrying about not having enough time? Prioritize and work for that balance.

I promise you, there is always enough time.IMG_3276.JPGAnd with that, I wish you all a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

 

 

You are not a sad story

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I posted. A WHOLE MONTH. That makes me sad, but it also makes me realize how busy I have been. Between wedding season, Derek being in school full time, the change of seasons, a few changes to family life, and our friend Jessica moving in with us, life has been a little crazy lately.

Somewhere in all of this craziness, I decided to sit down at my computer last week and make this little video as a little reminder of that life is so so good. Just this year, I’ve watched family and friends go through traumatic experiences, broken hearts, losing family members, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, infertility, eating disorders, unemployment, sexual abuse, anxiety and depression.

Even though I haven’t personally experienced most of the things mentioned above, I still struggle. I’ve had more dark days in the last year than I have had in a very long time. Some of them caused by the growing pains of learning to love the person I am, some of them caused by accepting my sensitivity and emotions, but most of them caused by feeling helpless to my loved ones around me.

We all have dark days, and I wanted to make this little video to remind myself, and whoever else needs it, that life is beautiful. You are not a sad story. You are so much more than your body, your bad thoughts, your trauma, and your experiences. Your life is meant to be lived, to be beautiful, to make you happy and proud. Do whatever it takes to make it that way. And know that I am cheering you on!

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

Soul mates, and the search to find them

Soul mate:

The one person who is the perfect match. The perfect fit. The person who fills in your empty spaces and fits into your life like a perfect puzzle piece. The one person who is destined to be yours. Who at one point in time, you’ll meet and you’ll think “Oh, it’s you.  Here you are. You’re the one.”

IMG_0626Do you believe in such a thing? For some reason I’ve had a lot of conversations lately regarding soul mates and I have had a lot of different opinions and feedback on them. Some say there is no such thing; you fall in love when you’re ready for commitment with someone who is also ready, shares similar interests, and who you have a mutual attraction with. This could be anyone, it might last forever, and it might not-and that’s that.7Others say there’s only one person, it might take a life time to find them or you may never find them, but when you finally do, you’ll know. You are complete, you’ve found your perfect fit, your ONLY match and you’ll live life by their side for the rest of your days. They are your soul mate, and even though there are billions of other souls in the world, this is the only one that can complete you. You two were destined to be in each other’s lives, to fall in love, to complete the other.810IMG_E0622Hearing so many different theories has left me to figuring out my personal opinion and feelings on the matter. And in good ol’ Wren fashion, I decided to share mine. Because what if I told you, I believe in neither of the above theories?

Hold on tight, it’s about to get deep.

We all have bodies, but I believe we’re so much more than just our bodies. Just like our bodies, we all have souls that are unique and only our’s. Our souls aren’t made up of cells and atoms and body parts, they are made up of energy, light, and stardust. And when our brains (bodies) react to situations, things, and especially people, our souls react too.IMG_0624When I walk into a room and feel a certain energy, when I listen to certain songs, try new things, or when I am surrounded by certain people, my soul reacts (positively or negatively). Which brings me back to my soul mate theory.IMG_0625I believe in soul mates. However, I do not believe in the theory of only having one soul mate. I think we will all have many soul mates, some more than other’s, but everyone has more than one. Our blood related family members become our soul mates the day we are born. And even though we may feel like we don’t always need them, or aren’t always on the same page, our souls will always have a connection with them. In apart from family members, I believe we have many different soul mates. We have our romantic soul mates, musical taste soul mates, travel soul mates, our once a week coffee soul mates, our dance party soul mates, our cry on the shoulder soul mates, etc.IMG_0621You see, in my opinion, the idea of soul mates doesn’t mean that there is only one soul out there that completes us, because I think our souls need many souls to feel complete. Every once in a while, when you’re not looking for it, you’ll meet someone and think “wow I need you in my life at this time, you fill in my empty spaces, you complete me.” They will become one of your soul mates, and good news!! this will continue happening through out your life.IMG_E0623Our souls live off of connection and energy, but just like our brains, our souls are ever changing and growing. Which means there will be soul mates who may drift away from us, grow apart, or be replaced. These people just don’t complete you anymore, or they never did. And that’s okay, because you have a billion of more souls to connect with and you have your whole life to find them.9We’re all searching for happiness, to feel whole, to feel connected in this world. One of the most important things we can do to accomplish this, is to surround ourselves with the people who complete us, who give us happiness highs, who we call our best friends, our people, our family, our soul mates. I’ve found mine and I have never felt more complete.

 

I hope you all find your’s.

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Onto the next adventure, Wren