Join the 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge!
Join us as we spend the next 100 days working to form new habits in all eight dimensions of wellness. Let’s make healthy and intentional choices each day. Just one day at a time! You don’t have to become a triathlete or start a wildly restrictive diet to focus on wellness. We can do this one step at a time, one day at a time!
While each person’s path will be different, the 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge is designed to offer a broad approach for things we can do to help us enjoy greater wellness—at our own pace, in our own time, and within our own capabilities.
The following list of 100 steps will be updated each day as we add a new step in our journey to wellness.
Day 1: Balance your Wellness Wheel
The 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge is about balancing all areas of wellness in our lives, so let's start our journey by reading "The 8 Dimensions of Wellness: Finding Balance."
Then read "Wellness Wheel: Self-Assessment & Worksheet" and create your own Wellness Wheel to gauge your wheel's balance and determine which dimensions need the most attention in your life.
Day 2: Determine your core values
Using the list of values from the article (or add your own), generate a list of your top 10 values and then narrow down that list to your top 3 values. Take note of how you uphold these values and how you give them away.
Complete a Value Intentions Chart (found in today's article) for your top 3 values.
If you are in recovery or love someone in recovery, read "How Core Values Can Guide Recovery" and watch our video below.
Day 3: Set daily intentions
Jot down a few intentions that seem significant for you, that support your values and purpose. Pull from the list of examples in today's article or generate a list of your own intentions.
Now put this list somewhere you will see it early tomorrow morning, as a reminder of working toward establishing this new daily habit. Today, you learn about daily intentions. Tomorrow, you begin a new habit of setting a daily intention.
Day 4: Discover your purpose
Following the directions in the article, try to write your own purpose statement. If you struggled to identify your values, jump back to Day 2 and try again!
Day 5: Add more water to your life
Read at least one of the supporting articles below to better understand our water needs. Then choose a water goal that suits your needs.
If you already drink water regularly, way to go! You are one step ahead. Water intake is definitely a weak link in my wellness and it's something I am committing to work on during this 100 day challenge. My personal goal is getting 64 ounces (half gallon) daily; I just bought a new 64-oz jug with a convenient flip top and handle to assist in meeting this goal. And I plan to drink one glass first thing in the morning before I leave for work.
If you would like to add more water to your life, try different ways of incorporating water to determine exactly what will work for you. Personally, I just can't drink water from a metal canteen-style bottle; putting my mouth on the metal just grosses me out and I can't force the water down! So it's glass or plastic for this mama. And if I'm drinking water from a glass, I want ice...but room temp water from a plastic bottle is totally fine. Weird, I know; but understanding these preferences increases my chance of meeting my water goal.
So before you give up on the idea of drinking more water, consider different ways of getting your water. For example, try different temperatures, containers, times of the day, amounts...even flavors! How about infusing your water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs? I am definitely going to try doing this! Here are 23 recipes for infused water!
Decide what you need to meet your own water goal and take the first step! Good luck!
Mayo Clinic - Water: How much should you drink every day?
Harvard Health Publishing - How Much Water Should You Drink?
Day 6: Write "I Am" poem
Write an "I Am" poem, using the template shown in the image below. Print the "I Am" image, or view online and write on separate paper. Actually write out the poem rather than just thinking about how you would respond. The act of writing the poem and reading your own words--your own values, intentions, feelings--will help you recognize the significance of who you are and all you have to offer.
Read your completed poem several times. Bask in your uniqueness, your significance. Do you recognize a strength or gift you have been hiding or an area you can develop to support a dimension of your wellness?
Day 7: Pray, manifest, meditate
Today--Thursday, January 7, 2021--let's focus on our emotional (coping effectively with life challenges) and spiritual (purpose, beliefs, values) wellness. In whatever way speaks to your soul, pray / manifest / meditate.
Day 8: Box breathing
It seems like the world has gone mad these last few days (January 2021)! It's time to focus on our emotional wellness, which is our ability to effectively cope with the challenges of life. And things are definitely challenging right now!
Our Day 8 task is to implement box breathing into your life. Box breathing has been shown to reduce stress, calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and regulate the nervous system. Make a conscious effort to practice box breathing several times per day through the month of January until you notice it become a habit that you rely on for your emotional wellness.
Day 9: Circle of Influence
Read this short article from Dr. Stephen R. Covey regarding Habit 1 (Be Proactive) from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Then use our worksheet to determine your own Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.
