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    5 Things My Therapist Taught Me About Self-Love

    If we’re being honest (and slightly egotistical), one of my best talents is self-love. That’s not to say that I don’t have days where I’m unhappy looking in the mirror or that I second-guess a lot of choices I make (trust me, I have my days). But I also really love myself. It’s weird (and sad) how hard that is to admit out loud (self-deprecation is so much more the norm), but I think part of self-love is expressing it so that other people can feel comfortable expressing their self-love too (we’re all in this together!). 
    However, “self-love” hasn’t always been on my list of achievements. The pre-teen age brought puberty and the idea that my body isn’t good enough as is, and most of my teenage and young adult life has been spent trying to look or act different so that I was more “likable.” It’s taken me many failed relationships, major life changes, and a whole lot of therapy to feel this way about myself. My therapist (shoutout to Dr. Kelly!) taught me a lot about self-love and where I was holding myself back. The good news is that self-love is not a destination; it’s the most important lifelong relationship you’ll ever work on. Now that we have all the cheesy clichés out of the way, read on for five things I learned from my therapist that helped me love myself and will maybe help you love yourself too. 

    Self-love is not a destination; it’s the most important lifelong relationship you’ll ever work on.

    Source: @josie.santi

    1. “Perfect” isn’t a goal
    When I first started seeing my therapist, I told her about my anxiety by explaining it as “illogical” and “a little crazy” (as if that somehow made it less illogical or crazy?). I also explained behaviors like falling asleep with the TV on or scrolling through Instagram during my morning meditation time by prefacing with, “I know it’s bad for me.” I’d get frustrated if I failed a health goal, wasn’t able to sleep at night because stress kept me awake, or made a wrong decision. I used these “failed goals” to explain what’s wrong with me rather than questioning that something might be wrong with the goals (but more on that below).
    The judgment over my own behaviors came from the idea that I had to be perfect. But not achieving a goal or making a mistake is not a failure; it’s a way to get to know yourself better. Plus, you already know perfect isn’t possible thanks to every cliché self-help book and inspirational quote out there (so start believing it!), but even if it was achievable, achieving it wouldn’t make you happier anyway. Your goal as a human being should be to find balance, not to achieve perfection. 
    2. Self-love doesn’t just happen
    Self-love is a skill, not a circumstance. Just like happiness or gratitude, self-love doesn’t just happen to you when you reach a certain job title or pants size. It’s a muscle that needs to be worked repeatedly in order to make it stronger. Every negative thought, moment of self-doubt, or criticism that comes up is like a practice round to improve self-love because you can recognize the thought and choose a more positive thought instead. Also, please stop saying that once you lose weight, get a promotion, or have more money, then you will love yourself. That’s just not how the mind works. You achieve what you want in life because you first know you deserve it, not the other way around. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    3. The problem isn’t you, it’s your expectations
    So you don’t look like a Photoshopped influencer, can’t resist cheese fries, or are too lazy to work out five times a week. You probably use all of these “failures” as justification to criticize yourself, thinking things like, “If only I had more willpower or as a better person, I could achieve what I want.” But why do you want to achieve those things in the first place? Would looking like someone else make you truly happier? No. Would working out five times a week make you happier? No. Would saying “no” to cheese fries make you happier? Helllll no. The truth is that we get so caught up in what we’re supposed to do, want, and be that we forget to think about what would actually make us happy. If you’re not meeting expectations, the problem is not you. The problem is that your expectations and goals don’t truly align with what it takes to make you happy (yep, that’s some deep ish, read that again). 
    When it comes to my own self-love, I’m letting my body exist in the healthy space it wants to be in. My “ideal weight” is the one that I feel most strong, energized, and healthy in, but also one that allows me the extra indulgences, fun moments, and enjoyment that makes life worth living. Our own expectations and goals should be tools we use to help us live our happiest lives. Otherwise, what’s the point?  

    4. There’s a difference between what you think is reality and actual reality
    My therapist showed me how my thought patterns would go into “all-or-nothing” mode, or better known as black-and-white thinking. Either I was perfectly healthy and motivated or I stopped caring about my health altogether; either I was crushing it at work or I thought I was completely messing up; either I loved my outfit and my hair looked great or I felt totally insecure leaving the house. The problem with this way of thinking is that I believed what my mind told me, thinking it was reality. 
    PSA: Life always has shades of gray. Plus, it’s not just gray, but a variety of colors you can choose from. If you’re criticizing or hard on yourself, it’s almost always because of your mindset, not because of reality (read: no one else is as hard on you as you are). Realize where you’re thinking in black and white, then add in other options. For example, you can be really good at your job while still making some mistakes, you can be healthy while indulging in chocolate cake, and you can still be happy with your life, even when you’re stressed about parts of it. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    5. Self-respect is more important
    So self-love gets all the buzz these days, but I’d like to introduce you to a new word that’s even more important: self-respect. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t going to live with the Lizzo-level “I’m my own soulmate” vibes 24/7 (not even Lizzo!) and love everything about ourselves. Maybe you want to change your nose, hate the way you look in an outfit, or regret something you did. And that’s OK, because when you love yourself (and I mean really, really love yourself), it’s not that you don’t have those thoughts, it’s just that you know those things don’t make you less than what you are.
    You achieve self-love the same way you build up any other relationship: show you care, do what you say you’re going to do, enjoy time alone, be kind, and be thoughtful. Confidence just means that you trust your own word, and self-respect comes when you live in alignment with who you truly are. Aim for self-trust and self-respect instead, knowing that self-love will follow. 

