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    How To Make Time for Self-Care When Your Life Is a Hot Mess

    We know we’re supposed to make time for journaling, meal planning, shopping at the local farmer’s market, reading books, taking baths, or falling asleep to binaural beats. Whatever your choose-your-own-adventure form of self-care looks like, it contributes to your well-being, regulates your nervous system, and ultimately feeds your sense of “flow.”
    But the truth is that–despite what the internet might lead you to believe–most people do not live perfectly manicured, carefree lives laden with self-care rituals. If fitting in any amount of self-care feels more like a fantasy, it’s likely because life is always sprinkling in some less desirable variables (think: a health scare, the loss of a loved one, getting side-swiped on the way to work, a messy kitchen, feeling behind on a project). And sometimes, these moments overlap, sending you into a spiral of overwhelm so lovingly deemed “the hot mess.” 
    Seasons like these are part of life. It’s OK to feel their full weight, and it can be helpful to know that they, too, shall pass. No matter how hard we try to maintain order, sometimes we are swept away by life’s chaos. Unfortunately, this is when all forms of self-care tend to get tossed out the window, which is ironic because it’s also the key to our sanity. So how do you keep it together when everything is falling apart? How can you commit to self-care when it feels like you’re living in a literal dumpster fire? I’ve been writing about and practicing self-care for almost a decade, so I’ve managed to pick up a few strategies to keep my head above water. If you’re basking in a thousand little fires, I hope these tips can help to cool the temperature a few degrees.

    1. Embrace the mess
    Easier said than done, but sometimes our resistance to the chaos is part of the problem. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect, and it’s certainly not your fault when it isn’t. Allowing yourself to accept that things might feel a little messy for a while is an act of self-care in itself. When I give my life permission to be hard, my nervous system calms down because I’m no longer trying to activate fight-or-flight mode. When I allow challenges to appear in my life, I am more prepared to handle them. By the way, giving life permission to be hard is not the same as expecting the worst—that’s a recipe for anxiety. The nuance here is acceptance versus anticipation. Things are allowed to feel challenging, but that doesn’t mean they always are.

    2. Give yourself grace
    OK, so you’ve dropped every self-care routine you’ve ever known. Or maybe you’ve never been able to stick to the healthy habits you crave. First of all, welcome to the club. You are not alone. It might not seem like it because people don’t tend to wear their burnout on their sleeves, but I assure you, you are in very good company. Secondly, know that you are not failing at self-care. You’re surviving. That’s a feat in itself. When I start to feel the words “failure” form on my lips, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am a sole person with a finite amount of resources. I forgive myself for feeling like I’m not doing enough. Forward momentum is forward momentum, even at a snail’s pace. And every day offers a new opportunity to try again.

    3. Reframe time as a commodity that you own
    A commodity is something you can own, barter, buy, and sell. I really want that to sink in. The reason why things feel extra hard sometimes and easier other times almost always comes down to time. A balanced life is all about having the time to do what you need to do as well as what you love to do. When time is limited, we tend to drop what we love for the sake of what’s necessary. But when we recognize that our time is ours—and that we have agency over how to use it—that can empower us to incorporate a little more self-care into the mix.

    4. Tally up the time you have
    Once you take ownership of your time, take inventory of how much of it you actually have. This will let you know what’s reasonable for incorporating self-care. For example, I am a mom to a tiny toddler. She has a knack for getting into trouble whenever my back is turned, so I can’t count on overextending myself while she’s around. This means I have one hour while she’s napping, two hours in the morning while my husband is on duty, and maybe two hours after she’s asleep at night to do anything of value. That’s five hours each day. When I look at it from a bird’s eye view, carving out 10-30 minutes a day for a self-care ritual doesn’t feel so absurd.

    5. Prioritize the mess
    Now that you know how many hours you own in a day consider prioritizing which fires to put out. Some of them might not be burning as brightly as you think. For example, in my house, I have a couple of smart ceiling fans that are desperate for tech support. The Bluetooth controls keep over-communicating with each other, so when I’m trying to turn the light on in my bedroom at night, the ceiling fan in my baby’s room lights up, too—while she’s sleeping! But you know what? This is a “next week” problem. Figure out what your next week’s problems are. This is important because if you don’t, every single minor issue that falls from the sky is going to take precedence over your mental health. If you’re going to make time for self-care, you need to send some of your fires to the future.

    6. Pick your most potent form of self-care
    When you are low on time, you obviously can’t dedicate a full day to all of the self-care rituals you love. So it’s time to take into account the practices that pack the biggest punch in the shortest amount of time. This will look different for everyone. For my husband, it’s a 30-minute power nap. For me, it’s a 15-minute meditation. For you, it might be a bath, facial, or walk around the block. It doesn’t matter what you choose, so long as you choose something. If you’re not sure which practices deliver results, try a few! Rotate through some of your favorites and notice whether they speak to you or not. You might surprise yourself with how good you feel after doing something as simple as a five-minute gua sha routine.

    7. Block time in your calendar for self-care
    I’m sure you saw this coming, but it’s cliché for a reason, folks. If it’s not on some kind of to-do list, it’s probably not going to get done. If you’d rather add your self-care practice to your actual to-do list, that’s not a bad idea either. But if you use a calendar regularly, seeing time blocked off for just you will remind you how important it is and ensure it happens. And if you have a shared calendar, it can remind others that this is a non-negotiable time for you.

