Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, take up a lot of your time, or require a big commitment. It’s the small, easy things you can do for yourself, and my 30-day self-care challenge will get you started!
Self-care. A popular buzzword that I’ve heard many of my friends, particularly the ones that are mom’s, say ‘yeah. sure. who has time for that?’.
It’s true – we get caught up in our busy lives. Committing to things like working out, eating healthy, getting 8 hours of sleep each night can be a struggle. And while I believe that we make the time for the things and the people that are important to us, changing our routines requires a change of habit. Taking an hour to do something we love simply because we love it requires us to push aside excuses.
What I’ve learned, after 36 years of giving 100%, crashing, trying again, and through all the success and failures, is that self-care is a lifestyle change. It’s small steps forward each day, one day at a time. You’re likely never going to have enough time to do all the things you want when you want, but that doesn’t mean you should never do them.
You want to start reading more? Commit to 30 minutes before bed. Looking to get on a steady workout schedule? Set a goal of 3-days/week and grow from there. Spending too much time on your phone? Place it across the room instead of next to you. Small steps that aren’t overwhelming.
Additionally, self-care isn’t just face masks and massages. Self-care can be physical, mental and organizational. No surprise here, but I firmly believe that organizing your life can make you feel just as much at peace as getting a massage can. Checking things off the to-do list and feeling prepared feels GOOD.
I’ve designed this 30-day self-care challenge to be done at your own pace, in your own order. Put these in an order that feels right to you and works with your schedule.
The goal is to help you make the habit of taking care of yourself, in small ways that make you feel better.
THIS CHALLENGE COMES WITH FREE STUFF TO HELP YOU GET STARTED!
To help you organize, I’ve created two free printables to get you started on your 30-day self-care challenge: a checklist of all these items and a calendar for you to make a schedule that works for you.
YOUR 30-DAY SELF-CARE CHALLENGE:
- Read for an hour – Reading is so good for you. It improves your mind function and is exercise for your brain. And it’s fun! There are so many good books out there, but it’s work to carve out actual time to forget about all the things on your to-do list, block out the world and just read. Take some time to sit down and escape the world for a bit. You won’t regret it.
GET STARTED: Need a good book? I read this book in under 24 hours!
- Meal plan and prep for the week – It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of meal planning. It’s how we stay on track eating healthy, how we save money at the grocery store, and it keeps me feeling good going into the week. I encourage you to spend a little time planning a week of meals and prepping. You’re going to feel so good going into your week knowing that you have healthy meals all planned out!
GET STARTED: Grab a free meal planning template to help you get started planning, prepping and organizing!
- Delete old emails – Take 30 minutes to go through your email and either delete the ones you don’t need or categorize the ones you want to keep. If your inbox is anything like mine it’s full of recipes you want to try and articles you intend to read, and it’s filling up rather quickly. You’ll feel great checking off this easy organizational task!
BONUS: Unroll.me is my favorite free site to help you unsubscribe to all those unwanted email subscriptions you don’t need and want. Connect your email and start decluttering!
- Take a 24-hour social media detox – I’m not promising this one will be easy, but it will be worth it. Take a break. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat – whatever your social media preference is. Reconnect with the world and your favorite people in it, and get your nose out of your phone. All those status updates will still be there tomorrow. I recommend pairing this task with a busy day or some other items from this self-care challenge to help distract your mind from wondering what’s happening on your favorite social media platform(s).
- Go for a long walk – The weather is finally getting nicer, it stays light out longer, and it’s the perfect time of year to take a long walk. Watch that weather forecast and take a nice, long walk over your lunch hour or in the evening.
- Stretch your muscles – I’ve seen so many people walk into the gym and not do a single stretch before beginning their workout, and it makes me cringe. Your muscles need to warm up so you don’t injure yourself! Additionally, I’m a big fan of stretching for the sake of stretching, regardless of if you’re working out or not. Keeping your muscles warmed up will make you feel so much better in the everyday movements of life.
