If you've ever spent even just a few minutes browsing through Pinterest, you know that it's full of tips that people claim will make your life easier and leave you feeling happier and healthier. So, I decided to give it a go and try out all this wisdom —what would it be like to live life according to Pinterest for a week? What did I have to lose?
To make this experiment possible in the first place, I had to figure out what life according to Pinterest would even look like. I searched for popular pins that covered life tips and routines for wellness, cleaning and organization, and general mindful living, and put together my own list of 10 rules to follow based on the ideas they had in common. Here's what I wound up with:
The Pinterest 10 Commandments
1. Don't hit snooze on your alarm.
2. Take a few minutes to stretch every morning.
3. Make your bed every day.
4. Drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day.
5. Exercise at least 3 times per week, and don't skip Monday.
6. Do a daily 10-minute tidy-up.
7. Wipe down the bathroom sink nightly.
8. Set out your outfits the night before.
9. Write down 3 things you're grateful for before bed.
10. Go screen-free at bedtime and read at least one chapter of a book.
At first glance, I'll admit that this looked like a lot—not even necessarily to do, but just to think about on a daily basis. I've always felt like I mostly have my life together, but looking at this list of 10 tasks seemed simultaneously totally doable and like way too much. It made me seriously start to question things.
But by the end of my Pinterest Week experiment, I learned that some of these things were much easier than others — and some were surprisingly really difficult for me.
The Easy Parts
Some of these new additions to my routine? Super simple. Stretching in the morning, for example? Check! It only took a few minutes (and was so easy that on a morning when I was running late, I just did my stretching in the shower—brave, I know!) and it did make me feel a little bit more awake in the morning and a little less tense.
Wiping down the sink was also easy. It only took a minute, and considering cleaning the bathroom is my main weekly chore (I live with roommates, so we divide everything up), it made my Saturday afternoon deep-clean go a little faster—the sink is always the first thing to look dirty, because as we all know, bathroom sinks and toothpaste are sworn enemies.
I went into this thinking that making my bed every morning would be a bigger hassle than it actually was, and at first I was right—until I realized that I didn't need my bed to be perfect, just neat and ready for me to come home to. So, I vowed to skip the throw pillows and blankets in favor of neatly stacking them in a basket next to the bed, and to stick to just the necessities, and it made my life so much easier. I also really didn't mind the 10-minute tidy-up—it didn't take that much effort, and it totally kept my bedroom in-check throughout the week, and made me more mindful of what I leave in common areas.
Of the easier things on the list, No. 9 and 10 were my favorites. I genuinely loved taking a few minutes to positively reflect on my day, and I noticed that it put me in a much better mood at the end of the day. And I didn't realize how much time I spend on my phone—and how hard it is for me to fall asleep—until I swapped out my usual bedtime Twitter-scrolling for a book. I don't know that I slept better than I typically would, but I definitely fell asleep faster.
There's a reason why I don't normally set my clothes out the night before, and it's because I am incredibly indecisive and never know what I actually want to wear until it's time to get ready. I'm also a firm believer in not wearing something if it doesn't make me feel good that day, so I'm not ashamed to admit that I failed this challenge. I tried, and I totally did lay out outfits the night before, but that didn't stop me from changing my mind and putting on something different on each day of the experiment.
Getting three workouts in per week isn't anything that new to me, as I try to exercise pretty regularly (key word there being "try"), but I happened to choose a week where I had a lot going on, so it was a little bit of a challenge. I'm happy to report that I got all three workouts in—just not all of them were an actual trip to the gym. When I felt I didn't have a full workout in me, I walked/jogged the Manhattan Bridge and most of the way home to Brooklyn from work (about 3 miles in total). By the way, if you've never made that walk, I highly recommend it.
By far, the biggest challenge was not hitting snooze. As much as I know it's not all that good for me, the snooze button is my weakness. Even though I almost always wake up fairly early on my own, I have a hard time getting out of bed right away. Despite my best efforts, skipping snooze only worked 4 out of the 7 days of this experiment. On the other 3 days, I tried, I really did, but the temptation of 10 more minutes of sleep was just too great. And honestly, I didn't notice a difference between the days I succeeded and the days I gave in and hit snooze.
And then, there was the whole water challenge—which was its own project in and of itself. Of course I drink water, but I never pay attention to my actual water intake, which means I'm probably dehydrated most of the time. For this week, I had to drink 2 glasses before breakfast (Did you know that when you take just one sip of water before breakfast you immediately feel like you're starving? Because I learned that the hard way!) and then reach the rest of the 8 throughout the day, so I set alarms to help me remember. And despite the fact that it was a struggle and I kept muting my alarm and temporarily forgetting, I reached my goal every day, and most days, drank even more water outside of the schedule. The result? I felt much more awake and alert throughout the day, and noticed that I was less bloated.
Read more about Brittney's water challenge: I Made Myself Drink Enough Water for a Week & Here's What Happened
While this routine was a great challenge and I'm glad I did all of these things for a week, I don't see myself following all 10 of these rules forever. But, there were a few wins that I totally intend to keep up: I'm definitely going to continue stretching, as well as writing down what I'm grateful for at night and reading before bed, even if I don't go totally screen-free.
And while I probably won't think too much about the time it takes me to do it, I do think I'm going to continue to make it a point to do some daily tidying—spending a few minutes of effort cleaning up per day really does make a world of difference.
Oh, and I'll definitely be keeping up with my water schedule, because I'm pretty sure that, in my 27 years of life, this week was the first time I was ever consistently properly hydrated, and I can definitely feel a difference. Not to mention, it took a lot of work to train myself to drink this much water, and there's no way that I'm letting all that work go to waste.