There’s almost nothing more important in our lives than having a degree of stability. Most of the time it’s easy to take for granted. Like the electricity or hot water in your house, you rarely think about it until it disappears.
Stability is held in place both by our personal routines and the regularity of the world around us—the expectation we generally have that when we wake up, the world will be just like it was yesterday.
Yet now and again the world isn’t like it was yesterday and for each of us, the breakdown of that stability can cause stress, anxiety, a loss of a sense of control, and often of our own personal routines.
We can, however, bring stability to almost every situation. In fact, if we want to continue to live as normal a life as we can, it’s important to create our own structure that provides a framework that we can operate in—a schedule, expectations for our days, touchpoints to look forward to. It is our ability to make plans, take actions, and produce results that provides the stability we crave.
The Whole Life Challenge provides the support and structure you need to take action in small, everyday ways that will help you stay healthy and fit, but also create stability, well-being, and resilience in the face of many of life’s challenges.
At the most basic level, the routines we have to take care of ourselves—our health, fitness, and well-being—are not only some of the most important, but the most easily achievable in times of instability if approached the right way.
By using the Whole Life Challenge’s 7 Daily Habits—Nutrition, Exercise, Mobility, Sleep, Water, Well-Being, and Reflection— and the accountability the Challenge brings, you can create structure, stability, and long-lasting health and well-being.
5 things you can do each day to create basic structure for your day (that also moves your health and well-being forward)
Nutrition. We all feel good when our diet is as clean as it can be—the best choices at every meal. Sometimes the energy it takes to plan, shop for, and cook all meals that way is more than we have, especially with schedule and logistical changes with work and family. Rather than throwing up your hands and saying “maybe next month,” create simple rules that guide you more than they completely limit you. Things like:
- Rice—Yes, Pasta—No
- Only one glass of wine a day, maximum
- Cooked vegetables for at least one meal each day
- Dessert OR wine, not both
Simple rules can keep you eating better than you otherwise would, but allow flexibility for days when things aren’t so easy. While there are times when it might be appropriate to make wholesale changes to your entire diet, making sure to maintain some degree of guardrails no matter what will help keep you eating and feeling better all the time. The Whole Life Challenge provides simple guidelines for you, supporting positive changes in your health while not becoming overwhelmed.
Exercise. Whether your gym is still closed or you think the gym just isn’t the right place for you right now, you still want to get some movement into your day. We tend to think of workouts as routines that need to take 30 or 40 minutes, sometimes an hour. If commitments like that feel too big, create a small exercise routine you can do to start your day. Try:
- 5–10 minutes of stretching
- A brisk 10–15 minute walk (or run)
- 1–3 sets of plank, push ups, or squats (or one of each!)
While it may not feel like the kind of gym routine you’re used to, keeping a habit around exercise alive is equally as important as what you do. What’s more, this won’t limit what else you can do. Having something like this to start your day can eventually motivate you to do more. Keeping a basic routine around movement can also improve your physical (and mental) daily energy. During the Whole Life Challenge you’ll be accountable to 10 minutes of exercise every day—the perfect amount to keep you motivated and that you’ll be able to complete in almost any circumstance.
Sleep. A good night’s sleep is the foundation of a healthy day. While some of us struggle to fall or stay asleep, there are a lot of ways to improve the quality of your sleep that you can experiment with, even if you can’t get 8 hours into your schedule. A couple of suggestions to pick from:
- Create a consistent bedtime. One of the most important factors in being well rested is to have a sleep routine that your body can count on. Getting to bed at the same time each night can help stabilize your rhythms and contribute to a better night’s sleep
- Spend the last 30-60 minutes of your day without your TV, computer, or phone. Consuming stimulating information (and blue light) up until the moment you go to bed can negatively affect your sleep.
While a good night’s sleep consists of many factors, there is a lot you can do to slowly nudge your body and brain towards a better sleep experience. In the Whole Life Challenge, we encourage you to make a change that is better than you’re doing now, but definitely achievable with a little effort.
Well-Being. Just like your body benefits from daily stretching, your mind can benefit from daily practices to decompress, unwind, and get clarity. You don’t need expertise or a lot of time, and paying attention to your inner experience can really pay off in calmness, peace of mind, and effectiveness in both work and relationships. Simply daily practices you can try:
- 10 minutes of meditation (or just a breathing exercise). Sitting or lying comfortably, slowing down your interaction with your thoughts, and focusing your attention on your breath, your sensations, or even just the sounds in the room can calm you, help release energy from the day, and help create a buffer between you and stressful situations.
- Limit your social media. Social media can feel a little like a lifeline to the world these days. But the truth is, it can be a bit like drinking from a firehose—of hot sauce. Whether you turn it off after 5, move the app icons off of the first screen of your phone, or even just find an hour each day where you hide your phone, you’ll be amazed at how much peace you can find when you turn off the social media input.
Our health is much more than a reflection of what we eat and how we exercise. Our inner life and management of stress contributes not just to our focus and peace of mind, but our physical health as well. Stress (along with depression and anxiety) are among the most important factors in our mind’s contribution to our body’s state. The Whole Life Challenge makes well-being a part of your daily health and fitness routine in ways that are simple and sustainable in everyday life.
Reflect. The honest to goodness secret sauce of the Whole Life Challenge is reflection. We all do lots of different things to make ourselves healthier and happier. One of the most important things you can do is ask yourself “is it working?” Taking time at the end of each day just to review the basics, see how you feel about them, ask yourself honestly how it went, what you learned, what you did, what you didn’t do, where you felt successful, and where you think you held back can give you more clarity the next day.
Incorporating reflection into your day doesn’t have to be a big journaling task, but it can be a real superpower when it comes to seeing how much effort you’re putting in and how to continue to be more and more effective.
The Whole Life Challenge gives you the structure and support you need to be able to put these and other habits into practice every day in small, simple, and effective ways. Join now and build the habits you need to manage daily stress and uncertainty and build health, well-being, and resilience for the future.