Your guide to get organized, cut stress, and boost happiness by Monday
Makeover Your Life by Monday!
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Sometimes simply making it through to Friday afternoon in one piece feels like a major accomplishment. You're overworked, overwhelmed, and you barely have time to fit in a single much-needed workout, much less clean out your closet, put effort into friendships, or go through all those papers piling up on your desk.
That's why we asked lifestyle experts Jill Martin and Dana Ravich, bestselling authors of The Weekend Makeover, for their secrets to save you from the chaos and take control of your life—in just one weekend. Start working your way through these seven mini-makeovers today and you'll feel motivated, organized, and completely rejuvenated by Monday morning!
Adapted from The Weekend Makeover by Jill Martin and Dana Ravich. Copyright 2013. Used with permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
Make Over Your Beauty Routine
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"Cleaning out your bathroom cabinets is one of the easiest—and most crucial—mini-makeovers, but so many women just never take the time to do so," Martin says. "Makeup does have expiration dates, especially liquids like mascara and lip gloss, which are susceptible to bacteria growth."
The general rule: If you've had a product that uses an applicator for longer than three months, toss it. It may be tough to throw out a barely-used tube of lip gloss or mascara, but it's not worth risking infection or even temporary or permanent blindness, according to the FDA! If that's not enough to inspire you to start purging, keep in mind that you can probably find a brand new replacement for less than $10 at the drugstore. So grab a trash bag and be ruthless!
Here's a quick roundup of the average shelf life for common beauty products:
Cleanser: 6 to 12 months
Concealer: up to 1 year
Eyeliner: 3 years (but sharpen regularly to make sure it's clean!)
Eye shadow: 2 years (powder), 1 year (liquid)
Foundation: 6 to 12 months
Lipstick: 1 year
Powder/blush: up to 2 years
Make Over Your Workout Mindset
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Take advantage of a warm spring weekend to overhaul your attitude toward exercise. In fact, don't even think of the word workout. "Exercising shouldn't be a struggle—instead of dreading it, think of it as the nicest gift you can give to yourself," Martin says.
This weekend, if the thought of huffing and puffing on the treadmill sends shivers down your spine, use a free morning to check out a class at that yoga or Pilates studio you've been wanting to try.
An even better idea? Escape the gym and reap the incredible mood-boosting benefits of exercising outdoors. Research shows that simply being outside can help you feel more alive and boost energy levels and well-being.
"Bottom line: Don't worry about what workout is trendy right now and simply get back to basics," Ravich says. "Re-discover sports or activities you used to love but haven't played in a while: Go for a hike, take a bike ride, or play tennis. Just do whatever you enjoy and works for your lifestyle."
Make Over Your Closet
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Only six percent of women wear all of their clothing on a regular basis, finds Talbots National Fit Study. So unless you're part of that small minority, it's time to tackle your overflowing closet! You just need a garbage bag and an honest attitude (optional: a discerning friend and a bottle of champagne).
"Our number one rule: If you don't feel like a 10 in it, get rid of it," Ravich says. Only keep items in which you feel awesome and that you're proud to wear—even if they're sweatpants from five years ago. "We don't say to throw things out simply because they're from last season—just hold on to what you absolutely love, and donate or consign anything that is less than perfect for your body or lifestyle.
"Be realistic about what you wear," Martin says. "A lot of people I talk to make up stories about situations in which they'd wear certain clothes." You know that shirt that you've kept around to wear when you host a Super Bowl party... that you'll probably never throw? Donate or consign it.
For stylish and practical closet storage solutions, check out Martin's organization line on QVC.com.
Make Over Your Hobbies
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"Having a hobby or passion is an area of our lives that we tend to overlook," Ravich says. "We get so hectic with our jobs, everyday routines, and taking care of others that we forget to take time for our mental well-being." But our brains need nourishment to stay sharp. Research shows that most age-related losses in memory or motor skills are a result of too little physical and mental exercise and stimulation.
Do something that challenges your mind this weekend, or start working toward a long-term goal that will tax your brain. "Whether it's learning a language, journaling, or painting, let yourself have something you can look forward to doing on the weekend and schedule time for it—it's just as important as exercise for your overall well-being," Martin says.
Keep in mind that a new hobby doesn't have to be complex, expensive, or time-consuming. Ravich simply enjoys taking up creative endeavors such as reading, writing, or making music playlists, while Martin has weekly lunches with her French-speaking mother to learn the language.
Make Over Your Paper Clutter
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According to the Small Business Administration, 80 percent of filed papers are never looked at again! A weekend afternoon is the perfect time to clear out clutter that's been accumulating in your office area.
"Make the decision to start from scratch and simply toss all those piled-up papers, unread catalogs, and outdated magazines," Ravich says. "Remind yourself that you're not going to miss out on anything life-changing by throwing them away."
When it comes to your desk files, how do you know which important documents are worth storing? Here's the short list of what papers you should keep:
Tax returns (past six years' worth)
Receipts for tax-deductible purchases or items with warranties
Bank statements (three years' worth)
IRA contribution slips
You can toss:
Bills (unless you're deducting purchases)
Paychecks once you receive your W-2 for the year
Moving forward, take some time once a month to go through your paperwork, and you'll never again find yourself overwhelmed by piled up files.
Make Over Your Friendships
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Make an effort to reconnect with that long-lost friend over the weekend. "Many of us have a girlfriend who we've lost touch with, whether there was a falling out or simply because life got in the way," Martin says. "It's a brave step to be the first person to reach out to a former friend, so acknowledge that it's hard and maybe awkward, and give yourself credit for taking the initiative." Set aside some time to grab coffee or a drink if she's in the area or to catch up over the phone if she's long-distance.
"However if you're apologizing for something you did, an email may be a better, less confrontational way to explain and ask for forgiveness before you make the call to get together," Ravich says. "But a phone call is still the most meaningful way to communicate in this age of texts, email, and Facebook, so it shows you've put in a real effort to reconnect."
Make Over Your Downtime
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After all the purging and organizing you've done, you deserve to relax. "One of the best things you can do over the weekend is to give yourself time to simply chill out," Ravich says. "We're all constantly connected to our smartphones and inboxes so it's important to shut down for a while."
One recent study found that 60 percent of people don't go one hour without checking their phone! But the benefits of tuning out are remarkable: research shows that relaxation techniques can reduce symptoms of many health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Ravich likes to spend an afternoon in a cozy robe, catching up on magazines with a cup of tea, while Martin says she tries to power down her cell phone occasionally from 8p.m. to midnight.
This Sunday afternoon, turn off your phone, drape a pretty scarf over the TV, close your computer, and light a candle. Allow yourself the freedom to simply relax on your couch, read a book, apply a face mask, or even (gasp!) take a nap for an hour or two.