Day 10: Expand your Circle of Influence with intentional kindness
On Day 9 we learned that our Circle of Influence includes our words, actions, and attitude. So for Day 10 let's expand our Circle of Influence by spreading kindness! Let's be real...the world is super ugly right now and we can all use a little more kindness! And by expanding our Circle of Influence through kindness, we're boosting our own emotional and social wellness. So let's go! Let's commit to actually doing one of these today or tomorrow.
Day 11: Expand your Circle of Influence with intentional kindness
On Day 9 we learned that our Circle of Influence includes our words, actions, and attitude. On Day 10, we expanded our Circle of Influence by spreading kindness! On Day 11, we continue the important journey of boosting our own emotional and social wellness by spreading kindness! Remember...don't just read the ideas and think about it. Commit to actually doing one of these today or tomorrow!
Day 12: Expand your Circle of Influence with intentional kindness
Welcome to Day 3 of intentional kindness! Today your goal is to recognize an organization that you appreciate, to help someone feel valued! Send a card, write a letter, post on social media, send an e-mail, make a donation, or whatever your heart calls you to do.
Choose an organization that is meaningful to you. Here are just a few ideas:
local hospital, cancer center, or nursing home
national healthcare provider, such as St. Jude's
local fire station, EMS, or police
animal shelter or rescue, or therapy dog group
military group or support organization, such as Soldiers' Angels or Wounded Warrior Project
Day 13: Hand care
I noticed the back of my hand the other night and I was horrified. It looked like the hand of an old lady! I knew then I'd add hand care to our wellness challenge. Skin care falls under physical wellness but not feeling like an old lady at age 46 falls under my emotional wellness!
I have several types of cream and lotion in my bathroom closet but I wasn't actually using any of it. Out of sight, out of mind. So I moved a tub of cream downstairs and now keep it on the end table next to the couch. Now when I'm sitting down to watch TV, it's easy to grab the cream. I've used it every day since I moved it. So easy! Simply moving the location of the cream has helped me form a new healthy habit! Yay for easy!
Find a fun lotion or cream (I prefer a heavier cream for my getting-old crepey hands) I had forgotten how much I love Whipped Lavender Shea Butter from Biggs and Featherbelle. I had used half of my container a long time ago, before I got out of the habit and relegated the container to the unseen closet shelf. I was so happy to rediscover it and be reminded of how wonderful it feels! I got mine at Wegmans, but Biggs and Featherbelle have a complete online store, so hop over and check them out!
I also forgot how amazing hand scrub feels! I haven't used a hand scrub in several years, but I was quickly reminded how amazing they feel. And so super easy to make your own! Drop in some of your favorite essential oil or keep it simple and just go with oil and sugar. Try it with any oil you like--olive, avocado, grapeseed, coconut. Or experiment with raw and refined sugar to see whether you like the large granules; you can even try it with salt! Seriously, go make some (and keep it in a container with a lid)!
Day 14: Foot care
Add foot care to your self-care wellness routine. Start with one step and work toward incorporating all five steps of foot care: massage, soak, moisturize, exfoliate, stretch.
I recommend trying a foot peel mask! They are incredible! I've used a peel four times and each time I'm amazed by how smooth they make my feet. (This is not an ad!) And I admit that there is something so strangely satisfying about peeling off a literal layer of your foot! I used Soft Touch because I liked the ingredient list, but you'll find many brand names available. I ordered from Amazon and have already re-ordered. I'm hooked!
Check out Day 13 for a hand scrub recipe you can also use on your feet. Try it with salt instead of sugar for your rough feet. And if you include an essential oil, try peppermint for your feet.
Take care of your feet and they will take care of you! Happy peeling! :)
Day 15: Negative news detox
Our brain is wired to attend to information that unsettles us. This unfortunate fact is called "negativity bias." Thanks, in part, to the overwhelming 24/7 media coverage of this negative news that our brain is drawn to, we are a generation with anxiety, fear, stress, and depression. It's time for a negative news detox!
Try just one of the tips below. When you see how much better you feel, add another step. And another. You will not miss it! Today was the first day in a looong time that I didn't check a single news source even one time. Not one! And I'm still alive. You can do it!
Day 16: Give more compliments!
We desperately need more positivity in this crazy world right now. Let's work on giving complements every single day. Not only will giving complements help other people, it will improve our own emotional and social wellness.
Let's commit to making people around us feel a bit more appreciated, a bit more "seen," a bit happier. And we'll feel better in the process!
Review the graphic below to understand why giving compliments is so important and some tips on how to give a great compliment. Your task for Day 16 and every day going forward is to work on giving more compliments!
