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    Everything You Know About Self-Care Isn’t Wrong… But It’s Not Quite Right

    The term ‘self-care’ is having a moment, but is it the right one? When it’s not being sold to us in the form of candles or fuzzy PJs via Instagram ads, self-care is taking over our TikTok FYP with “everything shower” routines. It’s become an excuse for our every indulgence. Happy hour after a terrible day at work? That’s self-care. Brunch, followed by a Euphoria-inspired mani? It’s all self-care, baby. Splurging on a beach vacay after the hell of these past few years? Self. Care.

    But how much we seem to be focusing on self-care online doesn’t actually align with reality. Nearly half of women are struggling with burnout, according to a workplace survey by Indeed. Meanwhile, a 2022 mental health report by Liptember Foundation revealed that 69% of women are stressed and 44% are facing anxiety. 

    Stats like these raise this question: if the ‘treat yourself’ approach to self-care is working, why are we still so frazzled and worn out? Well, according to experts, we’re all somewhat missing the point. “Self-care is about taking time to understand your true needs beyond your impulses,” says Dr Chloe Carmichael, a therapist and author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety. “It’s looking at yourself on a deeper level.”

    It’s not that a vacation or a happy hour isn’t a worthy form of self-care. Sometimes ‘treating yourself’ is what’s needed, notes Carmichael. But the truth is, if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out on the real benefits. Keep reading for a step-by-step lesson in strengthening your relationship to caring for yourself.

    Apps That Will Change Your Life

    Peptalk

    Start your morning with a motivational pep talk from the most inspiring people in the world. You experience a simulated video call with professional athletes, celebs, and musicians. Whatever your goals PEPTALK will be your personal coach, trainer or accountability buddy.

    Streaks

    Some psychologists claim that it takes 21 days for a new habit to form; others argue it’s closer to three months. Either way, sticking to anything for that long can be tough. Streaks is a self-improvement coach that helps you ingrain those healthy behaviours by logging the good stuff you get done.

    Shine

    This app is like a cross between a supportive friend and psychologist – each day you’ll get an uplifting message. Also, you can tap into the library of resources with exercises such as mindful cooking or creating a coffee ritual and work through expert-approved challenges to upskill in areas like self-confidence and anxiety.

    Action point one: Define what self-care really means to you

    There isn’t one single meaning of the term. It’s an ever-evolving concept that’s constantly updated, for better and for worse. “Self-care” as a cultural phenomenon was first introduced by feminist author Audre Lorde in her 1988 essay collection, A Burst of Light, says Dr Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo, an assistant professor at Northwell Health in New York.

    “For her, a Black, queer woman, self-care was about self-preservation. It was about being able to see your identity outside of the white gaze and come back to yourself. It wasn’t something nice to do, but something that kept you alive.” 

    Since then, self-care has been appropriated by marketing whizzes eager to sell an idealised version – and the exxy candles that come with it. But now, finally, we’re starting to come full circle and to build upon Lorde’s original thoughts, adds Dr Catherine Cook-Cottone, a professor whose research focuses on mindful self-care. People recognise the holes in that commercialised alteration and are searching for a deeper understanding of what it can do. “Self-care isn’t something you buy,” Cook-Cottone says. “It’s an active practice of taking care of the internal aspects within the context of external pressures.” According to Dr Barbara Riegel, a University of Pennsylvania nursing professor who studies chronic illness, self-care is about “taking control of your body and taking control of what’s going on with you.” For Uwemedimo, self-care is “creating space in your life to remember who you are and what your purpose is.” 

    So in short, the semantics are up to you. Just remember that it’s a lot like parenting yourself, which means it’s your job to stay focused on what you need, not what you want in the moment. That’s not always easy. One example to drive the point home: social connection is important, but maybe you just moved and don’t know anyone, so reaching out feels scary. You can tell yourself that staying home with Netflix is self-care (and it may make you feel good at first), but Netflix won’t fill your need.

    “Self-care is about taking an honest look at what you require in order to function your best – not only today, but in the broader sense,” Carmichael explains.

    Action point two: Find ways to feed your mind, body and soul

    One of the most difficult aspects of self-care is that it’s so individual. “There isn’t a litmus test where certain behaviours always count as self-care,” Carmichael says. “It depends on the person.” So, how do you know what you need? And how do you find that balance between pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and comforting yourself when you need it?

    Remember ART

    Remember the acronym ART to help you decipher if your self-care behaviour is on point, suggests Cook-Cottone. A is ‘attunement’. As in, are you tuned in to what you really need? R stands for ‘responsive.’ Is the behaviour going to serve that need? And T is ‘taking action’. Will you follow through? If you’re having trouble with the first part, you might start including time in your routine to do nothing but reflect.

