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    The Top-Rated Sex Toys on Amazon

    A Saturday Night Live skit from April pretty much explained every feeling I have about sex right now: “During quarantine, I straight up murdered all my vibrators.” Yep. That’s it. 
    After having seriously zero sexual interaction for months, any vibrator stash is looking a little bleak. Whether you’ve used it ‘til the batteries were dead or are just desperately looking for something to spice it up (even with a partner!), we found the best sex toys on Amazon to do the trick. Don’t worry: we already vetted the reviews, so you know you’re getting exactly what you paid for. Your next Prime package is about to be quite thrilling.

    Rechargeable Personal Wand Massager

    With over two thousand reviews, this cost-effective cordless “massager” (LOL) will add a little something different to your sex toy drawer. This offers 20 different vibrating patterns and eight speeds, meaning you won’t get tired of this toy for a while.

    Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation Air-Pulse Clitoris Stimulator

    Oh, the Satisfyer. If you’re new to sex toys, it might seem simple to go with a classic vibrator first, but I recommend this every time. It’s like nothing else on the market (or at least it was when it launched) because instead of focusing on penetration or vibration, it focuses on suction, mimicking the feeling of oral sex. Did I just sell you? I hope so. They last for years and absolutely change the sex toy experience—trust me.

    LELO Beads Mini Small Kegel Exercise Balls

    Spice up your drawer with these kegel balls. Whether you use them alone or with a partner, you’ll get a little joy adding these to your routine. They’re super versatile and can be used about a dozen different ways to boost pleasure, exercise your pelvic floor, and add a new sensation.

    Clitoris Vibrator

    This little clitoral vibrator is basically a Carpal Tunnel users’ BFF. It’s small and effortless to hold in your hand, especially for… prolonged periods of time, if you will. This has over 10 speed and pattern combinations to give you a unique experience basically every time you use it. Reviewers love the small size as well for storage, travel, and partner play.
    Another note to mention: tons of reviews boasted the customer service, saying that anytime they’ve had issues with performance, they’ve reached out to customer service and were given a replacement or taught how to fix the problem.

    Partner Couple Vibrator for Clitoral & G-Spot Stimulation

    The reviews for this vibrator are both hysterical and quite true. After seeing the hilarious reviews on Twitter, I picked up one for myself and cancelled all of my plans for about two weeks. Please read this review and then go buy it and then come back here and thank me. That’s all.

    G Spot Rabbit Vibrator

    With over 6,700 reviews, this rabbit vibrator makes the top of the list. Not only are there tons of reviews, over 3,000 of them are five stars. This has everything a good rabbit vibe does: waterproof, quiet, USB-charger, and multiple speeds. One reviewer said this brought her sex life back after a bad breakup, that it helped her orgasm for the first time, and that it has so much power that it ended up in her husband’s glass when he walked in the room (please read the second review; you won’t be disappointed).

    Silicone Dual Penis Ring

    Add a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to your sex life with this penis ring. Use it on yourself or with a partner to increase pleasure during penetration, during oral sex, or for (mutual) masturbation. The reviews are filled with positive experiences from people with and without penises who have found pleasure using this on themselves or with a partner.

    G Spot Vibrator for Vagina Stimulation

    This vibrator is bendable to hit your G-spot. Reviewers love how quiet it is (perfect for any roommate situations), the discreet packaging, the storage container it comes with, the magnetic charger, and the various speeds and patterns. If you’re looking to get outside the box of external vibrators, this is an easy one to start with!


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    10 Things to Do If Your Confidence Needs a Major Boost

    Confidence might sound like some fluffy, idealistic principle your Girl Scout leader used to talk about, but it’s the most powerful, tangible thing you can cultivate to achieve the life you want. You might have learned from ’90s makeover movies that once you make major changes, then you’ll finally feel confident. But actually, confidence is the key to make drastic improvements, whether it comes to your health, career, or relationships. In other words, stop waiting for circumstances to happen and, instead, work on boosting confidence first. The changes you want to make in your life will happen as a byproduct. Here are 10 concrete ways to love yourself like Lizzo and boost confidence to achieve your best life.
    1. Be brutally honest with yourself
    Do you love your job? Do you genuinely enjoy all of your friendships? Are you open about the hobbies that bring you joy (yes, even the geeky ones)? Not only will being brutally honest illuminate areas in your life where you’re not your true self, but it will also force you to stop trying to “fit in” (middle school trauma can still really affect us, you know?). And when you realize what you do genuinely love and enjoy, do more of it. You can’t be fully confident unless you openly own, accept, and feel comfortable with who you are.
    That also means knowing your strengths and accepting whatever you previously deemed a “weakness.” You know that famous quote by Albert Einstein that’s written on inspirational cards and quoted in graduation speeches? “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Remember this lesson when you’re picking at your “weaknesses.” If you’re shy in large groups, don’t sit around wishing you were more outgoing. Instead, appreciate that you’re really charismatic in one-on-one situations. Keep track of the hobbies, people, and activities that make you feel like your true self, and then seek them out more. 

    2. Use visualization
    Before first dates or big presentations, we often focus on the worst-case scenarios. Not just your-date-turned-out-to-be-a-serial-killer type of scenario, but the forget-the-entire-presentation or what-if-they-don’t-like-me kinds of scenarios. Instead, visualize yourself acing the presentation or enjoying the first date as the highest version of yourself. If you’re not sure what your highest self looks like, think about how you act in your most comfortable relationships. Are you goofy, vivacious, enthusiastic, kind, or thoughtful? What memory do you have where you did feel good about yourself? Visualize showing up as that person and the best-case outcome. You’ll not only feel more confident going into uncomfortable situations, but you’ll be more likely to achieve your highest self.

