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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Recent Experiment Proves Millenials Capable of Budgeting, Utilizing Buddy System

 
 Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

 

So you blew your budget on swimsuits and a bottle of Patrón before your vacation even started because you #ballsohard. We get it. But now you're destined to spring break like a #peasant, and you're suuuper bummed about it. Don't fret! Your fairy finance mother is here to teach you how to broke-girl vacation step-by-step. I brainstormed and executed the following strategy this weekend and didn't blow my budget ONCE! THERE IS NOTHING SO EMPOWERING; LET ME TELL YOU.

Step 1: Plan your itinerary. This inherently makes planning for spending WAY easier, plus you get the added bonus of not having to waste precious vacation time deciding the fate of said vacation. 

Step 2: Gather some supplies. You'll need a writing utensil, as much cash as you plan to spend (plus 20 percent of that number if you're able) in small bills, your tongue, and a few envelopes -- three will PROBABLY do. Don't get those big-ass envelopes; get the ones that are the same size as... money. See where I'm going here?

Step 3: Prepare one (1) container with enough liquid to cover a 3"x2" object. Submerge your debit and/or credit card. Place container in freezer.  Affirm that you will stick to your budget by chanting, "I am a fiscally responsible adult," as you spin around with your forehead on a bat.

Step 4: Remove your bullshit hat. I am 100 percent serious. Grab it by its invisible rim and set it on your invisible table. Shit's about to get real. If you think this sounds ridiculous, just remember that a second ago you were spinning around on a bat chanting about how fiscally responsible you are.

Step 5: Find a Buddy. Budgeting by yourself is hard and not fun, but budgeting with a buddy makes it all bearable. Walk your Budget Buddy though steps 1 through 4.

Step 6: Decide together how much you're going to spend on each activity. Your numbers should all be the same bc this is a BUDDY SYSTEM. You will stick to your guns more if you've got a friend sticking to theirs. Grab two envelopes each and write "S.O.S." and "Travel" on them. Put that extra 20 percent of funds we told you about in those envelopes. NOTE: TEQUILA ONLY COUNTS AS AN EMERGENCY IN THE LAST 24 HOURS OF YOUR TRIP. Lick those envelopes shut!

Step 7: Divvy up the remainder of the cash between the last two envelopes, and write on both of them how much you're allotted for every activity. Don't try to thrift evenly across the board -- you'll be more likely to stay on budget with only $20 at the bar tonight if you've got $40 to blow at brunch tomorrow.

Step 8: Once you get there, lock that cash you're not using in a safe, and have a great vacation!!!

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:

Support some Black Girl Magic with Effie's Paper

I fell in love with Effie’s Paper the moment I opened the package that Fab Feminist contributing writer (and ultimate gift-giver), Lily, sent me. Everything I’ve ever gotten from Lily has been uniquely feminist, so I knew it was even better than what I was seeing at face value. In neat plastic casing was a set of stationary with marbled backs and black envelopes that read “from the desk of a badass bitch” on the front. Let me tell you, I love this stationary so much that I evacuated to my parents’ house with it in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

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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!