    “Taking a break is important to develop awareness,” Cook-Cottone says. That *might* mean taking a regular bubble bath, but while you’re in the water, ask yourself: what do I need to feel my best? What is working in my life right now, and what isn’t? If you’re short on time, you can accomplish the same goal by using the moments you spend on other activities – say, folding the laundry or working out – to focus on your breath and simply listen.

    Time To Pause

    Instilling a time to pause in your day should give you an idea of what, if anything, is missing from your routine. It’s also good practice for knowing what you need in the moment. You might learn that you should focus more on physical forms of self-care: getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, taking prescribed medications, and so on. Or maybe managing stress is an area that’d be good to work on, which eventually leads you to a mindfulness practice or more time outside in nature. Maybe you need to do something creative or something that contributes to your community, like volunteering for a cause you care about.

    Friendly reminder: as a complex being, you have complex needs. It’s not as if you can pick one self-care activity and call it a day. “You want a diverse portfolio of self-care,” advises Cook-Cottone. Some activities will be for your physical well-being, while others will be more for your spiritual and social sides. From there, all you have to do is make sure to make time for that self-care on the regular.

    So, yes, this means that you want to have structure, but also the leeway for spontaneity. Include small, daily practices like saying a loving thing to yourself while you brush your teeth, as well as formal practices like regular meditation. Scheduling a variety of activities (fitness classes, meet-ups with friends, whatever lights you up) can take some decision-making off the table. Creating lots of opportunities and practising varied ways of providing care for yourself will help you “be more agile and responsive in the moment,” explains Cook-Cottone. In other words, when a stressor comes up, it’ll be easier to dig into your toolbox and lean on a practice that’s already routine.

    Action point three: Set boundaries in new ways

    This can have multiple applications and implications. First, you want to set boundaries that protect your time for yourself, like saying no to a night out when what you really crave is a good sweat or some time to process a bad day with a mate. You also want to set boundaries for what you accept as appropriate for your life. That means setting rules for the types of treatment you tolerate in your relationships or at work. This second type of boundary is generally harder to set, given how our culture rewards women for being able to push through anything. The benefit is that when we set boundaries for ourselves, we’re protecting others too. We’re making it smoother for other women to set similar boundaries. “It’s easier to do that in community, so you don’t feel like the odd person out,” Uwemedimo says. 

    It’s all too simple to let self-care be last on our to-do list. But without it, you’ll lose yourself in the constant pressures – and who wants to live like that? Plus, self-care isn’t just a mental boon. If you ignore it, you’re setting yourself up for major health issues down the line, from burnout to true chronic illnesses like depression, diabetes or heart disease, Riegel says. “It’s not something that can wait.” All the more reason to start putting yourself first.

    The post Everything You Know About Self-Care Isn’t Wrong… But It’s Not Quite Right appeared first on Women’s Health. More

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    I Have a Small Friend Group, and TBH, It’s Lovely

    When I was nine years old, I watched Aquamarine on repeat in my room because TBH, I didn’t have any friends. The characters that Emma Roberts, Sara Paxton, JoJo, and Arielle Kebbel played were the girlfriends I always wanted and needed. But after moving with my family to a new state, I was, for lack of a better term, a loner. The new girl in town. And somehow, I haven’t ever escaped that title.
    Between the ages of nine and 24, I moved seven times across three different states. Starting fresh is something I kick ass fat, but what I struggle with is making new friends and maintaining long-distance friendships. I envy the girls I know who have had the same best friend since kindergarten (my sister) and the girls I know who had like a million bridesmaids (none of them ever being me). The friends I have had throughout my life have been 1) people from school, 2) friends of my family members, 3) friends of my partner, and 4) coworkers. So, they all have fallen under the category of obligated or temporary.
    At this point in my life, I’ve accepted the fact that long-standing, close friendships, might always be unfamiliar to me. And after many years of thinking something was wrong with me or that I should be embarrassed by that, I became OK with having a few here and there. That doesn’t mean I’m not still envious of those who do have those types of friendships, it just means I have learned to value the friends that I do have, no matter how they came into my life, how long we stay consistent friends, or how “close” I consider them to be.
    Most of the time, it’s not as sad as it sounds. I don’t consider myself “the girl with no friends” anymore, but I’ll be honest when I say I’m still “the girl with no plans.” My friends and I are like ships in the night. We try to make plans more often than we do but our schedules differ, our lives get in the way, and we end up sending “we need to get together soon!” or “let me know what you end up doing Saturday!” texts that we forget to follow up on. It does make the time we spend together IRL incredibly special, but those times are few and far between.
    If you can relate and need a reminder of the good that can come from having a small friend group, I’ve done some serious reflecting and am outlining the silver linings below:

    The Perks of Small Friend Groups
    I’ll be the first to admit that having a small friend group can be really lonely at times, but it’s not all bad all the time. There are some pretty good perks on the flip side of it like being able to form stronger bonds, only having to remember a handful of birthdays, and more noteworthy advantages:

    There’s less drama
    There’s no room for he-said-she-said when there are only a few of you. The drama that comes with a big friend group is practically non-existent in a small friend group, and when you’re in your late twenties like me, that’s a true blessing. That’s not to say that everything is perfect all the time, but there is less friction than there probably would be if our friendship dynamics were shared with more people.

