Mental Health Moments: #Last90Days Challenge
⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
I love a good challenge. I don’t mean just of the small business variety, but a daily practice that encourages me to make better choices and lasting changes.
That is why Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days Challenge appealed to me. Each year, I struggle from October to December. While this time of year is my absolute favorite, I usually drink my basic pumpkin spice lattes with added stress. My time management takes a backseat to holiday gatherings, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone, jamming 5,000 new business ventures into the fourth quarter and so much more.
I have always wanted a different approach to the final months of the year. I don’t want to click reset on January 1. I want to already be in a well-oiled machine of a routine without feeling overwhelmed or bored.
It’s the last 90 days of the decade, so I wanted to enter 2020 refreshed and excited.
Enter: The Start Today Journal and the #Last90Days Challenge. I’ve been collecting my own bank of personal data since Oct. 1, and I honestly cannot wait to review my progress at the end of December! (Yes, I am a geek, BUT I love to see changes for the better in my mental health journey.)
The #Last90Days consists of the following:
Five to Thrive
I focus on these five things every day. Honestly, I have been focusing on working out and water anyway in order to establish more healthy habits. I grew up in the 1990s. I loved my Kid Cuisine meals and holiday Oreos while I played Littlest Pet Shop.
So, Five to Thrive means:
Wake Up: Get up an hour earlier than you normally would and use that time for yourself. You can also use this hour any time of the day. I’m more productive in the mornings, so I’m getting up an hour earlier to write, read and use my creativity for non-work-related tasks.
Work out: Work out for at least 30 minutes every day. This is not in my normal wheelhouse, but I have been working out every day (except for like, 2 days) since Sept. 1. As a small company owner, I’ve chosen to remain accountable to myself by getting up and exercising in some capacity. Otherwise, I would just sit at my computer all day and work.
Water: Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. This does not mean coffee or anything else that has water in it. This means actual water. I actually have how many cans of seltzer wall and how many 20-ounce bottles of tap water I need to drink every day. Honestly, this is something each of us should already do. It helps flush out our bodies and helps us feel better in general. (Not to be TMI, but it also helps to prevent kidney stones.)
Food: Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating. This is a form of lint, in my opinion. I can give up most things, but I love to eat my feelings. I love desserts when I’m happy and comfort food when I’m sad. So, this is a habit that I really, REALLY want to break. I plan to give up a particular food item each month. October is… Dunkin Donuts. Not the coffee. Just the chocolate and pumpkin donuts. I love donuts, but my body does not.
Gratitude: Write down five things you’re grateful for every single day. I love this practice because it helps me to find silver linings on bad days and really rejoice in the exhilaration of happy moments. A sample of things I’m grateful for: coffee, consistency, meal prep, being featured in Women’s Health Magazine, Oreos for breakfast (so much for #4, haha).
10 goals in 10 years with 1 to focus on at one time. Write down 10 dreams as if they have already happened. When you write them in past tense, you empower your brain. I’m a wordsmith, so using this technique does work for me. If you’re like me, you have exactly 5,640+ dreams and counting. How can you narrow your focus into just 10 dreams to transform into tangible goals? I based mine on my overall purpose in life: To live what I love. My pillars hold up that roof of a purpose. For example, one of my pillars is my company.
Write each of these dreams every day in past tense. You can also shorten them into bite-sized keywords. My dreams are deeply personal to me, so I don’t plan to share them in their entirety. I will give an example, however: I’m financially comfortable. The next step is to apply goals and objectives to getting there. (SMART objectives, anyone?) Each day, write down the goal you will achieve first to get you to live out one of your dreams. An example of a goal would be, “Save $xxx by year end.” Put numbers and deadlines to make yourself accountable for your dreams!
We’re only on Week 2, but the Week 2 challenge is a doozy. We’re discussing habits this week in terms of Cues, Actions and Rewards. I’m going to focus on emotional eating for this one and how to change the actions and rewards. We can’t always change the cues, but we do have control over the actions and rewards.
Please note: These blog posts are not clinical, although we will provide symptoms and other information. These posts are based on my experiences with anxiety and mental health in general. If you or someone you know needs help, visit a website like Mental Health America to learn more.
Mental Health Moments blog posts are every other Tuesday of the month. Our CEO and contributors highlight what it's like to live with a mental health disorder and continue to fight the stigma through storytelling.
Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16 years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media, she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin on LinkedIn.