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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.

    How to Change Your Beauty Routine for Summer
    According to our beauty editor More

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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

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    The 16 Best Mental Health Podcasts To Help You Cope With Anxiety, Depression, And More

    Podcasts are incredibly popular these days, and there are so many to choose from. From politics to pop culture this type of audio entertainment covers almost everything you can think of and is a great way to pass the time and learn something new. But that’s not all it’s good for – mental health podcasts, in particular, can boost your emotional wellness and be an effective form of self-care.
    Shelby John, a clinical social worker who specialises in addiction, anxiety, and trauma, loves mental health podcasts because they are not only extremely accessible for most people, but they are also free. “The freedom to be able to listen to episodes whenever and wherever you want is incredible,” she says. “This allows people who maybe otherwise would not go to therapy or hire a coach to access knowledge and practical skills from professionals.”
    READ MORE: 12 Bonnie Mbuli Wellness Quotes
    The information you consume has a direct impact on how you behave, feel, and think, says Amy Morin, a therapist and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. “If you listen to podcasts that share stories, strategies, and tips that can improve your mental health, you can learn how to improve your psychological well-being,” she explains. “A podcast might affirm the information you already know, which can reassure you that you are on the right path. A podcast might also help you feel less alone. This is especially true if you hear stories and interviews with guests you can relate to. You might also learn new things or discover strategies you can try to reduce your anxiety or boost your mood.”
    Most mental health podcasts feature experts in a specific field, such as behavioral scientists, psychologists, therapists, or other types of pros with unique and helpful insights to share.
    How To Choose A Mental Health Podcast That Is Right For You
    The host will be your constant companion, so look for one whose personality and voice mesh well with you. You should also make sure the podcast you’re listening to is produced by a licensed and legitimate mental health care provider, advises Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Master Social Worker Kayleigh Parent. “Even then, just because someone is licensed does not mean they are competent or using evidence-based practices,” she says.
    Another factor to consider is whether you are part of the target audience. Of course, anyone can listen to any podcast, but you may be able to benefit more if you tune into ones that you feel a kinship with, whether it is because of the age group, ethnicity, gender identity, or mental health issue they address.
    READ MORE: Why You Need Boundaries ASAP
    Know that many of the conversations that take place on podcasts are based on personal experience. The host and guests may touch on sensitive topics that trigger you. If you’re not comfortable with what will be discussed on a podcast (read those episode blurbs beforehand!), it may not be right for you.
    Remember: Podcasts are not a replacement for therapy. If you struggle with issues such as addiction, eating disorders, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, or trauma, seek help from a medical professional.
    Ready to jump in? Here are the 16 best mental health podcasts recommended by experts. More

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    I Only Have 3 New Year’s Resolutions—This Is the Hack I’m Using To Achieve Them

    A fun fact about me: I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions. In theory, they seem like a harmless way to reevaluate who you want to be and where you want to go. But over the years, I’ve found myself making CVS-receipt-long laundry lists of all the things that I want to change about myself and am subsequently flooded with shame and dissatisfaction months later when I burn out and return to old habits. 
    Instead of completely overhauling my routines and nit-picking all of the things that I dislike about my life, I’m viewing 2022 as an opportunity for growth rather than a “detox” or a “reset.” This year, I’m focusing on small changes that’ll make a big impact and ones that I know I can totally achieve. So when I sat down and resisted the urge to scribble down 24 aspects of my life I wanted to revamp, I had a bit of an epiphany. In this season of my life, I’m focusing on finding balance, treating myself as I would a friend, and making minor adjustments that’ll have a large payoff in the long run. I only have three resolutions this year, and CBD from Equilibria is helping me achieve all of them:

    Resolution 1: Gain control over my work-life balance

    I started a new role in October, and I’d be lying if I said that the transition was an easy one. I used to be a nurse, and while the emergency department kept me on my toes and challenged me in ways I never thought possible, I definitely underestimated how mentally tolling working from home and no longer being an expert in your field can be. I’d often times find myself too anxious to start a new task, unnecessarily terrified to speak in meetings, and overwhelmed, and then, in an effort to compensate, I’d stay online hours past sign-off in an attempt to get ahead.
    This year, I’m taking a breath and I’m being consistent with my CBD routine. CBD has been known to improve anxiety, focus, mood, and concentration, and whenever I take one of my Equilibria Rapid Release Melts, I’ve found that I’m able to more calmly tackle tasks that would otherwise stress me TF out. By approaching my day with a more level head, I’m hoping to be able to use my productive hours to be productive and actually sign off at 5:30 p.m. Plus, it’ll help me sleep more soundly so that I have more energy to take on challenges throughout the workweek.