    You can have stronger connections
    You know when you’re at a party and you’re trying to circulate and talk to everyone? You might know a lot of people and consider them friends, but the conversations hardly ever go beyond the “how’s it going” stage. Now think about when you’re spending time with a few friends and how different those conversations are. We’re way more likely to open up, have deeper conversations, and really listen to each other. I know we’ve all heard this a million times, but friendships really are about quality over quantity.
    And I know this is small potatoes, but when you only have a handful of friends, it’s pretty easy to remember all of their important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and I always think that sets a good friend apart from a great one.

    You always have time for self-care
    My favorite perk of them all? The amount of time that I get to spend with myself. Sure, there are some nights I wish a friend was available to grab dinner instead of having no plans, but more often than not, I’m pretty excited to cuddle up on the couch, do a facemask, and shop online while I watch a rom-com. Spending more time with myself means I can spend more time working on myself. I’m trying new fitness classes, reading more books, becoming more self-aware, prioritizing my goals, and a million other things that have made me a better person. Because of this, I’m becoming a better friend to the ones I do have.

    Missing Your Girls? Here Are 7 Girlfriend Date Ideas to Plan ASAP More

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    I’m Always Tired: Here Are 5 Things I’m Adding to My Routine to Combat Exhaustion

    Everyone knows someone who can fall asleep anywhere and at any time, and if you don’t, now you do. It’s me. I am that someone. I have a habit of falling asleep in the car, on a plane, at someone else’s house, at a movie theatre, at a bar (OK, that only happened once), but you get the point. I am always down for a little nap, but it’s not because I’m lazy, I’m just always battling exhaustion. It’s a great problem to have when I am on a long flight and want to fall asleep, but overall, exhaustion isn’t so great because I’m an adult who has a career and responsibilities that need tending to.
    After yawning one too many times on a Zoom call, I decided it was time to make some changes in my routine because I needed more energy and I needed it stat. Always one to lean on products and routines that prioritize wellness over quick fixes, I have found five things that have helped me combat exhaustion, and I am sharing them with you all here:

    1. Energy Capsules
    I am a coffee girly through and through, but I know myself better than to think I can have more than two cups of coffee. Especially if I reach for a cup in the afternoon, I start to bounce off the walls, immediately get a headache, and then crash from the jitters. For this reason, I have not allowed myself to have coffee past 10 a.m. in a long time. But when I do need some extra caffeine, I always reach for Equilibria’s Energy Capsules because they have the same amount of natural caffeine as a standard cup of coffee but the caffeine is paired with L-Theanine which is an amino acid that helps reduce mental fatigue and supports calm alertness. Taking up to two of these capsules when I need to get in the zone and have focused energy has been a game-changing addition to my routine. Try them out for yourself and use code THEEVERYGIRL for 20% off your first order at Equilibria!

    EQUILIBRIA
    Energy Capsules
    Equilibria’s Energy capsules deliver calm, focused energy so your mind and body can operate at peak performance. Since they get to work in 30-60 minutes, your energy is back in action in no time.
    Use code THEEVERYGIRL for 20% off + get a FREE Nourishing Body Oil for a limited time only!

    2. Low-Intensity Exercises
    Back in the day (AKA before I turned 25), I would wake up and head straight to a high-intensity, bootcamp-style workout class 5-6 days a week. Looking back, I don’t know how or why I did that, but my routine looks a lot different now. While I still love a sweaty HIIT class every now and then, adding yoga and pilates into my routine has drastically helped me feel less run down and tired on a day-to-day basis. I have also been incorporating long walks on the weekends and even during my lunch break sometimes for a little refresh and boost of energy.

    3. Greens Powders
    Greens powders are absolutely everywhere right now including, but not limited to, all influencers’ morning routine videos, ads on Instagram and TikTok, commercials on podcasts, and even the end caps of my local grocery store. I can’t escape them even if I tried, and trust me, I did. But after a long time of trying to avoid buying into the hype, I gave in and to my wallet’s despair, I truly am better for it. Instead of starting my morning diving headfirst into a pot of coffee, I start with a huge glass of water and my greens. The vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens that are included in some of my favorite powders help deliver steady energy that lasts throughout the day.