Day 17: Compliment yourself
Encourage and compliment yourself to boost your self-confidence and squash the negative self-talk. Let's work on ignoring the damaging and damning messages from media and society (and sometimes the people in our lives!) and focus on our strengths to boost our own emotional wellness.
Review the graphic below to understand why learning to compliment yourself is so important. Your task for Day 17 and every day going forward is to work on giving yourself more compliments!
Day 18: Stop judging
Read our blog "Get to Know Someone's Story."
Read the graphic below for tips on how to stop judging others and be open to the possibilities presented by seeing beyond someone's surface. Your task for today and every day forward is to stop judging and start getting to know people for who they really are.
Related video: Understanding Shame & Guilt
Day 19: Laugh it up!
Did you know that laughing is actually good for your health? Laughing generates mental relaxation, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and pain, improves immunity, and provides a physical workout. And did you know you're 30 times more likely to laugh when you're with good company than alone? Thirty times!
Maybe you already know what makes you laugh, or maybe you need to step outside your comfort zone. Do some exploring online. Ask some friends or co-workers for suggestions or recommendations.
Day 20: Belly breathing
Breathe in, breathe out. Simple, right? There's actually a right way to breathe!
Deep breathing is a great way to lower stress and decrease anxiety. But be sure to breathe deeply through your belly rather than your chest. Check out the following graphics to learn more. Your Day 20 Wellness Challenge goal is to practice belly breathing every day. Start with once per day and work up to several times per day.
Day 21: Digital Declutter & Cleanse - Phone
Our phones are like a lifeline, so we need to take care of them. So let's tackle the clutter and germs and improve our environmental wellness.
1. Delete unused apps.
On average, we have 60-90 apps installed. But we use only about 10 per day and 30 per month. All those unused apps eat up battery life, waste your storage space, and create clutter. Seems like a good reason to purge! Delete unused apps to keep your phone running faster.
Android. Tap and hold an app, then tap Uninstall. For a list view of all apps, go to Settings > Apps > See all xxx apps. Tap an app, then tap Uninstall.
iPhone. Tap an app until it wiggles, then tap the X to uninstall. For a list view of all apps, go to Settings > General > Storage. Tap an app, tap Delete, then tap to confirm.
2. Organize apps.
Tidy up the apps you keep by moving them into folders on your home screen. I find it helpful to create a folder for different app uses or purposes; for example, I created a folder called Social Media for Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and another folder called TV for YouTube TV, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Maybe you need a folder for Games and one for all your different email accounts, or maybe one for the apps you use for work. To create a folder, long-tap an app and drag it on top of another related app to make a folder. Then you can name the folder.
3. Delete unwanted files.
Need to keep it? use the cloud. Don't need it anymore? Get rid of it! Because many things are saved to your cloud automatically, you could probably stand to delete some files from the cloud, too!
4. Optimize your battery usage.
Optimize your battery usage in phone settings. Improving battery life extends the lifespan of the battery by slowing down charge cycles. Turn down your screen brightness, reduce the screen timeout, and choose a dark theme.
5. Use cloud storage.
To save memory on your phone, back up information to the cloud. Evaluate your highest areas of memory usage—usually photos, documents, music and video files, and store them in a cloud service rather than on your phone. Some cloud services are free and may come loaded when you buy your phone, but most require a monthly fee depending on the size of your files. If you use a cloud service for your computer, you can usually use the plan same for your phone.
6. Back up photos and delete the junk.
Photos are a big source of phone clutter. Maybe you take tons of pictures of your kids and you can't imagine deleting a single cheesy smile, or maybe you're like me and you take a million screenshots of things you absolutely need to remember for some reason you'll never remember. All these photos slow down your phone because the operating system is left with no space to cache. If you want to improve your phone's performance, you need to weed through your photos (and videos). After you delete the unnecessary pictures, move your remaining photos to a storage service like Google Photos, Snapfish or Flickr.
Android. Google Photos offers free cloud storage for all your photos with a small compromise in image quality. In Google Photos, tap the hamburger menu on the left and choose ‘Free up space.’
iPhone. iCloud gives you 5GB free. Go to Settings > Photos > Optimize iPhone Storage. Now, when your device starts to run low on storage, it will automatically offload your full resolution images to iCloud while saving a much smaller phone-optimized photo on your iPhone.
7. Clear the digital detritus.
We collect a lot of “digital detritus” (debris, trash) on our phones, like browser cache and app data. Clearing out this trash makes a big difference, often making your phone run "like new." Here's how:
Android. Go to Settings, then Apps or Applications. This shows you how much space your apps are using. Tap on any app, then tap Storage. Tap "Clear storage" and "Clear cache" for any apps that are using a lot of space.
iPhone. You have to delete and reinstall apps that seem to be slowing down your phone.
