Hey All! I am so proud of those of you who are still working hard and joining me in the Exercise Challenge! Exercising every day for the month of August is hard work, but it is worth it! I’ve had a few days when my motivation was lacking, but it helped me push through each workout just knowing that I had a group of people exercising daily with me! I definitely got into a great routine of working out as well. I hope you found that exercise is becoming a habit in your life too! We are almost at the 4 week mark in our challenge… Take a look at this quote >>> Not only do you start noticing changes 4 weeks in, but you also start forming a solid habit (28 days). You may have noticed how exercise helped you physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, intellectually, and possibly even environmentally! I truly hope you took note of all of the benefits of exercise, recognized the importance of exercise in your life, and used this challenge as a jumpstart for incorporating exercise into your life on a daily basis! If you find you need assistance with choosing an exercise program, need some extra motivation, or want to get started on a weight loss or new nutrition program, just let me know. I’ll be happy to help! Just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, for those of you who are ready for another challenge or want to jump in on the next challenge for September, I am going to be changing gears. We are going to switch from the Physical Dimension of Health to the Social Dimension. September’s challenge is… The Kindness Challenge!
For those of you new to Wholee Healthy or who haven’t looked into what exactly it’s all about, Wholee Healthy is a website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Instagram account (wholeehealthy) that I am using as a platform to get healthy information and inspiration to anyone and everyone I can. Wholee Healthy has monthly challenges that each focus on a different dimension of health to encourage forming new, healthy habits in our lives.
I eventually hope to grow Wholee Healthy into a business and become a holistic health coach, creating goals with clients in different areas of their lives to help make each day more purposeful and aligned with their hopes and intentions for the future. I will emphasize in weight loss, diet plans, and exercise plans as well. But, for right now, I am growing a name and a community, taking on a few clients free of charge to gain experience (email me if you’re interested!), and being the best advocate for healthy living that I possibly can.
What is holistic health? Holistic health is looking at different dimensions of health (social, intellectual, environmental, mental, and spiritual), and how each plays a role in our physical health. I believe looking at any obstacle or setting any goal should consider all dimensions of our health, in particular those that have to do with getting in better shape, losing weight, and eating healthier. We are complex human beings, and there is so much more to improving our physical health than simply working out, eating healthier, or balancing the two resulting in weight loss. That is the base level or the physical dimension, but what about our mental health- our confidence, self-image, and messages we send ourselves? What about our social health- our relationships that affect our choices? There are so many things that need to be considered when it comes to getting our physical health on track. That is why I believe looking at each person holistically helps them to better not only their physical health, but each of their other dimensions of health along the way.
And so, I bring you… The Kindness Challenge! This month, we are shifting our focus from ourselves to those around us. We are going to work our kindness muscles (while hopefully still working our physical muscles daily)! This is a very open-ended challenge as well, as I like to encourage everyone to make each challenge as personal and unique for themselves as possible. The challenge is to purposefully spread kindness each day for the month of September.
Each of us knows what a kind gesture can do for our day. It might be a person paying for our coffee in the drive-through, a compliment on our outfit, or a personalized note voicing appreciation from a co-worker on our desk in the morning. These actions, no matter how big or small, make us feel uplifted, loved, appreciated, and hopeful. If you are the person performing the kind gesture, you may have felt similar feelings. It can help you to take the focus off of yourself, keep things in perspective, see how powerful kindness is, appreciate community on a whole new level, and carry a more positive vibe throughout your day. Focusing on others can be a powerful action for our relationships as well. Putting the focus on others’ wants, needs, and hopes helps us to connect with them and make them feel valued. Whether it be a loved one or stranger, you never know the effect your kindness may bring. The goal of this challenge is to make purposeful kindness more of a habit in our lives.