    10 Ways to Love Yourself More

    16 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Love More

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    The Holy Grail Treatment That Has Made My Sore Muscles Disappear

    While I’ve had quite the run of working out from home (thanks to Obé Fitness and a well-stocked cabinet of workout gear), since I got back in the gym, my workouts have been a complete step above. I’m lifting heavier, going longer, needing fewer breaks—to say I’m thriving would be an understatement. But what comes with harder, more intense workouts? Feeling sore AF. I won’t complain that my body feels sore from my workouts because we all know that bittersweet feeling that we actually accomplished something when we wake up with shaky legs after a day of heavy squats or a long run. But when you get really sore, it can make even the simplest of tasks (like sitting on the toilet) feel like the most laborious chore.
    If you’re looking for a quick fix, massaging your body with a gua sha tool is probably the highest on the list, and it’s the only method I’ve found useful for both relieving and preventing soreness. 
    Gua sha is the act of scraping at the skin to promote circulation. “Gua means ‘scrape’ and Sha means ‘petechiae’ (tiny, flat red or purple spots) in Chinese,” said Dr. Ervina Wu, PhD, LAc, co-founder of YINA. “It’s commonly used in Chinese medicine to scrape the skin (mostly on the upper back) to invigorate blood flow, release heat-toxins, stimulate lymphatic drainage, activate various points of the body, and stimulate an immune response bringing helpful cells to the area.” If you haven’t tried it yourself (likely with a jade or rose quartz stone on your face), you’ve probably seen it on TikTok labeled as a natural way to sculpt and massage your face. It’s been used in ancient Chinese civilizations for centuries to bring out redness and treat ailments all over the body, using sharper objects like coins or scrapers. In Western culture, we’ve seen jade and rose quartz-shaped stones to lightly massage the face, moving around lymphatic drainage and sculpting the face.
    However, most of us are forgetting that one of the best ways to utilize our gua sha tools is on the body. I’ve added body gua sha to my nightly routine for the last two months. Here’s how I use it, what I use, and the Equilibria CBD products that have totally changed my gua sha routine.

    In this article

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Ervina Wu, PhD, LAc
    Dr. Ervina Wu is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and registered TCM Dermatologist and the founder of YINA, a beauty and wellness brand by two AAPI founders and doctors.

    Using Gua Sha With CBD
    When I want to really help my sore muscles, I pair a gua sha body massage with Equilibria’s CBD products, specifically the Relief Balm and Daily Treatment Oil. To get the gua sha moving around the skin, you always have to apply some kind of slippery product so you’re not tugging at your skin, and opting for CBD doubles the sore muscle-fighting powers. The Relief Cream is already my favorite product from Equilibria for relieving menstrual cramp pain and treating migraines, but it quite possibly works its best when used for sore muscles. It massages very deeply into your skin, and you can almost immediately feel it making a difference. When I use it with a gua sha stone, it glides beautifully. The stone itself is great for massaging the skin and relieving some of that soreness, but the Relief Balm actually feels like it’s taking away the soreness rather than just treating it.
    When I don’t use the Relief Cream, I’ll use the Daily Treatment Oil. Since my soreness is pretty prevalent right now, I’m trying to use my gua sha every other night before bed in my nighttime routine, and for the sheer sake of saving every last drop of my Relief Balm, I turn to this oil for everyday treatment. It’s a lot lighter obviously, so it goes a long way. A tiny bit of this covers practically my entire body. It’s definitely not as strong as the Relief Balm, but for an everyday massage, it still makes a bigger difference than using a regular body oil. The added benefit of this oil is that it makes my skin feel so soft and supple after I use it. I haven’t even been using my usual body lotions since I added this to my routine.

    Source: Equilibria

    Shop My Favorite Gua Sha Tools

    Bian Stone Body Gua Sha Tool
    This is the body gua sha I’ve been using, and it’s a game-changer. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to invest in a bigger gua sha to use on your body if you already have a stone you love for your face. But I love the rippled edge on this and also love that it’s a little bit bigger than a gua sha stone you’d use on your face so you can cover a lot more surface area in one swipe. Plus, it was developed by doctors of Chinese medicine and the brand’s founders are AAPI, and when buying a product that is so focused on a practice in Chinese culture, it’s important to support them.

    Gua Sha Body Scraping Tool
    For a less expensive alternative that you can use to really get into your muscles (especially your legs and calves for runners), this stainless steel tool will be your best friend.

    Benefits of Body Gua Sha
    I’ve seen so many benefits since I added this practice to my nighttime routine. “Gua Sha is especially effective at relieving muscular tension and breaking down fascia adhesions, [making it] perfect for those with tight muscles, sluggish circulation, and tech necks,” Dr. Wu said. Here’s what I’ve experienced so far:

    Better Sleep

    Because I do my body gua sha at night, I feel so relaxed that I fall asleep easier. But what I really love is how much deeper, longer, and more comfortably I sleep after using gua sha. Because I’ve relieved some of the tension in my muscles, I’m not tossing and turning all night trying to find a comfortable way to sleep.

    Softer Skin

    Thanks to my nighttime oil from Equilibria, my skin feels softer and smoother. It’s a reminder to use a moisturizing oil before bed, when I otherwise would scroll on my phone and avoid spending some extra time on myself, and my skin is thanking me for it. 

    Less Soreness Over Time

    Using gua sha on my sore muscles has actually made me get less sore over time. Because the gua sha increases circulation to those areas, they heal faster and are more prepared to recover on their own after a workout.

    Releases Tightness

    The gua sha massage breaks up tension because you’re massaging out those muscles and moving that lymphatic drainage around your body. When I use it on sore muscles, I notice an immediate difference: Those muscles feel energized and recovered. Dr. Wu also suggested trying gua sha on your legs and ankles for long flights to reduce swelling or keeping it at your desk to relieve shoulder tension, text thumbs, and achy keyboard hands. 

    More Relaxed Nighttime Routine

    Rather than feeling the scaries or anxiety before starting my night routine, I feel relaxed and excited to get into my gua sha massage.

    If you’re pregnant or menstruating, you should avoid using gua sha on your abdomen. If you tend to bruise or are on blood thinners, Dr. Wu recommended using lighter pressure. Also, you should avoid broken skin, wounds, scrapes, and any sensitive areas. 

    Source: Stocksy

    How Often Should You Gua Sha?
    You can gua sha anywhere from daily to once or twice a week. When I first started, I was only doing it as needed when my muscles felt a little sore, but I’ve started doing it just about every night before bed and have noticed the most results that way.