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    Resolution 2: Stay social but drink less

    Source: @equilibriawomen
    I’m getting to a point in life where participating in a girls’ night out sidelines me for one to two business days. My hangovers have gotten significantly worse over the last year, and while I love a good espresso martini every now and then, one of my resolutions for the upcoming year is to reevaluate my social life and how it relates to alcohol. For me, that means planning more sober dates, coordinating nights out with friends that aren’t centered on drinking, and swapping mocktails for cocktails whenever I can.
    One of my favorite mocktail hacks is to add a 10 mL dropper of CBD oil to my non-alcoholic drink to help me summon a little extra zen, and let me tell you: I’ve found that CBD mocktails are something I actually look forward to. 1) They’re fun to make, 2) help me chill out, and 3) don’t leave me with a crippling hangover like my typical vodka soda. Gone are the days of exuding awkwardness at a social gathering and feeling the need to occupy my hands with an alcoholic beverage that I end up drinking quickly to curb my social anxieties—so long, I won’t miss ya.

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    Resolution 3: Carve out (and actually schedule) more “me” time during the week

    In previous years, my idea of “me” time was to treat myself to something I loved if my schedule allowed it. It took me far too long to learn, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if I let my schedule rule the rest of my life, there will never be time to connect with myself, rest, or recharge. I’m reclaiming my power over my schedule this year by physically writing down self-care moments into my planner and treating them as I would a meeting. 8 p.m. bathtime and a light read with myself? Can’t cancel that again.
    One of my favorite ways to block everything out and to reset is to take a fancy bath, use Equilibria’s Mindful Mineral Soak, and read a few pages out of a novel. There’s no better way to wind down and reflect on my day quite like calling upon the 30 minerals + 200 mg of CBD of the Mindful Mineral Soak that help me purify, destress, relax, and reset. So this year, it’s one of those non-negotiable weeknight activities that I want to make a consistent part of my nighttime routine.

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    The Self-Care Ritual My Therapist Recommended for Reducing Anxiety

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

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    5 Easy Meditations You Can Do Anywhere To Help Deal With Holiday Stress

    Navigating holiday stress can seem nearly impossible, but I have a fix for you: meditation. Between family dinners with in-laws who like to argue, waiting in long lines while holiday shopping, or dealing with inevitable delays while traveling, the holidays can feel like the most stressful time of year. In a perfect world, we would all love to maintain our regular healthy routines through these months, but sometimes, it’s just not possible. So instead of putting pressure on yourself to do it all, stop, take a breath, and find little moments throughout the day to give yourself some self-love with an easy and quick meditation. 
    Meditation is an amazing tool for keeping calm during stressful moments of the season because it can be done almost anywhere and for any length of time. You also don’t need to have any previous knowledge or experience to start. As a breathwork facilitator and diehard meditation fan, here are five meditations I use consistently to help conquer the holidays with ease and joy. 

    1. The Starbucks Line Meditation
    If there’s one place where it is easy to succumb to anger and stress, it’s a Starbucks line: You’ve been waiting for a while, your to-do list is nowhere near ending, and the clock is just ticking by. Instead, turn the dreaded wait into a quick meditation by Suze Yalof Schwartz from her book Unplug.
    Length: However long it takes to get your coffee order
    Practice: As you are in line, begin by placing your gaze on your feet and noticing how they feel on the ground. Allow them to really connect to the floor beneath you. Then, very slowly, as the line moves, lift up one foot and place it, heel first, onto the ground in front of you. Continue with the other foot as well in the same slow motion. As you do this, notice how your body moves, how your ankle allows your foot to turn, how your legs work with your feet. Continue in slow motion, taking your time until you reach the barista. Once there, look your barista in the eyes and smile at them, then place your order. Nine out of 10 times, they will smile back; a smile always goes a long way. After you have ordered, continue the slow and careful movements to wait for your coffee. Once it arrives, pick up your coffee and feel the warmth of the cup, bringing it to your face and breathing in the smell before taking a slow sip and allowing the taste to absorb in your mouth. Just like that, your coffee line has turned into an easy reset. 

    Do you feel like you never have time for mediation? You don’t actually need 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or even one. Instead, try this 16-second meditation any time you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or worried. This meditation by renown spiritual teacher Davidji is perfect for escaping a high-stress situation and giving yourself a moment of rest.
    Length: 16 seconds
    Practice: To start, think about something that has bothered you this week. Maybe you missed your flight, lost your wallet, or spilled coffee on your favorite shirt (whatever the first thing is that comes to mind!). Once you have it, close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose. Notice how the breath travels all the way down to your belly. Let it sit there for a moment before exhaling back up through your body and out your nose again. Once more, notice the breath as it escapes, pausing as it is released. Now you can return to your normal breathing. That was 16 seconds! If you were following along during those 16 seconds, you were not thinking about the past or the future, you were simply living in the moment. You most likely weren’t even thinking about whatever had been bothering you this week. You were fully present. In just 16 seconds, you can push the stress away. 

