I’m doing the 30 day stress awareness challenge and blogging about it. Check out the previous posts to see what’s happened so far.
This week I made samosas, drank plenty (of water) and much more…
Day 2 was a busy day for me, and usually that means stress, so today I found that the little reminder that the 30 day challenge gave me was very welcome.
The physical challenge for today was to follow a recipe that I’ve always wanted to try. This was a bit of a strange one for me, because usually as soon as I see a recipe I like the look of I’m straight in the kitchen. It took me a little while to realise that I’ve been talking about making samosas for nearly a year now, and never got around to actually getting out the rolling pin and giving it a go. I took some photos to add to the OutShout Instagram, so be sure to check them out.
The mental challenge for today was to try doing absolutely nothing. It turns out, this one was the most difficult for me. I’m a natural fidget, and I usually have my phone or laptop (or rolling pin!) to occupy me, so focusing on staying still for two minutes (I didn’t even try five or ten) definitely took some effort. It was enjoyable, but I’m not sure I’ll be adding it to my regular routine.
The emotional challenge for today was to think about all of the qualities I admire in those around me, and then challenge myself to tell them what I admire. This was a really great challenge, because it’s so rare that I actually take a moment to think about why I like and admire someone, and actually taking this time to tell them helped me to realise how lucky I am to have some very amazing people in my life. It resulted in a few compliments, too!
Day 3 was a Monday, and usually I end up slightly stressed on Mondays as I try and get back up to speed after the weekend. The challenges today were definitely the most beneficial so far, and I ended up having the best Monday I’ve had for a long time.
Today the physical challenge was all to do with hydration. This isn’t usually something I struggle with, but I have noticed that I don’t drink as much water as usual when I have a lot to do. I followed the tip from the challenge website and kept track of how much water I was drinking by using a water bottle with a measurement.
The task for mental well-being today was to relax into a good book, and I definitely don’t need telling twice! I got into my pyjamas early, made myself a hot drink and relaxed on the sofa with a Tolkein book. It was great, and it really helped me to relax at the end of the day.
For today’s emotional task I organised a picnic with friends. The suggestion was for a group call, but since we’re now allowed to meet in small groups outside I thought it would be lovely to sit in the sunshine and enjoy some snacks. Just organising this made me feel really positive, and I’m definitely looking forward to it!
All in all, day 3 was a great day for me and I definitely felt less stressed than I usually would on a Monday.
The start of day 4 felt great after all of the relaxation, hydration and positivity of yesterday. I was really looking forward to seeing what today’s challenges would bring, and I was already noticing the benefits.
Today’s physical challenge was all to do with sleep hygiene. I’m definitely guilty of forming bad sleeping habits when I don’t keep an eye on myself, so I decided to download a sleep hygiene app tp help me learn more about my sleep patterns. I haven’t used it yet, but it feels good to have a plan for sorting out my sleep. We’ll see how it goes!
I did struggle with today’s mental challenge, because today the task was all to do with Mindfulness, which is something I’ve never really done well with. I decided to stay simple and follow the suggestion to try mindful breathing. This was definitely the right choice for me, and taking a few minutes out of my day to focus on my breathing definitely helped me feel more relaxed and in control.
I’m not sure how well I did with today’s emotional challenge. I’m usually pretty comfortable tuning in to my emotions, so I thought completing sentences such as “Today I feel…” and “I am looking forward to…” would be easy, but I really struggled. I don’t think I was as focused as I could have been, and I had a few things I needed to do that were time-sensitive, so when I tried to tune in my thoughts kept going back to the things I needed to do. I suppose that sometimes life can be a bit busy, and I’d definitely like to try this challenge again when I’m feeling a little more free.
Today the challenge was to get up and move! I feel really great after doing this, because I’m definitely known for being a bit on the lazy side when it comes to stretching out and fixing my posture. I had excellent posture for years thanks to multiple ballet classes per week, but recently I’ve noticed that without the dance classes my perfect posture has been slipping away, and I tend to shuffle around in a sort of hunch. It definitely felt great to stretch out some of my muscles and walk around with my head held high – I feel much more confident for some reason, and when I caught my reflection in a car window I was really pleased with what I saw.
Setting goals and making achievement plans is something we’re really familiar with here at OutShout, so today’s achievement plan task felt very familiar. One thing I wasn’t expecting – part of the challenge plan was to think about things you’re proud of from the year 2020, which I think was a year we’d rather all forget. I did realise though, that 2020 was the second ever year where I achieved my New Year’s Resolution – I read 52 new books by the start of 2021! I do genuinely feel proud of this, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind when setting myself difficult goals.
Since it’s April, and usually a great time for gardening, the emotional wellbeing task for today was to do a bit of gardening. I do love planting things, seeing them grow and then harvesting some lovely vegetables in the summer, but there was one problem with this today – we’ve been having intermittent snow showers in Birmingham this week. Snow and seedlings don’t go together very well, so I’m afraid that today’s task has been postponed until the weather remembers that it’s supposed to be Spring!
After having less success over the last two days I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the challenges for today, but I needn’t have worried – the challenges looked scarier than they were.
Sign up for an exercise class?! The last time I went to a class I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t go back the next week. But I’m committed to my 30 day challenge, so I decided to grit my teeth and look into some classes I might be interested in. I haven’t done a martial art for about 20 years, but I’ve been wanting to give it a go as an adult and decided to join an online class, with a ono-to-one session beforehand to help me get hold of the basics before joining a group. I’ll post some pictures of me doing this one, hopefully, so keep an eye out for that.
I took a trip down memory lane today and tried to focus on all of the sights, smells and feelings of my favourite memory. It felt really nice remembering the sun shining and the strong breeze and the sounds of people chatting as I walked along the river in Chicago. Even though I haven’t been able to re-visit Chicago like I had planned to, it was definitely good to really focus on the memory.
There was a survey done in January 2021 that showed that high numbers of people felt isolated, disconnected and uncertain about the future following the Coronavirus pandemic. The challenge was to see if any of these feelings applied to me, and even though it was sad to think about these feelings, it was really comforting to know that I’m not alone in them.
All in all, this was a great day that really helped me feel up for the next challenges.
I started off today feeling really positive and looking forward to jumping in to the challenges, so I made sure to set aside plenty of time to really concentrate on what I was doing.
Today the physical challenge was to consider volunteering for a cause which means a lot to me. Unfortunately, my local volunteer centre and local foodbank are currently unable to accept volunteers, but I’m determined to keep looking for a way to give something back.
Today’s mental challenge was really interesting for me, but rather boring to hear about, unfortunately. I listened to a Ted talk, so I won’t bore you with the details, but it felt great to spend some time learning about something new and interesting. This task if definitely one that I’ll be returning to again and again.
Today I tried to notice things about my life – what I’m grateful for, what energises me and what’s not going well and why? Taking the time to do this helped me to realise that I’m genuinely grateful for a lot of things in my life right now, and while I’m not always energised there are definitely things that inspire energy in me. It also really helped to figure out how the things that aren’t working can be changed. This is definitely a task that I’m going to be doing more often, because it gave me a lot of happiness and clarity.
All in all, a really interesting week. There were a few ups and downs, but overall I think these helped me to figure things out.
For (possibly hilarious) footage of me completing these actions, head on over to our Instagram page – Outshout2021. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (Outshout2021) and Facebook for updates on the challenge, and sign up to our Newsletter to see my progress at the end of the 30 days challenge!