    8. When you do self-care, feel it
    When life is operating in hot-mess mode, it’s so easy to rush through each day in survival mode. You might be checking boxes off the list as fast as you can just so you can get to the next problem that needs to be solved. This mad-dash mentality might be so automatic that it doesn’t slow down, even when you do make time for self-care. You might be doing the ritual just to get it done. You’re going to have to make it a point to stop that.
    As soon as you engage with whatever form of self-care you’ve chosen, take a moment to pause. Breathe. Notice how it feels. For example, if all you have time to incorporate is a shower, don’t spend it thinking about what you have to do next. Instead, notice how the water feels on your back. You are granting yourself this time, so be present with it. Soak it in and revel in it.

    9. Be kind to yourself when you skip self-care
    Look, sometimes the other stuff gets loud. You had every intention of meditating, but your stove just short-circuited, and your “you” time has turned into being on the phone with your landlord. That’s not your fault, so go easy on yourself. The same theory applies when you just don’t feel like doing it. You know it’s going to feel good to make yourself that smoothie, but you don’t have the energy to dump everything in the blender and hit the button. No judgment—I’ve been there. Look at it this way: If you’re making a choice to rest, guess what? That’s self-care too. Boom.

    10. Sprinkle gratitude into your day
    Speaking of quick-hitting practices with big impact, have you heard of gratitude? Of course, you have. But did you know that focusing on how thankful you are for just 30 seconds has the power to permanently rewire your brain? It does! Do you know what that means? If you’re going through a phase where you legit have zero energy for any self-care, gratitude can take its place. Gratitude as a feeling has a near instant effect on your nervous system. It centers, grounds, and connects you to what really matters: your values. 
    Allow yourself to feel grateful for the tiny moments in your day that light you up: the barista complimenting your bangs, a stranger holding open a door, or the simple beauty of a late-summer sunset. This can give you enough of a recharge to make it through the rest of your day unscathed.

    11. At the end of the day, trust in yourself 
    When you’re underwater, it’s hard to see the horizon. But I promise you: Nothing lasts forever. Life will get quiet again. You will get more time back. And in the meantime, you’ll get through this. Do you know what I tell myself at the end of every day? “You’re doing it.” Because while that mail has been sitting in its sad stack for days, I’ve been doing literally everything else to make sure the bills are paid, mouths are fed, work gets done, friendships are kept, and fires stay out. I’m doing it. You are too. With or without self-care, you’re doing it. Allow yourself to be proud of that, period. And when you’re ready to invite more feel-good practices into your life, trust that you will.

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    10 Little Luxuries That’ll Elevate Any Average Weekday

    I’ve recently seen quite a few videos on TikTok sharing small things you can add to your life every day to really elevate your day-to-day experience, and I absolutely love the idea of treating yourself to little luxuries. Let’s face it: Life can get pretty mundane sometimes as we work our 9-5 and try to keep things interesting. So, adding in small things every day that feels like a special treat is a great way to elevate an average weekday.
    Obviously, you can mix up your weekdays by doing fun activities and just getting out of the house, but there’s no denying that there are some products that can really elevate your everyday environment. Life is short after all, so we shouldn’t feel guilty treating ourselves to those little luxuries that make us happy. From ultra-comfy pajamas to beauty products that will transport you to a high-end spa, these are the items that make every day a little bit more luxurious. 

    Equilibria
    Nourishing Body Oil
    At least once per week, I take THE shower. You know the one—exfoliate, shave, hair mask, and every other beauty treatment I can squeeze in. After this revitalizing shower, I do one of my absolute favorite self-care rituals: use my Equilibria Nourishing Body Oil with a body gua sha. Not only does the CBD provide the ultimate calming experience, the oil nourishes my skin and keeps it hydrated while the body gua sha improves my circulation and helps with lymphatic drainage. My skin has never felt better and smoother than after I treat myself to this little luxury.
    Use code theeverygirl for 20% off of your first order at Equilibria!

    Moonlight Eco Short Pajamas
    A more affordable option when it comes to high-end pajamas, this short set comes in more than 10 adorable colors and patterns. This set is buttery soft, so trust us: Once you start living the luxury pajama life, you’ll never go back.

    St. Barts Cleansing Scalp & Body Sugar Scrub
    With hundreds of rave reviews, you can add this product to your self-care arsenal knowing it won’t disappoint. The scent, inspired by St. Barts, has tropical notes like dragonfruit and tuberose, so you’ll be transported right to island life.

    Sunshine Bundle
    This diffuser has a ceramic cover, making it much more high-end than the not-so-cute plastic options you can find elsewhere. It comes in eight gorgeous color options, so it’s guaranteed to look beautiful in any home. This bundle comes with four vibrant essential oils for energy and overall good vibes.

    Silk Sleepmask
    Our editors swear by silk sleep masks to get the beauty sleep we deserve. This option from Slip will definitely elevate your everyday sleep experience, but they’re even better for improving sleep while traveling.

    Lowball Ribbed Cocktail Glasses
    It’s time to trade in those old plastic cups and invest in some beautiful glassware. It’s truly shocking how fancy you can feel by drinking a beverage out of a pretty glass—and you better believe it’s worth it.

    Barefoot Dreams
    CozyChic™ Socks
    It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with Barefoot Dreams here at The Everygirl. We’ve raved about the robes and the blankets, but these socks are our new favorite. These will have you feeling extra cozy all fall and winter long.

    Summer Fridays
    Lip Butter Balm
    As much as we hate to acknowledge it, the colder months are fast approaching. This lip butter balm from Summer Fridays is praised for its luxurious scent and ultra-hydrating properties. Plus, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable packaging.

    Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash
    While you might be tempted to pick up a $5 hand soap on your next Target run, you don’t realize how much this Aesop option will elevate your hand-washing experience until you’ve tried it. Not only does it smell like you’re in a luxurious spa, it keeps your hands extra moisturized and soft.

