24 Hours of Self-Care Challenge

24 Hours of Self-Care Challenge

Our schedules are so full, we often wish for more time. Almost every four years, we are lucky to have that extra day. 2016 is a leap year which means a day is added to keep our modern calendar in sync with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. The additional day keeps our calendar accurate and aligned with nature. To recalibrate your harmony with nature and time, we encourage you to commit to devoting that extra 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, to self-care across the month. We’ve compiled some easy suggestions for you to take advantage of the leap year and boost your health.

Meditation: Meditate every morning for nine minutes. When you wake up, find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and breathe. Observe your thoughts without judgment or struggle. Do not push them away or engage but simply notice them and allow them to pass. A Harvard MRI study shows that meditation can rebuild your brain’s gray matter, changing the hippocampus which boosts positive and relaxed feelings and is associated with self-awareness and compassion. The gray matter density decreased in the amygdala, which is responsible for regulating stress response.

Eat Well: Create a healthy meal strategy for the month and devote 20 minutes a week to setting yourself up for success. Write down a grocery shopping list full of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes and lean protein. A home stocked with nutritious food can make eating healthy easy, boosting energy and saving time in the long run.

Physical Activity: Incorporate 15 minutes of low to moderate exercise into your daily routine. Whether that means taking the dog on a brisk walk, biking with friends or running around with your kids, choose something you enjoy. You may be surprised: recent studies suggest that 15 minutes a day not only builds muscle and protects against disease, it can lead to a longer life.

Power Naps: In addition to the recommended 7 ½ to 8 hours of nightly sleep, schedule a daily power nap. According to SLEEP, a joint publication of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, every day, you should take a nap for 10 minutes between 11 am and 3 pm to improve cognitive performance and vigor. Enjoy 290 extra minutes of sleep this month and experience renewed mid-day energy.

Connect: Laugh, cry or both, and take time to enjoy the pleasure of your relationships. Set aside an hour and a half a week to meet with friends or loved ones and unwind. There’s compelling evidence that strong human connections contribute to long, healthy lives. Supportive social relationships alleviate stress and depression, decrease blood pressure and strengthen our immune systems.

This leaves you with fourteen extra minutes. How will you spend them? Self-care is vital for enhancing overall wellbeing, supporting physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health, managing and reducing stress, nurturing relationships and balancing your personal and work life. Leap into wellness with our 24 Hours of Self-Care Challenge!

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