There are plenty of 30-day fitness challenges in the media. Here at Second Nature, we know that exercise is just one of the many factors that can impact your health. So, we created a 30-day health challenge, that will help you keep in check with healthy habits.
We stress on our programme that the best way to build habits is to tie them to ‘triggers’ in our daily routine. For example, practising deep breathing for 2 minutes every morning after you make your bed, where the trigger is making your bed. When our daily routine changes, even slightly, we might struggle to keep up our healthy habits.
Although disruptions to our routine can negatively impact habits we already have, other research suggests that big life changes can present a unique opportunity to establish new habits.
We created this challenge back in April when we were all in a quarantine routine, but we decided it might be more helpful to go live with the challenge when everyone is going through an adjustment – returning to a level of normality after lockdown.
Hence why we’re releasing a 30-day challenge in July, which actually has 31 days! You can use the last day of the month to practise a habit you’ve enjoyed the most, or simply have a day of relaxing.
Welcome to our 30-day healthy habits challenge! All of the habits are based on the different aspects of health that the Second Nature programme focuses on, including mindset, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and motivation.
Each day of the month there’s a different healthy habit for you to try.
Mindful eating has been shown to help increase the satisfaction during meal times and prevent overeating. Mindful eating is also a fantastic coping strategy for emotional eating, boredom eating, and binge eating.
Watch our mindful eating video here and join Bari as she leads a guided chocolate meditation and discusses the importance of mindful eating. Bari is a Registered Dietitian and social strategist here at Second Nature.
Today we challenge you to drink 2L of water over the course of the day. Keeping hydrated is incredibly important for concentration, energy levels and can help with feelings of satiation.
Consider putting a reminder on your phone each hour to drink a glass of water, or have a glass of water before each meal.
Today is about trying a new activity to get moving and have fun. For example, you can find our beginners salsa video here. If salsa isn’t your thing, check out our recommended exercise playlists on YouTube here.
Today is about focusing on the importance of sleep. Watch this inspirational TEDtalk for the science behind sleep and some key tips.
Today we challenge you to use the ‘Carrot Test’ if you feel like stress eating. Before you reach for food in times of stress, ask yourself, ‘am I hungry enough for a carrot?’. This can help separate physical hunger from emotional hunger. If you identify you are eating out of emotions, what other coping strategies may you use instead?
It’s important to remember that the number on the scale is not always an accurate indicator of improved health. In fact, taking notice of other changes, such as mood, sleep, energy, how your clothes fit, exercise capabilities etc. are a greater indicator of progress. Write down your non-scale victory of the day or week.
Recording your gratitudes can be an instrumental habit to rewire your brain to think more positively. The benefits of a positive mindset can transcend into other areas of your life, such as professional, social, and overall wellbeing.
Today we challenge you to eat 10 different vegetables. It’s important to remember that variety is key to ensuring you have a wide range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. To help ensure you get in all 10, you could opt for a vegetable omelette at breakfast.
Today is another exercise day! You can find a fun beginners bodyweight workout here with one of our Health Coaches Tom. Alternatively, use this day to find some time to dedicate to your favourite exercise.
To help improve your quality of sleep, today we challenge you to read for 20 minutes before you go to sleep. As many of us scroll on our phones before bed, reading is a great way to reduce screen time and blue light exposure.
Researchers at Kings College in London found that connecting with nature was associated with reduced levels of stress & higher levels of mental wellbeing. Today we challenge you to take a walk in nature.
Today we challenge you to spend 5 extra minutes working on a personal goal! It can be anything you’ve been putting to the bottom of your to-do list for a while.
Today we challenge you to do a 3 minute guided meditation (you can listen here). We recommend taking notice of how you feel before and after the meditation.
Today we challenge you to look into your cupboard and be inspired! If you’re on the programme, you can check out the ‘cupboard staples’ in the recipes section of the app.
Today we challenge you to try PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) before you go to sleep! PMR has been shown to reduce stress levels and help calm your mind. Additionally, PMR has been shown to help with insomnia. You can find a recording here.
Speaking with family and friends can help to reduce your stress and help you feel connected. Today we challenge you to call, FaceTime, or Zoom someone for a chat.
Today we challenge you to identify your current intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. These may have changed recently so reassessing them is important. You can find a link to the guide here.
Today’s mindset challenge is focused on body image and appreciating your body for all the amazing things it does for you. Find a reason why you’re grateful for your whole body or a specific part. For example, I am grateful for my arms because they help me hold my loved ones.
Today we challenge you to batch cook and freeze! Having healthy and homemade meals in the freezer is great for when you lack time or motivation to cook.
Today is another exercise challenge. We challenge you to do a fun workout with your kids (or pets!) if you have them. If not, grab a friend or partner and complete a quick fun exercise together. You can find our kid-friendly workout here.
Caffeine has a half-life (the time it takes for your body to get rid of half of the stuff in your system) of six hours. So, if you’ve had coffee or tea in the afternoon, say around 4 pm, half of it will still be in your system near bedtime, say around 10 pm. Today’s sleep challenge is about giving your body enough time before you sleep to get rid of the caffeine.
Today we challenge you to make a to-do list of the things you want or have to accomplish this week. Having things written down can help you feel more organised and less stressed. Once you write your to-do list, you can assign strategies for each task! Lists are also great for accountability.
Sometimes the best way to regain lost motivation is to reflect back to the mindset you had when you first started this journey. Today we challenge you to read through your first journal entry in the app (if you’re on the programme) or reflect on the day you started this 30-day challenge. What has changed since? What do you still wish to accomplish?
Throughout the programme, we discuss how to record distorted thoughts. For example…
‘If I eat one bad food, I might as well just continue eating poorly because I have failed’
‘I may have eaten too much, but I can still choose balanced food for the remainder of the day. My value or worth is not determined by the food that I eat’
Today we challenge you to reword a distorted thought!
Today we challenge you to bring kids into the kitchen and help them learn to cook! If you’re child-free, grab a friend, partner, or pet and challenge yourselves to bake something delicious together. You can find our cooking with kids video here.
Chair exercises are great for those who have limited mobility, or for those that find themselves sitting in front of a computer. Do these exercises in between your work tasks, or use the chair as an extra layer of stability for your workout. This exercise routine is great for all ages. You can find the workout video here.
Today’s sleep challenge is about reducing screen time before bed, which can negatively impact the quality of our sleep. You might find this easier if you leave your mobile phone or tablet outside of the bedroom overnight.
Today we challenge you to participate in a breathwork workshop to reduce stress and calm the mind. You can find the workshop here.
Today is the final day of the 30-day challenge! We challenge you to end this series by setting new goals and intentions. Hopefully, this challenge has reinforced some key learnings and healthy habits. What do you want to focus on next? If you’d like, you can share your next focus with us on Instagram at @secondnature_health.
I’ll give this a go. I’m a little late to the challenge but will do the 31 days.
Sounds great. I’ll give it a go.
Looks good, I will join in with this 👍
Think this is great but am restricted with exercises as need new knees but I play golf a couple of times a week!
Look forward to all!