    15 Sunday Rituals to Set You Up for an Amazing Week

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    You Don’t Need a S.O. To Take You Out: 6 Solo Date Ideas to Add to Your Calendar ASAP

    Too many times we get caught up in scrolling for our next beau or babe on Bumble, spicing up our romantic relationships, or maintaining the platonic ones (especially over long distance). And since we’re always making space and time for our loved ones, sometimes we forget the most important person through it all: you. Ask yourself this: how many times this year have you actually thought about some solo date ideas? No, I’m not talking about a Trader Joe’s run (although it can be quite the self-care), but a real moment of dating yourself. 
    To some, this may sound absolutely outside of the box. How does a date work if it doesn’t have at least two people? This isn’t some ploy to force you to be anti-social, I promise. It’s a push to take better care of yourself, find your love language, and treat yourself accordingly. If that doesn’t convince you, remember this: If you spend your entire life waiting on other people, you’ll be waiting forever.
    You know that cute cafe you’ve been eying for months now? Grab your laptop and just go. That trip to the West Indies you’ve been pasting on your mood board for the past three years? Buy that ticket and make sure you get a window seat. Although the journey may be terrifying—introverts, I’m talking to you—there is something absolutely magical in doing things alone. All it takes is a little push and a long bucket list. 
    Here are 6 solo date ideas that’ll have you clearing your calendar for the rest of the year.

    1. Go to a Museum or Art Gallery
    Connecting with history and art is as therapeutic as it gets. Head to your local museum or art gallery and lose yourself in it all. When you’re alone, you can stare at a piece or dawdle in an exhibit for as long as you want. Nobody is there to rush or ask for your commentary.
    Use that time to think introspectively. How does the art relate to a similar experience you’ve had? Do you feel inclined to do more at-home research on a specific culture you came across? How do the brush strokes of a particular painting make you feel? Kudos if you head to a different city or state for this one.

    2. Book a Yoga or Fitness Class
    Working out with friends can be fun, but pushing yourself to do it alone can be extremely rewarding. Have you always wanted to try pilates? Maybe hot yoga? Head to your nearest studio and start sweating!
    Without being swayed by the commitment of others, you’ll be able to focus on your own goals and stay consistent, and you’ll be able to mold your regimen around your own schedule, too. Besides maximizing your flexibility, the intrinsic gratification you’ll experience will be much better than hearing a compliment from anyone else. And if you’re still wanting an accountability buddy, make friends at your gym or studio. 

    3. Have a Mini-Photoshoot
    Ready to start your trek to 1M followers? Even if you’re not eying being the next big-time influencer, grabbing your camera and taking pictures of yourself is sure to be a confidence booster. How many times did you find the perfect background on a girls’ trip, but the pictures just weren’t turning out how you wanted? Take this time to figure out new poses, your best angles, and some of the most unbelievable locations.

    4. Take a Cooking Class
    We can all admit that ordering out always beats cooking in, but it doesn’t hurt to sharpen your skills. If you’re exhausted with your current rotation of meals, find a local (or online) class that caters to the cuisine you’re obsessed with or want to know more about. Besides being a great way to connect with family and loved ones, it’s an amazing way to constantly treat yourself. There’s no better feeling than knowing your recipe tastes just as good (if not better) than it does at your favorite restaurant.
    If you’re out of luck with chefs that inspire you, Pinterest is always a faithful option. Here are some of my favorites I’m sure you’ll fall in love with: 

    5. Get Dinner and See a Movie
    Going back to the basics is always a great idea. Although there won’t be any moves by your date getting pulled on you (bummer?), it’s a great way to show yourself that these places aren’t only reserved for twos. For dinner, proudly request your table for one, and bring along your laptop or journal if you feel uncomfortable. It’ll become easier the more you go.
    If you’re an avid moviegoer or just an occasional one, challenge yourself to see a movie you haven’t heard of. The thrill just might be the beginning of your love for a new series, actor, or director. And who knows, you might even be pulling moves on yourself by the end of the night. 

    6. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
    For many of us, home is our happy place. The idea of going outside might seem unappetizing, but I challenge you to throw on your favorite outfit, put your cellphone on DND, and treat your city like foreign territory. Check out all of the hidden gems, try new restaurants, and support some small businesses. You never know what you’ll find. 
    If you’re really feeling up for it, walk, roller skate, or bike ride throughout your city instead of driving. Too many times we use our cars as shields to not have to really be within the city we reside in. Take a new path and put yourself completely out there. It’ll be worth it. 

    5 Things My Therapist Taught Me About Self-Love More

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    On Your Period? Here’s a Self-Care Guide for That Time of the Month

    It’s that time of the month when cramps, bloating, fatigue, and other unglamorous symptoms rear their ugly heads. That’s right–I’m talking about what Cher Horowitz refers to as “surfing the crimson wave” (see: Clueless), otherwise known as being on your period. The good news? With some TLC for your mind and body, you can turn the dreaded week into an opportunity to tune in to yourself and your needs and just go with the flow (pun intended). Read on for period self-care practices to incorporate during the week of your menstruation to honor, celebrate, and get in touch with your body.
     
    1. Nourish your body with iron-rich foods
    You’ve likely heard of cycle-syncing, or making lifestyle adjustments according to your hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout the month. In other words, The Cycle Syncing Method® suggests changing up your routine to support your body’s needs based on the different phases of your menstrual cycle.
    During your period (AKA the menstrual phase), your hormone levels drop, leaving you feeling anything but energetic. Now is the time to load your plate with nutrient-dense and iron-rich foods and ensure you’re consuming enough calories. For protein sources, think wild salmon, beef, chicken, or turkey. Vegan or vegetarian? No problem! Stock up on lentils, chickpeas, or pinto beans. And we can’t forget veggies, of course. Consider dark, leafy greens like spinach, chard, and kale to be your best friends this week. Finally, add herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, to your dishes for a boost of anti-inflammatory goodness.