    Source: @simplytandya

    3. Practice empathy and positivity
    We’ve already established that confidence requires a change in internal mindset, not a change in outside validation. But if changing your mindset was as easy as flipping a switch, we’d all be confident. So the key to self-confidence? Empathy and positivity. Just like happiness, empathy and positivity are skills, not circumstances. When you work those muscles on other people and situations, you’ll start to feel empathy and positivity for yourself too. Work on positive thinking through gratitude journaling or exercises, and prioritize the glass-half-full mentality in all situations. See the good in other people (including celebrities, influencers, and frenemies–ex-boyfriends exempt from this list), and you’ll start to see more good in yourself too (guaranteed). 

    4. Accept compliments
    PSA: can we agree to stop downplaying when we receive a compliment!? Especially as women, we’re taught to be polite at our own expense. However, it’s just not true that putting ourselves down makes other people feel more comfortable. In fact, it typically makes people more uncomfortable, not to mention it’s hurting your confidence. When a coworker tells you that you nailed the presentation, don’t respond with “I couldn’t have done it without my team,” or “Really? I messed up the whole second half!” Say, “Thank you so much! I worked so hard and am so excited about how it turned out.”
    Likewise, when a friend compliments your hair, don’t say, “Ugh, I have such frizzy hair, I spent 45 minutes getting it to lay straight!” Instead, respond with a simple “Thank you!” and take a moment to internally feel good about yourself (why yes, my hair does look phenomenal. *Cues ***Flawless by Beyoncé*). If just saying “thank you” feels uncomfortable, feel free to give a compliment in return but stop downplaying the compliments you receive. 

    Source: @devyn.p.miller

    5. Be smart about social media
    It’s no secret that social media is a common confidence-suck. Being constantly bombarded by the pretty, filtered version of hundreds or thousands of other people’s lives is not exactly the best recipe to feel good about our own. We know that we only put our very best pictures, selfies, and sides for the world to see, while keeping “real life” (like messy kitchens, PMS tears, and stretch marks) offline. But somehow, it doesn’t always register that other people do the same. Do yourself a favor and mute or unfollow everyone on Instagram except a few select accounts that bring you inspiration, motivation, and happiness whenever you click through their feed or stories (like, IDK, @theeverygirl, just as a totally random example). 

    6. Change the words that follow “I am”
    Personally, my identity has been defined as a writer my whole life. Ever since elementary school, my love for writing was always the first thing teachers noticed about me. For 24 years, I put myself into categories of, “I’m a writer, and I’m creative,” but because of that identity, I also said, “I’m not good at business” or “I am not a math person.” I loaded up on English classes in college and didn’t take one business, finance, or economics class. I always took on the “creative and free-spirited” type of personality, and didn’t feel confident in any skills related to business or personal finance. 
    But when I became a grown-ass woman (AKA, like a few months ago, but it depends who you ask), I was over feeling like I wasn’t good with money and that creativity was all I had to offer the world. I started telling myself, “I am a businesswoman,” and, “I am smart with money.” It gave me the confidence to sign up for finance classes and start my own side business. The lesson here? Think about what stories you’ve been telling yourself about who you are, and then replace the words that follow “I am.”  Have you been telling yourself, “I am awkward,” “I am shy,” “I am ugly,” or “I am not good enough?” Change the words after “I am” to anything you want to be, and eventually, you’ll start to believe it. Fake it ’til you make it, you know?

    Source: @crystalinmarie

    7. Get outside yourself
    Listen, I’m not calling anyone self-centered in a negative way. As humans, we see reality through our own perspectives, and therefore, everything centers around the way we experience it. When you’re feeling a lack of confidence, it can be tempting to wallow in your feelings or vent to friends. While you should lean on the people who make you feel better, make sure to get outside yourself too. Ask other people questions more than you talk about yourself (and listen!), or volunteer for an organization that needs help.
    Not only will focusing on other people make you feel better about yourself (because nothing is more powerful than helping someone else), but you’ll also realize that other people don’t think about you the way you think they do. Other people are too caught up in their own problems to realize you’re a little awkward or have a breakout on your chin. One of the most important life hacks I’ve ever learned: you’ll stop feeling self-conscious the minute you turn your attention to helping someone else. 

    8. Do more things that make you uncomfortable
    Stepping outside your comfort zone is–you guessed it–uncomfortable, but it can make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. Try something new that you’re scared to try, whether it’s cooking a new type of food, attending a different workout class, or networking with people you’re typically too shy to reach out to. The good news is that you don’t have to be good at whatever new thing you’re doing in order to boost self-esteem. In fact, you probably won’t be good. The confidence comes when you keep showing up, even when you’re not good at it. It will teach you to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations and accomplished in trying something new. 

    Source: @missenocha

    9. Keep promises to yourself
    We have a conception that “confidence” has to mean thinking highly of ourselves, which is not necessarily true. To break it down, confidence is actually a combination of both self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to the belief you have in yourself to accomplish something. In other words, to boost confidence, you must make and keep promises to yourself. If you want to eat more veggies or get to bed earlier, make a plan, and then follow through with it. Remember that there’s more on the line than leafy greens or getting enough sleep. Think of it like a friend; the more you can rely on them and trust them, the more you love and respect them. The same goes for the relationship you have with yourself. Eat what you say you will, get to bed when you say you will, and watch your confidence skyrocket.

