February Self-Care Challenge
Updated: Feb 1
February, despite being the shortest month, always seems long. It’s cold and gray here in Chicago, and now more than ever, I’m feeling the need for some nourishing self-care. Yes, I said it, self-care. I know. I feel like I should say #selfcare, as it’s the trendy term used by everyone to describe everything from fancy desserts to luxurious spa packages. But I’m not talking about the kind of self-care that immediately comes to mind. No manicures, essential oils, or expensive yoga pants. The kind of self-care I’m talking about doesn’t have to cost money or take a lot of time.
So what am I talking about? I’m talking about taking the time to be fully focused on your mental, emotional and physical well-being. I’m talking about practicing intentional living and making yourself a priority. By doing so, you’ll be taking the steps you need toward managing stress and living your best life. Self-care recharges your mind, body, and spirit. And that benefits not just yourself, but your family too.
As a health coach, I help people create new healthy habits. And the best way to build a new, healthy habit is to do something every day until the behavior sticks, and it becomes part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. A month-long self-care challenge is a great way to create a habit that lasts. And by taking the time to focus on yourself, you will begin to discover the areas in your life that are disrupting your sense of balance and causing you the most stress.
A key part of health coaching is to identify where you want to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually at the end of the journey, make sure you are prepared, and consider the obstacles that will get in your way and how you are going to get around them. So your first day’s activity is to prepare yourself for your self-care challenge.
This challenge is about your attitude and where your mind is, not what your body is doing. It’s about appreciation, it’s about slowing down, and it’s about how acknowledging the great things in your life causes a rush of endorphins and lowers your cortisol levels (which is helpful for weight loss, better sleep, and overall improved health). As you practice self-care this month, consciously bring your intention inward and let go of the things you worry about. Set aside the time, even if it’s only a few minutes, to meet your daily challenge; being in a hurry or always multitasking does not work for true self-care.
So how does the Self-Care Challenge work? For the month of February, do something every day that improves your well-being. I’ve created a list of suggestions that will get you doing things that take care of your mind, body, and spirit. If my ideas don’t speak to you, create your own list of self-care activities, or use a combination. What’s important is that every day, you take time to focus on YOU!
Day 1: Prepare for your Self-Care Challenge
Day 2: Create a gratitude journal for the month. Write 1-3 things you are grateful for every morning
Day 3: Think of a mantra that reminds you to treat yourself with care. My mantra for February is “I can make time to nourish my mind, body, and spirit.”
Day 4: Take a break from social media
Day 6: Find beauty in the everyday things around you. Notice and appreciate the little things – whether it’s the clouds, fresh snow, a hot cup of tea, or the way your dog looks at you.
Day 7: Declutter. Take a few minutes to clean and organize your environment to calm your mind. Even clearing a counter or cleaning out a drawer can feel satisfying.
Day 8: Write down one positive thing about your day in the evening before bed
Day 9: Unplug. Put your phone away for an hour or maybe even the whole day
Day 10: Meditate. Take some time to think about nothing but your breathing or find balance with a guided meditation. Try a session from this 30-day series with yoga and meditation instructor Faith Hunter.
Day 11: Intentionally move your body. Walk, dance, yoga, whatever feels good. We recently spent a few dollars on some disco lights and have been enjoying evening dance parties!
Day 12: Listen to music. Actually listen, don’t just have it on in the background while you are doing something else.
Day 13: Cook a nourishing meal with focus and mindfulness
Day 14: Create art. Draw, write poetry, play music, take a photograph
Day 15: Get out in nature
Day 16: Stretch. Release tension by combining stretching with breathing
Day 17: Bring nature to you by growing plants from bulbs, seeds, or even an avocado pit
Day 18: Learn something new
Day 19: Catch up with a friend or relative
Day 20: Take a walk
Day 21: Start reading a good book
Day 22: Get a good night's sleep. Get into bed a little earlier than usual and give yourself a chance for some quality sleep.
Day 23: Start your day right
Day 24: Stretch and de-stress in Child’s Pose
Day 25: Say ‘Thank You’. Being thankful and expressing gratitude is good for your health. Reflect on things that you are thankful for, and let those around you know you are grateful.
Day 26: Have fun. Choose something you enjoy doing, whatever it is - playing in the snow, doing a jigsaw puzzle, etc. and incorporate it into your day.
Day 27: Check it off. You know that thing you’ve been avoiding doing? Get it done so it’s not hanging over you
Day 28: Reflect. This is the last day of your challenge. Hopefully, taking care of yourself has become a regular part of your day and you will continue to incorporate your favorite self-care activities into your daily routine.
Click below for a printable version of the February Self-Care Challenge, so you can check off the days as you go along.