Take the Summer Self-Care Challenge

Now more than ever, it’s important to be good to ourselves. Often, that starts with self-care — finding ways to soothe and maintain your body, mind and spirit.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a summer’s worth of challenges that may help you focus on a different area of self-care each week.

Week 1: Get some exercise.

Option A: Take a walk — or wheel yourself outdoors if you’re in a wheelchair. Pay attention to nature’s sights, sounds and smells as you go.

Option B: Break a sweat! Get your heart pumping with a cardio workout.

senior woman sitting on a beach.Week 2: Nourish your emotional health.

Option A: Feeling down? Call a friend and share your feelings.

Option B: Next time you’re being hard on yourself, try some positive self-talk. What would a good friend say to you right now?


Week 3: Dial back the news.

Option A: Don’t read the headlines first thing in the morning. Start your day with something that feels good instead.

Option B: Take a break from your social media accounts this week. Even just a day or two off can feel good.

Week 4: Connect with others.

Option A: Send someone a short letter or card in the mail this week.

Option B: Have a video chat with a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while.

Week 5: Steer clear of harmful substances.

Option A: Feeling the urge to smoke or drink alcohol? Find a positive distraction. Walk up and down some stairs. Work on a hobby. Or take some deep breaths.

Option B: Have you been thinking about quitting tobacco or alcohol? Make an appointment to ask your doctor for help.

Week 6: Soothe your stress.

Option A: Treat yourself to a home spa day. How about some soothing music, a warm bath and some scented candles?

Option B: Get those nagging chores out of your head and on to paper. Make a to-do list.

Week 7: Get creative.

Option A: Crack open a box of crayons and spend some time with a coloring book.

Option B: Write a poem about something that delights you.

Week 8: Embrace mindfulness.

Option A: Savor a warm cup of tea or a cool glass of lemonade. Notice the flavors and aromas — and the way it feels in your hands.

Option B: Before you leave your bed each morning, take five deep breaths. Notice how it feels to be in your body today.

Week 9: Put a spotlight on sleep.

Option A: Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day this week. Make sure you give yourself room for a full night’s sleep.

Option B: Dragging a bit? Say yes to a short nap in the early afternoon.

Week 10: Pump up your plate.

Option A: Variety is fun and healthy! Choose a new fruit or vegetable to try this week.

Option B: Try to make half your grains whole this week. Choose options like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice and corn tortillas.

Week 11: Practice gratitude.

Option A: End your day by thinking of one thing for which you’re grateful — perhaps good health or a lovely morning.

Option B: Start a gratitude journal filled with each day’s gifts.

Week 12: Make home a haven.

Option A: Move a chair near a window where you can enjoy a peaceful sunrise or sunset view.

Option B: Pick a cluttered area to spruce up.

You did it!

Now pat yourself on the back. That’s a whole summer of taking great care of yourself!

Consult your physician before making changes to your diet and exercise routine.