    2. Stay hydrated  
    You know that motivational water bottle you’ve been saying you need to get (because a little encouragement never hurts)? Well, now’s the time to “Add to cart” (Amazon Prime FTW) because hydration is key, especially during this stage. Give your coffee maker (or barista, if we’re being honest) a break this week, and swap your cup of joe for non-caffeinated teas, such as red raspberry leaf tea. Red raspberry leaf is packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. Still not convinced? A study showed that red raspberry leaves may reduce the menstrual cramping caused by the spasms of pelvic muscles (excuse me while I go clear out Whole Foods’ entire inventory of raspberry leaf tea). 
     
    3. Go easy on your workouts
    Ever notice how enticing your bed becomes with the onset of your period? While cozying up in bed all week isn’t realistic (a girl can dream), listen to your body and avoid putting your body through any strenuous exercise. Hit pause on your HIIT workouts, marathon training, or any Rocky-inspired sessions. Instead, opt for lighter, low-impact forms of exercise, like walking, stretching, Pilates, or restorative yoga. Or get your endorphins going while soaking up Vitamin D by heading outdoors for a low-key hike, jog, or swim. Sure, staying active during your period has many benefits, like lessening fatigue and mood swings, but if you’re feeling especially drained, there’s nothing wrong with taking a rest day or two. 

    4. Schedule time in your calendar for R&R
    When you’re accustomed to a fast-paced, go-go-go lifestyle, it can be hard—even uncomfortable—to allow yourself to rest. You may be used to pulling a 6o-hour work week or double-booking your calendar, but this week is not the time to go full speed ahead. Rather, take the week to slow down and make time for yourself. Lighten your schedule with fewer work meetings and social obligations; block off time to take a warm bath or get a massage; get sexy if you’re up for it, or romance yourself with some self-love if sex isn’t in the cards; step outside and connect to the earth through grounding; and optimize your Zzz’s by keeping your bedroom cool and resisting that “just one more episode” urge. 

    5. Let go of what may be holding you back
    Just as the uterus sheds its lining during the week of your period, it’s time to self-reflect and release anything that’s no longer serving you, whether it be people, habits, beliefs, or a job. According to Alisa Vitti, the creator of The Cycle Syncing Method®, this phase is the optimal time to evaluate your life and process your reflections because your level of clarity and intuition is at its peak. What can you let go of that’s keeping you from being your highest self? And by doing so, what can you create space for? Try implementing journaling, manifestation, or meditation to guide you toward living your best life. 

    6. Consider alternative menstrual products
    As convenient as tampons are, they’re not budget or eco-friendly, and using them seems counterintuitive when the point is to release and let it flow. With many innovative and sustainable substitutes to traditional period products available today, making the switch has never been easier. Before your “Flo” comes around again, consider reaching for feminine care alternatives like period underwear, menstrual cups, or menstrual discs. And if you find yourself in a pinch and scrambling to the nearest drugstore (we’ve all been there) or you just prefer to use tampons, go the organic route (sans chemical additives). Because being mindful of your body and the planet doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. 

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    The Summer of You: 10 Ways To Upgrade Your Routine for Summer

    While we know summer self-care is important, self-care is not always as easy in the summer as it is in other seasons when everyone is cooped up indoors (and no one’s posting envy-worthy road trip pics). During warmer months, if you don’t live at a beach, crush intense workouts regularly, or go on dreamy vacations every weekend, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out. I like to call it FOMOOAPS: Fear of Missing Out on a Perfect Summer (maybe a stretch?). But focusing on what you’re not doing is taking away from what you should be doing: caring for yourself. Screw the FOMO and instead, make this the summer you put yourself first. Here are 10 ways to upgrade your routine to make the most of the season.

    1. Switch up your workouts
    If you’re stuck in a rut because you take the same workout class every day, summer is your solution. Consider taking your HIIT circuits or yoga flow outdoors: Bring your mat and sun salutations to the park or go for a walk instead of running on the treadmill. Summer is also a great time to try a workout you’ve never done before: Go for a hike, try an outdoor class, ask a friend to join, or try a totally new type of workout. Bonus: Thanks to the longer days, warmer weather, and brighter sunlight, we often have the most energy in the summertime, so take advantage and up the intensity: Go for a high-energy dance class if you’re usually a relaxing-flow kind of girl or train for the marathon you’ve always wanted to run. Just don’t forget your SPF!

    2. Make your own summer vacations
    Ah, remember childhood (or High School Musical 2) when summer was synonymous with vacation? Summer break meant no school from June to August and weeks of pool trips and popsicles ahead of you. Even if we’re grown-ups now (womp, womp) and don’t get a summer break from work (but like, isn’t that a great idea?), you can still apply the same mentality. Summer serves as the perfect reminder that work should be a part of your life, not your entire life. Take advantage of your PTO, whether that means taking a long weekend for a road trip with friends or a mental health day here and there to sleep in, get outside, and enjoy your life. And if all else fails, turn every weekend into a mini vacation (or staycation) to make the most of the season (and your life). 

