That Girl Trend: how to build a realistic routine for the start of the new year

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By Amy Hirtenstein, 2nd Year, Philosophy & Theology

The Croft Magazine // Amy explores the growing popularity of the that girl trend, and whether it's intense productivity is really sustainable

Okay so the rise of the ‘that girl’ trend has taken over social media and has transformed my phone into a Pinterest wormhole that no one can escape from.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘that girl’ is a trend on social media that has skyrocketed aesthetically pleasing productivity into the foreground of popular apps such as Tik Tok and Instagram.

‘That girl’ wakes up at 6 am (at the latest), puts on her matching lululemon workout fit, drinks a healthy juice alongside a glass of lemon water, meditates, goes to the gym, and eats lots of green vegetables all before completing a week’s worth of to-do lists before 9am.

Amy Hirtenstein / Epigram | I just didn’t recognize my productivity for what it was because it did not come in a pretty package of sunrise hikes and green juices.

I, like many other young people on social media, ultimately watched this trend and believed that the way I was living my life was insufficient. I felt like I was lacking a ‘level 10’ version of myself that looks and feels incredible, is insanely productive and does not want to cry 90% of the time.

So, I gave the ‘that girl’ routine a good go. I set my alarm for 6am and adhered to a strict morning routine. This morning routine consisted of:

  • A morning meditation
  • A big glass of lemon water
  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • Journaling
  • 10 pages of reading

I wish I could sit here and tell you I didn’t feel better afterwards and that I felt miserable, but for the first week, I felt the best I had in years. But- here is the main issue with toxic positivity and the ‘that girl’ trend- it ultimately isn’t sustainable and the narrative used to tackle self-improvement is incredibly toxic.

Life got in the way of my morning routine!

I got a part-time job at a bar and that consisted of late nights and exhausted mornings. I was sleeping in until 10 am and really struggling to continue feeling like a productive individual.

But then I took a moment and thought about it. I was working 8 hours a day. I was committed to leaving my house every day and doing something that is productive for me. I just didn’t recognize my productivity for what it was because it did not come in a pretty package of sunrise hikes and green juices.

Amy Hirtenstein / Epigram | productivity isn't just healthy food

So, I ditched the 6am wakeup but kept some of the routines that I knew made me feel good, such as the 20 minutes of exercise a day and my 10 pages of reading.

When a trend emerges through the lens of social media- it is often associated with aesthetics. But self-improvement is inherently ugly- morning workouts are often accompanied by sweat, early wakeups can be crusty eyes and a puffy face and morning juices can often have pulp. Self-improvement can include forgetting to set your alarm, and taking a day off when you need it. It can include 2 weeks of doing nothing to improve, before deciding to start all over again.

University is not easy and does follow a predictable nine-to-five. The nights out can be any night of the week and not every night is accompanied by a reasonable bed-time. University lectures can overwhelm you- cleansing juices can feel expensive and when you’re drunk- the cheesy chip van man can provide a temporary comfort.

When you feel the need to conform to an ideal level of positivity and productivity- it doesn’t allow for mistakes, failures or genuinely feeling miserable (all of which is completely normal at university.)

Amy Hirtenstein / Epigram | University is about being young and whether you wake up at 6am or 6pm, it doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else.

My advice for setting an ideal routine for university is to be incredibly kind to yourself. Pick 1-3 habits you want to incorporate into your life- whether that’s a chill Wednesday in, a regular exercise routine or meditation. Then allow yourself to completely forget about it every once in a while, and don’t associate these habits with self-doubt or self-hatred. BE KIND. University is about being young and whether you wake up at 6am or 6pm, it doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else.

Life is full of messy moments, failures and meltdowns and that is ok! It is so much more than a matching workout set and gorgeous salads. Try to focus on maximizing your own happiness, it doesn’t matter what that looks like.

Photo by Sarah Gualtieri on Unsplash

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