Welcome Everyone to the ‘Put On Your Own Mask First’ / ‘Live Where Your Feet Are’ Challenge!
Being fully present with what we are doing in this very moment; not getting caught up in our minds worrying about the future or ruminating over the past; simply being with what is and letting it be whatever it is, without judgement.
Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as a “non-doing”; that when you practice mindfulness you move from doing to being. It’s concept is simple, but in practice it can be tricky.
Being mindful helps us to be aware of what is happening in our bodies, our minds, and the world around us. It helps us live more intentionally.
Mindfulness is a vital part of self-care; we can only give ourselves what we need if we are paying attention enough to know what that is.
Making self-care a priority in your life is no easy feat. This month will be challenging, but by being dedicated to trying the daily challenges and making this commitment to yourself for 30 days, I can guarantee you it will be worth it- and hopefully this will just be the start of a lifetime habit.
So huge congratulations everyone for making the commitment to take part in the #mymaskfirst challenge! The first act of self-care I want you all to do is take a moment right now to fully acknowledge how awesome it is that you are dedicating this month to YOU! (and if your inner bully comes out swinging, just notice this default reaction to self-care, and go back to patting yourself on the back!)
DAY 1 CHALLENGE: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall”
Remember when I said some of these may be difficult? Well, we’re diving in head first.. so brace yourself!
A big part of self-care relates to our feelings of self-worth and self-love. If we don’t feel worthy it’s going to be pretty difficult to continue dedicating time and effort to taking care of ourselves. To help with this, we are going to do mirror work!
Every time you look in the mirror today I want you to take a moment, make eye contact with yourself, and say “I love you ______”.
I will warn you, I’ve been doing this for awhile and it does feel awkward, fake, and silly. Just accept that, and keep doing it anyway.
I’m putting this challenge on Day 1 because it is something we will continue throughout the entire month. However, instead of doing it throughout every day, starting tomorrow try doing it once every morning (ex: in the bathroom mirror while getting ready in the morning).
P.S. It’s highly recommended that you put a sticky on the mirror to remind yourself, as it is conveniently very easy to “forget” to do this one (speaking from experience).
DAY 2 CHALLENGE: Give Yourself Some Credit
It’s easy to cut ourselves down when we don’t live up to our expectations, but even when we do we tend to shrug it off like it’s nothing.
For today’s challenge I want you to pick out 3 ways you made yourself proud today. And just to make this more interesting, you need to share this list someone or comment on our Facebook page. If you absolutely aren’t there, then read the list to yourself in the mirror “I’m proud of you for ______”.
Happy Day 2 of #mymaskfirst Everyone!
DAY 3 CHALLENGE: My Treat
Today I want you all to do 1 thing for yourself! Ask yourself, what is something that will make this day better? What is one thing that I will enjoy, that will make me smile? Is it a special dessert, watching a movie, taking time to read a book?
Have fun treating yourself!
DAY 4 CHALLENGE: Breathing and Planning
Today’s challenge is going to be two-fold. Firstly, we are going to bring some mindfulness into our day by practicing mindful breathing (see below for details). Secondly, I want you all to plan a few hours/a whole day/whatever you can possibly manage, and set it aside for just YOU. This time can be anywhere within the near future, whatever works for your life. Just make sure that whenever it is, it is planned, and it is a priority to keep it. That means marking it in the calendar, booking an appointment for yourself, making sure that that time is not forgotten or abandoned for something else. Pick what you want to do with your time, or at least start to brainstorm ideas. The most important thing today is that you set it aside and promise yourself that you will protect it like you would if it was an appointment with a specialist..for a loved one (see what I did there?).
I would love to hear what you all plan to do with YOUR time! Keep yourself accountable and share it with others in your life too. Add it to every calendar you have, in permanent marker. I’m not kidding.
Since the basis of living in the now is being fully present, we are going to start off with being fully present with our base- the breath.