    3. “Summer clean” your house
    Why should spring cleaning have all the fun? Let me introduce you to summer cleaning (AKA turning your home into the warm-weather oasis you deserve). Since clutter in the home translates into clutter in the mind, having an organized, clean, and happy home will help you enjoy the warmer months and boost your mood (I mean, how happy does an organized closet make you?). Spend a day organizing your junk drawer, donating clothes you don’t wear, and optimizing the space in your kitchen. But “summer cleaning” doesn’t just have to be the tedious stuff: Update your decor for a happier season by trading darker home accents with more colorful accessories, add a colorful print or two to the wall, and make minor upgrades with of-the-moment trends to brighten up your home. Minor changes like fresh flowers in vases or citrus oil in a diffuser can also make all the difference. 

    4. Eat fresher foods 
    While you may crave hearty dishes and warm meals in wintertime, you’re more likely to crave fresher foods come summer. Healthy eating is easy when the weather is warm. Your body wants lighter foods, herbs are in season, and vegetables on the grill suddenly sound as good as pasta or pizza. Take advantage of grocery stores full of produce in their prime (think: juicy tomatoes, fresh strawberries, and sweet corn), base grocery lists and recipes around the many delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season, and snack on crispy bell peppers or delicious watermelon. Also, make an effort to add more water-rich foods to your diet for bonus hydration points, like watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, and tomatoes. 

    5. Update your skincare for the season
    Imagine this: It’s the middle of summer 2022. You’ve got an effortless glow that even the lifeguards envy, and the disturbing amount of sweat and SPF on your skin at all times doesn’t even break you out. If it sounds too good to be true, know that you can score a killer tan without the harmful rays of the sun (thank you, fake tanning products!), and just because you’re loading up on SPF or sweating more does not mean you have to suffer through acne. Your skin just needs different things in the summer than it does in the winter, so update your routine accordingly. Include exfoliating acids to slough off dead skin, use cooling tools to de-puff and calm inflammation, make sure you have proper sun-care, and, if you’re looking to fake tan, opt for a high-quality faux glow for the summer skin of your dreams.

    6. Take advantage of longer hours
    So you know that days are longer during the summer, but have you ever thought about changing your daily routine to make the most of those long days? Longer days mean more sunlight, and more sunlight means more energy (think about it: waking up at 7 a.m. when it’s already light out is way different from waking up to a dark, cold 7 a.m. that still feels like nighttime). Take full advantage of the extra energy by waking up early for a workout or even just adding 30 minutes to your morning routine for some extra “me” time. And when it comes to staying lighter later, bring your post-work routine outdoors, whether that means eating dinner on your balcony or going on a run instead of opting for the treadmill. 

    7. Go tech-free
    One of the best parts of summer is that there is so much to do that’s not watching TV or staring at your computer screen (winter, I love you, but you forced me into some major Netflix black holes). Commit to going tech-free for at least a couple of hours every week or even a small amount of time every day. Go on a hike, read a book, or spend time with friends sans Instagram posting. No matter how you choose to spend your tech-free time, put down your phone, close your laptop, and turn off the TV to enjoy the screen-free time. If you want more of a challenge, consider going on a social media break for an entire week or limiting social media to one half-hour block a day.

    8. Walk everywhere
    “Fitness” doesn’t have to mean intense, exhausting, hour-long workouts. Instead, it just means simply moving as much as possible and living less sedentarily. True self-care is not about pushing yourself to the limit or reaching exhaustion but rather about just doing more of what you know makes your body feel good. One of the best parts of summer is that walking everywhere is not only possible, but it’s also pleasant. Cue up your favorite summer playlist or a new podcast episode and vow to walk everywhere (at least) within a one-mile radius (bonus: it’s better for the planet). For farther destinations, get creative about your transportation. For example, walk to the farther train stop to get in some extra steps or try bike riding for a quicker method that’s still active. 

    9. Grow your own produce
    Even if you don’t think your thumb is green, the summer season is the ideal time to start growing herbs or vegetables (you can do it, I promise). Let’s talk about why: Growing produce is healthier for you, better for the Earth, and easier on your wallet, and it just feels empowering to be able to whip up a pesto with basil from a pot outside. If you have a yard and the space, start with basics like tomatoes and lettuce (easy-to-grow summer produce). If you’re in an apartment or don’t have space outdoors, grow fresh herbs on a windowsill or with a smart garden.
     
    10. Remember that social health is self-care
    Community care is not only one of the top wellness trends of the past couple years, but it’s also a crucial part of self-care that we often overlook. I’ve been there: the temptation to skip beach days with friends because you’re feeling insecure or getting stressed about dinner plans because every item on the menu will make you bloated. But having strong relationships (and enjoying them regularly) is not only something we want but also something we need. Instead, remember that laughing with friends is truly better for your health than a green juice, and happy memories affect you way longer than a salty margarita ever could. Yes, you can always take care of your body, but this summer, prioritize taking care of your relationships too.

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    5 Ways to Get Back on Track if You’re Feeling “Meh” About Life

    I have a very specific vision of what my life would look like if it was adapted into a two-minute movie trailer. I’d be played by Peyton List. August by my president Taylor Swift would be lulling softly in the background. Selena Gomez would direct (obviously). It would be a kind recollection of happy moments: dancing on stage alongside my best friends, acing that exam I studied for months for, falling in love, and catching the sunset on the Chicago lakefront as I finally found peace in solitude. But there’d also be glimpses of the moments, days, weeks, and sometimes month-long periods when I’ve been down on my luck, hurting, or feeling “meh” about life. 
    As I’ve worked my way through the changing seasons of my life, I’ve found that some periods are smoother than others. I’ve felt aligned with my purpose, connected, and on track. I’ve also felt disoriented, unsure of which way is up, uncertain of every decision that I’ve ever made, and out of place in the life that I’ve created for myself. Ups and downs are an inevitable part of life, and if you’re in a season of feeling lost, you’re not alone. Here are five ways to find clarity and reignite your fire:

    1. Join a personal development club that’ll help you reflect, set goals, and take action

    When you’re feeling generally unmotivated with life or a little bit lost, making those initial first moves to clarity and purpose can feel wildly overwhelming—especially when you’re not 100% sure of where you want to go. In times like these, joining a personal development club like Topknot is such a solid solution. With Topknot, you’ll be connected with a club of committed people with shared interests and you’ll have the space and structure you need to learn about yourself, make concrete plans, and take action.