    3. The Traffic Meditation
    While some of us get road rage, others just feel triggered by any extra inconvenience during a busy time of year. Suze Yalof Schwartz created this genius meditation for those moments where you feel restless sitting in traffic. Pro tip: While this meditation was initially designed for trips in the car, it’s also great for a delayed flight. Think of this meditation as the perfect de-stressor for things that are out of your control.
    Length: 1-3 minutes
    Practice: The first step is awareness. Start by looking at the road and cars in front of you. Register your surroundings and how you are feeling. Maybe there is no movement, or you are late, stressed, annoyed, or want to scream. No matter how you feel, become aware of everything. The next step is to do a body scan. Start at your feet and notice how they feel, then your ankles, legs, and stomach. Continue until you have registered every part of your body all the way up to the top of your head. The final step is to connect with your breath. Start by breathing in through your nose for four counts, allowing the breath to go down into your belly, holding there for four counts and then letting out for four counts, and finally holding for four again. Repeat this breath a couple of times until you start to feel your body relax. Now, open your eyes and repeat the phrase “it is what it is” three times. Even if the traffic is still there, hopefully, your agitation is gone. 

    Practicing gratitude is always important, but it’s especially important during the holiday season when it can become easy to lose perspective and let holiday triggers or a busy schedule take over. This gratitude meditation by Deepak Chopra will bring you back around to awareness. 
    Length: 5 minutes
    Practice: Start by finding a quiet place where you can be alone (even your car or a bathroom will work). To begin, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose all the way down to your stomach. Hold it there for a moment before letting it out through your mouth. Pause and then continue the breath a couple more times until you feel more connected and centered. Now focus on your heart, feel it beating, and maybe even place your hands over it if you like. Ask yourself the question, “What are you grateful for?” Allow whatever comes into your mind, and then let the question go. “What are you grateful for?” Let your mind fill with images, words, or people that capture this. Now say to yourself in your mind, “Whatever happens today, I will not judge.” Repeat the phrase a few times. To end, slowly wiggle your hands and feet, open your eyes, and come back into your body. 

    It’s a long season of delicious desserts, tasty wine, and turkey dinners. Sometimes, it’s hard to say no to it all, which leads us to overeat and not feel great, or other times, we feel guilty when we do want to indulge and enjoy the food that the season has to offer. This meditation by Amanda Gilbert is here to help you eat mindfully, all season long. 
    Length: 5 minutes
    Practice: Begin by taking a few breaths to help center and connect to your body before starting. This meditation is meant to be done with food, so once you’re ready, take a moment to look at the meal in front of you. Take in the colors, the smells, and the shapes. Now you can pick up the food, and before you take a bite, ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Are you really hungry? Moderately hungry? Once you know, take your first bite and allow the flavors to burst in your mouth, chew slowly, and take your time before swallowing. How do you feel now? Are you less hungry? Did you enjoy the first bite? Continue to repeat this practice as you take your next bite and so on. Really register each piece of food and remember to eat slowly and mindfully. Once you have taken your last bite, sit for a moment and appreciate the food that filled you. Not too full, but fully satisfied. 

    35 Gratitude Affirmations To Help You Get Through the Holidays
    ’tis the season More

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    ‘Science Says You Can Be Fat and Fit: So Why Do I Feel Like the Odd One Out?’