Mindful breathing is a great base; it is something we can always come back to when we catch ourselves on auto pilot or caught up in our minds.
Mindful breathing is going to be a part of most of the challenges to come because it is naturally a part of being present with anything you are doing (since we are always breathing). This is why we are starting our month long challenge by practicing it.
So, at some point today, pause for a minute and try to take 5 mindful breaths.
Follow the breath as you inhale and exhale, feel your belly and chest expand. If your mind wanders that’s okay, just notice it and bring your attention back to your breath. Sometimes counting the breath helps keep your attention when starting out. If you already practice mindful breathing, I invite you to up the ante on how many breaths or how long you practice mindful breathing today.
DAY 5 CHALLENGE: Small Mindful Interruptions…with a self-soothing twist
Just as we did in the March challenge, today we will set three alarms on your phone for different times between now and tonight. Suggested alarm title “Where are my feet?”. When the alarm goes off, pause for a moment and ask yourself “Where are my feet”. Notice where your mind was – future, past, or right at your toes? If needed, bring yourself back to the present moment by acknowledging where you are in this moment (even if that means answering the question out loud).
Now for the twist.. Place a hand on your chest (skin to skin is best) and take a few mindful breaths. This is a wonderful way to self-soothe and calm your mind and body; I find myself using this move multiple times during the day. I invite you to do the same, it’s very soothing and grounding.
DAY 6 CHALLENGE: Absolute ‘No’ List
Today, I want you all to reflect on something you do in your life that gets in the way of your self-care. If your priority is going to be self-care, you are going to have to re-arrange the way you do particular things, or cut them out completely. I want you to start an ABSOLUTE NO list. These are things you will no longer do, for the purpose of protecting your self-care.
These can be big, like deciding to no longer spend time with depleting people, or it can be simpler thing, such as deciding that you will not do housework while the sun is shining (that’s my new one).
For today, you only need to pick one. However, I strongly encourage you to continue thinking of other ways you can enhance your well-being by stopping doing things you do now, and add to your list.
Good Luck! I’d love to hear what you decide to add to your list!
DAY 7 CHALLENGE: Forgive Yourself
Firstly, I’m sorry for posting this so late in the day! However, it has been the inspiration of today’s challenge. Forgiveness is an important part of self-compassion and self-care. Today, I want you to pick something to forgive yourself for. Is there something you didn’t get done, some way that you betrayed your self-care or your values?
Instead of continuing to beat yourself up, take a minute to accept that whatever it is happened, or didn’t happen. Acknowledge that you are human and you can’t do everything perfectly. Take a moment to have compassion for yourself. Tell yourself, “I forgive you” “This did/did not happen and that is okay”.
DAY 8 CHALLENGE: What Do I Feel Deprived Of?
Today I want you all to ask yourself, “What do I feel deprived of?” Be mindful of what your body and mind are telling you. It’s okay if you don’t find an answer right away. Simply sit still and ask yourself the question. It could be that you feel deprived of sleep, tribe time, creative time, alone time, fresh air, or a number of any other things.
If you find your answer, or multiple (which is likely), sit with the emotions it brings up. How does it feel to be deprived of this? If it’s possible to do something about it, like booking time to see tribe, or getting to bed earlier tonight, try your best to do that, today (even if it’s only making a plan today). If it’s something you can’t or aren’t ready to change, simply lean into the emotions and sit with how it makes you feel to be deprived of it. Awareness is an important step too, so don’t judge yourself for not being ready to do something about it.
DAY 9 CHALLENGE: Just one thing
Today, I want you to ask yourself “What is one thing I can do to make this better?”. Try this at least once, particularly when you are doing something you aren’t thrilled about doing. When you think of one, simple way you can improve your current situation, do it! Even if it takes a bit more effort or makes the task a bit longer – making the overall situation better for yourself will be worth it!
Some ideas: listening to music while washing dishes, treating yourself to a special coffee on a busy work day, dancing while getting ready in the morning, wearing comfortable clothing.