    Whether you’re looking to regain motivation at work, carve out a little more “me” time, or be less hard on yourself, there’s a space on Topknot for you. I am such a Topknot fan for a million reasons, but namely, I love that the service is affordable, accessible, and tailored to your specific needs. During my first session, I narrowed my focus to finding who I am outside of the career I’ve connected myself to.
    I felt listened to, learned so much about how I felt as I vented aloud, and was able to debrief and come up with an immediate, tangible (!!) plan on what I could do that day to make steps toward rediscovering who I am. For me, that looked like scheduling in 10 minutes of each day of the week to do something that I love, prioritizing that “me” time in the mornings when I have the energy to enjoy it, and exploring hobbies that I want to invest time in. This “structure-without-pressure” approach is so accessible, especially if what you’re looking to address is a question as complex as who am I? 
    Click here to figure out what you *actually* want + get your first month of Topknot for free when you sign up today!

    2. Have a self-discovery vacation (or staycation)
    Source: Monstera | Pexels
    When was the last time you took a vacation with the sole purpose of doing absolutely nothing? Between the hustle and bustle of work, chores, and social gatherings, it’s super easy to get in a mundane routine where you might feel like you’re on autopilot. Take a day, a weekend, or a few PTO days to disconnect from the world, recharge, and reconnect with yourself. Carve out space to pick up that book you’ve been dying to read, finally do that brain dump in your journal, and reflect on your life and where you want to go.

    3. Connect with an old childhood hobby
    Source: ColorJoy Stock
    The further I get into adulthood, the more I believe in having a hobby to help me make the most of my downtime. As much as I love a good Netflix binge watch, I’ve found that I’ve been spending a majority of my time hitting “play” to escape my reality instead of being present and enjoying my life. If you’re looking to improve your mental, emotional, or physical health while rediscovering the joys of life, consider finding a hobby to enrich your day-to-day routine. And if you’re having trouble narrowing it down, go with what you know and look to your inner child. Whether it be dancing, doodling, playing soccer, or painting, reconnecting with something that used to bring you bliss is a sure way to make your life a little bit more well-rounded in adulthood.

    4. Update your bucket list
    Source: Katya Wolf | Pexels
    When was the last time you took a peek at or updated your bucket list? Dream big and really explore the must-do and must-see things that you want to tackle in your future (both distant and near). Then, go through and sift out the selections that you can make moves toward right now. Whether you’re looking for a little bit of control over your destiny or simply want something to look forward to, getting creative and making plans for your future can help you continue on toward a life that you’re excited about.

    5. Schedule in time to connect with a loved one you trust
    Source: Elevate | Pexels
    When in doubt, phone a friend. Besides the fact that connecting with other humans can help boost your mood, improve your quality of life, and even lengthen your lifespan, catching up with someone you love and trust can be an incredibly therapeutic experience, especially when you’re feeling “meh” or like you’re in a bit of a slump. Whether you’re looking for advice, need to vent, or just want to distract yourself, reconnecting with your community can be a powerful tool for sifting out your own thoughts, releasing emotions, and increasing dopamine levels. Lean on your people—they’ve got your back.

    7 Tips To Change Your Mindset so You Can Manifest Your Dream Life

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Topknot but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    I Made These 5 Wellness Changes for Spring and I’m Already Feeling 10x Better

    If you ask me, the first couple of months of the year are a trial period. Sure, I dipped my toes into a few new hobbies and tried my hand at maintaining some resolutions. For the most part, I even stuck with said new hobbies and resolutions, but January and February will always be slow months for me. They’re months where I stay in, do less, and generally take it easy. Spring is when I start to come alive—and this spring, I have big plans for what I want to accomplish, how I want to feel, and who I want to be. While that all sounds great in theory, I’ve got to start somewhere, and that place is my wellness routine. 
    I’m going to be honest: I’m not the best at sticking to routines and prioritizing self-care in the best of times. I get caught up in my to-do lists, have a go-go-go mentality, and let my wellness fall to the wayside. Prioritizing self-care is a big goal of mine for 2022 (and beyond) and now that the winter blues are firmly in my rearview mirror, I’m ready to upgrade my wellness routine for spring. Here’s how I’m setting myself up for the new season—and the rest of the year. 

    1. Getting ahead of my seasonal allergies
    Source: @picnic

    I said spring is the season I come alive, and that’s definitely true, but if I’m being completely honest, it’s also the season when I feel the most like my end is nigh. That’s how bad my allergies are. It’s to the point where I lose all nostril functionality all season long and forget what breathing normally actually feels like, my eyes will be so hot and itchy I’ll just want to flood them with cold water, and I’ll sneeze so often I start saying “I’m so sorry” before someone even gets the chance to say “bless you.” I love spring, but the onset of allergies makes me hate it, too. Enter: Picnic, the personalized allergy service that changed the way I view allergy care.
    After one short quiz, Picnic provides you with a personalized allergist-approved treatment plan to help you tackle your specific allergies. But that’s not where your care ends. With Picnic, you can message your prescribing doctor anytime you have questions about your treatment or need to make an adjustment. I absolutely love that the treatment is tailored to me and my symptoms. So often I used to pick up a random allergy medicine from my local pharmacy, only to have to go back the next week because it simply wasn’t working for me. With Picnic, I no longer have to guess—I have a ton of resources and an expert to help me get a better handle on my allergy symptoms once and for all.