    10. Cultivate the “eff it!” mentality
    Channel your inner Dua Lipa and just don’t care. Typically, I’m not a fan of IDGAF energy (I think caring about people is the most powerful thing we can do as human beings, even when it hurts), but when it comes to cultivating self-confidence, I’m an advocate. You see, sometimes you have to remind yourself that not everything is as big of a deal as you make it in your mind. You gained a few extra pounds–who cares? You’re shy meeting new people–big deal! The side business you want to launch might fail–so what? Doing something you want to do or being someone you want to be (while saying “screw you!” to insecurities) might be the absolute best thing you could ever do for yourself. Just as a reminder, don’t take everything so seriously; it’s just life! The point is to enjoy it. 

    What tips have helped improve your confidence? More

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    4 Essential Tips for Starting a New Job During COVID-19

    Starting a new job can be an exciting time, as you prepare to walk into the office on your first day to meet your new team, set up your office, and hit the ground running. But starting a new job remotely sometimes can lack that same luster, especially when working from home is the “new normal” across the company. As many companies are now adjusting to new or modified schedules that allow their employees to work from home, and as the future of offices shift, as a new employee, it can be intimidating to begin a job with a new company without the formalities of orientation and meeting your new colleagues in person. Adapting to a new job remotely poses its own set of challenges: How do you get acquainted with colleagues who are not on your immediate team? How will your new coworkers know about your hire? How will you establish rapport with your team?  
    Being patient and flexible seems to be the name of the game when adjusting to a new job from home. Make your adjustment to your new company a smooth one, even from your own home, with a few tips on starting a new job remotely.

    1. Make your manager the middle man 
    There’s no bigger advocate to have when starting a new job with a new company than your manager, especially when meeting colleagues in person on your first day is no longer an option. Your manager will be your guide and biggest cheerleader, announcing your arrival as a new hire while everyone is working from home and pre-occupied with adjusting to a new type of work-life balance. 
    See if your manager would consider sending out an announcement of your hire, and open your calendar up for e-introductions from your new coworkers. An announcement is a great way for others in your company to get to know you and your role and how you might be working with them. Your manager can also include you in on various video conferences and meetings to introduce you to a variety of coworkers to get acquainted with. Ask about meetings that could help you not only introduce yourself and your role, but also help you become familiar with the moving parts of the business and current projects to get you up to speed. 
    Build a rapport with your manager by suggesting one-on-one meetings frequently during the start of your role to gain more understanding of your team, their preferred communication style, and short-term and long-term goals you should adhere to. When working from home, it is easy to be out of sight, out of mind when it comes to connecting with your manager, so proactively scheduling regular check-ins helps keep the communication flowing, making work more effective and your transition even smoother. 
    Your manager is in charge of making sure you get your foot in the door with all of the right people while working from home; make sure to use their influence to ensure a graceful start to your new job. 

    2. Use human resources as a resource after onboarding
    When starting a new job, onboarding can be one of the most helpful ways to introduce yourself to your new company. Whether you are in the office or working from home, the onboarding process is a great tool to learn more about the structure of the company, your new role and responsibilities, and what to expect when you do eventually come back into the office.
    Navigating a new company after onboarding without the proper connections or guidance in person can seem daunting. Your human resources team is the perfect team to help guide you through a new company, even past the initial onboarding, having access to everything you need to make your transition to a new company and role from home a smooth one. Keep in touch with your human resources team after onboarding to get key information that will help you past your first days with the company, including company directories, work-from-home polices and procedures, and employee resource groups to get involved with to acclimate yourself to your new company. Your human resources professional should be on top of the latest company news and any changes, especially during major shifts in the company with work-from-home schedules. They can be your introduction to the full company and help you explore your new job without having to leave home. 

    Source: cottonbro | Pexels

    3. Discover your team’s communication style 
    One of the major setbacks of working from home is establishing and maintaining effective communication with colleagues, your manager, and other coworkers, especially as a new employee who is just learning the ropes. For some of your colleagues, this might be their first time working from home for an extended period of time, adjusting to new forms of communication online and by phone vs. the standard in-person boardroom meeting many workers have been accustomed to. 
    Discover your immediate team’s preferred communication style, whether it be by phone, email, instant messaging, or via video conference. Some colleagues may rather not be inundated with emails and respond better using other forms of communication, which will help you be more effective at reaching them when starting your new role.
    How your team communicates, along with when your team best connects and is productive, is also crucial to starting off on the right foot from day one. Does your team have frequent check-ins, or should you put time on each calendar to have one-on-ones? Is your manager available during normal business hours or likes to catch up before or after the workday? These are all important preferences to note when working with your new team, especially when face-to-face time is limited or nonexistent and many are juggling family and work during the workday. 

    4. Connect with new team members offline 
    If you’re starting a new job remotely, it can be difficult connecting with your new team outside of work-related tasks and duties. Whether you’re working from home or going into the office occasionally, make time to get to know your colleagues, and give them the opportunity to get to know you. 
    Video conferencing is a great way to connect with your new team face-to-face if you haven’t already done so in person. Put some time on your team’s calendar to meet virtually either during or after work to get to know them informally. If video conferencing isn’t an option, a good old-fashioned phone call works just as well. Get to know them by connecting on a more personal level: How did they get started at the company and what has their experience been? What would they like to know about you? Who else should you try to meet within the company?
    Giving your new team the opportunity to get to know you outside of your new role within the company helps bridge the gap between being the new employee no one has met yet to someone they know and can trust professionally. It also helps build relationships with other team members who can help advocate for you as a new hire. Look at connecting with your new team as networking in a different way, connecting with your colleagues on a different level to establish trust and build morale professionally. 