    Greens Supplement
    These tablet support your energy with instant nutrients. All you have to do is drop one tablet in a glass of water, let it dissolve, and drink up.

    4. Breathwork
    I know that breathwork sounds woo-woo, but studies have shown that by incorporating high-frequency breathing, people can increase their ability to sustain attention. And when I am dosing off midday, it’s just what I need to get back into action. After a few minutes of guided breathwork (I love the Breathwrk app!), I feel better equipped to stay on task and power through my to-do list. And the best part is that it only takes a few minutes, so whenever I am feeling the effects of exhaustion and need a pick me up, I like to rely on this super quick but effective practice.

    5. Balanced Snacks
    I really do wish that popcorn and chocolate were enough to power me through the day, but your body runs off what you feed it, and I need a little more support than my favorite movie theatre snacks to beat exhaustion. In between my regular meal times, I reach for snacks that have whole grains (like oats, brown rice, and quinoa), healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and avocado), protein (like eggs, chicken, and protein powder), and fiber (like beans, berries, and chia seeds). While I might not always check all the boxes, I notice that when I reach for more balanced snacks, I don’t feel as tired throughout the day. Some of my favorite snacks are protein bars, crackers or veggies with hummus, smoothies, and apples with peanut butter.

    Protein Bar
    RX Bars are the snack I reach for the most—both at home and on the go when I need a pick me up. They have simple ingredients, come in tons of flavors, and are high in protein.

    Tired of Feeling Tired? Here Are 10 Ways To Get Better Sleep by Tomorrow

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

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    The Everygirl’s Guide to PCOS

    Let’s be real: It’s hard being a woman, juggling career goals, side hustles, families, and relationships. And if you’re one of the five million US women of child-bearing years affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (AKA PCOS), throw in having to manage symptoms like irregular periods, excess body hair, weight gain, and acne, leading to shame, frustration, and isolation, and in some cases, anxiety and depression.
    While PCOS affects 4-20% of women of reproductive age worldwide (and is more prevalent among Women of Color), it has yet to be recognized as an important global health problem. What’s more, its prevalence, diagnosis, and management remain some of the most confusing factors of PCOS. But thanks to celebrities like Keke Palmer and Victoria Beckham and the #pcoswarrior community openly sharing their personal experiences with PCOS and demonstrating the importance of prioritizing self-care and self-advocacy, there is now a greater awareness of the disorder and its typical symptoms. More good news: I asked PCOS specialist and hormone expert Dr. Anna Arabyan to give us a crash course on PCOS. Without further ado, The Everygirl’s guide to everything you need to know about PCOS.

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Anna Arabyan
    PCOS Specialist, Hormone Coach, and Founder of NutraFemmeRX
    Dr. Anna Arabyan is a faculty member at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Her passionate advocacy for women’s hormonal health and palliative care guide her clinical and teaching interests relating to healthy aging, symptom management, and overall wellness.

    In this article

     
    What is PCOS?
    While there are many definitions of it, Dr. Arabyan put it simply: “Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women and can cause irregular periods, high levels of androgens (male hormones) leading to acne, excessive body/facial hair, and polycystic ovaries (enlarged ovaries with small fluid-filled sacs that surround the eggs).” Although the aforementioned are common telltale signs of PCOS, it can manifest differently from person to person. Also, Dr. Arabyan said it’s important to note that not all symptoms need to be present to diagnose PCOS. “The term ‘polycystic’ is a little misleading as not everyone with PCOS has polycystic ovaries,” she explained. “A missed ovulatory cycle (even with a bleed or period) can also indicate PCOS.” Therefore, it’s important to get to know your body and educate yourself on the four phases of the menstrual cycle. 
     
    What are common causes?
    One symptom of PCOS that tends to come up more than others is insulin resistance. In fact, insulin resistance affects 50%–70% of women with PCOS, resulting in the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions including metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and diabetes. “PCOS is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with the most common underlying cause being insulin resistance,” Dr. Arabyan agreed. “This occurs when cells in the muscles, fat, and liver do not respond well to insulin, leading to hormone imbalances.” Physical signs of insulin resistance can come in the form of skin tags and dark, velvety patches of skin around the armpits, groin, and neck, but to confirm diagnosis, your healthcare provider may order blood tests to determine your glucose levels and cholesterol.
    According to the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association, an estimated 50% of the women with PCOS are undiagnosed because the symptoms have a variety of potential causes. For example, Dr. Arabyan cited other causes of PCOS like chronic inflammation, adrenal disorders, thyroid conditions, and high levels of prolactin, all of which can also cause symptoms similar to PCOS. Identifying the root cause is just as critical as the diagnosis. PCOS defines a grouping of symptoms, but the cause for one woman’s symptoms could be vastly different than another, and therefore, the treatment and management plan should be different as well. “The underlying cause is important to uncover,” she affirmed. “Multiple people with PCOS could present similar symptoms such as missed periods and excess facial hair, and each could have different underlying causes.”
     
