Even When Your Personal Life Is In Shambles, Doing These Everyday Things Can Help You Feel Like A Boss

Life can go to hell in seconds flat. Whatever the circumstances, you’re a strong, intelligent woman–though that can be hard to remember when you’re embroiled in the disaster of your combustible personal life. Sure, it may take time to rise from the ashes, but in the meanwhile, tap these easy sources to inspire your inner phoenix.

  1. Remember and celebrate your achievements. Over the years, you’ve probably acquired all kinds of evidence to support your badassery: medals from athletic competitions, certificates from awards earned, even simple e-mails thanking you for your skillful management of some complex situation at work. Sift through these testaments to your success in life. You may be feeling like sludge right now, but you’ve accomplished a lot in your time, and you’re sure to accomplish more yet. Never forget that.
  2. Tackle the nastiest chore on your to-do list. We’ve all got those nagging items we keep procrastinating on. Whatever you neglect, whatever unfinished task pecks at your conscience, get on it. Show it that you’re not afraid. You’ll feel like a legit grown-up when you grit your teeth and do it. Plus, you’ll instantly clear some head space for the important stuff.
  3. Expand your worldview and learn something new. Whether it’s a Youtube tutorial or a lecture at the local college, a professional-skills update or a quick demonstration by a well-versed pal, get out there and add to your knowledge. There’s nothing more formidable or sexier than a smart woman. So take every chance you’re granted to exercise your brain. Once you’re searching for them, the opportunities will begin to stack up.
  4. Teach things. Who doesn’t love being an expert? You can keep it small (showing a coworker how to reset the finicky office copier) or get bold (becoming a mentor). Communicating your knowledge to others and watching them grow as a result is one of the most satisfying things you can do. You’ll get an instant boost when you realize how much you have to contribute.
  5. Volunteer to help people who could really use it. It’s impossible to remain stuck in your own frantic mind when you’re serving a greater cause. Awesome as it is to do good for others, the benefits that come back your way are a good perk too. It needn’t be a long-term commitment. Start with a morning beach cleanup or participate in a one-day adoption event for an animal shelter. Any amount of time spent doing good is something to be proud of, and it may give you such a positive rush that you decide to participate more regularly.
  6. Set a daily goal. You’ve got infinite options here! And modest efforts can carry a lot of weight. Maybe you want to meet your requirement for full servings of fruit and vegetables or do creative projects for 20 minutes every day after work. Does that sound like amateur hour to you? Well, congrats! You’re advanced enough to choose something a little more rigorous. Point is, we all allow small good habits to fall by the wayside. Recognizing your power to exercise personal discipline one day at a time can raise your confidence and lower your stress.
  7. Look a (small) fear in the face. It’s normal to have multiple minor phobias. Make a list of yours and consider which you would consider facing head on. For the socially anxious, it might be agreeing to and practicing for a speaking engagement. Or, maybe you’re edgy about heights but decide to conquer the rock wall at the gym. Remind yourself that you can overcome a challenge and grow from the experience.
  8. Say no to someone. Life is such a damn pile of obligations sometimes. It doesn’t help when everyone and her mother needs something from you. Just. Say. No. Say no because you should never feel guilty for dealing with your own crap first. Say no because you’re tired and overbooked as is. Say no because you’d simply rather hang out on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a stack of dystopian novels than go to another bridal shower. Honor your mental health by avoiding unnecessary obligations. You can get back in the swing of thing when you’re rested and ready, but we all need an occasional timeout.
  9. Reconnect with the people who already know you’re a badass. It’s easy to spiral into interacting mostly with people who don’t understand your value. They leave you feeling so down, you don’t even know which way to turn for inspiration. But as much as these jerks can seem to take over your life, they’re NOT the only people in the universe. In fact, they’re so irrelevant that once you get your senses back, you don’t worry one speck about them. The best way to move forward is with support from your tried-and-true best buddies. Surround yourself with your biggest cheerleaders and let the haters take their negativity elsewhere.
  10. Dress hot and go out on the town. Hot by YOUR definition, you gorgeous woman! Whatever makes you feel sexy to your core. If you feel like a goddess in jeans and sneaks, no makeup, get out there and work it. If you’re a classic evening dress kinda woman, revel in your dramatic beauty. The variations on “stunning” are endless. Every woman has her own amazing vibe. Grace the world with yours. Reap the rewards of confidence and renewed energy.
  11. Make a small update to your home. You’re a millennial woman, so you’re probably not swimming in cash. (And it’s awesome that you’re saving for your future and taking your plans for retirement seriously.) But a home makeover doesn’t have to cost much. In fact, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your bursting closet or overstocked cabinets, you may actually be able to earn a buck or two selling some of those unused items AND give your digs a much-needed sprucing. Take the 50 bucks you make on eBay and purchase something special for yourself (or add it to your savings account).
  12. Do something you totally love. No, not what you want the world to think you love. What you actually love: your purest guilty pleasure, your go-to happiness. It’s time to forget expectations and good appearances. It’s time to do you again. Being your joyful self is a powerful thing. Even in this stressful world, you’re brave enough to be a positive, unique individual. BRB—I’m off to ferociously lip-synch Queen songs in my underwear.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.