Monday, January 6, 2014

20 day personal challenge #1

Right before Thanksgiving, I was feeling a bit unbalanced and wanting to get some stability back in my life.  I was working at 2 different TV shows with a crazy unpredictable schedule, eating nothing but catering (which is delicious, but not necessarily healthy) and averaging less than 7 hours of sleep a night while working 12+ hours a day.  I am a person that doesn't function at her best under these conditions.  I can do it, and I can stay chipper and still do a good job, but eventually it all catches up with me and my body lets me know in various ways that it is not happy.  My joints get stiff and my shoulder stays in a mild state of discomfort, my eyes are puffy and red in the morning, and I just feel tired overall.  I have found ways to keep myself feeling good, such as bathing in an epsom salt bath, taking my vitamins, drinking kombucha and cutting back on my sugar intake.  But in November, since it was starting to get cold and I knew the hubbub of the holidays was approaching, I wanted to give myself a little more help to get through the tough schedule.  I really wanted to adopt healthy habits that would give me some sense of routine, even if I wasn't able to do them at the same time every day. 
My goal was to commit to a structured challenge for 20 days, which in theory would result in a feeling of being more grounded and centered, propelling me into a better place where self-nurturing becomes a habit, and insecurity, distractedness and my dependency on technology lessens. This would of course spill over into other areas of my life such as turning to alcohol or mindless eating as a relaxing agent.  Maybe I would even lose a little weight?  But that wasn't the goal.
So I gave my challenge some thought and came up with these parameters; every day I would complete the following practices:
1) 10 minutes of writing.  I could journal or write fiction.
2) 10 minutes of yoga.  Gentle, spinal based.  
3) 20 minutes of oil pulling
4) Post 5 things I am grateful for on FB in the "Grove of Gratitude" group. I had already been doing this daily and wanted to continue
5) Neti Pot (nasal irrigation)
6) Arnica.  I decided to try the pellet form as well as the topical gel.  I did 2 rounds of pellets at 5 days each, plus the gel.

I gave myself extra bonus points for doing other therapeutic practices which would be too much on a daily basis.  Those were:
-Taking a bath in epsom salts
-Using a dry brush to exfoliate my entire body
-Face mask/scrubs
-Drinking green tea, hot lemon water, apple cider vinegar concoctions
-Doing a creative project (sewing, drawing, gardening etc.)
-Getting a massage or using the massage ball/rollers

The results:
For the most part the challenge was a total success.  I'm still writing almost every day and I feel like that exercise in particular was the most enjoyable and led to awakening my creativity again.  I'm still oil pulling almost daily, but that is a habit that I started over a year ago and have been doing off and on.  I'm also still using the Neti Pot regularly.  
Surprisingly, and embarrassingly, I slacked a little on the yoga.  For some reason I have a block with practicing.  It probably has something to do with my limited range of motion and fear of injuring my shoulder even more, added to a lack of space in my room to do it.  And yes, a little bit of laziness too!

In the end, in completing the challenge, I achieved what I wanted to and more.  I feel more centered and grounded, and in touch with my own emotions and needs.  I've redeveloped some healthy habits, and I feel strong again, strong enough to move on to my next challenge. 

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