    How to Gua Sha on Your Body
    You can gua sha your entire body or just the areas you’re feeling sore and tight. Here’s my routine:
    Apply Relief Cream or Treatment Oil to my skin. I do this section by section so the oils don’t absorb into the skin before I can make it to that area. I don’t rub this in too much—just enough to get it spread out.
    Start at the top of your body and go down the rest from there. You can even gua sha your scalp like you’re combing your hair to feel extra relaxed. Follow this by doing your neck, chest, arms, abdomen, legs, and feet. Don’t forget the soles of your feet, ankles, and palms of the hands. According to Dr. Wu, you should move to another area once it starts to turn pink or warm. 
    Start with minimal pressure, and tailor your experience using all sides of the gua sha. When I want something more intense, I’ll use one of the sharp edges. When I want a larger surface area, I use the longest edge. My gua sha has a rippled edge as well, which I like to use on bigger muscle areas, like the tops of my arms, the shins, hamstrings, and top of the back.
    Do anywhere from 10-20 swipes for each section. This is pretty intuitive, so I focus on where I need the massage most and what feels most effective for me.
    Finish the massage by running your hands over each area, rubbing in any excess oil or balm.
    If you experience any redness from your gua sha, that’s normal! Especially if you use a firmer pressure, gua sha can bring up lots of redness and inflammation in the body, but it should go away in a few hours.

    This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    Feeling Burnt Out? Here Are 7 Ways Experts Recommend Dealing With It

    Burnout: You know it, you don’t love it, and you’ve probably Googled “how to deal with burnout” at some point in the past 365 days. The cherry on top of the annoying AF cake? Women experienced more burnout than men in 2020 (as if we didn’t have enough going on). Many of us are emotionally fatigued from a crazy year, feeling overworked, and don’t get enough rest or off-time. What’s a girl to do? Since burnout is way too common, I grilled some holistic doctors and health coaches at Parsley Health for all of their best burnout tips. Whether you’re way past the point of exhaustion or you just know your job, schedule, or life feels unsustainable, it’s time to make some changes. Read on to see how seven doctors and health coaches prevent, deal with, and heal burnout. 

    1. Fit in more movement
    “Implement restorative mini-moments throughout your day. When you may not have larger blocks of time available for self-care, take five minutes to breathe deeply (such as the 4-7-8 method or box breathing), stretch, step outside for some sunshine, or to snuggle your pet—it can make a profound difference in the way you feel (and in lowering cortisol levels). Consider setting reminders on your phone or using a time cube to take mini breaks throughout your day (like every 60-90 minutes if your schedule allows).” –Ivy Carson, NP-BC, IFMCP

    2. Create boundaries
    “Create a physical boundary around work life and home life (this is especially important when working from home!). By establishing a physical boundary or action, you’ll be sending a strong signal to your brain that work is done for the day and you can ‘shut down’ your work brain to transition to your non-work self. For example, practice breath work at the beginning and end of your workday, or make a ritual around both turning on and shutting down your work station. It can be something as simple as listening to the same song to both start and end your day, but whatever it is, a daily ritual will signal to the brain when you should be working and when you should be ‘off.’” –Erica Zellner, MS, CNS, LDN

    3. Be mindful of your energy levels
    “I call it a body budget: Treat your energy levels the same way you would maintain your bank account. Avoid getting in the habit of spending too much energy without replenishing it. Try to identify the activities, people, and things that bring you energy and make them a regular part of your routine to balance the energy you spend on work, tasks, and even taking care of loved ones. Just being aware of what’s draining your energy versus what’s giving you energy can treat existing burnout or prevent it entirely.” –Tina Ralutz, MS, RDN

    4. Do something every day that inspires you
    “A lot of the work I do is left brain dominant, so I like to fit in creative work like designing and styling ethnic clothing or jewelry (like clay work). However, it’s not something I do only if I find time—it’s a non-negotiable and my protected time. Just like I show up for work, I also show up for myself every week and every day. My affirmation is to do something every day that inspires you (rather than ‘expires’ you) since inspiration creates energy.” –Nisha Chellam, MD

    5. Get restorative sleep
    “Ensuring that you are getting restorative sleep will help you prevent and heal from burnout. Not looking at your phone for 30 minutes (or more) before going to bed can help decrease cortisol and allow melatonin to rise for restorative sleep. Also, creating a relaxing environment is really helpful. For example, dimming the lights as it gets closer to bedtime will help with that cortisol and melatonin balance. When we are getting restorative sleep, we feel like we can take on the next day. We’ll also be more focused, feel more optimistic, and choose food and movement that will better support our health.” –Amanda Perrin, MS, RD

    6. Be intentional about your productivity 
    “I love using The Eisenhower Matrix (a productivity method), to help me decide what tasks I should prioritize, plan, delegate and remove from my plate. It can really help to avoid the ‘urgency trap,’ or that feeling like everything is on fire all the time, which so often leads to burnout. This is a great tool if you feel like you’re always spread too thin or feel like you’re busy all the time but not noticing any progress in your goals.” –Erin D’Elia Assenza, Health Coach

    7. Lean on the people you trust
    “While you can’t always choose your colleagues, you can choose the amount of energy and time you place into cultivating and strengthening bonds with the coworkers that resonate with you and you feel a connection with. Positive thinking is great, but touching base with colleagues on the struggles or hardships with your job is beneficial in decreasing burnout risk.” –Dawn Rene Johnson, DO, IFMCP, MHA More

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    15 Sunday Rituals to Set You Up for an Amazing Week

    The most unrelatable thing about me: Sundays are my favorite day of the weekend. I know that’s almost as annoying as if I said I love running or salad is my favorite food (both of which are untrue, BTW), but Sundays are no longer a sad ending to the weekend or a scary start to the weekdays (Sunday Scaries are real!). Instead, Sundays are the make-or-break day that I use to set up my entire week for happiness and success. Get rid of your Sunday Scaries and make the most of the day off with these 15 rituals that will set you up for a successful week:

    1. Meal prep
    The most basic of Sunday rituals, meal prepping is a crucial way to ensure your week is set up for success and that you have easy, healthy meals, even on your busiest days. The key is to do the kind of meal prepping that works best for you. Maybe planning out meals and grocery shopping is enough or maybe you want to prepare some basic dishes to reuse during the week, like roasted veggies or healthy breakfast muffins. You can also prepare ingredients instead of meals to make cooking easier throughout the week: boil eggs, slice lemon wedges, or wash and chop veggies.