    Starting a new job working from home doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting; make your presence known across your company so that you can hit the ground running and make the biggest impact. 

    What’s your advice on starting a new job from home?  More

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    9 Things to Do This Summer (on a Budget)

    Maybe this isn’t exactly the summer we had in mind (read: canceled vacations and closed beaches), but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of this year. Because you deserve the very best that the season has to offer, we’ve partnered with Gilt City to bring you major discounts on all of our summer favs that can be enjoyed from the comfort (and safety) of your own home.Gilt City is an online shopping and lifestyle website that offers insider-level access to major deals on experiences in your area, top brands, and beyond. To quote Norah Jones, “it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Oh yeah, and it’s majorly discounted too. Read on for nine things to do this summer, and check out Gilt City for our favorite brands and experiences at a lower price. 

    So you’re wearing flip-flops and open-toe sandals more than booties, and you can no longer hide a bad manicure or chipped polish behind gloves and mittens. Painted and groomed nails are as essential for summer as a cute swimsuit and a faux tan, but they’re not always easy to maintain. Not only is painting your nails at home more affordable, but it’ll be safer this summer as well. Thanks to Gilt City, you can score major deals on high-end nail care brands that will leave your fingers and toes looking pretty all season long. Try MiniLuxe Nail Kits for up to 42 percent off nail kits, or Deborah Lippmann for 50 percent off nail treatments, colors, and more. 

    Fall fashion is fun (the plaid!), but I’m partial to summer clothes. Light fabrics, effortless styles, and pretty colors make this season’s clothing chic without having to try too hard. Revamp your 2020 summer wardrobe with crisp basics, lightweight shorts, and pretty dresses you can throw on (because the hardest decision you make all day should be whether to have a glass of rosé or an Aperol Spritz, not what to wear). We love Joules for effortless styles and summer basics, and thanks to Gilt City, you can get 40 percent off full-price items (yes, really!), and an extra 20 percent off of sale items. Revamping your summer wardrobe with the best items of the season doesn’t have to break the bank. 

    I love coffee as much as the next girl, but there’s something about warmer weather that motivates me to fuel my body with only the best. Instead of reaching for the second cup of coffee or an afternoon americano (which comes with coffee jitters and caffeine crashes), I’ve been opting for matcha, which is a powder made of concentrated green tea leaves. You get the boost of energy without crashes or jitters, plus up to 33 percent off MatchaBar with one of the packages from Gilt City. 

    The #1 most Instagrammed accessory of summer? A pool float. Whether you’re booking a weekend away at a nearby lake or you’re lounging by your aunt’s backyard pool more often than you’re in your own home, a pool float that’s as cute as your swimsuit is a necessity. Try the Giant Swan Float that went more viral than the “Renegade” Dance on TikTok, or the Seashell Float that helps you live out your wildest The Little Mermaid fantasies. Get up to 43 percent off fashion girls’ favorite pool floats and accessories at #GETFLOATY when you purchase through Gilt City. 

    Sure, wine tastings are fun and cheese boards are always a crowd-pleaser, but if you want to really impress your friends, host a dessert tasting instead (yes, I did get this idea from Kyle Richards’s infamous party on season 7 of RHOBH). Not only is it fun, different, and creative, but who doesn’t love desserts? Give the people what they want and surprise your significant other with gourmet versions of their favorites, or have a few friends over for some cake and chill. Using Gilt City, you can score up to 36 percent off award-winning sweets from Mini Melanie, shipped to your door (be warned: the Oreo Sprinkles Cookie Cake will make you drool). 

    Summer means more energy and longer days. With all the extra time you have after the workday is over, turn off the TV (sorry, Netflix!) and tap into your creative side. Michaels is our go-to store for everything you need to make a scrapbook for your college roommate’s bridal shower present or to get materials to try out a free sketching class on Youtube. Gilt City is conveniently offering 25 percent off any online purchase (available for delivery or curbside pick up). With a discount and easy delivery (or pick up), there’s no excuse to keep putting off that mood board you’ve been telling yourself you’ll start or picking up a new hobby like painting. 

    One of the best parts of the season is fresher, brighter flowers, so why not make the most of summer by buying yourself a pretty bouquet (because self-love is a good enough reason for any indulgence). Plus, a fresh bouquet of your favorite peonies or sunflowers will not only freshen up your home and show off your style personality, but it will feel like a little extra luxury (and you deserve it!). Get up to 35 percent off bouquets from Bouqs when you order online through Gilt City. Plus, a major bonus for our Everygirl brides: you can also score almost $100 off towards any wedding floral package.

    Laundry is a chore, but upgrading to the right products can make it feel more like a luxury. With better options (and insane discounts), you no longer have to settle for laundry care that’s bad for the planet or bad for your skin. The Laundress has been saving us from dry cleaning prices and stains on delicate fabrics (like cashmere and silk) for years, and Gilt City is offering 40 percent off their eco-friendly detergent and laundry care. This season is the perfect time to freshen up bed sheets, wash the linen pants and swimsuits you never get around to dry cleaning, and turn laundry into a luxury (all while being friendly to the environment). Win, win! 

