2017 was, as we’ve mentioned before, a garbage fire. But there were some good things we all took from the year, and as December drew to a close, I polled Twitter and Instagram friends to find out their best Hashtag Lifehacks of 2017. What did we learn? What are we committed to doing differently in 2018? Can skincare really change your life that much? (Spoiler alert: yes.) Behold the collective, multifaceted wisdom of my Internet circle, and maybe you’ll find some tricks to make your 2018 easier – or just more fun!
Colour-coding my calendar changed my life this year. I can take a cursory glance at it in the morning and know what my day or week is going to be like – time to myself, time travelling, calls, emails, deadlines, plans with friends, etc. There have been times I’ve looked at my calendar and thought “hmm, looks too blue” and shifted things so that I can get more time to myself (bring more yellow into my calendar). It’s been so helpful and made me very conscious of how I spend my time!
Separating work and life spaces! I finally learned to leave my work at work, and if I don’t finish it within designated hours that’s FINE. I ended up training myself to only work outside my living space: I’d only light candles and dim lights once I felt done with work for the day, and once I associated that with relaxation, I refused to do it while working.
The Forest app for productivity, which locks your phone for x minutes and grows you a tree.
Someone told me this year to remember that I am important to my company, but not indispensable. It transformed the way I looked at work – your employers existed before you and will continue to survive and thrive without you. You are not obligated to be irreplaceable! Of course, put in your best work, because your contributions are valuable – but don’t feel guilty about sick days, an occasional mistake, or eventually deciding to move on to another job.
Grabhitch/Uberpool actually works 80% of the time, and it’s good for saving money!
Sunscreen, no matter how sunny or un-sunny it is. (This was the most popular answer! The more things seem to change…)
Cleansing balm, chemical sunscreen, chemical exfoliating and essence.
Serum under moisturizer. That’s literally all.
Oil-based cleansers are heavenly.
I committed to showering once I get home (and know I’m not heading out again) and somehow it seems to make the hours I have left in the day stretch longer – I feel more alert, with far less post-work sluggishness.
Separate bananas from the stem. They don’t ripen as fast!
Freeze herbs or turn herbs that’ll go bad if left be into herb butter.
One-pot cooking: cooking rice and chicken at the same time in a rice cooker. Mealz for dayz.
Assemble recipes that take 15-30 minutes so that making dinner feels doable, and if you can, cook enough for the next day’s lunch. Try things like pasta, with bottled sauce and easy ingredients like mushroom and bacon. Easy meals are best meals!
It’s okay if a productivity or self-care trend doesn’t actually work for you. I tried bullet journalling and found it therapeutic but not remotely useful for planning my calendar; I’ve never managed to do meal prep. Own some of your chaos! Forget to grocery shop, frantically google “how to make cheese sauce pasta with no cheese or milk” and surprise yourself with the edible results! Adulthood is 90% winging it!!
Unfollow all the social media accounts that make you feel bad about your body / career / personal life. You don’t actually need their posts and you’ll feel better!!
Check out of irrelevant conversations that make you uncomfortable. Close the tab with the toxic comments, delete the Facebook acquaintances who clog up your feed with sexist jokes, and leave the room if you find that you object to a conversation you’re overhearing. These aren’t situations when you’re engaging directly with the other person anyway – save your energy for the billions of other important discussions and debates you can lend your voice to.
Make enough phone calls and anxiety over them will dissipate! (This came up three separate times – 2017 was definitely the year of listening to on-hold music for a lot of us.)
Stay silent in conversations to draw people out; resist the temptation to fill the air.
When you walk into a really expensive store and you feel pressured to buy something, just ask for something(s) you know they don’t have, look disappointed, shrug, and leave.
When feeling low, sit up straight and push your shoulders back to regain some semblance of control.
Working out regularly – even phone exercise apps can be very helpful. There are loads of seven-minute exercise apps out there – Seven and Sworkit are good to start with, and free versions are decent. And Pause and Breathe (for iOS) are great apps to use if I’m anxious or feeling down and need a distraction.
Get a cat! It made me happier about staying at home more and taught me a lot about commitment and caring for another being.
USE THE FANCY MOISTURIZER. Use the luxe body scrubs, hair masks, and serums you’ve been saving for a “special occasion”. YOU ARE A SPECIAL OCCASION. Your body is the only thing you will ever carry. Treat it splendidly. (Also, stuff expires wicked fast.)