    2. Pick a theme for the week
    We’re focused on to-do lists and goals, but what about setting an intention or a theme to focus on for the entire week? We can replace negative thoughts with phrases that are not only better for us but can also help us be more confident or feel less stressed, and we can set intentions for each week that will help us live our best lives. Every Sunday, pick an affirmation or “theme” (like staying present, moving more often, or having more fun) and write it every day in your planner so you don’t forget it. Then, live your entire week around this affirmation or theme.

    3. Go extra on self-care
    A little self-care Sunday is nothing new, but going all out on skincare, haircare, and overall TLC will not only help you feel relaxed and pampered going into the week, but you’ll also look and feel your best. First, set the mood: dim the lights, light candles, diffuse essential oils, turn on relaxing music, and put on a cozy robe. Stock up on all the luxurious products you love, whether it’s a CBD bath bomb or a high-quality hair mask, and get ready for a full day of pampering. Take a bath (or have a luxurious shower), indulge in dry brushing or exfoliating, give yourself a facial massage for relaxation and de-puffing, and finish off with a manicure or pedicure in your favorite color. 

    4. Make to-do lists (based on life goals)
    Making a to-do list is no revolutionary ritual, but are you making to-do lists with long-term goals in mind? Before making your weekly to-do list, ask yourself where you want to be in 5-10 years. Everything on your to-do list should help you take step toward achieving these goals. For example, strategize business growth, spend 30 minutes taking an online class, or work out if your goal is to be more active. In other words, to-do lists of even the simplest tasks should have a long-term perspective.
    Making your to-do list with goals in mind will show you where you should be spending time and where you can be spending less time. Of course, you’ll always have to do the mundane house chores or tedious tasks, but figure out where you can outsource these items and prioritize what will get you closer to your goals so you make sure to get it done (yes, that means doing that workout or brainstorm meeting you’ve been putting off). 

    5. Put on your favorite outfit
    The littlest rituals or habits can make the biggest difference in boosting your mood and setting the tone for the rest of the week. To beat the blues that come with the end of the weekend, save your very favorite OOTDs for Sundays. Whether that means the fancy loungewear that feels luxurious AF or the trendy sundress that makes you feel like a style star, put on the outfit that makes you feel your best from head to toe and get ready to take on the week ahead. 

    6. Get your inbox to zero
    If your Monday mornings feel like a whirlwind starting the second you wake up, set your week up for success by getting ahead. While Sundays should feel like Sundays (rather than an extension of the workweek), spending just 10-20 minutes getting some work done will help you start your week already feeling ahead. If emails are a source of stress, tackle your inbox, or if scheduling feels like a tedious task on Monday mornings, plan out your meetings and deadlines the day before. Just think about how good your Monday morning will feel when your inbox is already at zero and your calendar is planned out! 

    7. Read
    I’m the queen of excuses when it comes to reading more often. “I’m too tired,” “I don’t have any new books,” and “How am I expected to do anything else in my free time when all six seasons of Sex and the City are on Hulu!?” are excuses I use on a regular basis. But reading is not only enjoyable, it’s also good for you. Whether it’s winding down before bed on Sunday night, spending some time in the afternoon, or the ritual you look forward to when starting your day, fit in some more time to read. As for what to read? Start with books that will boost your mood or the most anticipated books of the season. 

    8. Tidy up your home
    Dishes in the sink or laundry piled on the chair (we all have that one chair), can prevent you from feeling fully relaxed while going to bed at night or could make you more stressed to start the next day. Clutter in your space can translate into clutter in your mind, so dedicate a short amount of time on your Sunday to run the dishwasher, wipe off kitchen counters, and put away laundry that has piled up in the bedroom. A less cluttered bedroom will help you sleep at night and a clean kitchen will make you happier the next morning. 

    9. Check your bank account and make weekly goals
    Self-care doesn’t always mean bubble baths or face masks. Sometimes, self-care means being an independent adult and doing what you can to feel in control of your finances. While having a detailed financial plan and setting goals can help you reduce money-related stress and achieve what you want in life, feeling in control of your finances doesn’t always require a lot of time and energy. At the beginning of every week, take a minute to glance over your bank account and credit card statements. Getting in the habit of frequently checking can help identify fraud early on and will also give you a good idea of where you’re spending and where you can be saving.

    10. Schedule workouts
    You schedule meetings, appointments, and plans in advance, so why not schedule your workouts too? Not only will having a 10 a.m. jog or a 5 p.m. workout class on your calendar hold you accountable to make the workouts happen, but when you prioritize you-time just as much as you prioritize a work meeting or dinner with a friend, you’re making a statement that self-care is just as important as every other aspect of your life (because it should be). Treat your scheduled workouts like any other item on your calendar: Show up on time, be prepared, and don’t cancel last minute.

    11. Detox your desk space
    For the most productive, positive start to your week, your workspace should be clean and organized (remember: clutter in your space can translate into clutter in your mind!). A messy workspace can add to the feelings of stress, overwhelm, and anxiety that comes with the start of a busy week, so minimize as much clutter as possible on Sunday. Clean out your desk drawers, organize papers or mail, and even wipe down your computer. If you don’t have a workspace, you’ll get the same benefits from detoxing your desktop (AKA deleting that folder of Christmas decor inspo that’s been sitting there since December), organizing contacts, or installing any updates (to avoid that annoying notification throughout the week).

    12. Get outside
    No Sunday Scaries here: Being in the great outdoors can boost your mood and help ease stress to feel happier and more relaxed. Even just 20 minutes sitting in a park or going on a walk can elevate your mood and help foster important skills that contribute to happiness, like confidence, kindness, and the feeling of awe. For an instant mood boost, get outside on your Sunday: Sip a morning coffee on your balcony or porch, go on a bike ride, or even sit by a window to reap some of the benefits. If you have free time, consider spending it at your local park or beach instead of on your couch, and if you’re planning to work out, take it outdoors for an instant mood booster that will make you feel good for the rest of the week.