    The relationship between PCOS and mental health
    Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and binge eating disorder also occur more frequently in women with PCOS. “From my observations, PCOS can affect mental health in two ways,” Dr. Arabyan noted. “Firstly, being diagnosed [with PCOS] can lead to feelings of sadness, overwhelm, loneliness, fear of infertility, and low self-worth. Secondly, the hormonal imbalances can cause severe PMS-like symptoms, further contributing to low mood.” The silver lining? Dr. Arabyan conveyed that improving mental health can be addressed using a two-pronged approach: balancing hormones to reduce symptoms and relying on education, therapy, community support, and self-love practices. 

    Tips to help manage PCOS
    Full disclosure: There is no cure or prevention for PCOS, but it can be treated and managed through healthy lifestyle habits. “Management is a combination of factors including mentality, community, nutrition, physical activity, and supplements if necessary,” Dr. Arabyan expressed. “Understanding that you are not less worthy for having this condition and being a part of a supportive community can go a long way in managing this disorder.” More specifically, Dr. Arabyan mentioned regular exercise, managing stress, seeking support from friends, a diet made up of whole foods, and taking supplements under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner as effective symptom management methods.

    Educate yourself
    It’s only natural to feel alone and at a loss for what to do when you’re diagnosed with PCOS, but it’s more common than most women realize. “PCOS is a common condition and talking about it more openly has become more widespread only recently,” Dr. Arabyan voiced. Not sure where to start? Dr. Arabyan recommended the book Period Repair Manual as a great resource to learn more about PCOS. “Gather as much information as you can so that you can make the best informed decision on how to manage your condition, and above all, realize that you’re not alone.”

    Focus on nutrition
    Instead of approaching a healthy diet from a restrictive, “eat this, not that” mindset, Dr. Arabyan recommended focusing on including foods that can help the potential root causes such as insulin resistance. “I’m a huge fan of dark leafy greens, all vegetables, cleanly-sourced protein, legumes, beans, nuts and berries. Once you start eating more of these foods naturally, processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and fried foods will have less of a place in your diet.” In other words, stick with whole foods and focus on adding a variety of veggies, legumes, and clean protein sources. 

    Balance your exercise routine

    We’ve been taught that exercise is good, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing (everything in moderation!). Too much high-intensity exercise can disrupt your hormones, so finding the right balance of exercise for you is key. “I recommend mild strength training exercises like Pilates a few times a week, which can help build muscle,” Dr. Arabyan suggested. “I also love the many benefits of taking a daily walk or hike, including improved bowel movements (which is how our bodies remove excess hormones).” Bottom line: Always listen to your body, do what feels right for you, and prioritize movement and recovery equally. 

    Support your mental health
    Stress plays a major role in PCOS, so keeping your cortisol (AKA the stress hormone) levels under control will aid in improving symptoms of PCOS. Try prioritizing good sleep hygiene and self-care (sound bath or cold plunge, anyone?), talking to a mental health professional, journaling, or practicing meditation. Dr. Arabyan concluded with one final piece of advice: “Remember that small steps toward your goals are key and avoiding guilt is important for maintaining a positive outlook and enjoying the journey.” 

    Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

    Why (And How) You Should Plan Your Workouts Around Your Cycle More

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    50 Journal Prompts and Affirmations for Self-Love

    Valentine’s Day can bring to the surface a lot of mixed feelings surrounding love. It’s normal to feel either full of love and admiration, or the opposite, like we’re missing something from our lives or–even worse–like we’ve failed. As a generation that grew up idealizing Disney princess fairytales and believing that happily ever after is finding a Prince Charming, it’s no wonder we can feel like failures if we don’t experience it.
    The truth is, there are so many different forms of love available to us, aside from the love that comes from a romantic relationship. There is love that comes from our families, friendships, children, and most importantly, ourselves. So this February–and every day after–take some time to practice self-love because it’s the most important kind. Read on for 50 journal prompts and affirmations to get you started. 

