By Carol Phillips
Focusing on our health and wellness can sometimes be overwhelming in our busy lives. We receive advice from multiple sources regarding staying physically active, eating healthy, reducing stress, and going to the doctor, to name just a few. Too often, people feel as though they’re not doing a good job, even when they are. Stress management experts advise us to avoid multi-tasking, but staying healthy can seem like a full-time job!
If you’re frustrated with feeling unorganized or overwhelmed with your current wellness plan, or you simply need a new focus, here’s a 14-day wellness challenge, designed to keep you making good decisions while simplifying your efforts. Small, simple changes can lead to significantly improved health!
For two weeks, you’ll spend each day focusing on a specific and separate area of wellness. Each morning, check out the topic for the day and ask yourself the following questions: What do I currently do to incorporate this into my life? Am I doing a good job or do I need to make some small, positive changes? Then, before the end of the day, take action to accomplish that specific daily goal.
Is this a challenge you’d like to do alone? You could also invite family members to take the challenge together or invite co-workers to get on board!
Here are your daily topics and why they play an important role in your life:
Day 1: Start the day with a positive thought. When we focus on the positive, we are more likely to make healthier choices, instead of self-defeating ones.
Day 2: Breathe. Notice when you’re stressed and breathing shallowly. Take a deep breath to calm down and restore oxygen to all cells in your body.
Day 3: Sit up straight. Your posture is the core of good physical health. Become aware of all the times you slouch or lean to the side when sitting or standing.
Day 4: Cardiovascular exercise. Your body was designed to move. Get your heart rate up with your favorite activity. The mental and physical benefits are countless!
Day 5: Strength training. Challenge your muscles with an activity to keep muscles and bones strong. Strong muscles burn more calories, even at rest!
Day 6: Balance. Choose an activity that works your balance to reduce your risk of falls and injuries.
Day 7: Stretch. Discover the areas of your body that are too tight and stretch to loosen those muscles in order to move properly. Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds.
Day 8: Nutrition: Forget dieting and depriving yourself. Focus instead on eating more of the healthy foods you love and prepare a new healthy recipe.
Day 9: Detox your environment. What are the ingredients in the personal care and cleaning products you use? Are there healthier products you can choose?
Day 10: Meditate. Give your brain a break, even if you spend just one minute reminding your mind to unwind.
Day 11: Quality sleep. Eliminate distractions that get in the way of enjoying a healthy night’s sleep. Discover how many hours of sleep are best for you.
Day 12: Be kind to yourself. Learning to be your own best friend is an important part of bringing a sense of calm and wellbeing to mind and body.
Day 13: Be kind to others. Practice a random act of kindness to make someone else’s day easier. We’re all connected and your compassionate efforts will come back to you.
Day 14: Have fun! There’s a child in each of us that wants to have fun and laugh. Make time for activities you enjoy while also finding humor in the simplest moments. Lighten up!
After completing the 14-day challenge, continue these good habits by choosing a new focus each day, based on what you discover is needed in your life to remain healthy and happy. Remember to end each day by giving yourself kudos for the efforts you make. You’ll end the day on a positive note and set yourself up for continued success!
Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol on WTPL-FM. Her company, Health Design, specializes in wellness seminars and safety training, including onsite CPR and First Aid classes. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at www.HealthDesignNH.com.