    13. Pick out your outfits
    Decision fatigue is real, people! We make a lot of decisions every single day, even just within the first few minutes of waking up: whether or not to hit snooze, when to turn on the coffee pot, and what to wear (which is approximately 100 different decisions). The little decisions add up to feel so overwhelming that we become unable to make even the most basic decisions. To limit and avoid the mental exhaustion and decision fatigue many of us experience regularly, take away as many little decisions as possible before your week even starts. Picking out a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday means that your energy can go to more important things during the week, like important work projects (or, you know, what to order for lunch). 

    14. Get sexy
    No, getting sexy is not just for Saturday night. Whether it’s a little ménage-à-Moi, having a check-in with your partner about what you want to try more of this week, or just making a list of the things that brought you pleasure today (a silk nightgown, a cup of coffee, sleeping in, etc.), take some time to tap into your sensual side. Bonus: Checking yourself out in the mirror and putting on a playlist that gets you going will set up the rest of your week for more confidence, pleasure, and enjoyment, both in and out of the bedroom. 

    15. Take time to do nothing
    Sundays often come with so many “shoulds.” “I should be grocery shopping,” “I should be doing laundry,” or “I should be getting ahead with work.” While many of the rituals listed in this roundup are “shoulds” that will help you have the best week ever, there’s also another important ritual you need to set you up for a better week: doing nothing. Instead of waking up to rush from one thing to the next, make your coffee, turn on your music, and just be. More

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    I Online Dated the Entire Pandemic—Here’s What It Was Like

    A mere week or so before quarantine began, I finally felt ready to start dating again. An abusive relationship, a negative self-image, stress, life changes—it all kept me single for a while. But just before the pandemic, I downloaded all the apps, took some good selfies, updated my profiles… and then I had to figure out dating during the pandemic.
    Fast-forward a year, and I’ve spent the entire COVID-19 pandemic online dating (spoiler alert: to no avail). When I was stuck at home watching every Netflix show that existed or trying to learn a new hobby, my phone was near, picking up all my little matches across the city. I’ve had quite the go of dating throughout the past year—here’s a peek into my process and what I’m taking away now that I’m vaccinated:

    The Apps I Use
    I’m bisexual and use way too many dating apps. I use Bumble for meeting men, Hinge for men and women, and Tinder and Her for women. I feel like I get the best results this way. But of course, I have favorites: Bumble is the easiest interface and has been the most helpful throughout the pandemic because they have options to put what your comfort level is around COVID dating, and I find it helpful to be able to see the person’s political affiliation. If that’s not important to you, then it doesn’t matter, but it helps me weed out people that I simply know that I won’t mesh with romantically. I want to love Her, but I simply never meet anyone, and I have this horrible fear that every single person I speak to is a catfish because I’ve met an odd number of catfishes on there in the year I’ve used it.

    Spring 2020
    The first couple months of the pandemic, I had apps on my phone but I didn’t put too much stake into it. I’d swipe if I got really bored watching TV, but I couldn’t imagine meeting someone and having to talk to them for an unsure amount of time before we’d be able to safely meet. I remember telling my mom that I was worried my dating life would get put on hold for a few months (lmao) because I couldn’t see a “reason” in online dating while I was stuck at home. For everyone, this time period was so isolating and confusing, and those emotions aren’t conducive as a foundation to build a relationship on.

    Summer 2020
    But then, once outdoor dining opened up, I started seeing my friends again, and being outside in the real world didn’t feel like a death sentence to myself and everyone I know. I started using apps a little bit more, but meeting was really difficult. One aspect of COVID dating has been constantly having to worry that this new person you’re bringing into your life has the same thoughts around COVID that you do. It’s one thing to worry my partner won’t like the same music taste as me or prefers to stay in instead of going out, but with COVID, I’m worried I could be bringing someone into my life who could get myself, or worse, one of my close friends or family members sick. And that’s a risk I haven’t been willing to take for almost anyone this pandemic. So, this involves a lot of weeding out.
    First, you have the COVID deniers. My friend saw a guy whose literal bio was “COVID is a hoax,” which actually is probably helping people to make sure to swipe left real quick. I’m horrified of meeting someone who doesn’t take wearing a mask seriously or is going on wild vacations or simply just has very different views and boundaries around COVID from how I do. This worry has caused me to not meet up with tons of people on apps in the last year because I can’t risk hurting someone just so I can have one hot date.
    But there are also the people who *only* want to talk about COVID. Their opener and every message after is about how their sister got COVID and gave it to all of her friends and might give it to three sets of grandparents and how you think we’ll never go back to living normal lives ever again. It’s bleak sh*t. I am already worrying about 3897237 things at all times, including COVID—I don’t need it to take over my messages too.

    Fall 2020
    After months of swiping, I actually met someone. But because of COVID, I was hesitant to do anything in person. Turns out, this guy explained that he was regularly tested for COVID through his job, and after a 10-day quarantine, we hung out. I was uncomfortable and nervous the first hour or so; I was already preparing to quarantine again so I didn’t accidentally get someone else sick. That all said, when it went well, I planned our second (and third) date immediately to “limit the exposure.”
    It was a whirlwind of a romance, but ultimately ended in him making up this elaborate lie that he had a secret job in the government and had to move that very night. All this to say, I felt pretty defeated after that for a couple of months. I finally meet someone in the pandemic, and it was all so fleeting. Dating in the pandemic feels like a constant push and pull: you put in tons of effort and get excited about a match, all for it to end and you’re alone again. Pre-pandemic, rebounds were a little easier; I had a whole office full of friends to see every day and I made regular visits to see my family. The loneliness of the pandemic really got to me in those moments when I realized the simple act of meeting one person gave me so much serotonin (and then how easy it was to all go away).

