1. Wear red lipstick. That really bright kind that you always try on in Sephora, love, but ultimately decide against because it doesn’t feel “like you.” You are definitely red lipstick girl.
2. Go to a restaurant by yourself with just a book (your phone has to stay in your pocket/purse). Read, enjoy your meal, have a good glass of wine (or two), look at the people around you. Get over the fear of eating alone by realizing how awesome it is.
3. Walk around naked in your apartment after a shower for as long as you like. Hell, watch an entire movie naked. Forget that you have to get dressed at all.
4. Learn to cook even if you’re the Carrie Bradshaw, I-use-my-oven-for-storage type of girl who swears she can ruin Kraft Mac & Cheese. Learn to make something for yourself, to feel the pleasure of a job well done, and to open up an entirely new world of hobbies and interests just by engaging with one room in your house.
5. Paint a wall a crazy color. If you decide you hate it, after all, it’s just paint. You can always paint it over.
6. Check thrift stores, Craiglists, stoops, and random Facebook groups for everything you need for your apartment. Never underestimate the power of the universe to find you a great couch at an insane price.
7. Order a bloody mary on your flight. Yes, even a morning flight. Perhaps especially a morning flight.
8. Call your mom just because, send your aunt an email telling her all about what you’ve been up to, Skype with a friend who lives far away. Make someone’s day by reminding them how much you love them, and that you just happened to be thinking of them.
9. Walk or bike to the places you always drive or take the train to. Find out what you’ve been missing along the way.
10. Take the number out of your phone that only causes you trouble, that only makes you regret dialing it, that contains a message history that’s too painful or embarrassing to read.
11. Mute the people you can’t logistically cut out of your life, but whose negative social media presence is only draining you on a day-to-day basis.
12. Unfriend/unfollow the people who you can stand to lose. Surround yourself with the digital space that actually makes you a smarter, happier, more compassionate person – you don’t owe anyone your online attention.
13. Light candles for yourself, just because. Make yourself feel like a guest in your own home, because tiny moments of self care go a long way.
14. Spend the extra money on heels that are made of quality materials, won’t give you foot injuries, and won’t need to be replaced once per season.
15. Say “I love you” to the people you love, even if you’re worried they won’t say it back, even if you think it will make you weird in their eyes. If you love someone who doesn’t feel the same, you deserve to know it. And there is only one way to know for sure.
16. Say “I’m sorry” to the people you know deserve to hear it. Swallow your pride and give them the apology that you would want to hear, and tell them how you’ll do better in the future. Ask what you could have done differently, and listen to what they say.
17. Go out on a Tuesday night and have one too many drinks, because it’s f_–ing fun and the second you swear off Tuesday-night spontaneity forever, you know you’ve gotten old. There’s always room for one impromptu happy hour every so often.
18. Kiss the wrong person and don’t worry what it says about you. It just says that you had a good time, and that people want to kiss you. Take it as the compliment from the universe that it is.
19. Make the trip out to see that person you’re always promising to see. Buy the tickets six months in advance so you can’t turn back, and you have to work extra hard in the meantime. You’ll be glad you did it.
20. Leave the job that’s costing more for your mental health than it’s giving to your bank account. Know that you deserve to be reasonably happy in your job, even if it’s still a job. Don’t give anyone your sanity for a paycheck.
21. Order the fries. Have the extra scoop. Make yourself cupcakes, just because. Being healthy includes mental health, and agonizing over something delicious is never worth it. You can find balance and also find chicken nuggets. Sometimes.