By Silje Wamnes
Up for a challenge? It’ll be fun, we promise! Life is only as fun as you make it, and when it comes to creating healthy habits and sticking to them, making a game of it can be a helpful way to get the ball rolling and to keep yourself accountable. Plus, since gyms, work and life have stopped for so many of us, when has there been a better time to start a new healthy challenge?
The internet is absolutely full of them, you can also make up your own, but here are our top 10 challenges to try at home.
1. 10 days of meditation.
Ready to find inner peace? Been meaning to meditate for months? Get ready to board the meditation train alongside A-listers, athletes and artists! Tickets price? Nada. Journey time? As little as 5 minutes a day, which over time, is scientifically proven to bring stress-levels down and get anxieties under control. Longer-term it can help enhance your self-awareness, expand your attention span and lift your mood. All this for the small price of learning how to be still and watch your breath. Pow - our kind of ROI!
A successful approach to meditation is all about integrating it into your natural daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. Consistency is key so start off slow and steady, 5-10 minutes per day.
A great trick is to use a meditation app for guided meditations and to track your progress. Oak is free and a great app for beginners, offering guided and unguided meditations with the option to customise the length and background sound. The app will also show your progress and how many days in a row you have meditated.
Other great apps with a monthly fee include Calm which offers guest Sleep Stories and focused practices and Headspace which offers a more interactive and gamified approach. In our home of London, there are studios Re:Mind and Beeja - both offering group classes and now virtual classes. For transformation through meditation, check out Bodhimaya retreats.
2. 14 days of intermittent fasting.
Fasting? As in not eating? Yes, you read correctly! Intermittently... as in for certain periods of the day. But have no fear, this is no starvation diet. Intermittent fasting is simply the practice of limiting your eating window - known as feasting - to a certain amount of hours per day and extending your non-eating window - known as fasting.
Perhaps the most common ratio to practice is the 16:8 - 16-hour fasting window, 8-hour feasting window. As an example, waiting to have your breakfast until noon and finishing your dinner before 8pm. Although a somewhat controversial topic, fasting has shown to lower insulin levels in the body, boost human growth hormones and increase the cellular repair process that naturally occurs in the body when you sleep. Some people report experiencing a higher level of energy, a clear mind and better sleep, so why not give it a try for 2 weeks?
For more information, watch Dr. Mike’s video on intermittent fasting.
3. ‘The Three Spirit Challenge’ - 30 days booze-free.
This may be going slightly against the grain as many people reach for the vino and cans during lockdown. We 100% all need a way to unwind and as fun as getting tipsy can be, longer-term overindulgence can make for poor mental and physical health. So we challenge you to use this time to go booze-free for 30 days… but don’t worry, alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean pleasure-free!
There are now some amazing non-alcoholic options available… our favourite is obviously the drinks we make! Three Spirit drinks are made with functional plants full of active compounds that make you feel good. There are different drinks for different moods and moments… great if you need to relax or get some energy or simply to enjoy with good food and good company at home!
Check it out and get free shipping during lockdown with the code 'ShakeCocktailsNotHands’ (already applied on the link) and get on board with the #ThreeSpiritChallenge.
4. 30 days of yoga.
We’ve already spoken about the many benefits of yoga and how to kick-start your at-home practice, so if you're already feeling committed then getting on a 30-day yoga challenge could be a great next step. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but why not be on the safe side and go for a full month? Awesome Youtube yogi Adriene has many 30 day programmes - all you need is a yoga mat and 20-40 minutes each day.
5. Go plant-based for a week.
Plants have a special place in our heart as they are packed into our vegan-friendly elixirs. So if you skipped Veganuary this year or have always been curious about going meat-free now is a great time to try! You are now probably cooking most of your meals at home and perhaps you have a bit more time to explore new recipes, so why not try a veggie week?
Not only is going meat-free good for the environment and could positively benefit your health, but it is also a great chance to awaken your creativity in the kitchen and maybe even help lower the grocery bill. The internet is full of delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes so Google, Instagram and YouTube will be your best friends here. If recipe books are your thing then we highly recommend The Self-Care Bookbook by Gemma Ogston of Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen, a collection of easy healing plant-based recipes. Pure plant magic!
Whether you are a simple 15-minute one-pot kind of person or an aspiring Michelin Chef we are sure you will find a veggie chef out there to serve as some inspiration!
6. 100 squats challenge.
100 squats, every day, for 30 days. Yep, that is the 100 squat challenge famously invented by Cassey Ho, the woman behind Blogilates, a Youtube channel with no less than nearly 4 million subscribers. The challenge is brutal but simple, easy to do at home and you’ll have a really awesome butt post-isolation!
You can watch her videos here, or simply get squatting and get counting!
7. Five-minute plank challenge.
Looking for a more simple and straightforward challenge? Or something you easily involve friends and family in? The five-minute plank challenge should do the trick. Start off by doing a plank for as long as you can, time the event, write down your record, then start to work your way upwards. Simply add 10 seconds to your record for each day and before you know it you’ll be doing the plank for 5 minutes straight! Spread the good vibes by tagging your loved ones in your progress posts and challenge them to do the same. A great way to stay healthy and connected!
8. The great spring clean
Perhaps you have already binge-watched the whole Marie Kondo series on Netflix, felt the cleanspiration rush through your body, only to decide you will “start tomorrow” instead? Or maybe, you’ve never heard about the Japanese organisation guru but are in desperate need of a spring clean?
With all this time spent at home, there has never been a better time to turn your home into the peaceful, organised sanctuary that you always knew it could be. The bonus is that cleaning, DIY and gardening pursuits are all great exercise and often have a somewhat meditative quality to them. There is really no need to read a whole book about the science of having an organised home and getting results is all about taking action, so we challenged you to try the 7-day KonMari-inspired challenge. So fix yourself an energising drink - coffee, green tea or even a cheeky Livener - stick on some tunes and let's get going! Tidy room, tidy mind.
9. Wim Hof: 20-day cold shower challenge.
Better known as the Iceman, Wim Hof is the man behind the world's longest ice bath as well as eight other world records. He has made it his mission to teach the art of overcoming our physical limitations and to show that we are all capable of more than we could ever imagine - legend! His philosophy; through a combination for breath work, cold therapy and commitment EVERYONE can gain a better sense of control over their body and their mind.
Whilst sounding unpleasant, taking cold showers or ice baths have long been practised amongst top athletes and will leave you feeling like a bonafide badass. Keen to see how freezing your butt off might benefit your body and your mind? Print out the 20-day cold shower challenge sheet and see if you can stick to it, it’s just cold water after all. Just breathe baby…
10. 30 days of gratitude.
The holy grail of a positive mindset and a happy outlook on life; GRATITUDE. When we remember and focus on the things we are grateful for we gain perspective and can change the way we view any situation, so why not make it a daily practise?
A great place to start is to have a gratitude journal, a place where you write down at least one thing each day that you are grateful for. If you need a little bit of help to start this 30-day gratitude prompt be sure to get your new habit of gratitude rolling. Perhaps you do this first thing in the morning or maybe just before you go to sleep? As with all of these challenges, find what works for you, and stick to it! Consistency is always key.
A challenge is meant to be a light-hearted competition between you and yourself, so don’t worry too much if you skip a day or two. The main point is to give yourself a goal to work towards, and perhaps challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone a little. Have fun with it, involve friends and family and see how far this playful energy can take you.
Let us know how you get on!