    Spring 2021
    There’s been a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel recently, though. As soon as people I know started getting vaccinated, it felt like maybe there was hope for in-person dating soon. This made me, and I’m sure other people, get a little more into their apps. Instead of closing it and not swiping again for days every single week, I’m using the apps more consistently, and I’m getting more matches too.

    How I’m Using Apps Going Forward
    I was lucky to get vaccinated recently. Although this doesn’t make the entire pandemic go away, there is finally some hope that, eventually, we’ll get to meet up in person and maybe even take our masks off! For so much of the last year, there were a lot of communal feelings about what was going on. At some points, it was all hope and excitement that things could get better soon (i.e., in the beginning when every week it felt like maybe we’d be going back to work in a few weeks), but other times it felt extremely bleak and sad (such as when I officially started saying that I didn’t know if I’d ever go back into work). And in a time of hopelessness, I think dating felt that way too.
    I can’t lie and say that I’m not pumped for the first person I meet out in the world again. It’s so much easier to tell context and interest and connection in person, and not having to wait hours for someone to respond sounds like heaven. But I also know that online dating is the way of the times and the future, and people will likely still populate apps like crazy, even once the pandemic is over. More

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    20 Amazon Products That Will Take Your Wellness Routine to the Next Level

    So you probably use Amazon for stocking up on dish soap or buying toilet paper in bulk. Perhaps you’re an Amazon expert and have used the mega-retailer to elevate your at-home work setup or scour for designer dupes that upgrade your wardrobe. But I bet you didn’t know that Amazon is also a goldmine for affordable wellness must-haves that can transform your routine. That’s right: achieve your healthiest, happiest, and best self in two days from now (thanks, Prime shipping!). From weighted blankets to the best leggings on the internet, here are 20 of our favorite wellness products on Amazon that could make the biggest difference in your life. Shop on and get ready to achieve all your wellness goals at the push of an “add to cart.”

    High Waisted Yoga Leggings
    Arguably the most viral leggings on the internet, this pair has 4.5 stars and over 25,000 ratings. Besides the fit and comfort, you’ll love the vast range of sizes and colors, and the deep pockets are a major plus (oh, and did I mention that they’re under $25?). 10+ colors available.

    Wooden Gua Sha
    If you’ve only tried facial Gua Sha (or haven’t tried Gua Sha at all), you’re missing out. This wooden tool (inspired by the ancient Chinese medicine technique) is used for everything from lymphatic drainage to reducing cellulite.

    Vitscan Store
    Motivational Water Bottle
    I’ve had this water bottle for about two months now, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been so hydrated. With convenient time stamps, motivational sayings, and an adorable design, you’ll refuse to drink out of any other water bottle. 11 colors available.

    Sivan Health & Fitness Store
    Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
    Never thought an “acupressure mat” was something you needed? Think again. With benefits like better sleep, less tension, and help with back pain or headaches, laying on this mat will become your new favorite way to watch Netflix.

    Extra Brite Baking Soda Toothpowder
    If your wellness routine includes dental care (it should) and your goals include whiter teeth (mine always do), look no further than this $7 bottle of “toothpowder” said to whiten teeth in a more natural way than strips or pens. The best part? The bottle is small, but that $7 will last you a LONG time.

    Herb Keeper
    If you’re not consistently using herbs in every meal, you’re seriously missing out on some nutrients (and flavor). Do yourself a favor and get this herb keeper so your herbs stay fresher for longer.

    Sense Sleep System
    Slumber is more than just beauty sleep; you know that a good night’s snooze is crucial for every part of your health. This genius machine plays calming sounds, monitors your sleep, tells you how your environment is affecting sleep quality, and wakes you up in the lightest part of your cycle. Say hello to the best Zzz’s of your life!

    Ankle & Wrist Weights
    So you had to say goodbye to your beloved barre studio or gym the past year? Not to worry: these cute ankle & wrist weights will help you step up your workout (and look cute sitting out in your living room). 3 colors available.

    Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock
    Waking up in the morning chipper and ready to start the day felt so out of reach to me. Instead, I would groggily shut off my alarm and will my eyes to open for approximately 5-10 minutes before I ever got out of bed. But not anymore: this alarm clock mimics the sunrise and signals your body that it’s time to wake up. You’ll never have waken up so well-rested or chipper.

    Tongue Scraper Cleaner
    If you don’t have a tongue scraper, YOU NEED ONE (my personal mission is to get the whole world tongue scraping). Bad bacteria and toxins form on your tongue that you re-ingest whenever you swallow. Do yourself a favor and scrape your tongue every morning (that means before your oat milk latte!).

    Skipping Rope
    Jumping rope isn’t just the activity you were really good at as a kid: it’s also a kickass workout that will torch calories while toning muscles and improving endurance. Get this one for home for intervals throughout your work day or while watching TV.

    Click and Grow
    Smart Garden
    No matter if you live in a tiny apartment or a gigantic mansion (um, HMU for a sleepover), you can be growing your own herbs. Growing your herbs ensure that they’re free of pesticides, residue, and are as nutrient-dense as possible. Thanks to this genius indoor garden (that’s super chic BTW!), you can grow your own herbs, no matter where you live. 3 colors available.

    Moon Juice
    Sex Dust
    If you haven’t heard of Moon Juice’s cult-favorite “Sex Dust,” listen up. The Instagram-worthy supplement is filled with natural adaptogens and herbs to balance hormones, increase energy, and boost libido. *adds to cart ASAP* Put in your coffee, smoothies, baked goods, or water.

    Weekly Pill Organizer
    If I had a penny for every day I thought to myself, “did I take my b12 yet…?” Never forget a vitamin or supplement again with these nifty and cute pill organizers that are big enough to fit your prescriptions, vitamins, and probiotics, while being small enough to fit perfectly in your carry-on or purse to take on the go. 3 colors available.

    Intelligent Change
    The Five Minute Journal
    Meditation and mindfulness are crucial for peak health. If you don’t have all day to meditate, this five-minute prompted journal gives you just five minutes every day to tune in to yourself and focus on living your best life.