    A new study out of Arizona State University indicates that, to quote the researchers: ‘fat can be fit’.
    What’s more, the authors argue that when it comes to mitigating the health harms of obesity, focusing on fitness – as opposed to weight loss – is the smarter, more sustainable strategy.
    Here, one writer explores the science of being super fit while in a bigger body – and shares how it can feel:
    Sunday mornings – coffee brewing and radio playing in the background – I plan the week ahead. This usually involves shuffling coloured blocks around on my calendar app until the next seven days look like something I’m happy with.
    Of all of the comings and goings in my diary, there are a few entries that are unmovable: workouts. I made the decision long ago to plan my work and social life around exercise, rather than the other way around. If this makes me sound like a fitness junkie, that’s exactly what I am. In an average [pre-COVID 19] week, I’ll go to at least three cardio and strength classes (spin, kickboxing, HIIT); one yoga session (always yin); do one run (distance dependent on current training demands); and, hopefully, one swim. I also cycle as my main mode of transport in London, where I live.
    READ MORE: “I Cycled 300km in 3 Countries Over 4 Days & And Put On Weight”
    I lead a very active lifestyle; I love moving my body regularly and equally love the noticeable benefits this brings in terms of my strength, my fitness and my peace of mind. And yet, if social media, gym adverts, the average group exercise class and messages from general popular culture are to be believed, I don’t exist. Yes, I work out – but I’m also a size 16 to 18. I’m defined as ‘fat’ by most, no matter how fast I can run or how heavy I can lift.
    Growing up, I was always heavier than my peers and I only really saw people who looked like me in gym marketing that was centred around punishment; messaging that taught me exercise was penance for having a socially unacceptable body. At school, I considered sport a hobby that people did if they had a particular knack or really loved it, rather than exercise that came with myriad benefits. I chose other hobbies – ones that didn’t involve running around in short shorts or require a muscular physique. The result was a feeling that fitness just wasn’t a world in which I belonged; it wasn’t designed for people like me.

    Happily, that changed five years ago when, at the age of 27, I caught the fitness bug. Yes, I’ll admit, I first embraced exercise with a desire to change the shape and size of my body; to make it more acceptable, more likely to be validated by others. I’d always enjoyed swimming and began going twice a week. To start with, I felt self- conscious in my swimming costume, but that gradually passed. I started a Couch to 5k plan, too, as the idea of building up my fitness by exercising alone – without the judgemental looks of others – was appealing.
    READ MORE: Beginners 5K Training Plan And Tips To Crush It In Just 6 Weeks
    Like anything, it was tough at the start, but I soon noticed a huge difference in my mood before and after a run — I was suffering badly with the symptoms of undiagnosed OCD at the time, and exercise granted me a short reprieve from the mental torment. Once I’d built up enough confidence, I started cycling 20km every day to and from work, which meant I was exercising more consistently than I ever had before.
    Since learning to love exercise, my weight has fluctuated, boomeranging across a range of four clothing sizes. Other things have changed, too – my work, relationships, where I live – but my workout routine has been the constant. Though sometimes I’ll do more and sometimes I’ll do less, I don’t think I’ve gone longer than a week without some form of high-cardio activity – unless I’ve been injured. Sometimes, it’s been more of a struggle, usually when I’ve stepped away from exercising alone and into a group setting, be that at a gym, a studio or space that should be engineered to guide, motivate and empower.
    “I don’t think I’ve gone longer than a week without some form of high-cardio activity”
    Particularly when I’ve been on the heavier side, I’ve had trainers underestimate me, misunderstand my goals and fat-shame me in front of a whole class, telling me I need to work harder if I’m going to lose weight. I’ve been handed lighter weights and given less ambitious targets than slimmer women standing next to me and been offered wide-eyed high fives from trainers who’ve been surprised to see me accelerate on a treadmill just as quickly as anyone wearing size eight leggings might.
    In the beginning, of course, this hurt and there were times when I wanted to walk straight back out, but, as my confidence and fitness improved, I started to use it as fuel to push myself harder; to prove everyone wrong. My self-esteem is robust enough that I can use this fuel to keep pushing myself forward without resenting other women.

    Even now, I’m not immune to feeling anxious when I enter a new fitness space for the first time; I can become hyper-aware of my body and how much room it takes up. It’s as if I need to do a bit of extra work to build up to feeling confident working out in an environment that’s not created with me in mind. On a bad day, this self-consciousness can slip into anxiety. I’ve noticed a tendency to push myself harder when training alongside thinner people to prove that I’m as fit as – or fitter than – them. It’s hard to say whether I’m projecting my own body insecurities, or whether it’s a response to judgemental looks in classes or changing rooms; in all honesty, it’s probably a combination of the two.

    “I can become hyper-aware of my body and how much room it takes up”

