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Changing Your Life

Creating a New You One Step at a Time

Often, people seem to want to 'revamp' their lives, or start fresh but actually never know when to start. Clothes? Shoes? Makeup? Maybe redo your bedroom for a more minimalistic, aesthetic feel. What about randomly starting to journal or go to the gym, maybe treat yourself to a bath, or practice some self-care! The list can go on and on and on, but at the end of the day, it's just not that simple.

Is life really like a TV show, where you can be gloomy, cluttered, and unfashionable and be Beyonce-level ready the next? Is this another anime where the unpopular girl takes of her glasses and suddenly her life is perfect? NO! That's not possible, as much as we all wish it could be, that's just not reality. 

Restarting your life is hard, it takes time and patience and it's critical to work on the smaller details before trying to fit in the big picture. That would be like trying to eat a foot-long Subway sandwich in a single bite, possible but not recommended. You might actually somehow walk into the world as a completely different person, but you'll look in the mirror and think 'Is my makeup too light or too thick?' or 'Does my hair look fucked up like this?' Even things like 'This outfit looks crazy, I look crazy.' Because you won't be used to the 'new you' and you won't be confident or comfortable.

Imagine the time you first decided to wear foundation, or eyeliner or any type of makeup, you probably felt self-conscious, and maybe not too confident, because it was something new that you were putting out into the world. If you don't wear makeup, imagine when you first got something extreme done, be it a new haircut or some crazy pants, the reaction is still the same. In order to rock it, you need to build confidence in yourself.

So, as someone who's trying to revamp my own lifestyle before university starts, I've come across a bunch of things many of you may find useful.

First, to give you a bit of background information about myself, I'm a very messy person. I live a cluttered life and have a small hoarding problem, so I collect useless stuff that I can never seem to let go of. I have a stick-thin body that I've never really felt comfortable in, especially since the whole hourglass body ideal has come to light. I had a very severe issue with acne and junk food. And coming from a brown family where everyone has thick curly beautiful hair, my dead straight locks never seemed to impress. I'm a jealous person and often shy and not confident at all. These were just some of the things I wanted to change, but it's not that easy. I can say I want to change but at the end of the day, "Actions speak louder than words." So I decided to start small.

1. Insecurities

I decided to visit a doctor about my acne and see what could be done, I was prescribed a medication that cleared most of my face up. It took ten minutes to schedule an appointment, get to the walk-in clinic, and get the medication. Often, it's the process of doing something that stops us from getting it done.

2. Declutter.

I decided to declutter my space, my room, and my social group. I threw out around seven or eight bags of useless stuff that I once forgot I even had and took out around 57 books to sell or give away. The process of watching everything that once overwhelmed you disappear is one of the most satisfying things I've ever experienced. Having more space in your house, apartment, or room allows for a clearer head space and you can begin to envision what you want your space to look like. Clear out your friend group. Take a week off of social media, and try and clear your mind, figure out who in your friend group is toxic, who might be making you feel terrible about yourself and CUT THEM OUT. This may sound rude, but at the end of the day, it's your mental and physical health that is at stake. Having a clear view about who is good for you will help you succeed and progress in life. Deleting your social media for a few weeks will allow you to be more productive, energized, and focused. This may sound like a lot but it's not, trust me, I did it.

3. Practice self-care.

Why? because you are worth it, your body is worth it and it's fun. Self-care varies from person to person as long as it benefits you, it can be going camping, reading a book, going to the spa, taking a bath, or even just listening to music. Self-care allows you to become in-tune with your body and mind and understand what is it you want and plan on how you can achieve this. Technically, decluttering your life can be considered to be a form of self-care. Personally, I enjoy listening to music, taking a bath, and reading a book. I'll include a link to one of my absolute favorite self-care stores, the store specializes in vegan, cruelty-free bath mixes. No, not bath bombs, but rather milk baths, bath salts, and other fun goods. Care for your hair, now. If you have hair you know it says a lot about you, hair can be your very own accessory. But if you don't manage it or take care of it, it'll dull and eventually turn into something you don't really care for. Taking care of your hair isn't hard, just do three simple things: Use a SULFATE-FREE shampoo, sulfate is what dries out your hair and really ruins the texture, oil your hair at least four times a month using olive oil, castor oil, or coconut oil, if you're not into oiling try a hair mask, but check the ingredients first, and oiling your hair takes five minutes to do and just let it sit for an hour before jumping into the shower, and the last and probably hardest part is to not let boiling hot water run over your hair. Try to use cold or lukewarm water instead as heat is super damaging. Taking care of myself and my body allowed me to begin to appreciate and love myself a little bit more. You also gain a lot of confidence when you are happier with yourself. 

4. Body Image Issues

I'm all for the love yourself and love your body message, it's important to be comfortable in your own skin. However, if you feel the need to change something about yourself, feel free to change it. I was uncomfortable with the way I looked so I began to exercise, not to lose weight but to build muscle. Now, the hardest part about exercising is developing the right mentality. Many people don't exercise because it's hard and they don't have the gear or they can't afford a gym membership. Well, pull up a pair of sweatpants and throw on a shirt, there's your gear. And you don't need a gym to exercise, you can do it at home. I'm saying this because I can't afford a gym membership so I exercise at home!!! If you don't like the way you look, do something about it. Don't sit around and mope. And for the exercising part, the more you do it the better and more addicting it can become.

5. Be confident.

I know, saying it is a lot easier than actually applying that to your life. Confidence is hard to achieve but if you follow the steps listed above, you'll see yourself slowly putting yourself out there more. Surround yourself with friends who support you and acknowledge your opinion, who actually listen to you when you talk and compliment you when you do something different. STOP denying compliments, just accept them, the more you accept, the better you feel about yourself which ends up increasing your self-confidence. Surround yourself with people who accept you for you, not just bits of you. 

6. Change shit up!

No, I'm not saying go from wearing hoodies and sweats every day to wearing a slip dress, and high heels. Change up your style, but keep it comfortable. See the stuff you always want to wear but think you'll never look good in? Try them on, chances are you'll look better than you think. Try taking one of your more fashion-forward friends shopping with you, explain your situation, and help them help you. As someone who only wears skinny jeans and shirts, I adore high heels, pantsuits, canvas pants, and usually love the 'Korean' style, with long pastel coats, turtlenecks, and long canvas pants. But I don't think I can pull them off at all. Thankfully, my fashionista sister is always there to help me out and put a twist on my usual outfits until I feel comfortable wearing something completely new. Also, Pinterest and Tumblr are your best friends if you're going for a certain aesthetic. 

7. Blogging? Bullet Journaling??

As an avid reader, writer, and part-time poet I started up my own little anonymous blog. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be calming and soothing. You can update your blog whenever you want too and can share your small success with the world. As a self-diagnosed hoarder, the two things I love collecting most are movie tickets and receipts for when I buy books. Bullet journaling is a simple and super fun/creative way to store memories in an organized manner. You don't need to be an artist, all you need is a notebook, glue and some pens. 

8. Living Spaces

When you move into a new place, do you buy all the things you need at once or do you do it in stages? You do it in stages and let things slowly fall into place, the key word being slowly. Start small, get plants or fairy lights, hang up pictures of yourself or whatever you want. Find your aesthetic before making any huge choices. The key to changing your life is to do it one step at a time.

Here's the link to the self-care bath store.

Thank you so much for reading! And good luck!

Read next: Enough
Astraea GG

I'm a student at the University of Toronto, I cover a wide range of topics, from heartbreak to student loans, book reviews, movie reviews, poetry, daily hacks, recipes, and self-care.  Enjoy! 

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