Seven weeks ago, I wondered, What happens when a Millennial does a self-care challenge? As a member of the Me Me Me Generation (thanks, TIME), I thought it only made sense to find out for myself. So, I committed to taking the Brit + Co 21-Day Self-Care Challenge.
After two days, I had my answer. She quits. I know, I know. What a Gen Y thing to do. I’ve been mulling over how to explain the implosion, feeling bad about letting down the two people who were reading the series (hey, Sav & Kate). So, here’s the scoop.
It was a nice run. Well, sprint, I guess. I tried something new, took a vacation, and held an internal debate. But from the start, the self-care challenge and I were singing different tunes. Some of the tactics didn’t jive well with my aim to get calm, recharge, and learn something. Splurge on a fancy dinner? Cool, spending a ton of money isn’t stressful at all. Shopping just because? Yeah, trying on clothes is always an uplifting experience. Other tactics were old news: take a walk, read a book, see a friend. With nothing revolutionary, the challenge felt like a distraction. And yet, I chose to do it anyway because it promised a better mindset.
Well, the challenge didn’t chill me out. I was stressed thinking about doing things that didn’t align with my goals. I realized, Maybe I don’t need new ways to take care of myself. Maybe I need to get better at what I already do. So, I quit the self-care challenge and refocused on four things I dig. Then, something cool happened…
4 Oldies but Goodies of Self-Care
Here’s what works in Court’s world of self-care. What works for you? Leave a comment below.
1. Get quiet.
I KNOW. WE GET IT. MEDITATE. Meditation, the act of focusing your attention, has an obnoxious number of health benefits. Stress reduction, enhanced self-awareness, and a stronger attention span are just a few. Over the past six years, I’ve dabbled with a few types: body scans, breath awareness, mindfulness walks, and transcendental meditation. If you’re thinking about getting started with meditation, I recommend all four. If you’re hesitant about starting, consider this. I feel the benefits immediately after meditating. Over the long term, even with debatable consistency, I have a greater awareness of emotions as they arise. That helps me respond, rather than react, to them.
2. Give back.
The warm, fuzzy feeling of helping someone is a great recharger. Science says that volunteering enhances mental and physical well-being. Here are some of my favorite ways to give back.
- Shop for a family’s holiday dinner. Growing up, my family did this through our church. Check with your place of worship or local community centers to see if they offer a similar program.
- Make a no-sew fleece blanket for Project Linus. It collects and distributes the blankets to children in hospitals, shelters, and beyond.
- Send your used greeting cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. The ranch provides therapeutic residential treatment services to abused and neglected children,who use the cards as part of a life and work skills program.
- Cook for families staying in a Ronald McDonald House. RMH provides a comfy home environment for families with a child in the care of a partner hospital.
- Organize donations at a food bank. This one is good for groups and my Type A pals who dig organization.
3. Grab health by the horns.
Whatever “healthy” looks like to you, actively aim for it every day. Planning workouts and meals in advance is key for me. What’s as important is forgiving yourself when you slip up.
4. Get rid of stuff.
I think you can create new opportunities for joy, growth, and self-care by making physical and mental space for them. To create this space, keep what serves you and remove what doesn’t. By day two of the self-care challenge, I realized it wasn’t serving me. So, I got rid of it. Now comes the cool part. Here’s what happened in the weeks that followed:
- I discovered a long-term opportunity to give back by joining a volunteer board that supports a cause that’s near and dear.
- I found a chef on Instagram (thanks, creepy algorithm) whose food philosophy and books have helped me pursue eating in a new way.
- With a new approach to eating, I’ve gained more mental clarity and energy to take the mindfulness walks that help me get quiet.
So, what happens when a Millennial does a self-care challenge?
Yeah, I quit after two days. But with that decision came a stronger sense of self-care and new opportunities to practice it in ways that speak to me.
What’s the can’t-miss part of your self-care routine? Comment below!