    Sadly, I’m not alone in feeling this. Suzy Cox is a 41-year-old who works in sales. ‘I’m a size 16 to 18 and, a year ago, I’d never been to a spin class – the thought of any form of organised group exercise made me shudder. I was worried that I’d feel out of place and wasn’t fit enough,’ she tells me. ‘I nearly didn’t go into the first class because I was terrified of all the people in leggings and crop tops, but I’m glad I did – now I spin three times a week. I love the way that, whatever’s going on in my life, it clears my head and makes me feel like I can take on anything.’
    READ MORE: “I Went From The Overweight Girl Who Couldn’t Exercise To A Spinning Instructor”
    The feeling that organised fitness is off the table because you don’t fit in could result in scores of women missing out on exercise – and achieving fitness goals – well within their grasp. ‘Gyms in general can be such intimidating body-focused spaces, full of mirrors and people taking sweaty selfies,’ says Hannah Lewin, a PT and spin coach. ‘This can be really stressful for people starting out. It’s likely to hold you back in terms of your workout and make you less likely to perform as well – limiting the mind-body benefits for the exerciser. All in all, not a good starting place.’
    Nike stuck its neck out in 2019 when it featured plus-sized female mannequins in its flagship London store, but it faced a backlash. It suggests to me that both inclusivity and society’s understanding of an individual’s health and wellbeing beyond aesthetics have a long way to go. For me, seeing those mannequins was the first time I’d ever really felt represented in the world of fitness, despite spending so much time in it. It reiterated the need to make women like me feel welcome in workout spaces more effectively than any previous efforts to do so.
    Representation is key; is there anyone above a size 10 manning the front desk? Across marketing material? Teaching the classes? I’ve only seen this once – at fitness studio Flykick, where the focus in all the marketing material is on strength, and the coaching team is size diverse, which made me feel part of a community: welcome, comfortable and celebrated.
    It matters in the fit kit boutiques housed in gyms and studios. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve rifled through rails of leggings, ready to drop cash on a shiny new pair, only to discover they stop at size 14. If your size isn’t catered for, the underlying message is that you don’t belong, or at least won’t belong until you slim down. It’s the same with the physical set-up in some classes.

    “If your size isn’t catered for, the underlying message is that you don’t belong”

    As I’m sure is the case for many women, floor-to-ceiling mirrors mean I’ve become distracted mid-workout by my own reflection, self- conscious about my body while sweating buckets sprinting on a treadmill. But what the average gym-goer might not have reflected on is the layout of an everyday spin class. Because bikes are crammed so close to each other that people can barely move between them, I’ve been left apologising (cringing on hearing myself ) while trying to squeeze through. The takeaway? This place isn’t made for me. There are few ways to kick off a workout that are more disempowering.
    And that’s a pretty poor outcome. Fitness should be fun, not some punishing chore, whatever your size. And surely it’s especially important that working out is fun for people for whom weight management is a struggle, and those who haven’t yet found their ‘thing’ with fitness and developed a sustainable routine.

    Dr Josh Wolrich – a surgeon who campaigns to end weight stigma – explains, the benefits of exercise, whatever your size, are broad.
    ‘Regular exercise can have a positive impact on weight distribution, which can carry great benefits in terms of your metabolic health, thereby lowering your risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes,’ he says. ‘Weight-bearing exercise can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, and cardio workouts can improve your heart health.’
    And, despite decades of association between thinness and wellness, the two aren’t always correlated. ‘A person who’s considered thin may be unhealthy,’ Dr Wolrich adds – ‘depending on their exposure to other risk factors, such as alcohol intake, lack of exercise or poor diet.’
    READ MORE: What Exactly Is The Ayurvedic Diet And What Are The Health Benefits?
    And, yes, while obesity can lead to poor health outcomes – especially if an obese individual isn’t regularly exercising – the assumption that bodies larger than society’s ideal are automatically seriously unhealthy is outdated and misleading.
    “Science is catching up to the idea that you can be both fat and fit”
    A new review of studies from the University of Arizona hammers home this point. The authors analysed recent research to gauge how effectively intentional weight loss reduced the mortality risk of people living with obesity, compared to focusing on physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness.
    Their findings? That increasing fitness and physical activity was associated with reduced harms from obesity – more consistently than when people with the condition focused on weight loss.
    ‘We would like people to know that fat can be fit, and that fit and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes,’ says Professor Glenn Gaesser, from the university’s College of Health Solutions.
    Their analysis underlined that when it comes to helping those with obesity, it’s better to emphasise fitness and activity; they also encourage health professionals to big up the benefits of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness, even in the absence of weight loss.

    “Falling in love with fitness should be for everyone”
    While a growing number of scientists and clinicians are catching up to the idea that you can be both fat and fit, mainstream society stubbornly puts out the message that they’re mutually exclusive. This prevents those who could benefit the most from discovering the positive benefits of exercise on their health from doing so.
    Falling in love with fitness can help those who feel ‘othered’ by society to develop a habit that’s a robust, get-back-what-you-put-in source of self-esteem. Few other things make me as happy, and I want everyone to be able to get in on the action.
    [Editor’s note: this feature was written pre-COVID 19]
    This article originally appeared on Women’s Health UK

    READ MORE ON: Fitness Advice Self-Care Success Stories More