    Winter is meant for cozy accessories, warm throw blankets, and lit candles. Summer, however, is the perfect time for brightening up the home with fun accessories and bold colors. Make the most of the season by adding a standout piece or two that will draw a whole lot of attention and revamp your space. And what’s brighter and bolder than a trendy neon sign? Name Glo is a go-to for high-quality custom designs and Insta-worthy accessories (my personal favorite is the Mini Stand “Yes”). Yes, they’re investment pieces, but only at Gilt City can you get them for 50% off. I mean, can you even resist a deal this good!?

    This post was in partnership with Gilt City, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    These Free, 10-Minute Workouts Are Perfect for Days When You’re Short on Time

    “Petting as many dogs as humanely possible” is one of my most significant life goals.I’ve never met a dog that I didn’t like. I am the CEO of stopping on the Chicago Lakefront mid-run to pet all of the good doggos that proudly and happily trot past me. While I’m not in a place to own a dog of my own, this small fact does not stop me from getting my canine fix any time the opportunity presents itself.
    It has become very important for me to streamline my life to allow for as much time to provide belly rubs and compliments to dogs as possible. It is crucial to me that no matter what I accomplish in life, I never lose sight of prioritizing activities that I love most. Maybe for you, that joy comes from cooking, hanging out with family/friends, reading, watching Netflix, pouring a large glass of wine, or journaling. Regardless of what gets your heart pumping, I think we can all agree that making more time for the things we love is a good thing.
    So on days where I’m slammed with work, drowning in laundry, or itching to prioritize the petting of the dogs, I simply don’t have time to head to my gym and spend an hour on the treadmill (note: I have never actually spent one whole hour on a treadmill). I have always been a firm believer that quality is better than quantity (in this case, quantity being the amount of time spent working out) and have found that doing an effective, 10-minute workout is better than doing nothing at all. On the days where you don’t have time or are just looking for a quick way to move, these 13 free 10-minute workouts will have your back:

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    What are your favorite ways to workout at home? Let us know in the comments below! More

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    5 Things to Remember If You’re Working Remotely Right Now

    Months ago, millions of us packed up whatever gear we could grab from the office, went home, and, overnight, began life as remote workers. From taking regular breaks to sticking to a schedule to establishing a dedicated workspace, there are plenty of strategies for making working from home work. But there’s a huge difference between choosing to go remote and being forced to do so during an emergency. As remote work becomes more of a long-term or even permanent situation for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, what can we do to prevent burnout? We got experts to give us their best tips, advice, and things to keep in mind.
    1. Take the plunge and invest in a more comfortable set-up
    If you’ve spent the last few months hunched over the kitchen table or curled up on the couch, avoiding investing in home office gear in hopes you’d get back to the real office soon, it might be time to reconsider. Even after just a short time, your body may be feeling the effects (stiff neck, back, and shoulders, anyone?). “The ergonomics of home offices are absolutely horrible,” according to Laurel Farrer, founder of the Remote Work Association. “There are hundreds of rules that go into keeping us healthy and safe at [on-site] work, from which watt of the lightbulb is used, to the length of carpet and how high desks are. When we go home, we don’t know what those are or that we should be implementing them,” potentially putting our health at risk. 
    Farrer, who also runs Distribute Consulting from her home in Connecticut, said it can be liberating to realize that we don’t need a lot of office odds and ends we thought we did, from stodgy office furniture to giant file cabinets. But making sure your pared-down remote set-up supports your well-being is still critical (see how yours measures up with this checklist from the National Institutes of Health). And you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to feel better. “Small, simple, and cheap changes,” she said, like putting your laptop on top of a box (to raise it closer to eye level) or simply standing up more, can make a real difference. If you are ready to invest, though, Farrer suggested a riser or standing desk of some sort for your laptop, plus a real keyboard and mouse. Some fun extras? Arranging a good video call backdrop, and buying a good microphone and ring light, “things we’ve never thought about before” that can make video meetings look way more professional.

    2. Continue to reinforce boundaries, but remember to (virtually) socialize 
    “You wouldn’t barge into someone’s office and expect them to drop everything they are doing for you,” a teammate once told Julie Chabin, who heads product design at Product Hunt and YourStack remotely from Paris. It’s the same with remote work. In the virtual workplace, with requests cascading in through email, instant messages, and calls, “it’s OK to say ‘thank you, I’ll take a look at this after I’m done with my current task,’ when you get a notification,” advised Chabin, who has worked remotely for five years. 
    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect with colleagues. It just has to be more intentional, said Daisy Chang, professor of organizational psychology at Michigan State University. Though she misses walking down the hall to chat with colleagues and checking in with her graduate students in person, her department, like all newly remote teams, have to carve out time to “talk to each other, exchange ideas, maintain social connection” and get support virtually. From scheduling chats to more formal ways of getting on the same page, like syncing digital calendars to focus on a project at the same time, Chang said it’s important, especially for people who particularly crave in-person connection, “to find ways to inject that back into their work life.”

    3. Over-communicate and be proactive 
    A lot can get lost virtually, especially when the shift happens abruptly, so it’s important to be super clear when discussing a project, idea, or request with coworkers. “In remote work, over-communication is just communication,” said Farrer. Even if it feels like you’re talking a ton and over-explaining, keep at it. “That’s how you stay connected.”
    Chang, who recently conducted a study on the hasty transition from in-person to working at home and some of the unique challenges that workers face in the COVID-19 context, agreed it’s harder to communicate effectively. But the self-described optimist said she actually sees this as an opportunity to be clearer. Being apart could force us to be more thoughtful and challenge us to consider a problem more deeply before crafting an email or speaking up on a call, rather than throwing out a half-baked idea in passing.
    Something both Chang and Farrer agree on is the need to be proactive, especially if a new colleague joins virtually or you’re the newbie yourself. Managers and companies should ideally be providing training and channels to get to know people, but some are still playing catch-up with the remote situation, too. In the meantime, “we really have to rely on ourselves,” said Farrer, whether that’s mustering the courage to hit “send” on an email to a potential mentor or simply scheduling a virtual coffee chat with someone you don’t know well. 

