DAY 16 CHALLENGE: Changing your Inner Dialogue
All day today talk to yourself like you would a friend. When you hear judgement in your thoughts, tell that bully that they can have the day off, and respond with love and compassion instead. To make sure you don’t forget at times when the inner bully is on auto response, try to talk to yourself throughout the entire day. Give yourself praise for completing little tasks, acknowledge how you feel, give yourself encouragement to tackle what’s next..Just keep talking to yourself all day long. If you are finding it difficult to be nice, just keep imagining that you are responding to a friend who has come to you for comfort or understanding. Imagine what you would say to them, what tone of voice you would use, what gesture you might extend (a great self-soother is placing your hand on your chest).
I wonder what difference it will make to our days if we replace the Inner Bully with a Friend..
DAY 17 CHALLENGE: Identifying “Thinking” or “Feeling”
Throughout the day today, when you notice you have been distracted away from the present moment, identify whether you were distracted by “thinking” or “feeling”. Once you do this, mindfully bring your attention back to the present by focusing on your breath or answering “Where are my feet?” and paying attention to your surroundings.
This practice will help you become aware of what tends to drag you away from the present and how often it happens. The more you practice identifying when and what is taking you away, the quicker you will get at noticing and bringing yourself back.
If you need a visual to remind yourself to complete this challenge; I recommend a sticky with “Where are your feet?” or “Thinking? Feeling?”.
DAY 18 CHALLENGE: Just say Ohm
Today I want you all to try a guided meditation that focuses on compassion and/or loving kindness. You can find one here http://www.inspiredlivingmedical.com/meditations-page/ (under compassion based meditations), or feel free to use one of your own.
This type of meditation will help us extend more compassion and loving kindness toward ourselves, a very important part of self-care.
DAY 19 CHALLENGE: Walk Away the Week
Today while you are walking, be it simply down the hall of your office or a leisurely stroll outside, try walking mindfully. Feel the pressure move from the back to the front of each foot as it hits the ground. Notice the rhythm of the motion, feel your breath, feel the movement of your legs, feet, and arms. If your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to the feel of your feet on the ground.
DAY 20 CHALLENGE: Declutter and create more calm
Today, I want you to pick something small to sort through and organize. Your purse, wallet, bedroom table, car console, anything you feel could stand to be less chaotic and is small enough to be doable in the time you have today (so don’t pick something like “the office”).
Good luck creating more calm!
DAY 21 CHALLENGE: A Calming Face Palm
Today I want you all to place your palm on your forehead (in between your eyes) and take a mindful breath. This is an area where we carry a lot of tension, often tightening those muscles, frowning, etc, without even noticing. This happens at times when we are stressed, but also seems to happen throughout our days that are not particularly stressful too. It’s an area where we don’t often think to relax. I find taking moments throughout the day to pause, put my hand on my forehead (and thereby relaxing those muscles) while taking a few mindful breaths, help me to relax and come back to the present moment more grounded and calm. I have also found it helpful in reducing tension headaches too!
DAY 22 CHALLENGE: The Aim of Life is to Live It
Today I want you all to make a list of whatever it is that comes to mind when you read the quote above. Sit with it for a few moments and write down anything that pops up (no matter how illogical or unrealistic they seem). After your ideas are compiled reflect on what value they would serve (creativity, health, tribe, growth, etc), why you haven’t pursued them already, and what it would add to your life if you made them happen. Is there one that particularly jumps out at you? Can you make a plan to make it a reality?
DAY 23 CHALLENGE: Transforming the Waiting Game
Whenever you find yourself waiting today (in an elevator, in line at the grocery store, sitting in a waiting room, waiting at a red light) resist pulling out your phone or getting frustrated with the time you are “wasting” and notice the peace that exists in that moment. For now you have nothing to do but be present in the moment. Follow your breath and use your senses to take in your surroundings. If you get distracted with thinking gently bring yourself back to the present.
