At the end of 2016, many of us felt defeated, exhausted, heartbroken, and frustrated. If only we could point to one event that caused all of these wretched feelings — but sadly, this year has been jam-packed with colossal disappointments. From toxic masculinity dominating the news cycle to devastating celebrity deaths, there was a long list of terrible moments that, combined, made this a year we won't soon forget. It is important to remember, however, that even in your most hopeless state, there are things you can do today to make you feel strong — and none of them require tons of money or effort, either. You just need a minor shift in mindset, and a speck of positivity. That will be the hardest part of the process, but it is certainly doable.
Do not think of self-care as being selfish, because it is anything but. Preserving your mental health is vitally important to having a productive year, and being in the right frame of mind to help others. So, get yourself in fighting shape, grab your besties, and let's try to smash the patriarchy before Earth implodes. Here are 15 things you can do right now that will make you feel like an unshakable warrior again.
Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.
It's amazing how much perspective you can gain from just strolling around outside for a bit. Make sure to look around, take it all in, and live inside all of your emotions and thoughts until you feel some clarity. It'll come, you just need to be patient.
The morning after Election Day, I couldn't even get myself out of bed long enough to take a shower. But the next day, I tossed the covers aside, turned on "Castle" by Halsey, and got ready for the battle ahead. That song, or any song like it, will give you the strength you need when you have none.
Expand your mind by choosing a book completely outside of your comfort zone. This will help you learn something new. It will give you a new POV to consider, and an open mind is paramount to harnessing your inner strength.
It's time for you to take no sh*t. If someone has been getting under your skin, treating you poorly, or making you question your self-worth, nothing will make you feel stronger than telling them to GTFO. You deserve better than this.
Nothing makes me feel better than scrolling through my Twitter feed and seeing the wisdom my favorite feminists drop on the regular. Think about your personal and professional heroes. They're on there. Find them, and revel in their brilliance.
Depression and anxiety can be total sleep-killers. On top of that, stress can mess up your sleep schedule, and endless commitments — social and professional — can leave you without any free time to catch a few much needed z's. So set aside an hour, and snooze. You will wake up feeling refreshed and badass.
Yoga has the potential to transform your body and soul. But if you're a person who can't get into the yoga mindset or turn your brain totally off, find a happy medium. Just try to do a few routine yoga stretches, and spend a minute or two taking deep breaths. You don't need an hour-long yoga class in order to quiet the mind.
I know it's no fun to forgo the greasy, fried potatoes and go light on the cheesy toppings, but hear me out. When you eat a completely healthy meal, you have actual energy. You don't immediately want to go back to bed, like most of us do after eating a bucket of Pad Thai, or a stack of pancakes. You can go about your day without the mood and energy fluctuations that follow a junk food sesh. Give it a go.
Self-awareness is directly linked to strength. It's also directly linked to confidence. So when you know your body so well that you can get yourself off alone, you become even more attuned to the person you are, and understanding your own needs.
I used to go into my closet and assemble outfits that I thought would appeal to the people who saw me that day — and as a result, I was often super self-conscious and uncomfortable. So, I stopped. I now wear what looks good to me, and what makes me happy. And guess what? I've never looked better.
When you push yourself outside of your everyday routine, even slightly, you get to see how strong you are. Discomfort is the place where growth occurs. So try something you've never done before, or wouldn't normally do, and see how you feel. I guarantee one of those feelings will be strength.
Sometimes, it's good to release that pent-up tension. I'm NOT suggesting that you connect your fists with another face or any other body part of another creature. Find other ways to be active and let the aggression float away. Hit the gym, and punch a punching bag. When you get to see firsthand how strong you can be, you'll instantly feel better.
A mess can make anyone feel frazzled and lost. So clean house and along with the empty bottles and take-out boxes, get rid of everything you no longer use. Declutter your closet, your desk, and your life. Less is more, and you'll be surprised by how few items you actually need.
In my darkest days, the first thing I do is make a to-do list. These lists can be for the day, the month, the year, etc. But writing down my goals helps me feel like I'm working toward accomplishing them. It's the first step to achieving that success, without having to put in much effort.
You might not feel like Beyoncé, but that doesn't mean you can't channel Queen Bey until you feel like a true queen. How would Bey walk down the street? With her shoulders hunched and head drooped? HELL NO. Lift that chin and pretend there are lightning bolts coming out of each foot with every powerful step you take. At some point, you'll be slaying without even trying.
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App every day in January for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.