    Journal prompts on self-love
    1. Write yourself a love letter.
    2. Look back on the last five years and share the accomplishments you are most proud of.
    3. Describe your dream self-care day (then, plan a date to do it).
    4. Write down five things you are grateful for.
    5. Write about why you are a great friend/partner/daughter.
    6. What are you looking for in a romantic relationship? How can you give it to yourself?
    7. Who inspires you? What attributes do you share?
    8. Name something you love about your body that isn’t related to what it looks like.
    9. Write down five things you can do this week to bring joy to your routine.
    10. What are you excited about?
    11. Write down five nice things people have said about you recently.
    12. “I am worthy of love because…”
    13. If time and money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your life? Dream a little.
    14. When are you saying “yes” when you want to be saying “no.”
    15. What can you forgive yourself for?
    16. If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell her?
    17. Where can you incorporate play into your life?
    18. Write down 30 things that make you smile.
    19. What are three self-love habits you can incorporate into your routine?
    20. What can you do this week for your body? Your mind? Your soul?
    21. “I secretly enjoy…”
    22. Describe five traits you liked in yourself as a child.
    23. List out your daily habits. Which ones are nurturing? Which ones aren’t?
    24. Describe the items in your home that bring you joy. Which ones aren’t bringing you joy, and why are you keeping them?
    25. What does “self-love” mean to you? 

    Affirmations on self-love
    1. I am enough.
    2. I love my body and all it does for me.
    3. I am worthy of love.
    4. Everything I need is already within me.
    5. I let go of all that does not serve me.
    6. Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line.
    7. I choose progress over perfection.
    8. I have a lot to offer the world.
    9. I am not my mistakes or flaws.
    10. I honor my own life path.
    11. I am balanced.
    12. My inner world creates my outer world.
    13. I have the ability to reclaim my power.
    14. I deserve happiness and joy.
    15. The universe has my back.
    16. It is a good day to be alive.
    17. Good things are ahead of me, good things are coming.
    18. I don’t need someone else to feel happiness.
    19. I am at peace.
    20. I am the hero of my own life story.
    21. I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet.
    22. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
    23. I am allowed to take up space.
    23. I am strong.
    25. I am proud of my accomplishments–no matter how small.

    The Everygirl’s 28-Day Self-Love Challenge More

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    The Ultimate Guide To Self-Love

    Let’s celebrate the month of love with the ultimate gift to ourselves; a guide to self-love. This Valentine’s Day, forget about the chocolates and teddy bears. Let’s prioritise self-love, try something new and celebrate every inch of ourselves.

    This 28-day calendar provides you with easy-to-follow daily activities and workouts to help you reconnect and form healthy self-care habits.

    Note to self: Happy Valentine’s Day. I Love You.

    28 Days of Self-Love Calendar

    Whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced self-care guru, this guide is for you.

    Read a book 

    Spend 30 minutes outside

    Try out manifesting

    Declutter a space

    Bake something delicious

    Run or walk for 30 minutes

    Buy yourself flowers

    Listen to a motivational podcast

    Meditate for 10 minutes

    Stretch it out and do some yoga! 

    Try a new workout

    Have a self-care Sunday  

    Wear your fav outfit and try a new makeup look

    Say “yes” to something fun

    Try a new healthy recipe

    Journal about your day

    Get more sleep

    Perform a random act of kindness

    Take a hot bath and relax 

    Make a happy playlist and practise trending TikTok dances

    Go sugar-free today

    Spend time with a loved one 

    Experiment with art therapy

    Create a budget for March

    Read the new issue of Women’s Health

    Buy yourself dinner 

    Make a vision board 

    Write down things you are grateful for. Reflect on the past month. More

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    Got Post-Holiday Blues? Here are 7 Things to Do Today To Feel Happy and Excited

    The decorations are coming down, Hallmark Christmas movies have come to a screeching halt, work is going back to its regularly scheduled programming, the last of the figgy pudding is gone, and we’re saying good riddance to 2022. Chances are the high of all the holiday cheer has given way to feelings of loneliness and sadness, AKA the post-holiday blues. While the symptoms of post-holiday blues are short-term, there’s no denying they are very real. Rest assured, they’re normal and you’re in good company. We’re coming down from the intense hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, shindigs, indulgences, and travel and facing the letdown of going back to business as usual. That said, there are things you can start doing today to snap out of the post-season funk. Read on for seven tips on how to feel happy when you’ve got the post-holiday blues. Time to get back in the groove.

    1. Move your body intentionally
    Call it a holiday hangover or a case of the post-fa-la-la-la-la blahs—no matter how you look at it, you’re in an emotional slump and you want out. Your workout routine may have been non-existent amidst the holiday madness, so what better time to shake off those “meh” feelings with a solid sweat sesh than today? When you have obé Fitness and its community at your fingertips, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home (who wants to bear the frigid temps?) and you’ve got built-in accountability. Start with one of their Express Classes because 10 minutes is all you need to get those endorphins going. In fact, exercising for just 10 minutes a day can make a difference—and have lasting, measurable effects on your health. What’s more, with 20+ class types and over 10,000 on-demand classes to choose from, there’s a workout for every mood, level, and fitness style. To banish the post-holiday blues once and for all, use code EGYEAR for one-year access to obé fitness for just $99 ($70 off)!

