Welcome to the seven-day self-care wellness challenge! In honor of World Mental Health Day, we wanted to challenge all of you (ourselves included) to one small thing we can do each day for our health and happiness. We’re keeping it simple — we know you’ve got a lot on your plate, and this year has been draining. These tips are free, easy, and won’t take more than 15 minutes (unless you want them to!).
Our minds and bodies are so connected — mental and physical health are truly one in the same — so to keep ourselves in peak, glowing, joyful form, we’re going to focus on physical and mental work. Think: mindfulness, nutrition, exercise. Are you ready?
7-Day Self-Care Challenge (15 Minutes or Less Each Day)
Day 1: Meditate For Five Minutes
Just five minutes! We know meditation seems daunting, even if you’re past the beginner stage (it’s hard!!). But breaking it into this bite-sized chunk will give yourself a confidence boost to get the week started.
Build on this practice by making it a habit: keep it short, sweet, and consistent. Think of it like mastering your form before adding more weight to your heavy lifting routine, or before going into the advanced version of the exercise.
Baby steps — build form, enhance focus, feel strong — then grow from there.
To get started, try a FitOn meditation here.
Day 2: Make a Mood-Boosting Smoothie
Food is medicine. Raw cacao is a serious brain food; cocoa — aka chocolate —is known to be a major mood booster thanks to a high concentration of magnesium. Take a few minutes this morning to whip up this super simple, super delicious mood-boosting smoothie with cacao.
Chocolate Cookie Dough Mood-Boosting Smoothie
- 1.5 cups oat milk (or dairy-free milk of choice)
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
- 1 tbsp almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 homemade guilt-free cookie dough bites (see recipe below)
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Homemade Guilt-Free Cookie Dough Bites
Makes: 16 bites
- 2 cups oat flour
- 4 tbsp raw honey
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp raw cacao nibs
Add the oat flour, raw honey, and melted coconut oil to a large mixing bowl and mix well to combine.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well until it forms a cookie dough consistency.
Form into bite-sized bites and set in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer to the fridge until ready to enjoy.
Day 3: Gratitude Journal For 10 Minutes
We know you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s just so darn good for you. It wouldn’t be a seven-day self-care challenge if gratitude journaling didn’t make the list.
As one study put it, “Actively appreciating the experiences we engage within our daily lives appears to be a potent way for improving the quality of our social relationships, producing sustained improvements in psychological wellbeing and overall happiness.”
Gratitude journaling is a completely free practice that takes mere minutes to complete — all you need is a pen and paper. We suggest taking ten minutes to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for and writing them down (it can even be on a post-it note!). Try to write by hand — not only may it help your memory and give you a brain boost, but it could also be super therapeutic, according to science.
Day 4: Go For a Brisk Walk (Bonus Points For Finding a Space in Nature)
Whether it’s around your block, outside your office, in a local park, at the beach, or deep in nature, get that blood flowing and indulge in some sunshine and fresh air. Walking — like many moderate-intensity or low-intensity exercises — is a central part of a healthy, long life.
The bonuses of getting out into nature and getting some daylight are profound. Both on their own can have a significant impact on your mood and overall well being, so a daylight walk in nature is the trifecta.
Give yourself fifteen minutes if you’re short on time, or step it up and go for an hour if you have the means.
Day 5: Do Yoga For 15 Minutes
Yoga is one of the most mood-boosting workouts you can do, if not the best — and that’s according to science. You’d be hard-pressed to find a mental health specialist who wouldn’t recommend adding at least a little yoga to your regimen.
You may already know that research has proven — time and time again — the amazing benefits yoga has for both mind and body. Not only is it a significant tool for feelings of anxiety and general stress, but there are clinical benefits for the body as well.
So, as part of your one-week self-care challenge, give yourself fifteen minutes to try any of these at-home yoga flows (there are tons, but here are a few favorites!)
Day 6: Take an Afternoon Break
It’s so easy to get so caught up in work and to-dos that you end up in the zone, sitting, or with frayed nerves for hours on end. If you’re working today, put a ‘meeting’ on your calendar and block yourself off as busy so you can take a pause.
Now here’s the fun part. This might sound a little wild, but … do nothing. Seriously, don’t do anything. The Dutch call this “Niksen” and it’s apparently what makes them some of the happiest people on earth. See how happy doing absolutely nothing from five to 15 minutes in the afternoon can make you, too.
Day 7: Go Tech-Free
OK, so this one is *technically* more than 15 minutes — but it doesn’t take any time to actually perform. You’re just leaving your phone on the charger, in a drawer, or wherever it is safe, out of sight, and out of mind.
We highly recommend a digital detox, even if it’s just a few hours of your day (but the longer, the better!). It gives your brain a chance to reset and time to tune into your body and thoughts; to listen to what you need, to take a deep breath.
It might be hard at first, but the benefits are incredible. We know that heavy social media use has been correlated with depression and anxiety; a 2018 study proved the inverse is true, too — reducing social media use led to less depression (tech use also negatively impacts sleep, which in turn impacts mental health).
For this 7-day self-care challenge, you can keep it to 15 minutes, but try to challenge yourself on this final day to go beyond for your wellbeing. You won’t regret it.
Take Time For You
You can totally tweak this list to meet your needs, but above all: take some time for yourself. Your health and wellbeing is the most important priority; as the adage goes, “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” With that in mind, cheers to an empowering week of health, wellness, and happiness.