6 Girl Boss YouTube Playlists for Mental Health & Wellness
I’ve been hooked on self-help and lifestyle videos recently. It started when I was in a depressive episode a few weeks ago and tried to climb out of it using what seemed to be the only distraction I could use – YouTube. The autoplay function served me well, because I turned on one video on self-love and life improvement and it kept bringing me to videos with similar themes. I drifted in and out of sleep, waking to a different video each time. Although, understandably, I was unable to fully take in the words and strategies expressed through these videos at first, eventually I started regaining my focus. I started to become inspired by girl bosses such as Kalyn Nicholson, Aileen Xu (Lavendaire), and Amy Landino. What is a girl boss? It involves knowing one’s own core values and goals and actively working toward them with the spirit of self-love and acceptance. I’ve spent a week or so compiling some of my favourite videos and would love to share these playlists as well as some of my bite-size insights/explanations of major concepts, methods, and theories.
Disclaimer: I realize “girl boss” has “girl” in it, but in my eyes, the traits composing a “girl boss” are genderless & unassociated with genders. The term was popularized largely through a book called “#GIRLBOSS“, written by the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal: Sophia Amoruso. In other words, anyone can be a “girl boss”.
Photo by Andrew Neel
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1. Self-Care ♥
The most important part of any girl boss’ habits includes a variety of practices to promote self-love, self-awareness, and self-care. Here are some that I’ve been practicing based on inspiration from the videos in my “Self-Care ♥” playlist.
The Law of Attraction
It is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we place our attention on. The underlying belief is that all thoughts that we focus our energy on will eventually materialize into things. When we tap into energies of higher frequency (those that make us glow and feel happy), this attracts more of those events, people, and objects into our lives. Like attracts like. This effect is supported by setting intentions – “I will…” or “I intend to…”, and then finding actions that you can take where you are now to start that trajectory toward what you want.
Those who have not yet explored mediation may think that mindfulness meditation is about emptying your mind. This is far from the truth. Mindfulness meditation is about the practice of seeing your thoughts and emotions as transient events – almost like clouds passing in the sky. We practice identifying these thoughts and emotions, acknowledging them, and then letting them go, in an effort to remain present. In this way, we can practice being kind and gentle with ourselves and improve our emotional regulation. Headspace is the app I currently use to meditate.
Journalling – Stream of Consciousness
The stream of consciousness journalling method involves freestyle writing everything that comes to your mind without self-judgment. It helps you to materialize your thoughts so that you can brainstorm actions, general themes, life dreams and trajectories. You may also be able to identify if there is something bothering you or if there is an issue that you must handle. Solutions may come to mind as you write or review your writing.
This is a personal insight but one note to keep in mind is that sometimes writing whatever comes to one’s mind may become harmful. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and know that sometimes my thoughts spiral, which is sometimes made worse by journalling in this manner. This comes from myself being unable to remove that element of self-judgment in that headspace. In these times, I try to avoid stream of consciousness in favour of speaking with a therapist or a trusted friend or family member.
The ability to stay productive and organized comes from a great deal of foresight, planning, and revisiting of one’s goals. Any girl boss will use a variety of different resources and routines to stay on top of the productivity game.
This is a concept that was coined by Kalyn Nicholson, a self-improvement and lifestyle guru on YouTube. GYST stands for “Get Your Shit Together”, and Kalyn mentions that it is a day that she sets aside every week to get her life together (for her, that’s Sunday). This includes:
a) finishing up chores (organizing, cleaning, etc.)
b) beauty (hair, skin, nails, etc.)
c) goal setting (revisiting goals, recentering yourself around them, making new plans).
I have not yet created a day in my week specifically for GYSTing, but the closest day to it currently is probably also Sunday. This is the day when I tend to retune myself to my goals, plop on face masks, and do some organizing and cleaning in preparation for the week. Getting things done and crossing off the checkboxes is always incredibly satisfying. Kalyn has an infographic describing GYST that you can use for your reference.
Use Your Calendar
Using your calendar is a productivity tip advocated by Amy Landino, a YouTuber, speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She uses a combination of the 4-quadrant “importance vs. urgency” concept in Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” and a special ‘calendar blocking’ system that helps you to get the most out of your days.
Before I watched her videos, I used to employ an extremely unhealthy version of calendar blocking. I would write my academic/extracurricular to-dos, and work an indefinite amount of time on each of them, and then log how much time I spent on these tasks to better understand how much time I will need in the future for similar tasks. I blocked that time in for the future.
Why was this unhealthy? I was an extreme perfectionist. So to begin with, I spent freakishly large amounts of time on all my tasks (my Sundays were once 9 hour blocks of straight research for group projects). On top of that, I gave myself next to no time for self-care, which meant that I was continuously getting drained (understandably), which meant I would spend even more time each time trying to reach the same standard as before. In contrast, with Amy’s technique, we balance and pre-plan out work tasks, school tasks, self-care time, family time, and friend time in terms of their importance and urgency, and plan accordingly. I implore you to make self-care and relationship-nurturing time urgent.
Keeping one’s spaces tidy and decorated with items that lift you up will take your girl boss game to the next level. A clean living space will help us keep our mind clean and decluttered. More headspace to work on our important goals and dreams!
The KonMari method, created by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo, is a category-by-category decluttering and tidying system. She emphasizes the importance of determining what items in your house spark joy, and discarding most of the other items. There is a lot that goes into this, and I’ve written a bit on the topic already. If you are interested in learning more, you can check out Lavendaire’s videos on her personal KonMari journey, and/or take a look at Marie’s book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“.
Mornings: Have some me-time before your day begins
We are sometimes very caught up in our rush-rush society. I know I once was. But there’s something to be said about setting the tone of your day with a good morning routine. Some positive morning habits I have built/are building (that are shared by many of the amazing individuals in the playlist) include:
- Waking fairly early (2 hours before my first class)
- Making my bed as soon as I get up
- Spotify playlist (usually something mellow)
- Morning pages (stream of consciousness)
- Drinking a morning glass of lemon water (lemon is optional)
- Meditation (Headspace)
- Morning coffee an hour after I wake up (instead of immediately after waking)
- Visiting my calendar, reviewing daily tasks, bullet journal
- Using my aromatherapy diffuser (I use a citrus-based essential oil such as yuzu, orange, lemon for increased concentration and focus)
Nighttime: Have some me-time after your evening ends
We are sometimes very caught up in our rush-rush society. I know I once was. But there’s something to be said about reflecting on your day and unwinding with a good nighttime routine to support better quality sleep. (It comes full circle, everyone.) Some positive nighttime habits I have built/are building include:
- 10 mins of cleaning every evening
- Spotify playlist (piano or sleep playlists)
- Revisit bullet journal habit tracker, revisit daily plan (today & tomorrow)
- Filling in gratitude log
- Meditation (Headspace)
- Night pages (stream of consciousness)
- Using my aromatherapy diffuser (I use lavender essential oil at night to promote relaxation and calmness before going to bed)
- Setting the “Sleep Cycle” app (my current alarm clock)
No post of mine is complete without revisiting the theme of being kind to yourself. The videos I compiled in this playlist all have this same theme – being kind to yourself means living in a way that embraces your imperfections. I hope that some of these videos will inspire you to enact positive change in your own life through the way that you think about yourself, others, and the world. After all, our mental health ultimately comes down to our cognitions and the psychological paths we take in response to events. When we support our health, we make it easier to tackle our goals and dreams with relentless fervour. All a part of a day’s work for a girl boss!
Always remember to BKTY (be kind to yourself),