    Deodorant Wipes
    Never leave the gym for brunch or happy hour worrying about your smell again. These individually wrapped deodorant wipes are biodegradable, smell delicious, and are non-toxic (only the best for you!). Throw them in your gym bag (for post-workout), carry-on (for long travel days), and every purse (for emergencies, obviously).

    Clitoris Stimulator
    Our sex writer, Beth, swears by this vibrator (check out the article she dedicated to singing its praise), and it looks like the rest of Amazon agrees. With 4.5 stars and over 35,000 ratings (you read that right!), this vibrator has people all over the world buzzing (literally).

    Weighted Blanket
    A weighted blanket is one of those things that sounded weird when it came on the market years ago, but it has taken off as one of our wellness must-haves, thanks to its immediately comforting effects and anxiety-reducing benefits. This one is comfortable, high-tech, and comes in a wide range of sizes and colors. More

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    The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Self-Love Routine

    Remember February 14th as a child? It was a joyous holiday where you got to express your creativity through crafting a cool box and picking out themed cards from your favorite television show or movie. This was a day where you celebrated love: love for your friends, love for your teachers, and love for your family. There was something about giving love (passing out your Valentines) and receiving love (dumping out your box and reading each one) that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. You always looked forward to it (and all the candy that came along with it). At some point, the meaning of this date changed. It transitioned from pure platonic love and bliss to fragile romantic love. To be honest, as we’ve got older, we’ve made the concept of this day much more complicated than it needs to be. 
    Valentine’s Day is still the same beautiful holiday it was when you were a child, and its meaning is chosen by you. You can choose to have this holiday represent loneliness, or you can reclaim this as a day of gratitude for all the love you have in your life. Regardless of if you have a romantic love interest, you have people in your life that you can show love to: family, friends, coworkers, and yes, yourself. After all, there is no one in this world who will ever love you more than you love yourself. 
    What better way to spend Valentine’s Day in quarantine other than indulging in an easy, budget-friendly yet gratifying self-care routine?   

    Light a candle (or two)
    Candles bring a feeling of closeness and warmth into your home. Try floral notes like rose or jasmine, or go more sweet and sultry with notes of vanilla and amber. 

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    Diffuse some essential oils 
    Aromatherapy is essential to setting the right mood for any pamper day. Lavender, bergamot, and rose are associated with feelings of relaxation, balance, and harmony. If you’re in the mood for something more sensual, try a mix of sandalwood, patchouli, and ylang ylang. 

    Play some background noise 
    To make the day special, find a new playlist with sing-a-longs from your favorite era. If you’re not in the mood for songs, check out Spotify’s “Love Stories” section for podcasts filled with heartwarming stories about love and friendship. 

    Take a long bath or shower
    Show your body lots of love with a bath bomb infused luxurious bath or taking an extra-long steamy shower. Exfoliate with a dry brush before stepping in or use a body scrub once you’re in the water. After you’re done, lather up with a softly scented body oil for extreme softness. 

    Do an extensive skincare routine
    Use this day as an excuse to give your face all the tender love and care it deserves. After cleansing and exfoliating, apply your favorite nourishing serums followed by a hydrating mask. Start with a gel or cream mask and then use a sheet mask afterward. Need something to do while your masks work their magic? Why not take time to unplug by reading a book instead of mindlessly scrolling your phone. When you’re done, finish off with a beloved moisturizer and facial oil for a quick little facial massage.
    P.S. Don’t forget to give your lips some attention too.  

    Put on comfortable clothes or PJs
    Once you’re done pampering yourself, get dressed in a special comfy matching set or satin nightie. No outfit is complete without a spritz of perfume and a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers; these are essential for the occasion.   

    Order or cook something special
    Valentine’s Day is absolutely an excuse to step away from your regimented meal plan. Order in from your favorite restaurant (make sure you arrange this early as takeout demand will probably be high) or cook a really nice dinner. Brush up on your quarantine baking skills by making a fun Valentine’s Day dessert too. Don’t forget to crack open a nice bottle of wine. You have overcome a lot since last Valentine’s Day, and that is something worth celebrating!

    Paint your nails and watch a movie
    No self-care routine is complete without a mani-pedi in front of a movie. Fortunately, the romance genre is full of many different approaches, so you can always find a flick that’s right for every mood. If you’re craving passion and drama, try Netflix’s new Malcolm & Marie. Feel like crying? That’s OK too, A Walk to Remember and The Fault in Our Stars usually get the job done. For stories of love and friendship that will keep you laughing watch Sex and the City: The Movie. And if you’re just looking for a series that is both modern and relatable, try To All the Boys. 

    Get to bed early
    When you are ready to wind down, it’s time to choose the mindfulness practice of your choice. Whether that is meditation, journaling, or prayer, chose something that helps center your thoughts and inner emotions. Give gratitude for all your loved ones and think of little ways you can improve on showing love to others. Finally reflect on how you can continue to cultivate a loving, healthy, long-lasting relationship with yourself. Because no matter where life takes you, you’ll need it.  More

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    10 Ways to Upgrade Your Self-Care Routine for 2021

    It’s no surprise that we love self-care at The Everygirl; we’ve all tried dozens of face masks, perfected the CBD bubble bath, and watched Bridgerton at least three times through (staring at Regé-Jean Page is self-care). We know that caring for yourself is just as important as crushing a work presentation or keeping your home tidy (if not more), and we believe that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. But the thing about self-care, and health in general, is that it should always be changing and growing with us. The start of a new year means it’s time to reevaluate our self-care routines and incorporate some much-needed upgrades. Whether you switch up your wellness routine after every new year or the end of 2020 requires some special cleansing, here are 10 ways to upgrade your entire self-care routine in 2021.

    1. Get outside
    So you fit in workouts, skincare, and maybe even meditate regularly. The way to upgrade the routine you already have? Take your self-care outside. Getting some fresh air can have major effects on the mind and body (yes, even when it’s cold). Take your workout outdoors by jogging, going on walks, or doing some lunches and jumping jacks at a local park. If you prefer working out in your living room, you can also take a cup of coffee to your balcony or front yard for a few minutes of quiet meditation in the morning. And if you don’t have time for a full workout or morning meditation? Take walks on your lunch break or sit outside while on conference calls.