What does this have to do with your physical health? As I mentioned before, each dimension is intertwined with the next. This challenge could have various effects on each of the others. One scenario could go like this: the Kindness Challenge is designed to improve our social health by improving our relationships and ease with which we display kindness to others. This can affect our mental health because we will not be as concerned with ourselves and in our own thoughts as much. We will have more to concern ourselves with and it will help us to feel more productive, happier, and more fulfilled. In turn, this can also improve our physical health because we won’t have as much opportunity to sabotage our goals with overthinking things or getting down on ourselves. In fact, this general mood will create similar outcomes for each of our dimensions of health: intellectual– we will be happier and more excited to go to work, knowing we’ll be making someone’s day better; spiritual– no matter your religion, kindness to others is definitely aligned with how we should be living our lives! You’ll be strengthening this aspect of your faith and/or values; environmental– your uplifted mood will also encourage you to make your surroundings brighter and help you to deal with any weather setbacks you may have with more ease. Each dimension can be affected in different ways throughout this challenge, but these are a few examples of how the Kindness Challenge may impact your life.
You may not know where to start, you may work from home and not have regular contact with others, or you may feel awkward going out of your way to purposefully make others feel good if you normally keep to yourself. Whatever your situation, I have a few ideas that will give you a good start for how to spread kindness this month. Again, I hope you make this your own, and do what you will with this challenge no matter how small or large-scale. Whether you choose one person to compliment each day or start a large-scale Pay it Forward movement, make it yours! (I have an outline of my plan for the challenge at the end of the post in case you are like me and need a little more structure!)
Here are some ideas I’ve formulated to help you get started planning and preparing for the Kindness Challenge:
- Write a quick note to a co-worker, classmate, or friend and put it on their desk, door, or in their mailbox detailing how you appreciate their efforts. I know receiving a note of appreciation was a definite highlight in my day. It only takes a few minutes and can be done on one of your busier days… hopefully you make it a habit to do this on a regular basis!
- Verbally complement 3-5 different people on something you appreciate about them or enjoy about them. Try to go more in depth than- “I love your dress”… maybe, “I love how organized you always are! You have such a good work ethic and it helps me stay on track too. Thank you!” Make sure it’s more meaningful and it comes from the heart- something you truly believe about them! You may compliment people regularly as it is, but really try to dig deeper and make these compliments meaningful! This is another quick way to purposefully spread kindness. Hopefully it will start to come more naturally to you as a part of daily life.
- Comment on, message, or connect somehow with long-distance friends or family via social media, text, a phone call, or email. It can be as little as commenting with your appreciation on an enlightening post someone has on Facebook or as big as reconnecting with someone you haven’t talked to due to a strained relationship… I a happy birthday text to an ex-boyfriend I hadn’t talked to for awhile, and he is now my husband! Technology is a great tool to use for communicating kindness as well! This is a great one for any retirees or stay at home moms who aren’t out and about as often. But, it can work for everyone!
- Do small household chores, tasks, or surprises of different sorts for those around the house. Get your husband/wife their coffee in the morning, have an impromptu movie night with one of your kids, leave your roommate’s favorite snack on their bed for them while they’re at class, or grab some flowers while you’re grocery shopping for your wife or daughter. This list can be endless! You know the people at home the best, and you know just what can uplift them and make their day brighter. For retirees or stay at home moms (like myself!), this is another great way to do the kindness challenge even when you’re staying in for the day. By being a role-model and doing this on a regular basis for others in your household, it can become part of daily life to go out of your way for one another and show consideration and love.
Ideas that Require a Little More Prep:
- Clean out your closets and make a trip to Goodwill or another donation drop off. While it may seem like a relief to get rid of some stuff, this is also helping out those who are in need!
- Donate to a charity. If you haven’t looked into charitable giving, this is a great way to give, especially if you have the resources and possibly don’t have the time to volunteer. There is even a certain amount you can give to different foundations as a tax credit (basically you can give to the foundations instead of paying the state what you owe in taxes)! Take your time and research the charity you give to- look to see what percentage of donations are actually used towards their cause (vs. what is used to pay their employees, etc). Also, you can make donations in loved ones’ names or donations to foundations that are close to your heart. Donations are a great way to help out those in need.