    2. Reset your eating and sleep habits 
    So we’ve established that the holiday rush didn’t leave much room (or energy) for working out, and if we’re being honest, the same went for keeping up our healthy eating and sleep habits. Between the cookies everywhere you turn and the Christmas movie marathons, who can blame us? I don’t have to tell you that those slices of pumpkin pie and glasses of eggnog can mess with your gut health (hello, bloat) and not prioritizing your beauty sleep can throw off your mood and energy. So hit reset on your diet by keeping the water coming to aid in digestion and prevent constipation and focusing on veggies and other whole, unprocessed foods to help keep you stay satiated and regular. While you’re at it, re-establish a consistent sleep schedule and get a solid 7-9 hours of shuteye in every night. Bonus points: Getting quality Zzzs can help you eat healthier (how’s that for a two-fer?).

    3. Think ahead and make plans to look forward to 
    After the spark of the holiday season has faded, it’s hard not to think back on the good times and feel a sense of dread (womp womp). Instead of ruminating on the past, try thinking about the future to help you feel better in the now. After all, giving yourself things to look forward to—no matter how small—can reduce stress and boost mood. In fact, simply visualizing and anticipating your future (best) self can lift your spirits. Whether it’s the matcha latte you plan to grab on your way to work, the new pair of boots you’re expecting in the mail, or your long-awaited trip to Iceland, make it a point to relish in the upcoming things and experiences that excite you. The result? You’ll cheer up in no time. And don’t forget to pepper in mood-boosting activities (the more the merrier!) throughout the year to spread the joy. 

    4. Spruce up your home
    We’re still in staying in season, which means spending more time at home. Do yourself and your mood a favor by doing a quick sweep of your abode. As empty as it may feel with the tree gone and all the tinsel stored away, it’s the ideal time to clean and declutter every nook and cranny. Because a tidy, organized space can improve your well-being, and there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off the dirty dishes in the sink, the growing piles of laundry, and the clutter on your desk. So pop in an inspiring podcast and get to it! Then, hygge your home with warm elements (you can never have enough candles), layered textures (give me all the warm throw blankets), and natural touches (a new plant, anyone?). Bottom line: Making your crib comfy cozy translates to optimal health and happiness. 

    5. Reflect and set intentions 
    While this may be a given when the New Year and resolutions are top of mind, setting attainable goals—whether health, personal growth, career, or relationship-related—makes us happier. Jumpstart the year by reflecting on what your highest self looks like, creating clear and realistic objectives to become her, and planning out actionable steps to achieve them. Perhaps you want to level up your meditation practice. What are things in your control that you can do each day or week to improve it? Is it dedicating two minutes first thing in the morning to sit in stillness, listening to one guided meditation every afternoon to break up the day, or exploring a new technique each week until you find the one that suits you best? Having an achievable purpose to set your sights on will help enhance your well-being in the present, while progressing toward it will help bring about ongoing happiness and satisfaction.  

    6. Pile on the self-care
    PSA: Now is the time to especially listen to what your mind and body need. Your “me” time and healthy routines have taken a back seat to the whirlwind of the holidays, and enough is enough. Enter: all the self-care. While there’s no one-size-fits-all self-care practice, you can take your pick—from journaling and going for a walk to diving into that must-read novel and blocking off your entire Sunday for Pilates, a lymphatic massage, and a mani-pedi. It goes without saying that you don’t have to do it all at once (but by all means!)—do what works and feels best for you, and switch it up from time to time according to your ever-changing needs. Whatever you choose, you can expect reduced stress levels, higher self-worth, and overall improved well-being. Who says you can’t give yourself gifts (material or in the form of self-care) year-round? 

    7. Get outside
    There’s a reason it’s called nature therapy. While we’re staying indoors more this time of year, we can reap a host of mental health benefits by being one with nature: increased happiness, decreased anxiety, stress, and depression, and better focus. Try forest bathing (AKA a nature walk) where you connect with nature through your five senses, visit a local botanical garden, participate in a sound bath, play with your dog in a park, or sip your morning coffee on your balcony. The world is your oyster. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology showed that just five minutes in nature can make you happier. For the times you’re too cozy in bed to move or it’s a tad too cold to bear staying outside for a prolonged period of time, you can bring the outdoors in by adding plants to your home, cueing soothing nature sounds via an app, or using a light therapy box to mimic the effects of being in the open air. 