    4. Mix things up 
    Hated your hours or dress code? More productive in the early mornings? One benefit to remote work is that, on your own turf, there are opportunities to make your job work better for you. “We all sort of fall into a routine, something that’s comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt to learn new habits or change it up,” said Chang, who also suggested sharing what worked or didn’t with coworkers, from blocking out mornings for focused work to changing up your online hours. 
    After all, Farrer said, “you don’t have your employer sitting next to you telling you what to do,” so it’s important to work on being more self-reliant when it comes to getting things done and how you do them. Employees (even those with amazing supervisors) have to “take initiative to be their own boss for a little while,” making calls about what works for them.  

    5. Embrace kindness and vulnerability 
    It’s time for us to get real at work—at least a little bit. While keeping things professional is paramount, it’s important to recognize that everyone has their own struggles and personal demands, especially now. “The reality of working from home is it’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time,” Farrer said, even in normal times. Being yourself and being open “is how you create a sense of culture in a remote team.” (In fact, Chang said, a number of studies show that being allowed to be your authentic self at work may lead to higher performance and engagement while feeling inauthentic at work can lead to burnout). 
    In other words, your coworkers are your coworkers, but we’re all human. “It’s essential to care about people, genuinely. Ask them how they are doing, let them be people, not just colleagues or clients,” Chabin said. “As we’ve seen with this global pandemic, we all have families, pets, children… it’s okay to have candid conversations.” And if you’re a freelancer or solo business owner, it may be helpful to find people in your field to reach out to for that same sort of support. 
    If you’re not ready to open up or your company’s culture doesn’t allow for it, acts of kindness can go a long way virtually. Whether that’s shouting out someone’s success with a client, or recognizing a birthday or work milestone, Chabin suggested, these simple acts still go a long way toward building trust. Extend those kindnesses to yourself—this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone (even remote work experts, Farrer said, were struggling at the beginning of the pandemic). If self-care has slipped as the months have gone on, recommit to claiming those extra hours you spent commuting as personal time, Chabin emphasized, whether that’s reading a book, working out, going for a walk, chatting with family or trying out a 15-step skincare routine. 

    If you’re struggling with remote life or feeling burnout creep in, above all, it’s important to remember: “This is not working remotely,” Farrer said, “this is trying to maintain economic and business continuity during a global crisis.” More

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    I’m Not a Morning Person—This Is the Evening Routine That Helps Me Keep It Together

    If you were to ask any of my friends about me, I’d like to think that they’d have a lot of nice things to say. They might describe me as friendly, laid-back, and down for a good time. They may mention that I am in a committed relationship with McDonald’s chicken nuggets. They might label me as a “good listener” or a “good friend.” They might give accolades to my ability to send highly relatable memes to their DMs at any point in the day. One thing they most definitely wouldn’t say about me? That I am a morning person.I have a reputation amongst my friends and family to prioritize sleeping in over most things in life. I have an affinity for hitting my snooze button anywhere from four to nine times a morning (I wish that was an exaggeration). If you speak to me before my morning coffee, there’s a 99 percent chance that what you said did not register. No matter how many tips and tricks that I’ve tried in my efforts to become a morning person, I just can’t hang before 10am. At this point, I’ve come to accept who I am: a night owl who would rather get shit done in the evening than during the morning. 
    PSA: You don’t have to be a morning person to live a healthy, productive life. I’ve felt guilty for “failing” at morning routines for far too long, but after curating an evening routine that fits my peak energy time and makes me feel like a superhero, I’d like to argue that night owls are just as badass as the humans who work out, clean, meal prep, meditate, and do a 57-step skincare routine before they log on for work. The early bird gets the worm, but the worm that sleeps in doesn’t get eaten, am I right?
    Here are the eight habits that have made my evenings productive and have helped me to embrace the fact that I am, in fact, a night owl:

    1. Work out right after work
    I truly cannot count the number of times that I’ve set my alarm two hours early to workout and decided, in the early hours of the morning, that REM sleep is cooler than squats. I’ve found that, as with most things, my workouts are most productive after a workday when I’ve used the day to hydrate and I’ve consumed at least two meals. While the idea of a late-night workout excites me, I try to exercise before dinner so that it’s easier for me to wind down afterward. Right now, I’ll do an at-home workout or go for a one to three-mile run, and I’ll opt to work out outside so that I can get some fresh air.

    2. Listen to a podcast while cooking dinner
    I used to hate cooking until stay-at-home orders hit. When I realized that I simply could not afford using Grubhub or Doordash every night, I bought Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook to turn my life around. For dinner, I grab my fav glass of vino, pick a recipe to whip up, and listen to my favorite podcast. Typically I’ll opt for a recipe that I can cook for one and save for dinner for the next few days. Dinner: done. Meal prep: done. Getting the pop culture tea: done.

    3. Tidy up my living space
    The dinnertime productivity hack that absolutely changed my life is making an effort to clean up my kitchen messes as I’m cooking. It sounds so simple, but as we all have experienced at one point or another, there’s nothing worse than staring at dirty cookware and dishes after eating and slipping into a food coma. Tidying up as I go makes doing the remaining dishes after dinner so much more tolerable. After rinsing my remaining dishes and popping them into the dishwasher, I do a quick tidy-up of the rest of my living space (I save deep cleaning for the weekend when I have more time to do that sort of thing).

