We've all been there — scrolling through Instagram photos of our friends' summer vacations, dreaming of the days when summers were just that, dedicated time away from the daily grind. Remember all of that free time we had before the reality of post-graduate life hit our collective windshield? It was a simpler time. But there are easy ways to make yourself feel happier and more calm... you just need to get a little creative.
After entering the "real world," women tend to juggle a heap of stressors that are largely beyond our control. From casual sexism in the workplace to the constant push and pull from our legislature over our reproductive rights, young women are expected to keep their eyes on the ball in the workplace and look good doing it, make a decent home for ourselves, maintain a healthy diet of amusing feminist tweets, and have our metaphorical sh*t effortlessly together (oh, and don't forget to keep up appearances in the Insta-game).
Long story short, we're a stressed out bunch of ladies with a limited number of hours a day dedicated to doing things for ourselves as human beings, and a limited number of dollars to do them with. Take some time this week to recapture some of that pre-post-grad simplicity with these 10 ridiculously easy, fantastically cheap steps to improve the quality of your hectic life, A.S.A.P.
1. Replace Your Shower Curtain Liner
The clear liner on the inside of your decorative shower curtain will inevitably collect grime and residue from your shower routine, and no matter how many times you scrub the darn thing, it never seems to look as good as it did when you first hung it. Live a little: liners are available at Ikea for $1.99.
2. Buy Some Flowers, & Bring Some Life Into Your Apartment
Cheer up your space by bringing the outside in. Flowers are the fastest way to inject life, literally, into your living space. Your bouquet will live longest if it receives some sunlight and is out of the direct line of fire of any air conditioners and/or heaters.
3. Clean Out Your Purse
This is my first move whenever I feel like I'm getting generally overwhelmed. I'm not sure why I end up keeping months-old samples of lip balm that I never intended to have, countless receipts for dog food, and approximately 27 Starbucks straw wrappers, but nothing is as liberating as throwing it all away forever.
4. Organize Your Junk Drawer
The junk drawer is the purse of the kitchen. Everyone has one, and what in the name of Tina Fey is in this thing? I just found three things that I thought were lost or thrown away. Reclaim your drawer space by repurposing a silverware organizer, and dedicate a space to all of your random possessions.
5. Pack A Beach Bag
You never quite know when that day will come when you will desperately need to blow off all of your responsibilities and spend a day at the beach with your homies. Be ready with sunscreen, mini bottles of Cuervo, a towel, bikini, and your favorite flip-flops.
6. Clean Those Window Screens
Let's be real for a minute. When was the last time you cleaned your window screens? In five minutes, you can have a clean, allergen-free(ish) breeze blowing through your place. Grab a sponge and a few drops of dish soap, and wipe those suckers down. Finish with a once-over with a wet paper towel, and enjoy the air.
7. On A Similar Note, Find A Scent That You Love, And Fill Your Home
I have two dogs and no kitchen window, so having a fresh-smelling apartment all the time can take some creativity. I personally love spraying the curtains with Trader Joe's citrus air freshener, and using the breeze to disperse the smell. Freshly baked bread, incense, and fresh-cut pine during the holiday season are also all great options.
8. Limit Your Social Media Consumption For 24 Hours
Recent studies and common sense tell us that social media can give us feelings of anxiety. Scrolling through the highlights of our friends' lives is obviously going to make our daily existence feel a little mundane. Try to lay off the news feed for the day.
9. Slay The Cable Monster
Cables and chargers and cords, oh my! Untangle your earbuds, laptop chargers, and whichever other cables are tangling up your life. My boyfriend and I recently spent an entire day building a truly inspiring closet drawer system for all of the cables and gear in our apartment, but you'll be surprised how much separating your favorite necklace from your headphones untangles your mood.
10. Buy Some New Mascara
Is there anything as luxurious as a fresh bottle of mascara? Nope. Treat yourself.