As summer approaches and restrictions are lifted, your day-to-day stress may also be easing up. Or maybe things seem to be more stressful than ever. Whatever your situation, taking a small amount of time to focus on your mental and physical health is essential to your well-being. Each day for a week, we have one small challenge for you to implement in your life to move you toward greater wellness.
Day 1: Cultivate a Positive Mindset
As you go through your day, you may experience negative thoughts and feelings. Try to reframe those thoughts as a positive rather than a negative. A positive mindset goes a long way in your mental health and wellness!
For example, you may have woken up later this morning than you wanted to. Instead of thinking, “Ugh…I woke up late again,” you can tell yourself, “My body got the extra sleep it needed!”
You can do this for everything that happens in your day. Try to keep the positivity going for the next seven days. Check your mood at the end of the day/week; by focusing on a positive mindset, your energy will be up, and your outlook on life will improve!
Day 2: Hydrate First (Good Morning, Water)
Hydration is vitally important. Insufficient hydration can lead to many symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and achy joints.
As we move into summer, you may be spending more time outside gardening, taking your kids to the playground, or getting back to regular workouts. All of these things require hydration!
So today (and every day for the rest of this week), start your morning with a glass of water (a full 8-12 oz) and see the difference it makes throughout the morning.
Day 3: Stand up and Move
Raise your hand if you find yourself sitting for hours at a time while working, watching TV, or being on a device? Try standing up and moving around at least once per hour throughout the day today.
Sitting down for hours at a time tightens your hip flexors while over-stretching your hamstrings. This imbalance can cause low back pain, and the pain can travel up your back to the mid-back and neck. So do your back a favor and make sure to take standing breaks!
Standing up every hour also allows you to get your blood moving a little, focus your eyes away from screens, and help you be more productive because you know that you have to get up soon.
Day 4: Sleep Comes First (Prioritize Sleep)
How can you prioritize sleep?
First, make sure you’re implementing a healthy bedtime routine. This routine can include doing something that helps you wind down and relax, such as reading a book or taking a shower or bath. If you do the same routine every night, it will become a habit and begin to send a signal to your body that it’s time to relax and sleep.
Second, avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed. Screen time activates your brain, and an activated brain cannot get the rest it needs. Your brain needs time and space to calm down before sleep.
Third, make sure you are getting the amount of sleep that you need. For some people, 7-8 hours is enough sleep, while others need 9+ hours. If your fitness tracker tracks sleep, use it to help you learn what works for you and go to bed earlier if you need to.
Prioritize your sleep every day because it is vital to your body and wellness!
Day 5: Steps, Steps, and More Steps (Add More Steps to Your Day)
If you go to the store today, park in a space farther away from the door. If you go for a walk today, take a longer route. If you are at work or in a building with stairs today, take the stairs instead of an elevator. These suggestions are simple ways to add more steps to your total each day.
Think about your typical day and look for places to add more steps. At the end of each day, your body will thank you for keeping it in motion!
Day 6: Get a Daily Dose of Sunlight
Here comes the sun. It will provide your body with a natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, cancer prevention, and the prevention of several other major chronic conditions.
Vitamin D becomes increasingly important with age, yet we tend to get less and less of it in our diets as we enter menopause. Low vitamin D can cause a weak immune system, depression, hair loss, and fatigue.
Some ways to boost your vitamin D naturally: get about 20 minutes of sunshine and consume foods such as salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk, and eggs. One final perk of getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D: it has been shown to elevate your mood and increase cognitive performance. Who wouldn’t want that?
Day 7: Be Grateful (Practice Gratitude)
End your 7 Day Wellness Challenge with GRATITUDE. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
Gratitude puts your mind in a state of peace, joy, and abundance—all of which allow you to be happier and feel better about life.
It’s no secret that the past year has been filled with a lot of hardship and stress for many people. Actively focusing your thoughts on gratitude can help mitigate some of the stress.
At some point today, make a list of 10 things you are thankful for. They can be specific things or broad things. This practice is not time-consuming, and studies show that it has emotional and interpersonal benefits.1
Once you finish your week, note how you feel and reflect on where your thoughts were when you started. Log it in your journal and maybe… begin again. Missed a day, it’s ok, you can always start the next day. It is called a challenge for a reason. There are so many ways we can shift our mental and physical health, in addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, movement, meditation, sleep, and downtime all play a crucial part in our overall well-being. We hope this challenge helps to create new habits that you can practice daily.