Wellness. It’s all the rage these days, no? Articles discussing the importance of self-care to pieces explaining what self-care actually is are everywhere right now. And understandably so. 2017 was a rough year for anyone with a conscious, so it only makes sense that we’re all scrambling to try and finds ways to make sure we’re taking care of our bodies, souls, and minds.
But it’s hard. After all, if it were easy, we wouldn’t have to be constantly scouring the web for solutions to help us figure it out how to properly do a downward facing dog or how to decrease the negative energy in our life or how to brew tea for maximum health benefits.
But this got me thinking. With all the advice that’s out there, it’s tough to try and implement it all at once. We’re not all going to magically become yogis who exude a sense of calm that would make a monk jealous the first time we say, Om.
Instead, we should start small.
This is where this one-week wellness challenge comes in! It’s comprised of seven steps, if you will, to help you feel more balanced and healthy. Some are passive, such as deleting apps from your phone for the week. Some will take 15 minutes. Some will be really difficult. But it’s only one week, one week that will be good for your mind, body, and soul, helping you kickstart 2018 with a clear mind.
So, without further ado, here are your seven challenges for your wellness week:
Challenge 1: Delete all social media apps from your phone for the week. No, not just turn off the notifications. Remove them all. It’s going to be super tough at first. You’re going to go and check Snapchat and realize it’s not there. But soon, you’ll get used to it. You’ll stop opening your phone because there really won’t be anything to check. In turn, you’ll be much more present and in the moment. Life is far more enjoyable that way.
Challenge 2: Learn to cook one new, healthy meal. When we’re stressed out, it’s so easy to want to have something delivered, particularly something of the comfort food variety. Instead, hop on Pinterest and find a healthy meal to cook that isn’t too difficult to make. Maybe even make enough to have leftovers so you don’t have to worry about cooking for a few days! You’ll save money, be filling your body with nutrients, and overall feel more in control.
Challenge 3: Replace your vice with something positive. Maybe you like to binge-watch Netflix after a tough day at the office. Try replacing that with reading or exercise. Maybe your vice is coffee. Try tea! For this step, you can tailor to your own lifestyle and habits, but it’s going to take some preparation and self-reflection for this one. You’re going to acknowledge what you’re numbing yourself with and face the facts that it may not be so good for you.
Challenge 4: Journal every evening. The benefits of journaling have been well documented. Even if you’re not a writer, journaling can help you face problems with more clarity, help you self-reflect, and it’s also just a cool way to document your life. You can look back years later and see what your life was like at 22, or how you’ve grown in the past six months. And to be clear, you don’t have to write 17 pages or anything crazy. Simply put a timer on for 15 minutes and just write down what’s on your mind. Ryan Holiday has some great tips for making journaling a habit.
Challenge 5: Find time to be active every day. Exercise is good for you. You know this, I know this, we all know this. But with busy schedules, it’s hard to find the willpower and time to go to the gym. And you don’t have to every day. A brisk walk or run, doing bodyweight exercises from your living room, and even turning to YouTube for some free workout videos are great ways to squeeze in some physical activity.
Challenge 6: Practice mindful drinking. If you’re someone who likes to drink, this one is for you. A lot of wellness articles say to cut out alcohol, but for a lot of us, that just isn’t realistic. Instead, try and practice mindful drinking. The theory behind it is that if you’re consciously consuming your wine, taking slow and deliberate sips so you’re really tasting and experiencing it, you’re less likely to go overboard and wake up needing 13 Advil and a new identity after hitting on the bartender shamelessly all night (yes, hi, I did this). With a clearer head because of lack of hangover and a clearer conscious because of lack of doing stupid shit, you can still drink socially, enjoy your wine, and feel productive and healthy the next day.
Challenge 7: Prioritize sleep. I know. We’ve all heard how important sleep is. However, sleep should be your number one priority above all else this week. When we’re struggling to take care of ourselves, sleep often goes on the backburner. We live in a culture of do more, sleep less, and this hurts us on every level of our life. So on Saturday night when your friend is pestering you to stay out for just “one more drink” or on Sunday morning when you want to get super early for whatever reason, stop. Unless it’s absolutely dire for you to be up at six a.m., let your body rest. Sleep in. And be prepared to say “No thanks” to your friend. Because you and I both know that it’s never just one more drink anyway.