Five Small Self-Care Steps to Take on Your Journey to Conquering the World

Recently, I’ve been really struggling with staying in the present moment. I have so many huge things coming up—graduation, job searching, and hopefully, a hot girl vaccinated summer. There’s so much to look forward to, but there’s also so much to be nervous about. I find myself stuck on those major milestones that lurk in the distance rather than paying attention to all the potential in the days that are passing me by. 

I’m all for main character energy—in fact, I promote it. Romanticizing your life to an extreme can be dangerous in the long run, but taking these few small steps will make you feel more fulfilled and excited even in the mundane moments. 

  1. 1. Make playlists for every mood

    hand holding iphone showing spotify

    I am a fiend for Spotify playlist making, and it’s because every good main character has an even better soundtrack. I have one for every vibe—sad girl hours full of Lorde and Olivia Rodrigo, windows down driving with One Direction and Dua Lipa, or feeling my divine femininity alongside Megan The Stallion and Doja Cat. Making these playlists is also really relaxing and can be a great stress reliever as you curate the perfect list. I also really recommend making one playlist per year where you just add every song that makes you feel something. Maybe it’s a song you and your friends had stuck in your heads all midterm week or one that played in a movie you really loved. By doing this, you’ll have a little time capsule that you can look back on in months even if you feel like the moments are flying by.  

  2. 2. Do a social media cleanout

    person holding coffee and typing on laptop

    Following accounts that promote restrictive eating habits or unrealistic beauty standards helps no one. If you’re on a mission to become the best version of yourself, having random strangers tell you you aren’t doing it right is a total waste of brain power. Unfollow those influencers (or even people you know) and put your likes towards people who make you feel more powerful. I unfollowed so many people on TikTok and blocked so many in favor of following accounts that instead promote positivity (Brittani Lancaster ILY!), and it has made all the difference. It also has helped me to spend less time on those sites, so I don’t seek anyone’s validation but my own. 

  3. 3. Take pictures, but for fun

    woman using a camera

    This might seem like it’s in direct opposition to the last point, but recently I’ve learned that I can take photos and not share them on social media. I know. You might be as shocked at this revelation as I was, but it’s so freeing to not make everything Insta-perfect. I take pictures of myself and my friends when we look happy and are having fun just to capture the moment. Nobody has to see them but us, but I know in a few years I’ll be so grateful for them. A few of my friends use disposable cameras, which is a great way to also stay in the moment since you have to wait to see how the snaps turn out. Even if you don’t think you look your best, you’ll love having the best times of your life captured forever.

  4. 4. Curate your own style instead of following every trend

    a girl looking through a rack of clothing

    My body type has never been what’s trending in fashion, so I’ve often felt left out of the trending styles. For so many years I tried to force myself into clothes that didn’t work for me or for my taste. In the past, I would’ve freaked out about how I was going to pull off this summer’s rising styles. But, recently, I’ve come to terms with the fact that some of those styles just wouldn’t make me feel confident or comfortable - and some of them I just don’t like. You’re so much better off working on curating a wardrobe that makes you feel pretty and powerful than walking into a Brandy Melville and wearing what they tell you to. This goes for makeup too! Experiment with your face and find what works for you. The most stylish people are the ones who are confident in their choices—the clothes don’t make the look, you do. 

  5. 5. Make the little moments worth it

    mask on a pink letterboard with the words "don't panic" written

    The pandemic has taken so much away from us. My entire senior year has looked nothing like what I expected it to. There have been no parties, no concerts, no spring break trips to the tropics. It sucks, to put it plainly. But it also has enhanced my appreciation for the smaller items in life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work—you have to actively choose to create magic from the mundane. For example, I went to a museum last weekend. I had to wear a mask, I only had 90 minutes, all that awful COVID stuff. But rather than lament on how much of a bummer that all was, I decided to get way too dressed up, spend time on my makeup, play my Cool Gurl playlist, and wander the exhibits as if I was the main character. And to be honest, it kind of worked. Little things like that—making a wild recipe instead of hating restaurants being closed, getting the living room all fancied up to watch your favorite TV show when you’re craving a movie theater or performing your own concert when you can’t see your faves—help. If you start to foster this appreciation now, it will continue to exist even after the world opens up again. 

  6. 6. Write down the good moments

    writing in book with cup of coffee and croissant

    And finally, I’m adding a bonus tip here because I think it’s really important. Recently, I saw a TikTok recommending to write down every good moment you have and save them up in a notebook or mason jar you can read at the end of the year (See? The cleanse is working on my FYP!). It’s super corny, I know. But it’s worked to make me acknowledge beautiful moments because I want to go write them down. It’s not easy to be grateful when it feels like the world is against you, but we can all find something precious somewhere. You might just have to look harder for it.

Even if you have a big goal you’re working towards, it won’t feel like a victory if you only reach it through stress and sadness. I hope these ideas help to ensure that the journey to the peak is just as fulfilling as the peak itself. 

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