Go Ahead and Be Selfish: Self-Care 101

For a variety of reasons, so many of us are feeling stressed out and anxious right now. It’s not the first time we’ve felt this way and I’m sure it won’t be the last. There is so much in the world we can’t control. But, we can control the way we react to it. Or at the very least, try to. I know this is so much easier said than done. Consider this post a hug from me.

During these times, it’s absolutely necessary to prioritize self-care. I know from experience that sometimes even just the thought of trying to take care of yourself can feel like someone asking you to climb Machu Pichu or devise a policy to create peace in the Middle East. But, I’ve also learned that even the most minor acts of self-care and self-love can radically change how I feel. Here are nine ways to take care of yourself in during difficult times, in order of actual effort.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a professional. I’m just a blogger who gets anxious a lot. These things work for me. If you need professional help, please get it. If you don’t know how to, read until the end of the post.)

Puppies! Kittens! Bunnies! Hippopotami!

Looking at cute animals online is a great distraction. It also works instantly.  Not kidding. I like The Fluffington Post and the Toast Meets World. Get lost in a clickhole. It’s totally okay.

Get Off The Couch And Out Of The House

When I’m anxious, I need to channel my energy into things that are not an SVU marathon on Netflix. Even just a walk to get coffee feels super helpful. Run an errand like buying groceries or pick up necessities at the drug store. Even just a quick trip has a positive effect!

Exercise

There is a scientific connection between exercise and anxiety relief. It doesn’t matter if you go to yoga, spin, Pilates or something else. Whatever type of exercise you don’t hate completely will work.  

But, if fitness isn’t your thing (no judgments), you don’t have to go all out. No one is going to force you to wear a FitBit or printed leggings. You can start small, like walking around the block for half an hour daily or going to a class three days a week. Anything counts, so celebrate your efforts.

Connect With Others

Isolating probably isn’t going to help you. Meet up with a friend for a meal, drinks or just for a walk (yes, you can combine several of these efforts and multi-task). Share your feelings. Vent. Talk about reality television.

Retail Therapy

If the thought of going to a large mall or shopping center sounds overwhelming to you (it does to me, even on a good day), pick two or three of your favorite stores and take it from there. Buy yourself a present! You deserve it! Even something small like a new lipstick will make you feel better.

Treat Yourself

It doesn’t matter if it’s a mani-pedi at your local salon, the Cosmo-Tai at Drybar or a full-on facial at a fancy spa, get your relax on.

Meditate

I don’t want to turn this post into a personal essay, but I learned how to meditate over three years ago. It was during a really difficult time in my life that was further complicated by getting fired from two jobs I hated, several months apart. I felt so alone and I had no idea why the universe was challenging me so much. Instead of going on a downward spiral, I went to a meditation group every night for a week. It gave me a community, structure and relief from my own headspace. That place was Against The Stream in Los Angeles.  They also have locations in other cities including New York, San Francisco and Boston. I highly recommend it.

I also really like The Den in Hollywood, which offers a variety of different classes multiple times a day, so you can definitely find something to work with your schedule. It’s also not affiliated with Buddhism, in case that isn’t your thing.

If you don’t live in one of these cities or the thought of having to sit in a room and meditate with a group of other people sounds just about as relaxing as a jackhammer, why not try meditating with an app? I personally like the Calm and Simple Habit. Both are free with in-app purchases and feature both guided and unguided meditations. Even just sitting for a few minutes can make a big difference.

Online Therapy

There are times when only a professional can help or you just need to talk to someone immediately, if not sooner. Even if you have insurance, getting an appointment with a therapist can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are tons of places online that will connect you with a professional through video, phone or even text, including Talk Space and Doctor On Demand and 7 Cups

 

Seriously, Not Kidding, For Real These Four Apps Will Change Your Life. #Productivity

They always say that things don’t change your life. You change your life. But, as someone who prides herself on breaking the rules, I don’t think that is necessarily true. Anything that can make you more productive can be very life changing. Here’s an example of what I mean. Have you ever gone from not having your own washer/dryer to having one in your house or apartment? No more lugging half your wardrobe to a gross basement, a sketchy laundermat, or having to make actual plans to do your laundry. You can live a life free of freaking out if the ketchup on your French fry suddenly makes its way onto your favorite t-shirt. See what I mean? Total life changer.