- Set 3 short-term goals – Goal setting is an incredibly important part of accomplishing your dreams. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life; to feel like you’re just making it through the day instead of making progress. Setting goals will allow you to focus on achievable tasks to get those things you’ve been wanting to accomplish done.
GET STARTED: Download a free monthly goal planner and start setting short-term, achievable goals!
- Workout for an hour – Three words: sweat it out. Whether it’s yoga, weight-lifting, running, cycling, pilates – whatever workout you prefer (or have been wanting to try), take an hour to workout. You’ll feel so good afterwards, I promise!
- Donate 5 items from your closet – Take the time to remove five items from your closet that you don’t wear. I guarantee we all have items that haven’t come down from the shelf, out of the drawer or off the hanger in months, and trust me that you won’t miss them once they’re gone.
- Unfollow toxic social media accounts – Toxic is a subjective term. It doesn’t necessarily mean the person or brand is bad, but they’re bad for YOU. Does that account make you feel bad about your body? Are you comparing yourself to someone else’s success? Does that person constantly complain and share negativity? Then it’s time to unfollow. You have control over what you see, what you read and who you follow. You owe no one any explanation for choosing to surround yourself with things that inspire and inform you, and I believe that there is no greater form of self-care than taking care of your mental health.
- Watch the sunrise – Have you ever seen a beautiful sunrise? There’s a peace of mind in seeing the beauty of a new day starting, and it’s a great time for reflection on life and to think about all that you have to be grateful for, before the day starts. Personally, I love catching the day start from my balcony or getting up early on vacation and finding a spot to watch the sun rise.
- Cook a meal from scratch – It’s no secret that cooking at home allows you to choose ingredients that are much lower in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium. Aside from all of the healthy benefits, there is a pride that you feel after you’ve cooked a homemade meal from scratch. This doesn’t have to be fancy. You can make salad, grill your favorite meat, seafood or veggies, have a taco bar or even a homemade pizza night. The options are endless, and you’ll feel great!
- Go makeup free for 24 hours – Natural is beautiful. Your skin needs and deserves a break from pore clogging makeup. I get it, I wouldn’t dream of going to my 9-5 without makeup on, but the minute I get home from work all my makeup comes off. On the weekends if I’m home I have zero make up on, and I challenge you to take a full day and do the same.
- Start your morning by saying 3 positive things about yourself – This one may feel a little silly. Waking up and saying three things about yourself. I get it. But trust me when I say you will feel so much better. I’m 100% naturally a sarcastic person, but I’m not a negative person. And sometimes you just need a little pep talk with yourself, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Start your day on the right foot by building up your confidence with a reminder of how awesome you are!
GET STARTED: My free positivity workbook will help you set goals to become a more positive person to both yourself and others.
- Drink 2L of water – Every liter of water is approximately 34oz., and at a minimum you should drink two of these a day. The internet will tell you many variations of what to drink and how to figure it out, but what is consistent about all the water articles you read is that most of us are in a constant state of dehydration. I aim for 96 oz. day. I drink out of a 24 oz. cup with a goal to drink at least 4 of those per day. Your body and your skin will thank you.
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for – Similar to saying positive things about yourself, it’s important to acknowledge the things you have to be grateful for. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life, so taking the time to remember what you have will set you on a positive path.
- Tell someone you love how much you appreciate them – Everyone loves a genuine compliment. And everyone deserves to be told they’re loved. Take a day to make sure you thank someone for doing something that helped you, and tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Spread the love!
- Go alcohol free for 24 hours – I’m hoping this will be an easy one for most of you, so I encourage you to go alcohol free on a day you normally wouldn’t. Trade your Friday happy hour for a yoga class or Netflix binge. Spend Saturday getting projects done, going for a hike, or trying a new hobby. Give your liver a rest, save some calories, and avoid that sluggish feeling the next day!
- Clean the junk food out of your pantry – If it’s easy to grab and eat, you’ll grab it and eat it. So if your pantry is stocked with junk food, than junk food will be what you eat. It’s as simple as that. Indulging in your favorite snack is totally fine – we believe in balance around here! However when you take a healthy, balanced approach and get your pantry free of all junk food than you’ll be setting yourself up for success when it comes to snacking and cooking.
BONUS: Download my free checklist list of 48 healthy pantry staples and give your pantry an upgrade!
- Watch your favorite movie – Take the time to sit down and put in your favorite movie. For me, that’s Harry Potter, but I find the months ticking by and though I tell people it’s my favorite, I’m not actually watching any of the movies. Make a big bowl of popcorn, unplug from your phone, relax and watch your favorite flick.
- Get a massage – One of the best ways to splurge and take care of your body is to get a massage. You deserve it. Your body deserves it. The stress we carry around, often without realizing it, is immense. Though our bodies can handle it, take the time to get some of that stress out.
- Walk 10,000 steps in a day – 10,000 steps can often be easier said than done. My Fitbit doesn’t count when I ride my Peloton, and sometimes I’m chained to my desk working on projects all day. 10,000 seems almost impossible to get. But I do the best I can to meet that every day, and it’s a great goal to get your body moving.
- Try that new restaurant/cafe/coffee shop that’s been on your list – You probably have that coffee shop, cafe or restaurant on your list that you’ve been wanting to try but have been putting it off. It’s time to go! Enjoy a good meal at a local business and treat yourself!
- Go sugar-free for a full day – While I’m not a big advocate of one particular diet, I do believe in balance and healthy eating. The fact is that we all, myself included, eat way more sugar than we should. It’s hidden everywhere! If you spent one day going sugar-free you’d be surprised with both how easy it is, and how much sugar is actually in the things you eat. Spend a day avoiding sugar and give your body a little reset.
GET STARTED: My sugar-free granola bars have no refined sugar in them and are a quick, easy and delicious way to get started!
- Treat yourself to a spa service, manicure or pedicure – I was never a spa girl, and truth be told I’m not really one now. However I indulge in two things – pedicures and massages. Treat yourself to the service that you always think about but never do!
- Say ‘no’ – Saying ‘no’ isn’t easy for everyone, but it’s time to decline that invite that you really don’t want to do and refuse to let in that negativity. Say no to the things you don’t want to do. Life is short and there are enough obligations that we all just have to do. Reclaim your time and make your space one of positivity and excitement to do the things you’ve said ‘yes’ to by saying NO.
- Try something new – Yoga. Painting. Photography. Run a 5k. What is that thing you’ve been wanting to try but putting off? Try it!
- Spend time on a hobby – If you were gifted a week to work on one hobby what would it be? That thing that you truly enjoy doing. Mine is nature and travel photography. But I live in the middle of a bigger city in Iowa so I have to make the effort to find nature to photograph, and let’s be honest – life’s to-do list always takes priority. Take a day and carve out some time to do the thing that you love to do. Your soul will thank you.
- Binge on a show you’ve been wanting to watch – There is nothing wrong with taking a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon and binging on that show you’ve been hearing great things about. You work hard all day long and are allowed to indulge!
- Make a to-do list – Organize your life. Get things done. I recommend you make your list on a Sunday so you can plan out all of the things that you need to do throughout the week. You’ll feel so great with an organized life!
GET STARTED: Grab one of my free to-do list templates – blank, daily checklist, notecard – and get started organizing.
I truly believe that small, planned, manageable tasks is the key to getting things done. This list can feel overwhelming, but when you make time to do the small things each day, than you’ll be surprised how easily things can fit into your schedule.
I’ve made this list into a free printable checklist AND calendar that you can plan out your 30-day self-care challenge to fit into your schedule. Give yourself a little TLC this summer!