media consumption and health


For those who’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I’m mid-way through my first semester of university. My primary area of study is in mass media and communication, and lately, I’ve done a lot of thinking on the kind of media I consume and how it affects me.

Every part of my education is completely online. Yes, I’m living on campus, but I’m going through posted video lectures, PDF readings, zoom discussions, and countless links every single day. I never realized how much of my education up to this point had been through face-to-face interaction.

I’m an independent learner. I like to take home information, sit with it, analyze it, and come back having understood it. From there, I can work with it and answer questions about it. I find it strange, though, that I’m struggling to do that same thing when all of my work is online. I feel that now, the only way I learn is by internalizing all of the media my professors and instructors throw at me. When you’re taking 15-17 credit hours, that can be quite a lot dumped on you.

Some of the positives, though, outweigh the negatives. Because my courses are loosely related, I’m able to link topics like identity to leadership practices and media studies. A documentary I watched for my American Identities class helped me communicate in a discussion led on sexual assault awareness. Online/synchronous learning allows you to do something we don’t have time for in physical classes: I can absorb the information, reflect on it, and apply it to the rest of my knowledge.

Every day, we’re spinning a web of the media we consume. How we feel about the information in our minds shapes how we perceive the world. If I only read my Twitter feed, my world will be all about Donald Trump (if you looked at Twitter right now). If I only watch Ratched on Netflix, my world will be spooky and badass.

But something I haven’t been doing, and something a lot of my fellow students aren’t doing, is stepping back from the media. How much can you consume before it becomes your whole world? Am I going to return for winter break, only to lecture everyone on how to diagnose a conflict and conjugate French verbs in imparfait?

There’s something to be said for academic immersion. I cannot relay how grateful I am to be in an environment where everyone’s priority is on learning and becoming better versions of themselves. My friends have big dreams, and they want to make the universe better, and I have so much respect for nearly every person I meet here. But we are not just our studies.

Social media targets mental health in such a positive way right now. It’s great! You can find any number of resources for hotlines, or how to practice non-fluffy self care, or mindfulness activities. What’s missing from the conversation is how the best course of action regarding mental, emotional, and dare I say physical needs is to rest. It might sound silly, but resting is the one thing we overlook when we ask, “how do I feel better?”

Current society (in broad terms, yes) prioritizes doing. Doing anything. So when faced with an issue regarding our health, our first reaction is probably, “what can I do?”

Listen well: there is nothing you have to do. Humans are so bad at intuitive healing these days. Honestly, sit down, feel your body, listen to your mind, let your emotions sit. Slow down. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my body saying I need? How can I manage that right now?
  2. Are there thoughts in my head? Is there a way I can organize them?
  3. What am I feeling?
  4. Why am I feeling this way?
  5. Is there something wrong?
  6. Am I just fine, and this is a check-in?
  7. Have my habits changed lately? Is this positive or negative change?

If you don’t think you’ll answer these questions without biased, consult someone close to you. Often, the people who love us are the people who notice the most minor changes in demeanor. Maybe they’ll have something to offer about concerns or triumphs in your life.

Give yourself respect and love in trying times. Remember that it’s okay to feel kinda crappy. It’s okay to have things to celebrate, too. Allow yourself to feel and just exist, because you are human, and that’s all you can do sometimes. Much love.

-ellynn ❤

what 2019 taught me about time.


As my first post of the year, it’s a raw one. It’s honest. I hope you enjoy it and take it to heart, and I’m excited to show you what I have planned for 2020.

This has been a year of lessons, and I’ve decided that the most important one I learned was how little time we truly have with the ones we love.

Before I elaborate, I did not lose a loved one — that’s not what I mean, although you could see it in that sense. Time slips through our fingers, and there are periods in our lives where we have good relationships with people, and sometimes, those relationships have to be taken from us. The universe does that sometimes. I know, it sucks, right?

I’ve been writing a lot about college, and one of the super hard things about leaving my hometown is saying “see you later,” when I know I probably won’t see a lot of those people ever again. I’m being forced to choose what relationships I truly value. If I decide that I want to keep ties with every single friend from my life right now, I will never keep up. I can’t remember them all. It’s hard. How do you decide who to let go of?