So what does having an appliance have to with apps? Well, these apps can also change the way you do those absolutely unavoidable life tasks aka adulting. Here are four of my favorites and how they’ve been game changers for me.

Amazon Prime Now

Amazon Prime Now is NOT the same thing as Amazon Prime, but you do need to be a Prime member to use it. Amazon Prime Now is like a personal assistant who brings the annoying, not-fun and absolutely essential things I need for my life like soap, cleaning supplies, cases of water, toilet paper and dog food straight to my door when I tell them to. Now, if you are wondering why I just don’t buy this stuff at the grocery store, it’s because I rarely shop at traditional grocery stores. I’m a Trader Joe’s and Farmers Market kind of girl, so buying household items means an additional task, driving there, parking, waiting in line and wasting at least an hour of my life I’ll never get back. It also means carrying heavy stuff from my car, which I’m not a fan of. Pro tip: As I’m running low on things, I add them to my cart, so I don’t have to create a separate shopping list.

APN isn’t yet available everywhere. If they don’t deliver to your neighborhood, Google Express is a pretty good alternative.

My dogs poop a lot. 

My dogs poop a lot. 

I'm all about sorbet and green cleaning products.

I'm all about sorbet and green cleaning products.

Shyp

“I like going to the Post Office” – Said no one ever.

I’d rather be stuck in traffic when I have to pee than stand in line at the post office when I have to send a package. For $5 someone comes to your location, picks up your item(s) and then they leave.  It’s almost alarmingly simple. Seriously, the first time I used Shyp, I was confused and asked them if there was anything I had to sign or do and there wasn’t. The app lets you estimate the cost in advance and choose your shipping preferences (fastest, cheapest, etc). Shyp will even pack and box your items for you, as well as insure them.

Shyp is serious about packaging!

Shyp is serious about packaging!

This lamp was sent from NYC to LA and arrived in one piece! Thank you Shyp. Also, thank you for the lamp, mom.

This lamp was sent from NYC to LA and arrived in one piece! Thank you Shyp. Also, thank you for the lamp, mom.

Giftgram

I love buying people gifts, but because I overthink everything, I can become overwhelmed. When it comes to buying someone something nice, I don’t want to see 10,000 options, I just want to see like 100 things I really like. GiftGram has an amazing selection of well-curated gifts to give everyone from your boss to yourself starting at around $20. It’s easy to use, fast and the person who receives your gift will be completely wowed.

If you want to try Giftgram, use my promo code, which is AK84700 and get $15 off your first purchase. You’re welcome. (And obviously, full disclosure, they give me $15 for sharing).

There isn’t one thing on GiftGram I don’t want, but here are a few of my favorites. It was really hard to choose.

If you don't love this, there is something seriously wrong with you.

If you don't love this, there is something seriously wrong with you.

I am totally obsessed with Kilian. This fragrance comes with it's own clutch. Two gifts in one. Yes!

I am totally obsessed with Kilian. This fragrance comes with it's own clutch. Two gifts in one. Yes!

Perfect gift for your favorite #GirlBoss.

Perfect gift for your favorite #GirlBoss.

Affordable, but cute baby gift. Done!

Affordable, but cute baby gift. Done!

YouCam Makeup

YouCam Makeup is one of those apps that does so many things, I really feel I can only scratch the surface here. In many ways, it’s kind of like a Snap Chat filter on steroids, helping you take a selfie worthy of a thousand likes. With tools galore and one of the most user-friendly interfaces I’ve tried, it’s the only photo editor you need on your phone. You can fix blemishes, under eyes, and any other imperfections faster than it takes a doctor to load up a syringe with Botox and inject it into your face. You can also take a barefaced selfie and give yourself a complete makeover. Want to know what you would look like if you learned how to contour IRL? You can try several different looks just one tap. You can also customize like crazy, changing up your hair and eyes (not just eyeshadow, but the actual color of your eyes). You can also add headbands, sunglasses and other accessories.

One of my favorite features of YouCam is that you can apply actual products from several brands including Laura Geller, Ardell, Paul Mitchell and Elizabeth Arden. And yes, there are more coming soon. You can even purchase products without leaving the app. 

I was totally barefaced when I took this picture.

I was totally barefaced when I took this picture.

Pink hair is not my thing, but luckily I didn't have to actually make my hair pink to figure it out.

Pink hair is not my thing, but luckily I didn't have to actually make my hair pink to figure it out.