    2. Make sexual wellness a part of your routine
    PSA: sexuality is not just the private side of relationships or what we learn about from Sex and the City reruns. Your sexuality should be just as much a part of your self-care routine as a face mask or a bubble bath (and, FYI, can be done simultaneously with both). Whether that means regularly exploring your own body, getting to know what you want (and don’t want), or building sensuality outside of the bedroom through prioritizing pleasure in all areas of your life, sensuality can (and should) be a daily practice. Remember that pleasure is your right, whether that means more pleasurable workouts, food choices, or orgasms, and in 2021, it’s high time we see sex as self-care instead of a dirty word. 

    3. Laugh more often
    “Laughter is the best medicine” is certainly a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to it. Laughter can have a variety of mental and physical health benefits. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t come with side effects like other medicine (except maybe peeing your pants if you laugh a little too hard. You know what I’m talking about). Incorporate laughter into your routine by surrounding yourself with people who are fun to be around, choosing hilarious comedies for movie nights, and not taking life too seriously. You’ll be amazed at the humor you can find in any circumstance when you remember that the point of life is to enjoy it. 
    4. Multitask with movement
    Fitting in a workout is important and necessary for both our mental and physical health, but most of us still end up sitting at a desk for over eight hours a day, workout or not. Our bodies aren’t meant to live sedentarily, so fit in more consistent movement whenever you can by multitasking. For example, do bicep curls while on conference calls or go on a power walk while talking to your mom or a friend. You can also work out while listening to an online class or audiobook for your book club, or do some stretching or jumping jacks while watching TV. Oh, and whenever you’re cooking or getting ready? You know what to do: turn on a bomb playlist and dance.

    5. Take more breaks
    I don’t just mean work breaks. I mean breaks from everything (and yes, that includes self-care practices). Take breaks from Netflix binges by going for a walk or taking a warm bath, take workout breaks by scheduling a rest day, take technology breaks with a tech detox, and even take breaks from that full morning routine you’ve perfected by spending a weekend morning sleeping in, staying in PJs, reading a book, and making pancakes. The goal of self-care practices (and health in general) is not perfection; it’s balance. Nothing should ever feel too strict, regulated, or perfect. It’s time we stop seeing breaks as a weakness or failure, and instead see them as important, necessary, and healthy. Hint: if you’re feeling unmotivated, worn out, exhausted, bored, or tired of any one thing, that’s probably a sign you need a break from it.

    6. Do something “just for fun”
    Take a “fun evaluation” right now: when’s the last time you did anything just for fun? How do you spend your free time alone that isn’t bingeing Netflix? If it’s difficult (or impossible) for you to think of an answer, your very stressful adult life has likely taken precedence over a very important aspect of life: having fun. Enjoyment is not only good for you, but it’s crucial (remember how laughter is the best medicine?). Incorporate regular “playtime” in your life by turning on music and dancing, doing something creative like coloring, or going to your local jungle gym and playing on the monkey bars (bonus points that it doubles as a workout). If you feel silly “playing” or feel unproductive spending time on something “just for fun,” that’s even more reason to. 

    7. Try out non-toxic or natural products
    So you have a go-to candle that instantly relaxes you, a line-up of impressive face masks, and every item you could possibly need for a killer bubble bath. While I commend you for being on top of your self-care game, if you’re looking for a 2021 upgrade, try switching to non-toxic or all-natural products. After all, nutrition is not just about what we put in our bodies; it’s also about what we put on our bodies. Going clean doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, expensive, or wasteful. Whenever you finish a beauty product, candle, or even food, do a little research to find an alternative that’s better for you and better for the planet (bonus points for buying from a small business!). It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing process. Instead, take baby steps that will lead to big changes. Click here for some clean beauty hacks, and click here for our non-toxic candle guide.  

    8. Set boundaries
    Self-care is about what to do to care for yourself, but it’s also about what not to do. Setting boundaries, whether they’re with work, your family, or in your relationship, should be non-negotiable. Think of boundaries as a shield to protect your energy, mental health, and overall wellness. If your energy is always drained or you notice that other people affect the way you think, you probably need to set (and keep) more boundaries. Set work boundaries by deleting work-related apps off your phone, set social media boundaries by muting accounts that don’t bring you joy, and set boundaries in your relationships by limiting your access to other people when you need time for yourself. 

    9. Put it in your calendar
    Your calendar is probably full of work meetings, doctor’s appointments, and deadlines, instead of workouts, meditations, or downtime. But when you write something on your calendar, that means you’ll prioritize it, show up on time, be prepared, and not skip (unless you reschedule in advance). Why should your self-care be any less important than work deadlines or appointments? Scheduling it into your calendar will not only make sure that you’re making time for it, but will remind you that self-care is just as important as other obligations. If you prefer to have a career-specific calendar, consider getting a planner just for self-care to schedule activities that will recharge your energy. 

    10. Ditch the practices that make you more stressed
    I’ll be honest: even for someone who is #extra with wellness, meditation has always stressed me out. It seems like every expert in the world preaches its benefits, but when I sit down and try to have a few minutes of meditative bliss, thoughts run through my head like I’m doing this wrong, and I can’t stop thinking about my to-do list. I would leave meditation sessions feeling more stressed than before. Yes, it is a practice that requires patience, but it didn’t make me feel at peace, relaxed, or zoned out. You know what does make me feel at peace, relaxed, and zoned out? Going for a walk, coloring, listening to Frank Sinatra, and yes, even watching Real Housewives.
    Maybe one day I’ll start up a love affair with meditation, but until then, I’m going to be doing whatever it is that actually brings me peace, relaxation, and happiness, whether wellness experts swear by it or not. The truth is that adding, doing, or trying all the things that are supposed to be good for us can sometimes just be FOMO disguised as health. With the start of a new year, reevaluate every way you’re spending your time, and get rid of the ones that aren’t truly serving you.

    How are you updating your self-care routine for 2021? More