Keep Your Spirits Up, Kimmy Schmidt-Style
Work + Life Balance

Keep Your Spirits Up, Kimmy Schmidt-Style

by Nicky Valdes
Photos Lauren Kallen | March 30, 2015


THERE'S A FEW IMPORTANT LESSONS WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM NETFLIX'S "UNBREAKABLE" NEW HEROINE.

Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premiered to rave reviews earlier this month. And with good reason. Kimmy (played by Ellie Kemper) has an unbreakable spirit that is both inspiring and contagious. As the show’s unlikely protagonist, she is constantly smiling, eternally optimistic, and unnervingly strong in the face of a seriously traumatic experience.

It’s easy for all of us to get frustrated with the small stuff—and the big stuff, too—as we move through life. I know I do—which is exactly why Kimmy’s positivity resonated with me. So I asked myself: How does she do it? How does Kimmy maintain such a positive outlook and kick ass at nearly everything in life, love, and the pursuit of her happiness?

Here are just a few things I discovered to help us follow her example:

COUNT TO 10

One of Kimmy’s very simple strategies is to count to ten…literally. She’s a true believer in the idea that you can put up with anything for 10 seconds. And when those 10 seconds are up, you just start over and count again.

I’m not saying that you should shamelessly (or audibly) count to 10 the way Kimmy does when your favorite restaurant gets your order wrong or during a stressful work situation, but Kimmy’s counting trick has a valid foundation. Instead of counting during a stressful situation, you might pause, take a few deep breaths, or simply wait a couple of seconds, and remind yourself that everything will be fine. If you need a few more deep breaths, take them. The point is to allow yourself time to pause without overreacting. Then, you can come back to the situation with a clear head and a renewed spirit.

Instead of counting during a stressful situation, you might pause, take a few deep breaths, or simply wait a couple of seconds, and remind yourself that everything will be fine...Then, you can come back to the situation with a clear head and a renewed spirit.

SMILE WIDE

Ellie Kemper plays Kimmy with a near-constant grin the width of her face. Her signature beam makes Kimmy stand out as a uniquely optimistic character in a (television) world full of Frank Underwoods and Jon Snows. But smiling isn’t just good for your attitude—though Kimmy shows that it helps. It’s been proven that smiling actually improves your health and your happiness, as well.

Follow Kimmy’s lead and smile on, because making our health and our happiness a priority—with this very simple tip—will help us approach most any situation with optimism, too.

LEARN THE LESSON

Kimmy learns a lesson after every episode of the show: Whether it’s to stop doing things just because a man tells her to (“Kimmy Rides a Bike!”) or to focus on fixing herself on the inside rather than the outside (“Kimmy Goes to The Doctor”), Kimmy is always able to focus on the positive lesson in a situation rather than harping on her mistakes. Forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes, and learning life’s many lessons is a key universal takeaway from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and one that is guaranteed to leave you more optimistic about life—even when it gets hard.

* * *

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that’s never been more true than it is for Kimmy Schmidt. So today, take a second to breathe, smile, and learn from your mistakes. If Kimmy can make it through everything life has dealt her, then you can make it through life, too. Just ask yourself: what would Kimmy Schmidt do?

Photo: Netflix