    I’ve been using Picnic for the last two months, and while the true allergy season has yet to begin, I’m someone who suffers all year long. Since switching to my personalized plan, which includes Fluticasone (Flonase) and Loratadine (Claritin), I’ve noticed a major difference in my symptoms. This combination was prescribed to me based on my unique needs, and it’s worked so well so far. But if that were to change, I wouldn’t have to face the giant wall of allergy medicine at a pharmacy and gamble on what to try next. Instead, I can turn to the experts at Picnic to adjust my treatment to suit my changing needs.
    With this newfound ownership of my allergies, I’ll have better control over my personal health this spring, which will in turn allow me to focus on all of the other wellness changes I’m looking to make.

    2. Getting outside every day (yes, every single day)
    Source: Stocksy
    Getting outside was not something I used to even have to think about. Of course, I’d find myself out and about in the sunshine and fresh air at some point in the day. Whether it was walking across the street for a coffee with a coworker or even just running errands on a Saturday, I used to be outside far more than I am these days. I work from home full time, so it’s not uncommon for me to go all week without ever really leaving my apartment (save for short dog walks each day). I welcomed the stay-at-home life with open arms and now have everything I need in the four walls I call home. I do all of my exercising in my office and cook nearly 100% of my meals each week (really). Truthfully, there aren’t a ton of reasons for me to get out of the house Monday through Friday unless I’m in dire need of groceries or have a rare social event. But while I love my little home life, I can tell my body needs more movement and fresh air.  
    One way I’m getting myself up and out more is by literally scheduling time outdoors in my planner. I want to go for 15-to-30-minute walks every day of the week and have those walks planned ahead so it becomes just another item to check off my to-do list (I love the satisfaction that comes from writing a little check mark next to a task). On days I feel lazy and just not into it, I’ll take a short route; when I’m feeling myself and can tell my body is appreciating the extra movement, I’ll romanticize the hell out of the walk and take the scenic route home. This very simple change can have major benefits to both my physical and mental health. It’s a real win-win. 

    The Unexpected Workout That I Actually Enjoy (and You Might Too)

    3. Eating veggies with every meal
    Source: Louis Hansel | Unsplash
    Listen: I love food and I love cooking, but I hate vegetables. In my early 20s, I detested them so much that I’d go literal weeks without eating a single green thing. Back then, I didn’t really feel the effects of my diet so much. But as I’ve gotten older, there’s a big difference in the way I feel after I indulge in my favorite fast food (McDonald’s nuggets, I love you) and how I feel after eating a well-balanced, home-cooked meal that includes a healthy side of veggies. While there will always be a place in my heart (and stomach) for the aforementioned nuggets, this spring, I really want to see just how much of a difference vegetables can make to my overall health. This means I’ll be setting out to do something that sounds kind of crazy to someone like me: eating veggies with every single meal. 
    If you asked me to do this when I was 22, I would have laughed in your face. These days, I know there are sneaky hacks to get more vegetables in your diet and I’m ready to use them all. Some personal faves: mixing cauliflower rice and regular rice together and throwing a handful of spinach into literally anything. As someone who used to hate vegetables, I wish I would have known about these hacks ages ago—you really can’t even tell they’re in your meal. 

    4. Writing more as a creative outlet
    Source: Sixteen Miles Out | Unsplash
    As someone who writes for a living, this is kind of an ironic inclusion to this list. But over the years, I’ve written more and more for work (which I absolutely love!) and less for me. That novel I had dreams of being published in college? Don’t know her. The journaling I’ve said I want to do every Jan. 1 for the last decade? Hasn’t happened. I’m in need of a creative outlet outside of work and it’s high time I pick up a pen and just write for the fun of it—not because there’s a deadline breathing down my neck. 

    Armed with a couple of new notebooks, an iPad (which is surprisingly great to write on), and designated writing time scheduled in my planner, I’m ready to let the creative juices flow this spring and see what happens.

    5. Using Sundays as a reset day
    Source: Constance Highly for The Everygirl
    One night while scrolling through TikTok, I came across a video of a woman showing how she used Sundays to completely reset. I’m talking laundry, cleaning, planning, and self-care. It was magical, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’ve historically used Sundays as my “do nothing” days, and while I love having no plans and the freedom to just lounge around all day, the Sunday routine I saw looked both productive and relaxing—I knew I absolutely had to try it.
    So from now on, my Sundays are getting a slight upgrade. I still won’t make any plans and will still have several hours of downtime, but I’m also going to use it as the day where I set myself up for the week ahead. I’ll make sure my laundry is fresh and my space is clean. I’ll check in with my budget and plan the week ahead. And then I’ll spend the evening with a face mask, a warm bath, and my current read. Just writing that all out makes me wish it was Sunday right this second.