8. Clean the outside
A recent study by research firm dscout found that the average person touches his phone 2,617 times per day, which is about 1 million times per year. Uh, I'm a little disturbed by that stat, to be honest. It's time to clean! Verizon recommends cleaning your phone and accessories (phone case, headphones, cords, etc.) once a day. First unplug and turn off your phone. Use disinfectant wipes with 70% isopropyl alcohol or a similar disinfecting spray, spritzed onto a clean microfiber cloth. Do not spray directly onto your phone! You can use soap and water to wash your phone case, based on manufacturer's instructions.
Day 22: Digital Declutter - Email
The number of emails I receive daily is nuts. Factor in my four different email accounts (two work and two personal) and my email quickly becomes overwhelming. Every few months I need to do a big purge and unsubscribe from lists that no longer serve a purpose in my life. Just logging in and seeing a long list of unread messages stresses me out. So here's today's decluttering task in support of your environmental wellness.
Clear unread messages. All those bold messages sitting in your inbox. Ugh! Read them or delete them. Get it done. You'll feel better.
Unsubscribe from unwanted lists. You might have signed up for a mailing list two years ago, but it doesn't mean you have to stay on the list indefinitely. If you find yourself ignoring messages from a list or the content no longer serves a purpose in your life, unsubscribe!
Save attachments. If you need an attachment that someone emailed you, save the attachment and then delete the email.
Delete messages you don't need. Seriously, though. Do you really need to keep it?
Sort messages into folders. If you really need to save the email, sort it into a folder named for something specific such as its purpose or the sender.
Turn off phone notifications for email. When you want to check your email, make a conscious choice to do it, without being prompted by your phone all day.
Tip: When going through messages to delete or move into a folder, sort your messages by sender (the "From" field) for easier batch deleting.
Day 23: Digital Declutter & Cleanse - Computer
Physical clutter can affect our performance, and digital clutter can affect a computer’s performance. Today let's get your desktop or laptop working more efficiently, which will boost your productivity. Decluttering your surroundings--both physical and digital--supports your environmental wellness. Here's what you can do to declutter your computer.
Clear web browser cookies and cache.
Delete unused web browser extensions.
Clean web browser bookmarks.
Clear downloads folder.
Delete unnecessary files (documents, images, videos).
Organize files into folders.
Back up files to a cloud service.
Empty recycling bin.
Clean the physical components of your computer (keyboard, monitor, mouse, cords, etc.). Here's a great article with specifics.
Day 23: Tips to improve sleep
Sleep is an essential component of physical health and mental well-being, especially if you are recovering from addiction or substance misuse. Most common mental disorders--such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorders--are associated with disturbed sleep. For more on the connection between sleep and addiction, read our blog "Importance of Sleep During Recovery."
Anxiety, stress, and depression are often associated with sleeping difficulty. Try these tips for improving your sleep.
Be mindful of food and drink. Avoid eating unhealthy snacks or heavy meals within an hour of bedtime. According to WedMD, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and sleeping problems. But if you're hungry right before bed, try a small healthy snack. Avoid alcohol and nicotine for for 4-6 hours before bedtime, as these substances are stimulants. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it reduces the quality of sleep. And when you're recovering from addiction or dealing with stress and anxiety, your body requires quality sleep.
Manage stress. Exercise early in the day. Spend about 15 minutes writing a to-do list or journaling to "release" your worries for the evening; let those overwhelming thoughts go so your mind can relax. Practice mindful breathing. Check out our Day 8 task to implement box breathing to calm anxiety. Sip some chamomile tea, but not while you scroll...turn off those screens at least an hour before bed.
Create a ritual. Develop a relaxing ritual to signal to your brain that it's time to wind down for the night. Try different things to discover what works for you. How about a little yoga or stretching? Maybe a hot bath or shower. For me, it's reading on the couch.
Create a restful environment. Sleep.org recommends keeping a quiet, cool, dark room and replacing your pillow every year. I definitely agree that a high quality pillow can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep; my husband and I have used orthopedic pillows for about ten years and they have made a big difference for our sleep quality. And try some lavender essential oil to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. (Tips for using lavender.)
Stick to a schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each day. This is tough for me but I'm trying to do better!
Day 25: Check on January 25!
Written by Laura B. Demers, © 2021 Reclamation Sisters