    4. Take a relaxing bath
    Why has it taken me so long to get on board with taking baths? My bath time is my me time, and those 30 minutes help me to wind down after power cleaning. Am I sweating from bending over to pick up all of my clutter from my last outfit crisis? Probably. Should I get that checked out by a doctor or, at the very least, up my cardio game? Also, probably. While I’m soaking, I like to call a friend, read an excerpt from my latest and greatest book obsession, or catch up on my IG feed. I light my favorite candle, dim the lights, and play some Mumford & Sons radio to set the mood.

    5. Plan out tomorrow’s outfit
    Somewhere along the way on my journey from third grade to adulthood, I lost sight of the easiest and most rewarding task of all—laying out tomorrow’s outfit. If and when I snooze my alarm and subsequently oversleep, I need all of the extra time that I can get.Enduring an 8am clothes crisis and settling on an outfit that I feel *blah* in is not the move. In my pursuit to work from home and not lose my mind, I’ve found it helpful to make sure that I’m changing out of my morning pajamas into something cute and casual to signal to my brain that it’s time to get to work.

    6. Prep my morning coffee
    Of all the responsibilities that are knocking on my door at the time of my alarm interrupting my dreams of being married to Zac Efron, my highest priority of all is coffee. I like to streamline my coffee routine ahead of time so that everything is neatly out and ready for me to get espresso in my body as soon as humanely possible. At night, I’ll pop my Nespresso capsule into my Nespresso machine, make sure that the water is filled to the brim, and line up my mixings (oat milk, vanilla, and cinnamon) for easy morning access. 

    6. Make a to-do list for tomorrow
    I am forever an offender of adding things to my to-do list that I’ve already completed so that I can give myself credit for completing tasks. After I’m squeaky clean and pick out my outfit for the morning, I make myself a herbal tea, I snuggle into bed, and reach for my journal that sits on my nightstand. My journal is my life and is a compilation of random article pitches that I think of at 4am, blurbs talking smack about someone who hurt my feelings, and to-do lists that somehow never fully get checked off. Regardless, making my to-do list helps me to focus in the simultaneous whirlwind and brain fog of the morning. I prioritize mindless tasks to be completed first to boost my confidence and schedule more tasking responsibilities for the afternoon when my productivity levels are highest.

    8. Do something that brings me joy
    I’ve been trying really hard to limit screen time before bed, so I’ve been opting for other blue-light-free activities that bring me joy to end the evening. On a normal day, I’ll turn off the lights with the exception of the faint glow of my bedside lamp, and I’ll either revisit my Kindle, journal about my day, or doodle until my eyelids become heavy. When I feel myself daydreaming then dazing, I know it’s time to call it a night. I set my typical morning alarms (yes, plural) and tuck myself in, knowing that I am leaving a productive day behind.

    Would you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl? When do you find that you’re your best, most productive self? More

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    How 12 Experts Are Staying Their Healthiest While Staying at Home

    I don’t know about you, but since the stay-at-home order started months ago, I’ve been moving my body less and eating more frozen pizza than I have in years. Even though 2020 has looked a lot different than we all thought it would when making health goals back in January, the well-being of our bodies shouldn’t just be a priority when we can go to juice cafes and workout studios. In fact, prioritizing health might even be more important during a scary and uncertain time. For some much-needed inspo, I asked my favorite nutritionists, trainers, and wellness entrepreneurs how they’re taking care of their bodies while staying at home. 
    1. Les Alfred, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Host of the Balanced Black Girl Podcast
    Source: @balancedles

    “While spending so much more time at home, mental health check-ins and daily exercise are non-negotiables. For my daily mental health check-in, I’ll spend some time journaling and reflecting on how I’m feeling. My emotions have ranged from optimistic and hopeful to lonely and unsure of what the future holds. Creating space to feel while honoring all of my feelings has been incredibly helpful. I also move my body every day. Some of my favorite ways to move at home include Sun Salutations each morning, short dumbbell or bodyweight workouts during my lunch break to keep my energy up for the afternoon, and early evening walks to relieve stress before winding down for the night.” 
    Listen to the Balanced Black Girl Podcast and follow her on Instagram here. 

    2. Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, Founder of The MWH Method
    Source: @melissawoodhealth

    “Prioritizing my practice of meditation and mindful movement is what keeps me sane through anything that comes my way. Even taking just two minutes to yourself makes such a massive impact toward shifting your mood. I do this through my method of movement to sculpt beautiful, long lean lines throughout the entire body through precise, low-impact movements.”
    Try a seven-day free trial of the MWH Method and follow her on Instagram here. 

    3. Berrion Berry, Period Educator and Founder of The Flo Academy
    Source: @berrionlberry

    “My hottest tip for staying healthy while safe at home is to focus on the breath. I do a three-minute breathwork exercise every morning, then again just after lunch, and again right as I end my day. I’ve found that it allows me to remain aligned and grounded. Breathwork is extremely helpful for managing both stress and anxiety. Oh, and the song I like to breathe to is called Deeper by Sion. The power of breath is so underrated, but I love it! And it helps with period pain too (can’t forget to mention that!).”
    Join The Flo Academy and follow her on Instagram here. 