- Volunteer. This can be such a fulfilling service! The lives you can touch and the help you can give is priceless. There are plenty of unique opportunities you can find… Feed My Starving Children, Operation Christmas Child, local hospitals, hospice care, or schools in your area to name a few. Even if it’s only a few times a month, think about volunteering!
- Do the “Drive-through Difference”. This name comes from a radio station (KTIS) in Minnesota where I grew up. The idea was that on the first Friday of every month, people going through drive-throughs would print off a small message and pay for the person behind them in a drive-through line and leave the message. What a cool idea! Now, this idea can apply to a number of different spots, be it the grocery store, a restaurant, Target, or anywhere you are paying for something with other customers. You can choose if you want to leave a message (see http://myktis.com/drive-thru-difference/ if you would like to use the radio station’s or just leave your own personalized one) or not, but either way, it is a great way to turn a random stranger’s day around!
- Pay it Forward. If you’ve never seen the movie Pay it Forward before, the idea behind this is doing three significant things for three strangers at some point in your lifetime. Now, you can take this to any scale you want. In the movie, people were giving away cars and houses to strangers and significantly altering their futures. How cool would it be to make this big of an impact on someone’s life! Like I said, it is understandable if you don’t want to do something this large-scale, but think of other ideas… giving someone concert tickets you can’t use, paying for another person’s layaway bill at Wal-Mart or Target for their family’s Christmas presents, or leaving a huge tip for a waiter at a restaurant. This one is similar to the “Drive-Through Difference”, but on a larger scale. My goal is to do at least one of these Pay it Forward gestures during the month of September.
Like I said before, make this challenge your own! I hope you find that the Kindness Challenge helps make purposeful kindness a more natural habit in your life; and I hope you find it brightens the lives of those around you and encourages them to spread kindness to others around them as well. We are living in some pretty chaotic times right now with all of the different events taking place in our country. Shine some light in the darkness and spread the love!
Here is the general structure I am using each week for the month of September. Even if you are doing bigger things, still try to do the easier, smaller gestures on a daily basis to infuse more purposeful kindness into your long-term habits!
My Kindness Plan
Monday– I’m planning to work on my long distance friendships and extended family and will reach out to those you I haven’t talked to in awhile in different, special ways (Facebook message, sending a card with pictures, or texting)
Tuesday– Tuesdays are our family days (like our weekends), so I’ll recruit my husbands help and ideas, and we’ll do our bigger gestures on Tuesdays (cleaning out our closet, donating things, etc)
Wednesday– This day will be for my closer family that I do not necessarily see every day, or live close to but have close relationships with. I’ll connect with them to show my appreciation and love. (texts, phone calls, Skype, flowers, cards, etc)
Thursday– Thursday is the first day my daughter and I are on our own again after our family days, so it is like our Monday. We are out and about these days. I’ll focus my effort on random opportunites and people (drive-through difference, compliments, and other opportunities that present themselves)
Friday– This is my husband’s toughest day because switching back to his overnight schedule takes a toll on him… I am going to focus my kindness and efforts at home, on my husband and daughter this day (getting coffee, meals, mow the lawn, various chores, and optimal relaxation opportunities for my husband and fun activities and extra general attention for my daughter)
Saturday– This is also a longer day for our family because of lack of sleep and not having typical weekend schedules. It is more of a work day, and my job is being a stay at home mom! My plan is to dedicate this day to home as well and making the day go smoothly and well for those closest to me.
Next Up is the final Exercise Challenge post: The Pros and Cons of Popular Workouts: Which Exercises are Best for You? I’ll be doing general posts on the social dimension of health as well as continuing my Holistic Weight Loss series.
Let me know if you have any comments questions, would like to get started with an exercise plan, diet plan, or weight loss, or if you have any ideas for future posts or challenges… I love hearing from you! email@example.com
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi