About a month ago, my body was yearning for a much needed reset. Even though I had remained active and was feeling fairly at peace during the quarantine period, I noticed some habits needed a shake-up… and some nourishing practices needed a comeback. In my experience, the best way to reset is in a community with other people – one full of support for one another.
With this in mind, I created the 21 Day Wellness Challenge, a 21-day commitment to meditation, mindset, nutrition, and movement. The intent was to recommit to wellness at all levels – mind, body, and soul. Almost as soon as the challenge launched, I found myself overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and positive response – and it led to one incredible journey. In addition to sharing my own knowledge & inspiration, I had the opportunity to interview:
Bonnie Flemington, Nutritionist
Brenda Jasmin, Positive Psychology Coach & Facilator
Vanessa Woodburn, Author of Bounce Back: Reclaim your Life after a Concussion
With the 21-day challenge now over, I’ve had some time to some time to reflect and explore lessons from what we learned – those of which I’m excited to share with you. Here are my top lessons from the 21 Day Wellness Challenge.
* BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Self-compassion and self-love are at the root of it all. We heard this from the group and from each of our guest contributors. Bonnie reminded us that when it comes to nutrition, you have to believe that you are worthy of nourishing yourself in a way that honours your body and feels good. While Vanessa, shared that practicing self-compassion is an essential step to bouncing back from challenges. In addition, Brenda talked about the important role self-compassion plays when it comes to staying motivated. Be mindful of how you speak to yourself.
* LET GO OF PERFECTION
Ask yourself – What can I do? We often focus on what we can’t do or what we haven’t done yet. When it comes to living a healthy joyous life, it’s important to have some structure in place – to recognize what you need to do in order to feel your best. Yet, from this place, we know certain days will look different. Check-in with yourself when you feel defeated and ask “What can I do”?
I learned to focus on and celebrate what I did do in each component instead of ticking each box. The challenge checklist that I lovingly created for the group became more of a reminder of my commitment to my wellness. Brenda also reminded us to keep a growth mindset and focus on where we are going. If something hasn’t happened, then it hasn’t happened YET. The word YET resonated with many of the people in the challenge.
* TAKE MOMENTS TO PAUSE & REFLECT
What do I need versus what do I want? Vanessa spoke about this in our chat. I think it’s such an important question to ask yourself when you are scurrying the grey line of should I or shouldn’t I? Especially when it comes to habits that are not serving us. I want to sit down and eat this entire bag of chips. But, is that what I need?
I love how Bonnie reminded us that cravings come in 2 parts: there is the emotional side of cravings but also the physical side of cravings. If you feed your body wholesome foods then you are less likely to crave junk food. For me, this adds a whole new level of awareness and reasoning behind healthy eating. It invites the opportunity to PAUSE and ask myself not just what I want? But also, why? Am I tired, frustrated, hungry, or “hangry” as they say… This is when a mindfulness approach comes into play. In the end, if you decide to go ahead and eat the bag of chips, then do it while being fully present. Let go of the guilt and shame around it, embrace the decision, and go for it. It’s in our pause and reflection that we can make different healthier choices.
* MEDITATE FOR WHAT IT BRINGS INTO YOUR LIFE
Which leads me to the PAUSE. For me, the pause is what meditation is all about. I’m currently enrolled in a Vedanta based meditation training and the following really resonated with me: The root of happiness begins with silence. I’ve known this for a while now. Of all the rituals I’ve done, taking time to be present and in silence, each and every day is the single most important thing I can do for myself. This is where I get to BE – this is where you get to BE. To BEcome your friend, so you can be more self-compassionate. This is where you BEgin to listen to what your heart is saying. Remember that you do not meditate for the sake of meditating, you meditate for every other moment of your day. I also find that when I meditate, all the other components of wellness come easier as well. Don’t give up on this practice. Be curious. Explore. Try different classes – you can join me on zoom ?
* BE INTENTIONAL WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO
Intention is the energy behind what you do. Be intentional with how you choose to show up for yourself and for others. For years, my friend Grace and I would email each other our weekly intentions every Monday morning. We had noticed that our goals were always around DOING. So, we purposely made a decision to be accountable to each other by saying how we wanted to BE. It was amazing because it forced us to take a moment each week and be intentional about our BEING…until it became a natural thing to do.
Invite INTENTION. When you do something, ask yourself “why”? What is the intention behind it? Otherwise, you are just meditating to check off a box. You are writing in your journal or repeating affirmations just to check it off your box. You are moving just to work out and check off that box… remember that these activities are there to nourish you and to invite health. It’s not about a checklist. The checklist is a wonderful reminder, but the real magic is when you bring your entire self to what you are doing.
This is what I have found to be the single most important thing – community. Surrounding yourself with people who are on the same path as you works wonders for the soul.
- Community helps keep your energy vibrations high (if you’re a part of the right one of course). Be aware of your energy and consciously choose to be with people who raise you up rather than drain you.
- We crave connection as human beings, even if we don’t always recognize it. During this period of social isolation, it’s especially important to create these connections as best as you can to support yourself.
- Being in community helps you learn. We have learned so much from each other. I especially find when it comes to wellness, we are all unique. What works for me may not necessarily work for you – but there may be someone in the group who will resonate with your needs. We recognize that we are not alone. Everyone has their stories that can help us learn.
This is my intention for this community moving forward. It’s to create a space where we can be real, where we can learn & grow, where we can support and cheer each other on to ultimately live with purpose & intention. I’m blown away by this community! It’s just the most magical group of people.
This challenge has come to an end, but of course, the journey of wellness continues as does this incredible community! If you are curious and would like to join us on Facebook, come see what it’s all about in our Wellness Community
Life is always evolving. It’s never static. Give yourself permission to evolve with it.
Let’s continue to do this. Together.