For myself and most of my friends, we are at this weird stage in life where we’ve graduated college, got jobs, and are now just realizing what we’re passionate about. If you have the chance to discover what it is that makes you happy, run with it. Some people go their entire lives without the urge to figure it out. Or if you’re like me, you have a plethora of interests spanning from nutrition to teaching to traveling. But I have an important message for my 20+ girlfriends: get out of your comfort zone and conformity and start doing the following things, NOW!
1. Enough with the judgment of others: As difficult as this may be for some women, it is essential that we stop focusing on other people’s faults and start focusing on our own. You talking badly about your friend confirms the insecurities you have in your own life. When girls treat each other like crap, it basically gives the green light for guys to treat us that way too (yes, that is a summarized statement from Tina Fey in Mean Girls). Women need to band together, support one another, and be a strong, resilient team. Although this can be hard, give compliments where compliments are due, be honest about where you bought your shirt, and just be nice to one another; we’re not in high school anymore!
2. Learn how to meditate, and do it daily. With the constant future fears, struggles, and stresses, finding something that relieves this anxiety is so, so important. Our brains are wired in a way that makes it difficult to meditate, which is a challenge you need to try and overcome. Meditation has so many mental health benefits and aids with relaxation, a longer night’s sleep and a positive attitude. Learn how to add meditation to your routine!
3. Reduce the amount of animal products you consume. Whether you want to remove dairy from your diet (highly recommend, as it has links to breast cancer), go vegetarian, or be extra strict and go vegan, you will have nothing but positive effects. Weight loss, brighter complexion, sleeping better, thinking clearer, healthier immune and digestive systems are just a few of the positive outcomes of reducing animal products. Yes, you will get enough protein if you stop eating meat. Yes, you will help the environment by reducing animal product consumption. Yes, you will eat really good foods in the process!
4. Invest in a Diva Cup/EvaCup/any menstrual cup. Literally, these are life-changing. One of the best decisions of my life was going to Walmart and buying my Diva Cup for $30. No more tampons, no more leakage, no more extra waste put into the environment. After a few periods of adjustment, I will never, ever go back to regular tampons or pads. Tampon companies are not required to release the ingredients in their products, and they have found traces of unneeded chemicals in the tampons you put in your body every month. This minuscule investment will ultimately save you money as well, because the menstrual cups are reusable, washable, and recyclable. Honestly, does it get better than that?
5. WORK. OUT. There are many movements out there that encourage women to “love the skin you’re in” and “love your rolls.” I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree. Leading a healthy lifestyle is far more beneficial than continuing unhealthy habits that will ultimately hurt you. Loving yourself and being confident is, of course, important, but you need to be active. You should always strive to be the best version of yourself, and that will give you authentic confidence and self-love. Encouraging people to continue habits of eating chicken nuggets and chugging wine every night is not a positive movement. Therefore, I do not support it. Hit the gym, go for a jog or a brisk walk. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
6. Get Brazilian waxes regularly. Another life-changing discovery was the Brazilian wax. I never thought I’d be able to grow out my hair for more than four days, but when I got my first wax, I was a changed woman. They can be a bit pricey, but give you smooth skin for about a week and the hair grows back thinner every time. They’re 100 times more efficient than shaving and can also save you money on razors, creams, and other hair removal products. Yes, it does hurt; but beauty is pain, right?
7. Volunteer as much as you can. Doesn’t need to be a big organization and you DON’T need to post it on Facebook after. Volunteering could be as simple as seeing your neighbor needing help with their garden and offering your time, or as grand as planning a 5k run for a charity. Giving back to those in need helps you realize the little things in life and brings you good karma!
8. Stop creating labels for everything.White, black, Catholic, Muslim, vegan, carnist, etc. There is no need for anyone to be labeled any sort of way for how they look, what they practice or what they put into our body. See bullet #1.
9. Educate yourself. Don’t just listen to what your parents, boyfriend, or friends tell you. Question and do your own research on what you hear, read, and see. In this day and age, believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. Don’t base your assumptions and beliefs off of what one of your peers tells you, even if it’s your dad. Who knows where they’re getting their information from! With the Internet being absolutely ginormous and extensive, you can find anything to support any belief. Keep your mind open and constantly challenge what you hear and read. Travel and live like a local in a country that isn’t your own, you’ll learn so much. The outcome of this is nothing but positive.
Women are meant to be strong and fearless. These are only just a few things that women can do to improve their overall health and wellness.