Do you want to become “that girl?” The girl who has her life together and manages to stay productive throughout the day? The girl who prepares healthy meals with whole, unprocessed foods? The girl who moves her body at the gym, outdoors or on a yoga mat in her living room to achieve physical fitness? The girl who studies hard and takes typewriter-esque, color-coordinated notes to review at the end of each lecture? The girl who reads for pleasure and finishes a novel each week? The girl who never misses a step in her morning and nightly self-care routine — managing to always look put together in a chic outfit, with her skin glowing and hair voluminous?
What I just described is a controversial trend currently taking over TikTok and other social media platforms in which the idea is to transform into the best version of yourself. However, critics argue that it instead promotes an unrealistic standard of hyperperfectionism. While such criticisms certainly hold merit, I believe the core tenets of the “that girl” trope can be helpful and empowering when viewed from the right perspective. Rather than striving for perfection, strive for a balanced lifestyle that leaves you feeling productive, joyful and self-loving. Here are a few tips — co-opted from the “that girl” trend — to help you adopt healthier habits and improve your mindset.
Have a consistent sleep schedule
Just like you can’t do calculus without knowing what a derivative is, you can’t become the ideal version of yourself without a consistent sleep schedule. You’ve probably heard countless times how important getting seven to nine hours of good-quality sleep per night is, but let me take the chance to remind you of its value again! Consistently getting enough sleep helps with weight management, reducing stress, improving mood, enhancing mental clarity and boosting the immune system. Additionally, make it a priority to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day. Having a fixed sleep schedule will improve sleep quality as it trains your body’s biological clock to release hormones that promote wakefulness at the same time each morning, and sleepiness at the same time each night. If you still find it difficult to fall asleep, try listening to a guided sleep meditation or white noise track on YouTube or Spotify!
Eat the rainbow
“That girl” views food as vital biological fuel with the capacity to heal. As the old adage “food is medicine” implies, a diet filled with whole, unprocessed foods in all the colors of the rainbow can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Such foods are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other essential macromolecules imperative to keeping your body functioning like a well-oiled machine. “That girl” doesn’t forget to hydrate her body with a large flask of water throughout the day, either. While stocking up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats is key to adopting a nutritious diet, don’t obsess over ensuring everything you eat is “clean”. So-called “junk food” is okay to have in moderation. Honor your body’s cravings! A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80-20 rule in which 80% of your diet consists of nutrient-dense foods and 20% consists of “treats”.
Focus on your mental health
In order to become the best version of yourself, you have to focus on your mental health. Our mindset plays a pivotal role in how we perceive and engage with the world around us. If your mind is burdened with anxious thoughts or feelings of despair, worthlessness and loneliness, then you won’t have the freedom to explore all the possibilities before you and live a fulfilling life. Mental self-care is a deeply personal journey for each individual. There are a range of different practices you can try out to become more self-aware, reflective, centered and calm, such as meditation, journaling, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. I personally love journaling and going to a therapy session weekly as it helps me recognize unhelpful thought patterns and gives me the tools to break them. I also love meditating daily because something about sitting upright, breathing deeply and turning my mind into a blank slate improves my clarity and focus for the rest of the day.
Move your body
What’s better than feeling your muscles move, your heart rate pumping, beads of sweat trickling down your face and the endorphins coursing through your bloodstream? Exercise isn’t supposed to be an arduous chore, but a time to build strength, confidence and be present with your body. It’s important to get in at least 30 minutes of movement every day, whether it be a light walk, jog, Pilates, yoga or weight training. The type of movement doesn’t matter as long as it’s a movement you enjoy. The benefits will appear in both your overall mental and physical well-being! If you’re struggling to have a healthy relationship with exercise, check out this article on reframing your relationship with exercise.
Establish a self-care routine
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to self-care. Self-care can mean many different things depending on the person. For example, many of the habits listed above, such as exercise, quality sleep, a healthy diet and meditation can qualify as self-care. However, in this section, I’m more specifically referring to external methods of self-care which revolve around hygiene and beauty. Simple things such as washing your face, putting moisturizing lotion on, painting your nails, using a face mask, wearing perfume or applying makeup may all be superficial, but feel good on the outside tends to reflect positively on the inside. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself!
Clean, organize and spruce up your space
A messy living environment often translates to a cluttered mind because so many different things are competing for your attention all at once and it’s a hassle to find things when you need them. To reduce the negative energy and stress that comes from clutter, prioritize maintaining a clean and organized space where everything is neatly tucked away in its respective place. “That girl” keeps her clothes folded and hung in her dresser and closet, stationary organized by type in her desk and food in her fridge compartmentalized into special storage bins. A clean space also deserves to be spruced up a little! Lighten the ambiance with succulents, pretty flowers, candles and fairy lights!
Remember that becoming “that girl” shouldn’t be a struggle for perfection. Rather, focus on adopting the aforementioned habits to create a healthier lifestyle that serves your goals and brings more peace and fulfillment into your life!