This past year, so many things were out of our control. Even simple freedoms like going where we wanted, when we wanted, was limited. Feeling powerful in our everyday lives was difficult, if not seemingly out of reach.
But, things are starting to look up. For the first time in a long time, we've started to feel like we can make plans for the future, get excited about our vaccinations, and eventually stand close to loved ones without fear. This hope and excitement feels like we're stepping into our power again. In the past, we often associated power with negative things—being power-hungry, and the like—but power allows for lifting ourselves up, helping others, and better understanding our needs, wants, and influence in the process.
If you’re still feeling powerless, don’t worry, we get it. Below, Team Byrdie lists the ways in which we harness our power. Read on for ways you can too.
"I grew up playing several sports, but ice hockey was the one I loved most. From ages six to 22, I practically lived on the ice; I always say I prefer skating to walking. Last spring, during the first wave of the pandemic, I bought inline skates—I'd never used them before—and started skating the streets of New York. Connecting to the one skill I spent my 10,000 hours honing always makes me feel strong and powerful—like the purest version of myself. Now that the weather's starting to warm up again, I look forward to lacing up and heading to the bike path by the water in Brooklyn. If you ever see me, come say hi."
"Maybe it’s my inner New Yorker talking, but nothing makes me feel more powerful than walking through the city as fast as I possibly can. Something about the buzz of the neighborhood and my hair blowing behind me (remember, I said fast) makes me feel like anything is possible. I'm a woman who's got places to be, things to do, and the power to make it all happen. Plus, it’s the best activity for clearing out the cobwebs and getting some perspective. Some people get their best ideas in the shower, I get mine at breakneck speed on the sidewalk by my local bodega."
"I harness my power through constant perspective reminders—alerting myself to what I have and the journey it took to get there. When life becomes demanding and overwhelming, this perspective shift helps immediately. Also, it is paramount for me to unplug and recharge to be my most efficient self—it is the fundamental lifeline to all the relationships in my life: my career, family, friends and most importantly with myself."
"When things feel really out of control in my life (and in my mind), I feel most powerful after I journal. I’ve been journaling to document my life since I was probably eight or nine years-old, but recently I’ve found reflecting this way can be extremely cathartic. When I’m able to make note of things going on in my life and focus on the thoughts and emotions that arise from them, it not only calms my mind—but helps me feel empowered. When there's a lot happening, it affects my perception of self, whether good or bad. But when I write it down, I can see it for what it is. This helps take on anything life throws at me and figure out the best thing for me. Making sense of my thoughts and emotions is a powerful tool, and I love that I can do it with journaling."
"Working at Byrdie has always felt like a lesson in wielding power for good; a way to use this platform to spur comfort or understanding. The ability to record most difficult experiences, hit 'publish' and watch them float away, has been a transformative way to reappropriate my insecurities—and harness them as sources of strength. The cathartic release of writing it all down, having to organize and reflect upon the most well-disguised parts of me, is a lesson in cultivating and tending to my own power. It's a true privilege."
"Harnessing my power has always involved small, subtle acts. As of late, I've been curating Instagram boards with affirmations based on what I need or want to feel in that instance. For example, I have curated boards called 'When I Want to Feel Powerful' and 'Remember Your Worth.' They're filled with tons of graphics pertaining to the board's topic—I frequently add content from Alex Elle's inspiring account. Scrolling through these digital quotes never fails to boost my mood, reinvigorate my confidence, and remind me of my power. I'm always on social media, specifically Instagram, so it's nice to have a permanent hub of positive content on my profile that I can turn to in moments when I need it most."
"It sounds cliché, but cueing up an exercise video after a long day of work is integral for my physical and mental health. I choose trainers like Melissa Wood who begin and end each workout with breathwork and stillness, which helps put me in the zone and expunges me of tension and stress. She also moves through each set with slow, controlled movements, so the whole workout feels like active mediation. I always walk away from her classes feeling both stronger and lighter, and ready to take back my power for the remainder of the evening."
"I feel my most powerful when I claim my time—saying no to social engagements I don't want to attend, spending extra time on my self-care routine, dismissing DMs that are weird or intrusive, and so on. But perhaps my favorite way to claim my time is blocking off my calendar. I schedule a meeting with myself titled "DO NOT BOOK HOLLY" almost every day from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. so I can do my morning workout, enjoy my coffee, and go through the ritual of making myself a nutritious breakfast. Alternatively, sometimes I'll put a block on my calendar right at 5 p.m. on days when I know I'm going to want to go for a walk while the sun is still out or catch a happy hour. It makes me feel so powerful to say yes, I'm available, but not during this time—because that's my time."
"I have a hard time carving out space in my life to meditate, so I find myself drawn to meditative activities instead. Cooking gets me up, away from my computer, walking (or sometimes even running) to the grocery store. I find peace in the shopping, chopping, and sautéing—it's time to clear my head, where I know I'm doing something to take care of myself. Sometimes, I go out of my way to make something healthy, but most of the time I don't. I find emotional nourishment in working with my hands and the flavors of the food I've cooked just the way I like it."
"The part of my daily routine that makes me feel the most powerful is my morning barre class. My entire viewpoint on exercise changed when I discovered barre; I used to think everyone who claimed to love working out was simply lying (to me, or to themselves). Not only do the classes allow me to harness my physical strength, but they also help me feel mentally tough for the day ahead. If I can hold a 90-second plank without breaking a sweat, surely my to-do list can't be that exhausting. I just hit my 250-class milestone, and the thought of reaching the next goal (500 classes) doesn't intimidate me in the slightest. That's power."