7 Challenges to Kick Start a Happier Healthier You for Fall
Being more mindful of your health doesn’t necessarily mean overhauling your entire diet or hitting the gym for an hour every day—there are a lot of little things you can do to help you feel like your happiest, healthiest self. Things like staying hydrated, getting in extra steps, trying new things and taking breaks are all important, and it all starts with challenging yourself to pay attention to them.
Here’s a week’s worth of mini wellness challenges to help you try or something new every day.
Day 1: Track Your Water Intake
Most of us don’t get enough water every day, but staying adequately hydrated is important for a lot of reasons—water helps with digestion, maintains your fluid and electrolyte balance, keeps you regular, and carries nutrients around your body, according to HuffPost. It’s important to drink water even when you’re not thirsty so you don’t get dehydrated, and that means getting at least 8 cups per day. If you’re not already tracking your water intake, take a day to make sure you get all eight cups and keep track throughout the day to see how it goes—it’s probably more challenging than you think!
Day 2: Try a New Fitness Class
You could just go to the gym and do your usual routine or get on the treadmill, but the point is to challenge yourself and try something new, so sign up for a new fitness class you’ve never tried before (ClassPass is great for this!). You might find a new workout that you absolutely love and can include in your routine from now on, or at the very least, you might learn something new about your body.
Day 3: Take Your Lunch Break Outside
If you most often eat lunch at your desk and work through what should be a much-needed break, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Taking a real break—especially if you can go outside or even get some walking in—can help you focus and be more productive, and it’ll help keep your energy levels up, too, according to Fast Company. If you can help it, don’t work through your lunch break and take your meal out of the office—if you work near a park, this is a great time to spend a little time soaking up the sun and fresh air, but if not, a nice walk through the neighborhood will do, too.
Day 4: Have a No Screens Night
Studies show that too much screen time (that includes your phone, computer, tablet and TV) before bed can negatively impact your sleep, both because of the blue light screens emit, and because it keeps your brain engaged when you should be winding down. Plus, spending the night in front of the TV keeps you sedentary. Challenge yourself (and your family, if applicable) to a no-screens night—no TV, no devices before bed—and find something screen-free to do. You might find that you sleep better, and it’ll give you an opportunity to find new ways to connect with people.
Day 5: Get 10,000 Steps In
A great way to be more mindful of your activity throughout the day? Start tracking your steps—especially if you work a job that keeps you mostly sedentary all day. The standard recommendation is 10,000 steps per day (though of course that number will differ depending on your needs). Some days when you’re particularly active that 10,000 is easy to achieve, but on a regular basis, it can be difficult. Spend a day actively tracking your steps aiming for that 10,000 goal—and don’t worry if you don’t have a fitness tracker, your smartphone likely has an option (iPhones have the built-in health app, for example).
Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health does, so along with tracking your water intake and activity, it’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling, too. Try challenging yourself to keep a mood journal for a day—are you feeling stressed? Write it down, and write what’s got you down. Feeling extra happy? Make a note of what got you there. Write down any mood changes you experience throughout the day and then reflect at the end of the day on what the highs and lows were. It’ll make you more mindful of how you’re feeling throughout the day. Apps like MoodPanda can help you keep track.
Day 7: Go for a Morning Walk
Sometimes what you need to jumpstart your day is a little activity and some outside time. Maybe you can’t fit in a full workout or make it to the gym before you start the rest of your day, but you can probably fit in a short walk, and that’ll likely help get your energy up for the day. No need to jog or push yourself to run, just get yourself moving—the results might surprise you.