    4. May Zhu, MBA, RD, LDN, and Founder of Nutrition Happens
    Source: @nutritionhappens

    “Maximize the benefits from the leafy greens you’re eating by rotating different varieties from week to week. This will add more nutrition diversity in terms of vitamins and minerals. For example, if you chose spinach this week, maybe go for arugula or chard the next. I love doing this because it also helps me get out of a kitchen rut when I feel uninspired. If there’s a leafy green you haven’t tried, now is a great time to try it in a new recipe. Also, I love walks on days when I’m feeling something more low impact. I’ll take a walk either before or after dinner to get fresh air. Several studies support that even 10 minutes of brisk walking can improve our moods.
    I’ve been working from home for a few years now, and I’m always working on work time boundaries. One thing that has helped me set up the post-work environment to transition out of the workday is to light a candle after I finish work to set the tone for the night. Lately, I love candles from The Koop New York and Dear Sunday Co, which are both Black-owned businesses that I adore!”
    Check out Nutrition Happens and follow her on Instagram here. 

    5. Valerie Agyeman, RD, Women’s Health Dietitian, and Founder of Flourish Heights
    Source: Flourish Heights

    “I’ve been stretching more! A few weeks ago, I realized I was sitting all day on a sofa or an office chair, which hasn’t been the best for my posture. So lately, I’ve been trying different stretches throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. It helps keep my mind and body calm and at ease.”
    Check out Flourish Heights and follow her on Instagram here. 

    Source: @danielleduboise

    “I’m focused on enjoying the little things that make me happy, whether it’s spending time with my husband and daughter or taking some time to move my body every day (I’m currently obsessed with Fit Pregnancy Club online classes). I’ve also been trying to keep my routine as normal as possible by eating plenty of leafy greens and adding Sakara Beauty Water Drops to my water first thing every morning.”
    Shop Sakara, listen to The Sakara Life Podcast, and follow her on Instagram here. 

    Source: @whitneytingle

    “I’m using this extra time to focus on nourishing my body with Sakara meals 3-5 days a week and regularly eating my go-to snack, Sakara Detox Super Bars. I try to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day for some sort of movement, whether it’s taking a walk or doing an online class. I’ve been really into Melissa Wood Health and Caravan Wellness, and I just added The Bloom Method, which is for pregnant mamas. I also try to spend some time each day filling my brain with information that helps inspire me to be more creative. I’ve been loving podcasts like The Doctor’s Farmacy, On Being, Esther Perel, and the Goop Podcast.”
    Shop Sakara, listen to The Sakara Life Podcast, and follow her on Instagram here. 

    8. Ingrid S. Clay, Celebrity Fitness Trainer and Plant-Based Chef
    Source: @ingridsclay

    “I’ve been working out every day! I do 30 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I also always tell clients to not buy junk food (so it’s not in the house) and to only eat when hungry.”
    Book a meal plan or class pack and follow her on Instagram here. 

    9. Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, Nutritionist, Reiki Master, and Founder of Culinary Alchemy
    Source: Serena Loves

    “Stay super hydrated! Drink at least 75 percent of your weight in ounces of water. Hydration is key for your entire organ system to function optimally. Also, eat the rainbow; make sure your meals and snacks throughout the day include a variety of fresh, whole produce that spans the colors of the rainbow. By doing this, you are taking in a multitude of vitamins and minerals in the most bioavailable form. Always opt for nutrient-dense meals, smoothies, juices, or broth, packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients over anything that is processed.
    Finally, connect with nature. Talk a walk, sit in the sun, open up the windows, or play in the water if you are near the ocean or a lake. Take off your shoes and stand in the grass. Do a little gardening or water your plants. Do something every day that reminds you that there is something much greater than us, the earth is healing, and whatever is happening right now will heal and pass.”
    Book a nutrition program or reiki session, download a free E-book, and follow her on Instagram here. 

    10. Mona Dan, LAc., MTOM, Herbalist, Acupuncturist and Founder of Vie Healing

    “I sit outside under direct sunlight for at least 20-30 minutes. It gives me a chance to reset and relax but also sweat a little while soaking in some vitamin D. After that, I take a hot shower and gently scrub with bath salts. I also make sure to include fresh fruits and veggies in my meals to take in lots of vitamins and minerals to keep my immunity up.”
    Shop Vie Healing and follow her on Instagram here. 

    Source: @laurengores

    “I’ve been moving my body every day, which has proven to be the most incredible medicine for me, internally and externally. Some days I have time for an hour-long workout, and other days, it’s a 15-minute yoga flow with my toddler crawling on top of me. But it’s the movement that matters, and I think it’s been key to my health and well-being during this time. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of face masking with our Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask to make me look a lot less sleepy than I feel.”
    Shop Summer Fridays and follow her on Instagram here. 

    12. Sahara Rose, Ayurveda Consultant, Best-Selling Author, and Host of The Higher Self Podcast
    Source: @iamsahararose

    “Every day, I ask myself what I can do for my body, mind, and spirit. For my body, I love to do a barre workout followed by some yoga (especially hip openers since we are sitting so much more). For my mind, I love to read spiritual books and do some writing for my next book, Discover Your Dharma. For my spirit, I am obsessed with doing what I call “Goddess Breathwork,” which consists of deep inhales and exhales while doing cat-cows with your spine. It completely relaxes the body, so it’s easy to drop into a meditation! I feel so energized, refreshed, and in alignment with these practices. Often, I’ll break out into a spontaneous dance party because I feel so good!”
    Read Eat Feel Fresh, take the quiz to find your dosha, and follow her on Instagram here.

    What at-home health tips make you feel your best? More