DAY 24 CHALLENGE: Fresh Air
Today I challenge you to take 10 mindful breaths of fresh air. This can mean standing outside or in front of an open window. Wherever you go to get your fresh air, stand still, close your eyes (if you like) and take 10 mindful breaths. Try to stay present with the entire inhale and exhale. Feel your ribs move in and out. Smell the fresh air, and notice the feeling of the air on your face. If you find it hard to stay present with your breath, count the breaths (1 on inhale, 2 on exhale).
DAY 25 CHALLENGE: Making A Habit Of It
Today I want you all to choose something you can and will do for your self-care every single day (even after the #mymaskfirst challenge is over). Plan what you will do and when you will do it. One idea could be taking 15 minutes before bed every night for yourself (you may want to vary what you do during the time, but you are dedicating that time to something self-care). Other ideas could be eating a healthy breakfast, listening to music in the morning, or setting aside time every day to read.
I’m making a habit of doing a self-compassion meditation before bed every night. I’d love to hear what you decide to do!
P.S. This is a friendly reminder to keep up the mirror work (or start again ;))!
DAY 26 CHALLENGE: Change Your Filter
Gratitude is helpful for our self-care because it helps us change our filter. Practicing identifying things to be grateful for everyday helps us train ourselves to look for positives and increases our happiness.
I would like you all to identify 3 things you are grateful for today. If you are up for the challenge try to make this a daily practice. Research shows that if we do this for 21 days straight it will rewire your brain to scan the world for the positive. Let’s change our filter and get the Happiness Advantage!
DAY 27 CHALLENGE: Identifying Obstacles
So it’s been 26 days that we have been focusing on self-care and I’d like us to take time today to clearly identify all the obstacles in our lives (and heads) that hinder our success in making self-care a priority. Even if we don’t know what to do about the obstacles, being aware of them is powerful and within awareness lies the key of how to overcome them. So today I’d like you all to reflect on what has come up over the last 26 days, and make a list of the obstacles you have experienced. I’d also like you to include any ideas that come up when you think of carrying on with self-care after this month (“This may have been fine for a month, but there’s no way I can continue to prioritize self-care because _____”).
Once you are more aware of the obstacles, you will see them more clearly for what they are when they come up, and this will help you push through and find a way around them, so you can continue to live your value of prioritizing self-care.
DAY 28 CHALLENGE: Being Present on our Pillow
When I climb into bed and am ready to fall asleep it seems my mind goes into overdrive. Lately I’ve been catching myself incessantly thinking when my head hits the pillow and saying “Where are my feet”. I bring my attention back to the warmth of the blankets, the softness of the pillow, the purr of my cat, and anything else that is happening in that moment. On nights where I’m particularly worried I find myself needing to say this over and over.
Tonight I propose that we all try this technique. Instead of letting thoughts take us out of the moment when we are snuggled in our beds tonight; let’s try being present on the pillow. When you notice your mind has taken you away, gently bring your awareness back to your breath and your surroundings. Remember, thoughts will continue to happen, try to just observe them and let them pass, instead of following the thought wherever it wants to take you.
DAY 29 CHALLENGE: Are you getting what you need?
The whole idea behind self-care is ensuring we are getting our needs met. Today, I want you all to take a look at Dr. E.A. Wilson’s post about the five things that we all need http://www.inspiredlivingmedical.com/what-we-all-need/ and complete a report card to see how you are doing on all of those areas. Reflect on your scores and see what areas you need to focus on. For today you can simply complete your “report card” and reflect on the results.
DAY 30 CHALLENGE: Making a Promise
As we come to the end of our MyMaskFirst self-care month, I want you all to take some time to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. Take time and figure out how you will continue prioritizing self-care. Make a promise to yourself. Make it as small or big as you want, but make sure it’s one you can and will keep in your current reality. (Examples: “I promise to try to notice when the Inner Bully is beating you up, and when I notice I will try my best to replace it with compassion.” or “I promise to dedicate 15 minutes every night to spend alone with you”.) Once you figure out what promise you will make, find a mirror and say it out loud to yourself. It is also a good idea to write it down and keep it posted somewhere you will see it every day.
Huge Congratulations on completing the #MyMaskFirst Challenge! Make sure to pat yourself on the back!!