This concept can also be used to make good things even better; like making the effort to bring out comfortable blankets for sitting on the deck, lighting candles for your bath, or preparing a special snack to have while watching a movie. Make that extra effort for yourself!
Bonus points for asking this multiple times throughout your day and making many of your crummier moments a bit more enjoyable, and the good moments even better. You deserve your very best!
DAY 10 CHALLENGE:
When you’re practicing mindfulness
And you want to have a little fun
What do you do??
You brush your teeth, ch ch ch ch, ch ch ch ch
For today’s challenge we are going to try being present while brushing our teeth! To stay present try noticing the taste of the toothpaste, the feel of the bristles on your teeth and tongue, the process of moving your arm, the tension in your hand or jaw, and of course your steady breath underneath all of that.
If your mind wanders, as it often does in these daily routines, just notice it and bring your attention back to the sensations of brushing your teeth.
**This is a great time to do your mirror work too!!
DAY 11 CHALLENGE: Mindful Decision Making
Too often we base our decisions on how others will be affected without taking into consideration how we truly feel. Today, I invite you to make more mindful decisions for yourself. First, try to take your time before answering. If people want you to do something, tell them you will get back to them instead of answering right away. Think about how it will affect you if you decide to/not to do whatever it is. How do you feel about each choice?
One idea I swear by is asking myself “Would I still be saying yes if I knew no one would be upset/frustrated/annoyed if I said no?” If the answer is no, I try my best to go with that – even if it is very true that others ARE going to be upset. I invite you all to ask yourself this question whenever decisions come up in your life.
Every time we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to something else. Be mindful of the choices you are making; whatever you decide, try to be aware of what you are choosing between and what your decision reflects as your priority in that moment.
DAY 12 CHALLENGE: Slow Down
Today, every time you notice yourself rushing; eating, walking, doing chores, shopping, commuting – pause and take a mindful breath. When you continue on, try to do so at a slower pace. Go slower than what feels normal. Take in your surroundings and stay with your breath. The more you slow down in your daily life, the more space you create for yourself to simply be, and the more peace and calm you will find.
DAY 13 CHALLENGE: Find Your Mantra
Today I want you all to find a quote or mantra that you find inspiring and keep a copy posted somewhere you will see every day. Your mantra should be a phrase you find meaningful and inspiring. It will make you feel stronger. You can find one by searching the web, books, or creating one yourself. It can be simple or complex. One that I go to a lot is “I’ve got this” (and thanks to one of my awesome tribe members I get to actually wear it). I also really like “I am whole”, “I am enough”, “All I need is within me”, “Be. Here. Now.”, “Just keep swimming”, and “This too shall pass”. Today focus on finding one that meets your needs today, but bonus points for finding a few that speak to your different needs so you have a few to call on from day to day.
Good luck and please share yours below!
DAY 14 CHALLENGE: Practicing mindfulness today is going to be a cup of tea!
When you sit down with your morning coffee (or tea) take a minute to hold it in your hands before taking a sip. Take 2 mindful breaths. What does it smell like? How warm is it on your hands? Stay present while you start sipping slowly. What does it taste like? Try being mindful for 5 sips! If your mind wanders bring your attention back to your senses (smell, taste) or your breath.
Of course this exercise can be done at any time of the day and with any beverage you prefer (like enjoying a cold drink in the sun), so no worries if you miss your opportunity in the AM.
DAY 15 CHALLENGE: Satisfy your Cravings
Today, I want you all to ask yourselves “What am I craving?”. Similar to the “what do I feel deprived of” question we want to get ourselves used to being in tune with our needs and responding to them. Are you craving more fun in your day, sleep, creativity, time with friends, alone time, a good homemade meal? Simply ask the question and be open to what comes up. If you find an answer, try your best to prioritize satisfying those cravings! If it’s impossible to do that today, come up with a plan on how you can make it happen in the near future.