I Rebuilt My Identity To Create A Healthier Relationship With Social Media

identity and social media

I feel like I am disappearing.

That was the only way I could describe the feelings of anxiety and loss of identity that I felt at times mid-summer.

Last June, I was going through a particularly difficult season of parenting, and was coming out of a very busy time of travelling to conferences coming away with a lot of ideas, examples and calls-to-action to support my online content creation business.

I was so immersed in what I thought I wanted and what I felt I had to do next, which included build and build, and more and more that I began to feel lost and fall out of love with creating and storytelling, something that had once brought me endless joy.

I felt out of touch with my family, my husband and myself.

I’m not sure where this pressure was coming from, I could possibly call it the Rachel Hollis effect, which had acted as a much needed fire under my ass, but somewhere along the way had morphed into this cloudy, anxious, unsatisfied monster in my mind.

As the summer began I made the decision to create more balance in my life that needed to happen in order to protect my mental health and stay in the world of social media, which is a vital part of the business I have built from the ground up.

I wanted to give more of myself to my kids, change the way I was sharing my life and use social media in a different way to protect my mind and my relationships.

It had all just become too invasive.

So, my goal was to continue to breathe life into everything I had created and then just live life.

But something happened… When I stepped away from the screens and the apps I had no idea who I was.

It scared me to the point where at times I felt like I was floating and had no sense of what to do with myself. I realized that this unhealthy relationship I had built with social media, (especially Instagram), and this constant pressure to grow, grow, grow, would take time to stop and rewire my brain.

It would be a process.

I began stepping back and looking at what I had created. I took baby steps to heal my mind and my soul.

So I began by just sitting and reading outside. In fact much of July was spent training myself to leave my phone inside my house, while I read a book in my backyard on my deck, often looking up as I watched my kids play.


This stillness began to tell my brain that it was okay so have some separation from the machine of constantly sharing and seeing what everyone else was doing.

As the weeks went on, and as I mastered stillness, I started to feel like I was disappearing and fading away. I was realizing that a strong feel of loss of identity was coming to the surface as I reprioritized how I was spending my time.

If I wasn’t as present online, then who was I?

At one point mid-summer as I floated around feeling like a delicate spec on the planet, I unexpectedly opened up to my mom and my sister-in-law about my identity crisis. I shared how I was intentionally creating more boundaries with social media and work.

Through this raw and honest conversation I was able to better see what I had created, to find joy and self-worth in parenting, and gain perspective on life outside of social media.

As the summer sank deep into August I was starting to get better at being present and calm in parenting and in running my business, while feeling more certain about who I was and that I still mattered.

Now that I had created this boundary and distinction between myself and interacting within real life vs myself in the virtual online world, it was time to begin to reengage in a different way.

I have learned to be patient, appreciate what I have grown and dive deeply into what feeds my soul.

If I don’t feel like posting, I don’t, even if days go by.

I have been taking more time to truly engage, instead of being a collector of likes.

I have been creating content that is simple, but creative and relatable.

I have been keeping more of my own and my family’s experiences to myself, occasionally carefully choosing teachable stories to open up about.

I’ve stood with other parents after school allowing myself to fall deep into conversation, despite it eating into my “work day.”

I’ve prioritized soul-strengthening exercises like walking my dog and taking yoga classes.

I’ve given my kids and my husband more of me.

This journey in redefining my identity, participating fully in in-person experiences and creating healthy boundaries with social media that support my mental health will probably be a constant lesson, and often require some course correction.

I now feel like I am on a path of intentional living, intentional and creative content creation, and being intentional within each relationship.

Now four months out from the beginning of this journey, I’ve observed something interesting and hopeful. It makes sense really, but when you are so deep in the world of entrepreneurship and online social media it can be really hard to see…

I had been stuck.

But ever since I slowed down in what I was creating to share online, I’ve watched the needle move. My online growth across multiple platforms had been stagnant for a while. But switching from working around the clock and embracing the “more is more” concept to stepping away, living life, breathing, slowing down and allowing myself to be inspired gave air to the the flame that it had needed for so long.

5 Things I Do Each Day to Handle What’s On My Plate

Every day I have A LOT on my plate. My to-do list could go on forever and, on top of it, I have to carve out time for my relationship with my husband and for four little humans who rely on me to be fed, loved, played with, taught and guided.

mom reading to children

Every once in a while I will attempt to wrap my mind around all the responsibilities I have as a mom, a wife and a business owner, and I will feel a little panic set in. But before I succumb to the voice inside my head that says, “it’s too much, you are sinking,” I take these steps and I know that I can get through the day.

To keep myself in-sync, and make sure my mind and body are perfectly in line, I take these five steps:

  1. Routine
  2. Assess
  3. Prioritize
  4. Gain Perspective
  5. Pamper

Routine. I am all about routine. In fact, my whole family is, and at times we can feel a little off on weekends or on holiday. So the days that we don’t have school drop-offs creating structure, I still keep a routine in place. That includes me waking up before everyone else and working out and showering, ensuring we have meals around the same time each day, building quiet time for everyone into our day and sticking to the same bedtimes. When there are six members in the family, I find routine vital for each of us.

working out

Assess. Those moments when I can feel my to-do list strangling me, and the panic setting in, I know it is time to assess my life, especially my workload. I heard something so simple recently, but it made such an impact on my work life: “Take every project you are working on and visualize them all in front of you. If there is something that you don’t love, take that off your plate.” That is a motto I now live by and it has changed my world. Assess your workload and assess your relationships on a regular basis. You may be surprised by what is bringing you down and realize that it is okay to let some stuff go.

