"There is no greater love than the love you give yourself. When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we learn to love each other unconditionally. So always choose love, always be love, always self-love. Love always wins."

LINDSAY BURNELL is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University with a focus in School Counseling. She, herself, struggled with mental health issues and made the very important and strong decision to seek help and change her life. In making this decision she also realized she could change the lives of others. Recently speaking at a conference and sharing her story with others she's certainly on a path to GREATNESS! Keep doing what you're doing, Lindsay, and sharing your incredible story and spreading the message of self-love. We think you're AMAZING!

Every Ella: Tell us about yourself.

Hello Everyone, my name is Lindsay. I’m 22 years old, 23 on June 6th! I was born and raised in North Georgia. Both my parents however are from Europe, making me a first born American. I have family as close as Savannah and as far as Australia. A few of my hobbies are photography, yoga and volunteer/social justice work. I have a true passion for wellness, travel and mental health. I currently work as a Graduate Assistant for the Alternative Break program here at Georgia Southern to provide students with the opportunity to make a difference in the community on a local, national, or global scale by doing service work during winter, spring and summer break.

What university do you attend and what are you studying?

I attended Georgia Southern University from 2011 until 2015 when I graduated. I received a BS in Psychology and minor in Child and Family Development. I loved GSU so much I went back and became a double eagle! I will ultimately graduate with a masters in School Counseling and my professional counseling license. I have big dreams for my counseling career - whatever the setting may be. I feel it is my true calling and I truly enjoy the work I do.

Why is helping others so important to you?

I myself struggled with mental health issues and seeking help was the crucial turning point in my life journey. This personal experience and my passion for service work is what drove me to my career in mental health and holistic wellness. I believe that in order to live a healthy, happy life we must live an authentic life in which self-love and self-care are vital. Helping others is part of all that, it has always been a part of me and I hope that by living my authentic life other will see the importance of helping or lending a hand and follow.

You recently presented a workshop entitled ‘Extreme Self-Care and Self-Love for Women’ at a conference on diversity, inclusion and fairness. How did you come across that opportunity?

I have formed an incredible relationship with my program supervisor and professor Dr. Pamela Wells. She has been by my side since day one in the program. Funny story we actually met the summer before my program started. She attended my 7am Wednesday morning yoga class every week without fail. She and I both have a deep passion for mindfulness, self-love and holistic wellness. Through the program I have shared with her my advocacy work and when she was presented with this opportunity she thought of asking me to co-present.

Were you nervous to present in front of so many women?

I’ve done class presentations and I have worked open houses but nothing prepares you for your first conference workshop. On the day of I walked into the assigned room and all my anxiety that I had subsided started screaming. We had gotten the BIG ROOM (it sat 40+ people). I’m just a newbie student, they couldn’t possibly think that my presentation would pack the house? Well as soon as the time came one by one women started trickling in the back door and then everyone. It was like a flood of women and even men walked in. We ended up having over 50 people attend our workshop!

How did you prepare for the presentation?

We set up a few meetings the month before in which we brainstormed all the things we thought we could talk about. We worked hard setting up the presentation, writing a mindfulness script and making the handouts just right. I looked at this presentation as a passion project and took it all very seriously. I wanted it to be a true reflection of my philosophy as a counselor.

What was the highlight of this experience?

I think the biggest highlight from this experience was the women who wanted to talk after the workshop. We often forget that self-love and self-care are one in the same and as women also tend to neglect ourselves while we’re conquering the world. I had some come up and thank me for reminding them to self-care, another told me she had never even heard of the concept of self-love and my favorite was the shy girl who gave me a hug and simply said thank you for being so passionate and reminding me ‘I am worthy’.

What are your goals and dreams both personally and professionally?

Ah, the big questions. I like to call myself a ‘multipotentialite’ (go watch Emilie Wapnick Ted Talk, you won’t be sorry), I have many big dreams. I am a firm believer that in order to live a happy life you must do what you love and that is why I chose the mental health field. It gives me the opportunity to take my many many passions and incorporate them into all aspects of my life (intersectionality). If I had to narrow it down my top two big dreams, both personally and professionally, are to eventually own my own wellness center and create my own schooling system/philosophy.

What do you like to do for fun?

As I said before I love yoga, photography, fitness, eating yummy food, service work and the outdoors. I’m one of those people that can have fun no matter what it is I am doing. As long as I am surrounded by people I love doing that things I love I couldn’t be happier.

Name one woman who inspires you.

This is a very hard choice to make, I have so many women that inspire me! I think if I had to choose one person it would be Rachel Brathen. She is a yoga instructor who not only owns her own business, runs non-profits and travels the world teaching but she is a wonderful role model for women. She uses her voice and platform to advocate and help others, just as I hope to one day be able to do on a wider scale. She also has a great Ted Talk “Lessons I've learned through Social Media” about being vulnerable and authentic in life, I highly recommend it!

What’s one piece of advice you would give girls today?

Geez, this is a hard question too. There is no greater love than the love you give yourself. When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we learn to love each other unconditionally. So always choose love, always be love, always self-love. Love always wins.