    How Experts Say To Cope With Seasonal Depression

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

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    60 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions You Can Totally Achieve This Year

    Lose weight. Run a marathon. Cut out alcohol. Get a raise. We make the same tired new year’s resolutions every year that we never manage to keep, or we forget we made them altogether by February. Seriously–is it just me, or do new year’s resolutions never seem to work? My suspicion is that we make resolutions that we think we want, not resolutions that will actually make us healthier and happier. We think losing weight will make us feel more confident or that running a marathon will get us to the gym (and back to that weight loss goal). We believe cutting out alcohol will make us healthier or that getting a raise will make all of our problems disappear. But are these resolutions really making us feel good, or are these “goals” in the name of being better actually distracting us from truly being healthy? 
    In 2023, it’s time to ditch the typical resolutions that leave you feeling stressed out or let down year after year. Instead, opt for resolutions that you’ll enjoy so much and will make you feel so good, you’ll have no trouble sticking with them at all. These 60 new year’s resolutions will make you feel happier, healthier, and all-around better (difficult diets or forced workouts need not apply). Whether you choose one resolution or all 60, you’ll be happier and healthier by 2024. 
     
    If you want to revamp your diet…

    Check in with your body before and after every meal to see how it feels
    Ditch outdated food rules 
    Focus on adding more nutrients (instead of eating fewer calories/carbohydrates, etc.)
    Eat leafy greens with two meals a day
    Drink more water and eat more water-rich produce (like watermelon, romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.)
    Try new produce you’ve never cooked with before
    Eat the rainbow with a variety of fruits and veggies in every color
    Start meal prepping to make cooking during the week easier
    Eat seasonally
    Replace your favorite meals with plant-based alternatives (cauliflower pizza crust, chickpea pasta, etc.)

    If you’re motivated to update your fitness routine…

    Exercise in ways that feel exciting and fun
    Get specific about your goals
    Add an outdoor activity to your routine (going on a walk counts!)
    Be active in ways that don’t feel like exercise (play sports with friends, go ice skating, swim in the summer, etc.)
    Prioritize rest and recovery just as much as you prioritize workouts
    Work out without your phone
    Try something totally new once a month
    Be more active outside of the gym (take the stairs, walk everywhere, etc.)
    Stretch more
    Schedule workouts into your calendar (yes, even if that means your work calendar)

    If you need to stress less…

    Prioritize the hobbies, habits, and people who make you happy
    Reexamine all of your relationships–let go of the ones that don’t make you feel good, and invest more time into the ones that do
    Practice gratitude, even for the smallest things
    Start a meditation practice
    Have a go-to morning and nighttime routine that makes you feel relaxed and happy
    Try a weekly social media detox
    Get 7-9 hours of sleep (every single night)
    Talk to yourself like you talk to loved ones
    Say “no” when you mean no
    Schedule time to do something fun “just because” every day

    If you want to look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside…

    Nail down a skincare routine that you can consistently do every single day
    Focus on scalp-care
    Experiment with color in your makeup routine
    Invest in a beauty supplement
    Find your perfect foundation or concealer shade
    Try a new nail color you’ve never worn before
    Make your quarterly haircut appointments in advance
    Develop a nighttime hair routine
    Wear sunscreen every single day
    Make a skin-check appointment with your dermatologist

    If you want to feel more in control of your finances…

    Max out your retirement contribution or start contributing to a retirement fund
    Pay off credit cards
    Increase your credit score
    Pay off one thing that requires monthly payments
    Reach a certain amount in savings
    Set up an emergency fund and build it to a percentage of your salary
    Save for a big goal (down payment on house, car, etc.)
    Talk with your boss about action plans to maximize your compensation (work toward a raise, check out commuter perks, look at non-health benefits, etc.)
    Work on your financial wellness
    Budget to make room for items, experiences, or indulgences that truly bring you joy

    If you’re ready to upgrade your home…

    Create a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning routine
    Replace one disposable item in your kitchen with a more eco-friendly alternative (for example, swap paper towels for rags, aluminum foil for reusable food wrap, or counter cleaner with a refillable essential-oil based cleaner)
    Tackle one home project a month
    Do a quick declutter of closets, drawers, laundry chairs, and piles of paper once a week
    Make seasonal updates so your home always feels fresh
    Make one big change like painting a wall, getting a new couch, or DIYing a gallery wall to make your space feel like new
    Reorganize one area every month, like your makeup stash, pantry, fridge, or hall closet
    Aim to bring your personality into your home more 
    Get in the habit of cleaning off counters, finishing the dishes, and putting away any laundry before bed
    Make upgrades to your bath or shower for a more peaceful environment

    This Health Expert Swears by One Hack to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions More