5 Self Care Steps You Should Take Right Now

Happy Sunday, Fab Feminists!

I wanted to share something that I've been practicing when I feel like my life is running me and not the other way around: treating the five senses. I've found that if I take a couple minutes to focus on the needs of each of my senses, it takes me out of my stress-bubble and allows me  to ground myself quickly and effectively. Do one activity for each sense in whatever order you feel like! Combine them into one activity if you want, but make sure to spend equal time engaging each sensation.


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How I Cut Back On Avocado Toast

 
 

This piece has been revised and improved since its original posting on May 25, 2017.

Let me just say right now, right here: I have never eaten avocado toast. I don't even BUY avocados because every time I BUY an avocado, it's not ripe enough to eat and it spoils before I realize it's edible. I have a mountain of student debt that eats up a couple hundred dollars of my income every month. I live in a city where millennials live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. Only at 25 did I become financially independent for the first time in my life.

The 'Avocado Toast' Philosophy, in case you don't remember, was first presented by Tim Gurner on 60 Minutes while preaching to millennials about how to buy a house, as if frivolity was the only reason we can't afford to go hundreds of thousands further in debt. Taken as a blanket statement, it oversimplifies the problem and vilifies the millennial. We live in such a polar society (it's absolute absurdity that we can't all accept that trans folks deserve respect and acceptance, people with vaginas deserve access to whatever birth control they want, the patriarchy damages everyone, and children deserve access to a good education/the fact that school funding comes from property tax is a CLASSIST IN ITS VERY NATURE. But I digress) but if we consider that there could be some truth to the statement that millennials spend frivolously, we can begin to examine where we ourselves might be spending money where we don't have to. Hear me out.

We have grown up with access to the internet. We lived pre-Great Recession and are notoriously nostalgic. We LOOOOOOOVE brunch. We know what it's like to have shitty prospects and want to live in the present moment. None of these things are our fault, but it couldn't hurt to take a second to consider how they affect our decisions now, right?  Asking ourselves, "Where's the toast?" and, "How can I eliminate the excess in my own life in order to feel more fulfilled?" can mean the difference between financial independence and paycheck to paycheck.

SO! Where to start? Take a good, hard look at the stuff you mindlessly impulse purchase. Meals out, cell phone apps, nail/hair appointments, Starbucks. The stuff you think counts as "treating yourself" that serves no purpose after that instant gratification fix. When I realized I was spending over $1,100 a year on my hair and nails alone, I was flabbergasted. Giving up my nex-gen nails and wax appointments was an easy way to make a LOT of cushion in my budget. There's this great app called Clarity (which I like better than Mint by QuickBooks) that simplifies what you spend money on, helps you track your habits, AND encourages you to start a saving habit.

This next tip might sound harder than you think it is, but: utility usage can be a great way to squeeze a little more blood out of a turnip--er, avocado. Being mindful about how much water you consume can make a significant impact in your wallet. From personal experience, I can tell you that mindful water consumption meant the difference between a 50% increase and a reasonable bill. You can also implement a grey water system to mindfully conserve water AND your spending. Check on your cell phone plan and auto insurance, too; updating these bills to reflect your current usage is a great way to maintain control over your finances.

Giuls and I talk really openly about our finances and what we're doing to manage our spending. We even created a buddy system for spending frugally while on vacation. To help me stay on the straight an narrow with my day to day spending, Giuls created a budget sheet that YOU can download here! This worksheet is formulated to easily calculate your monthly expenses and we're PRETTY DARN PROUD of it. Here's to taking responsibility of our spending and focusing inward to live our best lives!

How to live Tidy, not Perfect.

Giuls and I have been discussing how to limit the amount of time it takes to clean one’s apartment. We love a good, productive cleaning sesh, but it seems like we’re spending way too much time cleaning during the week. How do you live a cleaner life while simultaneously cutting back on the amount of time spent cleaning? I don’t think you’ve got to get rid of a bunch of shit to live a tidier life. I’m never going to downsize my shoe collection and I will forever be a cosmetic junkie. How, then, does one live a tidier life without completely overhauling and Marie Kondo-ing the shit out of their apartment? We found that there were three fundamental truths to living a cleaner life. Gird your loins.

#1: ALWAYS BE TIDYING

I know, I know, this seems rull counterintuitive to the overall goal of cleaning less, but it’s nevertheless effective. ABT, or ALWAYS BE TIDYING, will change your life. ‘Always be Tidying’ is the principle of always putting away what you’ve most recently taken out. That means not letting the dishes pile up, hanging up the first two outfits you tried on this morning, and not leaving your towel on the bed. By ’always be tidying’, you’re eliminating the amount of labor- and mentally-intensive clean-up that has to happen at a later date. Not to mention, your environment is hella more serene in the present moment. As Joan Crawford simply put, “Never leave one room without something for another.”

#2: STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM

Now that you’re in the habit of tidying up regularly, you’re ready to move onto the next step: SYS, or STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM. By STREAMLINING YA SYSTEM, you’re reducing the amount of time you have to spend putting shit away in an inconvenient AF location. Do your clothes pile up in the bathroom? Get a hamper and stick it in there. Do you have a hard time putting dishes away? Buy a dish rack that works for your needs. Make it EASIER to be tidier. To STREAMLINE MA SYSTEM, for example, I bought a divided laundry hamper so that my clothes are immediately sorted. Boom. A third of the work is already done.

#3: THROWOUT SOME STUFF

Ha! You thought I was going to tell you that you could keep everything, right? WRONG! You should definitely get rid of some stuff and you should do it frequently. If you find you’re holding onto physical records or tech boxes, sign up for LastPass and take pictures of barcodes, serial codes, etc. These documents are highly secured and available wherever and whenever you may need to access them. On another note, if something no longer works for you, don’t work for it; that organization system that isn’t big enough or doesn’t fit your changed needs? Let it go! STREAMLINE YA SYSTEM and get a better system that works for you!

Giuls and I used to believe that we could either do something wholeheartedly or not at all. We didn’t like biting off one slice without committing to the whole pie, and we realized that said a lot about our perfectionist natures. There IS a happy medium and it is sort of manic to downshift from one extreme to the other. Be mindful of these tendencies that, while they may masquerade as productive, “good” habits, these habits sabotage small progress in the meantime.

With all that being said, though, if you’re dead set on a deep, absolute zero sort of clean, I have one tip for you: start in the recesses of your closet. pull everything out and reorganize because 1) you’ll have more space to put away things later, 2) you’ll find stuff you’ve been missing or realize that you haven’t missed other things at all, and 3) It’s a small area and completing something will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Start in your closet and work your way out from there.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we’re trying to eliminate the amount of time we spend cleaning and the labor that it entails. By procrastinating until it’s time to dedicate hours and hours of your time and mental energy to cleaning, you’re enforcing your perfectionist tendencies to bounce from one extreme to another. To get to the point where cleaning doesn’t feel particularly laborious, you’ve got to chip away at it a little bit all the time and concentrate on what you most recently used. If your place is ‘tidy,’ then cleaning it will be just that: spraying counters, swapping out linens. It WON’T be an exhausting, day-long process that sucks up half your weekend.

We’re all about finding the most efficient ways to get the job done! What are your tried and true methods? Email us to be featured in an updated post!

OUR FAVORITE RESOURCES ON TIDYING UP:

Brace Yourselves, Daylight Savings Time is Ending.

 
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On November 4th, millions of people are going to jump for joy about getting back that one hour's sleep they sacrificed back in March. Sure, we can all stay out at the bars an hour later or sleep in an hour more the next day, but hold up--let's not forget that Daylight Saving Time sucks. Every year, we get used to sleeping in an hour later only to groan when next spring rolls around and we've got to adjust to the time change all over again. Here's a wild idea: let's NOT.

According to the internet (the ever so reliable WebMD, in this case), the time change affects our circadian rhythm quite a bit  because it changes its primary cue, sunlight, by a whole goddamn hour all of a sudden. NOT ON MY WATCH, IT WON'T! Okay, on my physical watch, it will, but you knew what I meant. By keeping my circadian rhythm intact, I'm hoping that adjusting in the spring won't be as hard as it usually is. 

My game plan is to go to bed an hour early on November 4th so that I can still claim my extra hour. On November 5th, though, I'm going to wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 am, which was 7:30-8:00 am the day before, which is the time of day my body is used to getting up in the morning. For those of you who live in more northern/therefore darker locations,  a daylight lamp is a great item to purchase. If you haven't heard of a daylight lamp, they're fantastic. It's essentially an alarm clock that wakes you up by getting gradually lighter, making for an easy (and circadian rhythm maintaining) wake-up. You can get one for as cheap as $29.99 on Amazon, but I really like the Phillips Wellner Smart Table Lamp. I can control it from my phone, use it as a bedside lamp, and it looks pretty cool and futuristic, sorta like Baymax.

Folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately dubbed, "SAD") can benefit greatly from a daylight lamp/light therapy. So can people with mood disorders! According to Psychology Today, "If one is treating a mood disorder, light therapy is best given for duration of 30 minutes for every hour one sleeps beyond 6 hours. So for example, if one sleeps 8 hours, they would require one hour of light therapy given one hour before they would normally wake. Since this is unlikely to be done by people who already feel the need for more sleep, it is best to use a dawn simulator light." They recommend starting light therapy one week before symptoms set in, or as soon as they do. Although studies have been performed using a 10,000 lux lamp, other studies show that a light with a lux of 500 could be just as effective. For more information on the benefits, check out the Psychology Today article referenced in this post!

 

BIG NEWS, Y'ALL.

 
 

We've got big news to announce! I know I haven't been the best at creating the kind of content this blessed audience wants to read on the regular. I know the blog was down for a couple months with no explanation. And I know we haven't been as here for you as you want us to be. WE WILL DO BETTER! That's why, without further ado, I want to announce some big fucking news! Our long-time contributing writer and my college confidant, Giuliana, from Princeton, NJ, will be joining Fab Feminist as a regular writer and BUSINESS PARTNER!!!!

After a zillion marathon phone calls and inspirational conversations, we realized that trying to do the blogger thing on our own was 1) way too hard, and 2) half as fulfilling as working together. What does this mean for you, oh valued reader? This means double the content that you want to read starting right now. It means TONS of relevant and exciting new things on the horizon. It means a dash of some blogger REALNESS that we feel does not exist among our peer "lifestyle" bloggers (very little shade intended).

We're here. We're millennials. We're working full-time jobs, second jobs, and finding the time in between to create content we think the world deserves to read. We're a little broke. We're not perfect. We are NOT here to represent a perfect life, a perfectly messy bun, a perfect $2,499 tote bag, marble counters, or monochrome (unless it's black, tbh). We're here to serve some working-girl realness as best friends living on opposite ends of the east coast trying our damnedest to fiercely support each other because we know we can't do it alone.

We see each other once or twice a year and have collaborative phone calls weekly (a conservative estimate). We're both trying to create our best selves as we gradually evolve from excited, wide-eyed college graduates to hustling, real-life adults and we have A LOT to say. We both believe in the power of feminism, the importance of inclusivity, and the bravery that both require. That's why we've changed our blog name from Fab Fucking Female to Fab Feminist: because we want our blog to represent the diversity of our fan base.

Thank you for being here for us.

If you would like to find out more about our mission and about our team, click here. We'll be switching the website domain to represent our change of name, but not until our current domain expires. You’ll know when it happens! (Subscribe!) If you'd like to donate a cash gift, to keep us going, you can do so here.

If you want to write for us, send us an email to find out how. We are EXCITED to embark on this journey with you. Here's to change!

CLICK HERE to read our most recent post about our trip to Seattle & Portland!