Want to make 2020 your year? Then a 30-day self-care challenge might help kick things off to a good start.
Self care is the idea of putting your own personal mental, physical, and spiritual health first by practicing habits designed to help improve your daily routines and overall well-being.1
While not a novel concept, self care is certainly a phenomenon that’s a buzzword of the current generation. It’s estimated that people today spend twice as much than their parents did on expenses typically aligned with self care, like coaching programs, meditation and productivity apps, and even meal preparation, valuing the so-called self care industry at $10 billion.2
Some people believe self care should be about doing more to reach your potential. Others feel it’s about doing less in order to recuperate from the toxicity of the daily grind. This makes it so easy to get overwhelmed when faced with the many (often conflicting) ideas about self-care. So here’s a 30-day challenge to bring it back down to the basics and help you get on the right track.
Why Practice Self-Care? The Potential Benefits
Self care is mistakenly attributed to being selfish — but in fact, it’s entirely the opposite. Prioritizing your own health and happiness might help give you more energy and put you in the right mental space to be more for others.3
When you intentionally practice self-care strategies and spend more time and money working on yourself, you’re opening yourself up to several potential benefits. Practicing self care may:
- Help you relax and decompress, offering a respite and counterbalance to stressful times;
- Help you achieve your health and wellness goals since you’re actively pursuing them in the interest of self care;
- Allow you some time alone to process your thoughts and feelings;
- Give you the chance to fill your own cup, helping you avoid potential feelings of exhaustion and emptiness4
How A 30-Day Challenge May Help
It takes some time to form new habits and let them stick. By committing to a full 30 days of prioritizing self care, you have a good span of time to incorporate tasks and habits that will benefit you in the long term. Here’s a good way to approach this challenge.
Give Yourself The Benefit Of Trial And Error
Self care is about finding the balance between motivating yourself and forgiving yourself for any failures. Sure, you might want to commit to a challenging new workout routine… but you might also need time to binge TV shows all day while enjoying some wine.5
A month-long challenge could be just enough time to spend to let you fine-tune what self care truly means to you.
Rethink Old Habits And Behavior Patterns
Prioritizing your mental and physical health through acts of self care (like journaling, meditating, or practicing enriching hobbies both old and new) might help you assess how you respond to stress or negative experiences. Sometimes, it helps to take a step back and clear your thoughts so you can see the areas of your life that might need a little work.6
Rediscover Your Self-Worth
By focusing your goals around the concept of self-care, you’ll be able to celebrate yourself. Doing so may allow you to:
- Assess your strengths (and weaknesses)
- Give yourself some figurative pats on the back for how you’ve handled past life challenges
- Practice gratitude for who and what you have in your life1
Ways To Approach A 30-Day Self Care Challenge
There are a few approaches to completing a 30-day challenge. You could opt to sit down and make a to-do list of tasks or habits you need to faithfully observe for a full month. You could also commit to one or two major acts of self-care (for example, fixing your finances by analyzing your spending and figuring out ways to save more money).
Here are some ideas for acts of self-care you could try in order to improve your mental and physical health, so you’re feeling great from inside and out.
Self Care Challenge For Mental Health: Positive Affirmations, A Gratitude Journal, and Other Ideas
The mental health aspect of your self-care challenge should aim to help you de-stress and calm your mind, center yourself, and be more in touch with your own thoughts and feelings. Consider adding a couple of these self-care ideas. Find the ones you think might suit you best, and incorporate them into your routine for one month.
- Recite some positive affirmations and mantras as part of your morning routine.
- Write entries in a gratitude journal, or keep a running “gratitude list.”
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
- Spend a few minutes each day on a personal project or hobby that relaxes you.
- Spend more time with your pets or volunteer at your local animal rescue.
- Diffuse soothing essential oils while writing, meditating, or spending quiet time on your own.
- Write Thank You notes to people you appreciate, like friends, teachers, or siblings who supported you through tough times.
- Try yoga. You can take a class or learn some poses at home.
- Draw a warm bath and enjoy a good long soak while you listen to music or read.
- Log off of social media at a certain time each night (or monitor your usage).
Self Care Challenge For Physical Health: Meal Planning, A Good Exercise Routine, And More
Taking care of your physical health means not only addressing how you look but also how you feel. Your body is the way you’re able to be present and interact with the world, so you must care for it and put it first. Here’s how you can practice physical self-care:
- Practice good hygiene.
- Visit the doctor for regular check-ups.
- Commit to a regular exercise routine you actually enjoy doing.
- Practice meal planning and preparation so you’re eating healthy, wholesome foods.
- Have a weekly massage or learn self-massage and stretching techniques.
- Master some breathing exercises for deep relaxation.
- Take a long walk or a hike and spend more time in nature.
Beauty Self Care Challenge: Feel Good Inside And Out
Contrary to what many people might think, investing time and resources on beauty and skincare isn’t frivolous at all. In fact, research shows taking the time to commit to a beauty routine as an act of self care can help your long-term well-being and mental health.8 Try these simple steps that can get you feeling great while looking just as good:
- Invest in oral health by maintaining regular dentist appointments.
- Visit your trusted dermatologist to have your skin evaluated and to see how your skincare needs have changed.
- Invest in quality skincare and solidify your AM and PM routines.
- Put on a face mask while you watch an episode of your favorite TV show.
- Start a weekly makeup brush deep cleansing ritual.
- Try a trendy new shade of polish at your weekly manicure/pedicure.
- Gift yourself a spa day every so often.
Self Care Starts With You
As you can see, there are lots of ways to truly put yourself first. Start with the ones that make the most sense given your current situation and capabilities. Remember, it’s all about intention before execution — bear in mind that people are always reminded to put their own oxygen mask on before helping others. In the same light, you should always put your own mental and physical health above others in order to both feel and do good.