    What You Should Add to Your Wellness Routine, Based on Your Enneagram

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Picnic, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    You Should Be Dating Yourself—Here’s How To Improve the Most Important Relationship in Your Life

    Maybe you spend every Friday night on a new Bumble date only to leave disappointed and exhausted or you’re tired of swiping right to no avail—dating in 2022 is hard. If you feel defeated, I have a proposal that may turn things around: Date yourself. Delete the apps (just for now) and instead try dating the one person who will always show up on time and is guaranteed to be fun (you!). Falling in love is great, but falling in love with yourself is even better. No, this isn’t some woo-woo self-help advice—this is a tangible method that will change your life.
    We are so focused on finding “The One” that we forget to check in on what we wanted in the first place. When was the last time you took a day to yourself? Or tried something new? When was the last time you reevaluated if you were happy, and then actually did something about it if you weren’t? As our lives get busy and “me time” gets pushed to the bottom of the list, we need to make the effort to bring it back to the top. Dating is supposed to be fun, and a partner should be someone you want to add to a life that already fulfills you. Dating yourself ensures you’re creating that life and helps you remember what you’re looking for in those Bumble swipes anyway. No matter your relationship status, you should be dating yourself. Here’s how.

    1. Start a journaling practice
    Self-reflection is a great tool that we often don’t take the time to utilize, and journaling is a fantastic way to do that. Every morning or at night before bed, take 10 minutes to journal about your day, thoughts, feelings, the coworker who annoyed you, or that startup idea your friend mentioned. What are you excited about in your life right now? What goals and dreams have you always thought about but never put into action? The 10K that scares you, the job you feel unqualified to apply for, or the trip you’ve never taken? The key to this practice is to set that timer, put pen to paper, and don’t stop until it dings; whatever comes into your mind, just let it out. You may even discover something new about yourself. 

    2. Nourish your body
    Food is fuel, and if we want to feel good, we have to nourish our bodies with the best of it. Now, before you run for the hills because you hate to cook or refuse to give up cookie dough, don’t worry (I would never ask that of you—I am also never giving up cookie dough!). Nourishing your body means listening to it, becoming more in tune with what it needs, and balancing pleasure and satisfaction with nourishment. In other words: Yes, there is room for cookie dough in a nourishing diet.
    Put into action, this step looks different for everybody. If you love to cook, maybe it’s time to try a new recipe. If you prefer takeout, experiment with a meal service. If you want to kick your late-night sugar habits, try herbal tea and dark chocolate. Whatever “nourish your body” means to you, choose one area you want to focus on and take small steps toward that healthy life that makes you feel good every day.

    3. Splurge on you
    If your love language is gift giving, why not show love to yourself? But the key to actually dating yourself instead of just using it as an excuse to spend more money is to splurge on something that truly makes you feel confident, happier, or better. We all have a version of Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolos that makes us feel invincible, and if you don’t, find it. I’m not saying break the bank, and you don’t need a whole new wardrobe. Whether it’s a pair of shoes that will make you feel like a badass during important meetings or your splurge looks more like a gym membership, functional piece of furniture, the perfume that your mom used to wear, or even a massage or cleaning service that will reduce your stress, give a gift to yourself that will truly make a difference. 

    4. Try something new
    The only way we grow is by getting outside of our comfort zone. This step may be the hardest step for you, but it could also be the most rewarding. Make a list of all the things you want to do “one day,” like skydiving, dining alone, starting your own business, taking a spin class, asking for a promotion, etc. Then, choose something from that list and do it. Don’t make excuses and don’t put it off for next month—sign up, make a reservation, do your research. Whatever it takes, go and do it. We often put off what we really want because of fear, and most of the time, we realize we had nothing to be afraid of. As Glennon Doyle always says, “We can do hard things,” and once you do one hard thing, all the others don’t seem so scary.

    5. Practice saying “no”
    While a large part of dating yourself involves trying new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone, it also means stepping into your power. By that, I mean learning to say “no” when you want to say no. Saying “yes” is easy a lot of the time. Especially as women, we feel this constant need to make everyone happy. While empathy and kindness are admirable and crucial traits, the problem is that making yourself happy ends up falling to the bottom of the list of priorities. We say “yes” to what we don’t really want, and it eats away at us, building up resentment and anger. So this year, let go of all that and say “no” to the plans you’d rather not attend, the people who drain your energy, and the coworker who pushes assignments off to you. Stand in your power, don’t apologize for it, and live a happier life because of it.

    6. Pleasure yourself
    Experiencing a mind-blowing orgasm benefits not only your body but your mind as well, so add some self-pleasure to the list this year. After all, nothing is more of a de-stressor at the end of a long day than an orgasm. Pleasuring yourself can involve a realm of activities, from becoming more in touch with your body to learning to feel confident in your own skin. Buy yourself a new sex toy, experiment with different arousals, or simply stare in the mirror and compliment yourself, knowing that self-love is the most worthy kind to give. Whatever it looks like to you, prioritize self-pleasure and make it a part of your wellness routine. Being intimate with another person is a vulnerable practice, so getting to know your body will not only increase confidence in the bedroom with partners, but—more importantly—it will also improve your well-being and the relationship with yourself.

    7. Make self-love a practice
    This one may sound cliché and overused, but loving yourself isn’t. The end goal is a balanced life that allows you to feel fulfilled and happy, so to love yourself a little more this year, first, stop the brutal self-talk. You know the kind: The thoughts in your head that criticize you when you make a mistake or feel insecure. Instead, practice loving affirmations such as “I am good enough” or “I am smart enough.” Repeat them to yourself each morning, write them down, or get in the habit of saying them before a presentation or first date.
    Next, celebrate the little wins as well as the big ones. We’re always going from one activity to the next, forgetting to stop and take a step back to look at all we have accomplished. Celebrate those moments and recognize how far you’ve come. Lastly, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for forgetting the cereal at the grocery store, being late for work, the breakup, the failed test, and everything that still weighs you down. Just let it go. You’re human, not a fortune 500 company; you are allowed to mess up and move on. That’s what dating yourself is all about. More