Prioritize. I love to-do lists. Seriously, they are like air to me. I have tried lots of fancy apps and organizers, but in the end a simple pad of lined paper makes for the best to-do list. Each day I split my page in two. The first list is what must get done; the second list is if I have time. I then number each item by priority and start hacking away, feeling a rush as I cross out each item.

untitled (1 of 1)-5

Gain perspective. I talk to myself. No, really I do. All day long. I keep an inner dialogue going with myself, which may sound like I have fallen off my rocker, but, really, it’s to keep me in check. I am constantly asking myself, “how are you feeling?” I will have little conversations with myself in my head making plans about how I am going to tackle a problem and how big a deal I am going to make about each obstacle. When I feel myself getting too out of sync, I reach out and talk to my husband or my mom, asking them whether I am being unreasonable. Often I realize that my problem may not be as big as I have made it out to be.

Pamper. I think constantly pampering myself is probably the most effective way I am able to stay in sync with my inner self and achieve my daily goals. I pamper myself by exercising in the morning, taking the time to do my hair and put makeup on, or carving out a rest with a yummy snack each day. Making healthy choices that make me feel better helps me have the energy and mental clarity to tackle everything on my plate. When I am really falling out of sync, I take a hot bath or go get a massage.

mother reading bookThe thing is, I have learned over the years that if I am not in in sync with my inner self, I will start sinking, and before I can give anything to any of my family, or tackle a looming deadline, I have to take care of myself. It’s only when you feel totally in sync with your core that you can harness your greatest potential.

Don’t forget to like Nesting Story on Facebook and follow Nesting Story on Instagram so that you don’t miss a post!


The Emotional Rollercoaster That Accompanies A Multiples Pregnancy And How To Survive It

B & W 2Finding out I was pregnant with twins was almost exhilarating. Hearing the words, “we see two sacs, you are having twins” was an out of body moment for me. A smile immediately planted itself on my face for the next three days. I was giddy that after two kids, then a year of infertility, including two early miscarriages, we were expecting twins! Then we started telling people…Edit 2Although I received a lot of excited congratulatory hugs, it was very different than when we announced my previous pregnancies. There was an element of shock. People had to take a couple of days to let it sink in. I also heard a lot of “I’m glad it’s you and not me” or “I’m so sorry”. Those comments left me baffled.

The news spread like fire before my first trimester was over. Well meaning people were requesting to be my friend on Facebook and suddenly showing an interest in me. People were curious.

As the weeks went by the excitement settled.  I was feeling very sick and extremely exhausted.  It was like an alien life-form was sucking out all of my resources.  Because I started to get intense Braxton Hicks contractions around the 18 week mark, I wasn’t able to do much.  I became really isolated and started to feel depressed.  I still had two older children to care for and although I was getting some help from family members, it was a daunting task.

I would sob to my husband, Mike.  I didn’t know how I was going to make it.  By late in my second trimester I was already enormous.  My hips were in so much pain all of the time.  As I lay there day after day, I would wish I could turn back time and not have gotten pregnant.  It sounds horrible but that is how terrible I felt.IMG_0507Although many of my friends were pregnant (with singletons), I felt an extreme loneliness.  I would look around at my beaming girlfriends with their average sized bumps still able to live a fairly normal life.  I felt like I was frozen in time.  Everyone was living around me.  I was a prisoner in my own body only to venture out to multiple doctors appointments each week.

Every time I would have an ultrasound or non-stress-test done, I felt like my body was this science experiment and I was the bystander.

By the time the end drew near I was starting to feel hopeful again.  By this point I had spent A LOT of time just being with my girls.  Feeling their kicks and fists poking my tummy.  Everyday felt like a massive accomplishment and by the time d-day arrived and was way more excited than nervous.

How To Mentally Cope With A Multiples Pregnancy

When you are carrying multiples there is this expectation from people around you that you are going to going in labor early. Some women do, but I kept going past everyone’s expectations. It kind of messes with your head when you are around the 30 week mark and people act as if you are going to deliver any day.

Keep your eye on the prize. Focus on what you are doing. Have someone else go through the development of your babies with you out loud so you can remember how far you have gotten.  I would call my mom and we would discuss how far the babies have developed and the milestones I had passed.

Make smaller goals. Start with 24 weeks, then 27, 30, 33 and so on. Although it seems so far away, the day will come and it will be magical.

Have a friend join you at your appointments. I only started doing this near the very end of my pregnancy because I wasn’t able to drive anymore. Have someone there to keep you company and laugh with you makes the experience much more enjoyable and a little less scary.

Join an online multiples group. This is also something I didn’t do until the end of my pregnancy and I wish I had done it so much earlier. Find a Facebook group of moms to be who are expecting around the same time as you. Chances are these ladies will be your life line.

Get cheerleaders. Make it clear to your family, friends and spouse that what you need are cheerleaders telling you “you’ve got this”. I don’t think people realize how frustrating (and unoriginal) it is to hear “you’re going to have your hands full.”

Hang in there.  Because the prize is so sweet and you will always look back at your multiples pregnancy as one of the most incredible accomplishments of your life!

Don’t forget to LIKE Nesting Story on Facebook and FOLLOW Nesting Story on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.