Part 2/3: The 30-Day Self-Love Mental Health Challenge
Day 1: List 10 Things You're Grateful For
I took a course in college that was all about gratitude — mainly because I needed more credits and I thought it was just going to be a silly, simple class that would easily boost my GPA. And while it did turn out to be a lighthearted class (it’s gratitude after all), I actually learned a lot about the strong influence of gratitude on our mental well-being.
Expressing gratitude is an underrated practice that, at first, might make you feel embarrassed because let’s face it — it sounds a little cheesy. But it’s proven to be a super awesome exercise to implement in your life. Click here to check out my blog post all about gratitude.
Day 2: 60-Minute Digital Detox
It’s amazing that we live in a time where we can use social media as a tool to connect with loved ones and new communities.
But to what extent can we rely on the online world to get our socializing fix? It seems like we’re always online, but how productive are we actually being? How much mindless scrolling are you doing vs. seeking information? How dissatisfied do we feel with our lives after we’ve put down the phone?
That’s why we’re doing this challenge today. To just take a break from it all.
Read more about this challenge and the research behind social media use and mental well-being by clicking here.
Day 3: D.I.Y. Spa
I’ve always flowed in and out of being an introvert and extrovert, but these traits would play out in destructive ways because of my inability to listen to myself. My extroverted side would come out when I put it upon myself to please everyone around me. And my introvert side would come out when I got completely burnt out and as a result, used isolation to recuperate.
I know a lot of you reading this also feel the same way. Which is why this challenge is a small (and fun!) stepping stone towards learning how to listen to yourself by being in your own company.
Ok, but that seems like a heckuvalotta work. How the heck do we even start?! Well, don’t worry — I’ve got a whole post on this so definitely check it out.
Day 4: Reach Out to Someone You've Lost Touch With
This challenge is going to be a bit harder today and require some bravery on your part. But this wouldn’t be a challenge without some true challenges.
Some anxiety or nervousness might bubble up, but that’s the perfect time to push through these uncomfortable feelings and prove to yourself you can overcome hard thoughts.
The main goal of this day’s challenge is to remember to keep in touch with the people who add positivity to our lives and who have been, and still are, supportive of you. Life can move so quickly and our priorities and routines change as we get older. Sometimes that means leaving important friendships on the back burner.
Friendships are a lot of work to maintain and there’s always an excuse to reach out later because there are other tasks that need to get done “first.” But we can always pause to nourish that friendship if they’re important to us.
Read more here.
Day 5: What Gives You the Most Anxiety?
Most of us have one problem that’s in the back of our mind — the big, lingering issue that maybe we’ve pushed to the side because it’s difficult to face.
Today your challenge is to finally face that anxiety. You don’t necessarily have to fix it today — in fact, the thing that causes us the biggest anxiety is usually something we have to work on over time. But it’s important to take the step first and acknowledge it.
Then, we can rationalize this issue in our head a bit more and starting thinking about the steps we can take towards healing and solving the source of anxiety.
So, whip out your favorite notebook or open up a notes tab on your laptop (#ecofriendly) and write it through. Don’t hold back on all your fears and wishes. Hopefully this will jumpstart the motivation to face this anxiety head-on and make you realize that you can get through this.
Day 6: Cook a Dish You've Been Craving
Working on your mental health isn’t always so serious. It’s important to remember to have a little fun too so we remember the joys in life!
We just had a couple days of some deep thinking and reflection, so now it is that day for some light-hearted time in the kitchen.
I used to bake a lot and so this challenge is definitely getting me excited to get back to my experimental days in the kitchen. If you need some ideas on what to bake, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite dishes in this post.
Day 7: Write Someone a Thank You Note
It’s one thing to say a quick “thank you” to someone. It’s a whole other sentimental experience to spend a little bit of time to sit down and write a heartfelt thank you letter.
Take some time today to write at least one thank you letter to someone you’ve been meaning to express your gratitude towards. If you can write more than one, then definitely go for it.
I encourage you to also send it to that person — either digitally or physically. This is a totally underrated exercise that can be the key to making a relationship stronger.
Day 8: Choose a Positive Affirmation to Carry With You
Positive affirmations, according to Wikipedia (I’m sorry to all my teachers, but hear me out!), is a carefully formatted statement that promotes positive thinking and self-empowerment.
This is the important part: “They are in the present tense, positive, personal, and specific.”
Today’s challenge to choose a positive affirmation and pull it out whenever you’re feeling low. If you need help deciding on one, check out some of my favorites in this blog post.
Day 9: Work On or Brainstorm a New Hobby
Hobbies — whether it be jigsaw puzzling, painting, or baking the perfect sourdough — are great for our mental health, physical health, and social health.
There are so many hobbies to pick up and your hobbies are most likely going to differ from your S.O., friends, and family because we’re all interested in different things. Which, honestly, is the beauty of hobbies.
Why? Read more about it, along with some inspiration to help you get started in this blog post.
Day 10: De-Clutter for 30 Min.
Whether you’re a minimalist or simply want some more organization in your life, de-cluttering is a fantastic way to cure a place of its messiness. I’ve always felt like having a messy space affects my mental clarity — and it turns out there’s some science behind that! Check it out in this blog post.
Day 11: How Have You Grown in the Past 5 Years?
When we don’t take the time to reflect on our lives, we can forget just how much we’ve accomplished. It’s so easy to pinpoint moments in our lives where we could’ve worked harder, where we would’ve reacted differently if we knew better, where we should’ve treated another person better…
We’re so caught up on the “could’ve” “would’ve” “should’ve” without even looking at how we’ve grown from these challenges and how we’ve used these lessons to progress.
Read more about the importance of reflection in this blog post.
Day 12: Yoga or Stretching for 30 Minutes
Some physical exercise is a great way to get those endorphins going. And this can be as simple as some gentle stretching.
Check out the scientific proof on the benefits of yoga and stretching in this blog post.
Day 13: If Failure Wasn't a Factor, What Would You Do?
Failure is something we all deal with at every stage in our life. It can hinder us from doing the things we want to do. But just for a few minutes, take away the fear from your life. What would you do? What would you accomplish?
We dive more into how to overcome fear in this blog post.
Day 14: Plan a Fun Activity With a Friend
Why wait for a special occasion to make plans with a friend? Any day and any time is the perfect time to do something fun with friends. Plan a casual date with your best friend for the future — it keep you optimistic when you have something to look forward to.
Read more about the benefits of the friendships we make, no matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, in this blog post.
Day 15: Listen to Your Fave Music from High School
High school is arguably the most emotional stage of our lives and for most of us, music played a huge role in helping us cope with these feelings.
Yes, you might have some cringe-worthy songs on your playlist, but shed the shame and turn it up to an 11! Check out my own playlist in this blog post — and yes, there are definitely songs on there that make me groan “whyyy did I like this song?!”