11 Low-Stakes Ways to Feel Better Now

11 Low-Stakes Ways to Feel Better Now

You hear it every January: New Year, New You. A phrase beloved by women’s magazines and the self-help industrial complex. This year, we’re saying "no, thanks" to this tired old tagline and embracing a gentler outlook. Introducing Favorite You, Not Perfect You, a week-long special to help you reset and refresh realistically. Maybe your best, most perfect self wakes up at sunrise, limits her social media habits and kicks caffeine. But your favorite you? She’s kind to herself, and celebrates the small wins. She’s going to have a great year—and maybe even make her bed every morning (or not!). 

We gotta be honest with ourselves for a sec. New Year’s resolutions suck. In years past, we’ve had “workout three times a week” (lol), “get up at 7 a.m. on the weekends” (lol) and “stop saying sorry so much” (double lol), yet here we are, doing none of those things. Well, don’t beat yourself up—it’s scientifically proven that they are destined to fail 80 percent of the time. Why? Because they don’t have actionable steps… so it’s just easier to just give up.

Let us propose an alternative: Easy habits to start right now—like finally cleaning out your purse, taking a baby detox from social media and muting accounts that no longer serve you.

Take a baby detox from social media

There is a balance between deleting every social media app off of your phone forever and having a daily screen time of 11 hours. How about meeting in the middle with a baby digital detox? It’s about taking back control of your tech—and that can mean different things to different people. Try not going on your phone 1 hour before bed and 1 hour after getting up (it’s hard—we know). Or use that Focus function on your iPhone when you really need to do just that during the work day. If you really want to challenge yourself, take after our CEO Lulu Liang. Every Saturday, she completely unplugs. No social media, no messages—no nothing. You’ll wish you had done it sooner, trust. 

Embrace a realistic morning routine

Most of us can’t physically wake up at the crack of dawn, jump out of bed, meditate, journal, make coffee, work out, shower, eat breakfast and log onto work before 9 a.m. (If you can, please tell us how you unlocked the secret to life.) So, let’s not set unrealistic expectations of what our mornings will look like in 2023. Instead, shift three habits that slow you down in the morning into the evening. For example, pre-grind your coffee, plan your outfit and make your lunch the night before. You’ll wake up feeling so accomplished and grateful your past self had her shit together.

Rejig your home office

This is your sign to clean out that junk drawer. You know the one, filled to the brim with paper clips you never use, miscellaneous paperwork and approx. 21 pens that are def out of ink. After the deep clean, give your WFH set-up a mini makeover. It can be as simple as moving your desk to the window, creating a vision board and hanging it on your wall or treating yourself to chic office supplies—but you’ll feel more refreshed, inspired and productive after a little rejig. 

Make some low-waste upgrades

When it comes to living more sustainably, it’s perfectly okay to start small. Don’t know where to start? Instead of using the plastic bags for produce at the grocery store, opt for reusable mesh bags (and don’t forget to keep a few oversized totes in your trunk for the rest of your haul). When it comes to cleaning, swap out your dryer sheets for wool dryer balls, buy non-toxic products that can easily be recycled and refilled (we love Common Goods) and ditch plastic wrap for the more sustainable alternative: beeswax wraps. There are also plenty of zero-waste cookbooks that teach you how to make the most of your scraps. Apple core and strawberry top jam, anyone?

Go through your closet

We recommend doing this every season, but the new year is the perfect time to start. Do a full purge of your closet—try on items you’re on the fence about (and remember the KonMari method: If it sparks joy, keep it, if not, get rid of it). Donate or re-sell the pieces that are still in good condition—we love Poshmark or Depop for making some extra cash. Want to go one step further and live out your Cher Horowitz virtual closet fantasy? Download an app like Whering, which catalogs your clothes, so you can easily plan outfits and shop more mindfully.

Mute accounts that no longer serve you

We get it: Unfollowing is not always possible (like, if you know the person, it can come off as quite harsh), so use Instagram’s muting feature instead. As Business Insider said, “Muting someone on Instagram is like the social media equivalent of politely excusing yourself from a conversation.” Go through who you follow and if there is any individual or brand that makes you feel inferior, jealous or insecure (or you just need a break from their content)—it’s perfectly okay to mute or unfollow. It’s called setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing your wellbeing.

Edit your skincare routine

Raise your hand if you’re a goo hoarder! Wait WTF is that? Basically anyone whose bathroom cabinets and shower are stocked to the brim with hair products, skincare, nail polish, makeup—the works. We admit it: We are proud goo hoarders. The first step is acceptance, right? Go through every product and check it’s expiry date. (Yes, you should probably get rid of that serum that’s been sitting at the back of the drawer since 2018). And if there’s anything you’re not going to use, give it away to friends and family, or donate it.

Reconnect with nature

Sure, this is nothing revolutionary, but man, it sure does make a huge difference. And like, if science says it’s good for you, then need we say more? We know how hard it is to feel motivated to leave your cozy abode when it’s below freezing outside, but there is a reason why you feel awful after not leaving your home for a few days. Whether it’s a walk around the block before work or a long hike on the weekend, getting some fresh air and vitamin D is such an easy way to get yourself out of that very-real winter funk.

Download a budget planner

Cheers to being healthy and wealthy in 2023! (That’s our new motto, btw.) Getting your finances in order seems like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Something as simple as downloading a budget tracking app—like Mint, PocketGuard or Honeydue (great for couples)—can help you stay on top of your spending, save for big purchases (a downpayment, perhaps?), monitor your subscriptions and create custom budgets. No more getting lost in a sea of receipts, wondering how you somehow managed to spend over $100 this month on lattes. 

Do a subscription audit

Wondering how you always seem to have 2,000 emails in your inbox at all times? We guarantee a good chunk of them are marketing emails you probably don’t read anymore. (You can probably unsubscribe to the golf retailer that keeps bombarding you with promotions after you bought your dad his Christmas present two years ago.) Other ideas: Apps or publications you spend your precious $$$ on to use/read every month that you totally forgot about. You’ll save some money (no more automatic renewals) and you might be able to get your unread emails to less than 1,000. A win-win!

Clean out your everyday bag

Be honest: Your purse is a black hole of trash. Physically turn it upside down and let the contents fall out. You’ll be surprised what comes out. It’s actually quite thrilling, if you think about it. Will you find a crusty hair elastic? An Ulta receipt from 2015? A piece of stale gum? Peppermint lip balm with the cap missing? All of the above? There’s almost always questionable crumbs in there too, so it’s best to clean everything out with a damp cloth. Then, put your bag’s built-in compartments to use by organizing your essentials by how often you reach for them.

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