Deep Cleaning your ‘Tude

“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

I have a sh!tty attitude. There, I said it. I have lived the past few months in a constant state of being stressed AF. I’m an empath and I tend to absorb energy and feelings, making problems, concerns, and worries my own and it can make me feel like I’m running on empty. And that’s before I take personal inventory. Between seasonal affective disorder, the normal stresses of a chaotic life that I choose to live jam-packed in hyperspeed, plus the fears of a post-apocalyptic world, (and I’m not sure if I have sepsis, but there’s a Hulu ad running that makes me think I really ought to look into it). I mean, there’s just a lot to cope with as I brace myself for my 30th birthday.

While sipping on tea with a particularly uplifting tag and mindlessly drowning my sorrows in a bag of inspirational Dove Promises, I thought to myself, ‘DJ Khaled is actually right. “They” don’t want to see me shine and be my best me. *They* probably don’t want to see me finish this bag of chocolate.’ So, – ANOTHER ONE – I unwrapped that bite of Dove and business seemed to be back to boomin’ as I brainstormed an exhaustive list of how to turn this frown upside down.

The first matter of business was putting myself in a “Time Out.” Acknowledging that I have a problem. Accepting the fact that no one wants to spend time around moody Judy, not even Judy herself. Next, I needed to move beyond the vague suggestions we so often receive, such as:

  • Consume quality news over quantity
  • Take time for self-care
  • Unplug! It’s just that easy

Though these are good ideas in abstract principle, I’m in need of a deeper cleaning through a less-than-normal approach in a state of dire desperation. Right now, I need a step-by-step guide for how to get this “Attitude Train” back on the tracks. Here’s what I came up with: 

On-the-Go Adjustment

Designate a talisman to keep in your bag, a traveling token to remind you to stay on your A-Game. Ain’t nothing gonna break your stride.

  • Reach for a tube of ‘tude! Keep a sassy shade of lipstick in your purse for when you need an intentional pick-me-up. By slapping on a fresh coat, you recommit to checking yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
  • Prefer to be more discreet? Try an invisibility cloak of luxurious Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich and give yourself a pep talk during your morning ritual.
  • Personally, I’m selecting this very overt “sage ya later, hater” cap to wear around town. Don’t @ me, bro.

10 Minute Adjustment

You can do anything for ten minutes. At least this is what I say when I’m trying to talk myself into something I really don’t want to do. Why not apply this mentality to some new-agey self-improvement tactics?

  • Ommm…I’m super into the idea of mediation and have bought into all of the benefits in theory, but have never been able to discipline myself enough to practice. This month, I’ll be trying the Headspace “Take 10,” a trial (read: free) series of 10 guided meditations for newbies.
  • I can’t bring myself to do daily affirmations, but watching this father/daughter duo’s morning routine always leaves me bandwagoning with a ‘yeah! I am beautiful and I’m not better than anyone!’
  • Does anyone else feel as accomplished after oil pulling? I mean, I hate every second of it in the moment, but I like to think it pulls out the gunk deep from within my soul – the deeper-seated issues my toothbrush can’t touch.

1 Hour Adjustment

The following adjustments are activities that can be done with friends, because duh, good, patient friends are important on this journey of getting you back to being you, by loving you all up, while calling you on your BS, too.

  • I’m checking out my local salt cave for some halotherapy, which claims to alleviate symptoms of asthma, allergies, respiratory problems, anxiety and other ailments. Don’t have a salt cave near you? Try a trendy salt lamp in the comfort of your own home.
  • Sweat it out! Maybe I can schvitz the negativity outta me, down to my core. My friends have been raving about infrared saunas lately, which use electromagnetic radiation in the infrared lamps to warm your body directly, developing a more “vigorous” sweat at a lower temperature than a traditional sauna.
  • Ever heard of the ancient art of smudging? Mystics say that this practice can help clear negative, stagnant energy. Plus, depending on what you burn, it will leave your environment smelling wonderfully fragrant. If you try it, just be respectful of the traditional practice, as it is sacred.

8 Hour Adjustment

A digital detox just isn’t realistic while living my daily life. But a nightly one might be. This month, I’m trying something different. I recently bought an old school alarm clock and I’m banishing my phone from the bedroom. My theory is that eliminating phone time in bed will result in earlier bedtimes, less mindless consumption and toxic comparison, and jumping out of bed to start my day faster and happier in the morning.

Weekend Adjustment

Slow your roll this weekend and lift your spirits. You got this! Your intangible attitude can get overlooked in spring cleaning, but is arguably the most important item to free from grime.

  • Trade in binge drinking for some binge thinking and consume a podcast from start to finish. Most of us agree that rapid succession of content consumption is shamefully rewarding. I just gobbled up the popular “S-Town,” trading in my own thoughts for six-ish hours of a damn good narrative.
  • I’m no Marie Kondo. In fact, I’m a physical and emotional hoarder. But what is it about purging old, unused items – especially clothes – that just feels so. damn. good?!
  • Urban jungles are totally having a moment right now! Plants help cleanse the air. Plus, caring for something beyond yourself and your current drama is important. Use part of your weekend to go out and select the perfect potted friend. Adopt a plant. Name her. Treat her good.

In reflecting on the wacky list I generated which consists of mood-enhancing activities, I have concluded that my subconscious believes that adjusting one’s attitude is achieved through micro-adjustments. You can’t just “snap out of it.” You need to finesse yourself into your best mindset through daily gut-checks, mental maintenance, and (apparently in my case, a LOT of) self-indulgence. And, if all else fails, drink a glass of water.

Got a sure-fire tip for shaking a funk? Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments! I am game for trying just about anything. Because dropping the shitty attitude? MAJOR KEY.

Illustration by Kate Worum.


Image by Melissa Oholendt

Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy is a human living in a dog’s world, as she’s the co-founder of Dogs of Instagram and peddles Hawaiian shirts for pups. Ashley shares a life with her her husband/co-founder, their happy-go-lucky baby boy, and a lapdog who constantly looks over her laptop.