That’s one of my issues with life. Priorities. They’re something I’ve never been able to set, and I think that’s something I’m slowly learning how to do. I realized what my burnout point is as far as commitments to activities/clubs. I realized what I need in my social life. What’s hard is, after realizing what those limits are, I actually have to pare down now. I have to sit and ask myself, “what really matters? who do I really care about? what’s going to be important to me five years from now?”

It’s a process, but by choosing my path of study, I’ve already narrowed down my career priorities. Writing and foreign language. Those choices are leading me to become more active with my blog and start working on relations on social media related to writing. I also just took a test to obtain the Seal of Biliteracy, which sounds super fancy but really isn’t. Underneath that layer is the desire to travel, to interact with other writers, to understand other worlds. So that’s settled: I know what I want to do with the rest of my life. Right? Let me bookmark this post and revisit that in a few years.

But with relationships, it’s much more difficult. Yoga can handle it if I decide to make it less important than my other interests. Fashion can deal. But a companion actually has feelings. I can’t dismiss a person as easily. Not to say that prioritizing people you love has to mean dismissing other people. It’s not that at all. We need to choose first and foremost the people who deserve our attention, letters, facebook messages, emails, texts, coffee dates. We only have so much time, so we have to choose between visiting a childhood best friend or some girl with whom you cracked jokes in Chemistry class two years ago. Who matters? Who affects your daily life, emotional well-being, and your health?

Deciding what (and who) you want to stay isn’t selfish. On the contrary: it’s a kindness to the people around you. There’s no sense in spending time with people who you don’t feel are terribly important to your own happiness. And in my opinion, if someone isn’t dying to spend time with me or show that I’m valuable to them often, then I would rather they simply move on. Our time on Earth is way too short to have half-assed relationships. If you care, let them in. If you don’t, be honest and let them go.

One more thing, though. Don’t just randomly delete people and things from your life. It’s not like taking out the trash. This reflection, this change? It’s going to take some time, and it’s going to have repercussions. You can’t suddenly tell a friend you don’t want to speak to them ever again. You have to handle it gracefully, honestly. And even if you think you’re ready to let go, be prepared to feel a loss. Even if you’re the one cutting ties, you may still feel a pull at something that used to be there. It won’t be easy, but shedding what no longer serves you, like a snake in its old skin, is better for everyone and everything.

Much love, and happy new year.

-ellynn ❤

be gentle with yourself.


Hi everyone. I don’t know who needs this message today, but I figure someone does, so I’m gonna write it for that person.

Today is hard for you. It might have been difficult to get to sleep last night or wake up this morning. It might have taken everything you had to make yourself breakfast, shower, wear clean clothes, brush your hair, and smile. Or maybe you aren’t smiling.

If not, try smiling right now. It may not feel quite right, like it doesn’t show how you feel today, but just try. Because it’ll feel just a little bit better than making a sad or angry face. Just a little bit.

Now, give yourself the space to be. Acknowledge that you are allowed to exist in your space today. Because you are. You are given your space to do what you will with it, so let it exist only for you. Fill it up.

Picture your day today. Maybe it consists of staying in bed, but maybe it means a morning commute to work or school. Perhaps it’s visiting a friend, family member. Or going on a trip to the grocery store. Whatever the tasks ahead, picture doing them gracefully. How can you go through the daily grind while still showing yourself an incredulous amount of love and support?

Breathe out any negative energy that’s sitting in your body. Breathe it all out. Then breathe in, breathe in the positive energy you deserve to feel. It should reverberate through your whole being because you know it’s what you need today.

Take a little extra time for yourself. If it needs to happen while you tie your shoelaces, do that. If you need to step out of a meeting to count to 100 before going back in, do so. What action can you take right now that would make you feel just a little more emotionally reinforced than you were five minutes ago?

Send a text to a loved one who might need a bit more love than you today. Step out of yourself and tell them you’re thinking of them because you’d like the same thing for yourself. Because you’re them today, too, and you’d want them to send you positive words of encouragement. While you’re at it, send those words to yourself.

Now sit up tall, feeling the strength in your belly and your chest and your legs. You are stronger than Wonderwoman. You have all the backbone of an alligator. You will conquer universes. Acknowledge that you have power.

Begin your day.

p.s. if you’d like, leave a comment about why you needed this today. maybe I can tell you something that would encourage you through the rest.