While sweeping life goals are an effective way to plan for your future, it is just as important to set small daily goals for self-care. Self-care is often under-prioritized and falls through the cracks in the business of our lives — between work, exercise, chores, family, and friends.
That’s why we’ve created a 30-day self-care challenge to help you prioritize yourself. Rather than putting too much pressure to change your whole lifestyle, consider adopting these bite-sized habits to foster wellness in every part of your life. Our self-care challenges cover various topics, including mental health, education, mindfulness, nutrition, literature, and more. Here is our series of manageable yet meaningful daily self-care challenges you can introduce into your everyday life.
Self-care is the practice of bettering yourself by caring for your mental and physical health. Self-care can come in many forms, such as mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, etc.
We often neglect self-care in the face of our everyday lives’ negativity, distractions, and obstacles.
To take care of others, we must take care of ourselves. Staying mindful of your wellbeing will allow you to achieve your goals, help others, and become a happier version of yourself.
Our favorite 30-day self-care challenges include using the Headway app, writing three intentions in the morning, making your bed when you wake up, spending time in nature, unplugging, and meditating.
30 self-care challenges
Day 1: Headway
We’ve decided to kick off our 30-day mental health challenge with a little reading and listening exercise. The Headway app is built upon the understanding that finding time for self-care can be a challenge. With all of the commitments of the modern world, it is important to find self-care practices that fit into your life, not stress you out more.
That’s why the Headway app provides challenges, daily insights, and 15-minute text and audiobook summaries to learn while on the go. Commuting to work, grocery shopping, or going for a quick run? You can listen to the key ideas of a book like Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self-Care to make the most of your alone time!
The Headway app allows you to customize your growth plan based on your goals. For this purpose, focus on self-care, mental health, motivation, and inspiration. The app will present daily key information to help you attain your goals through insights and recommendations.
Download the Headway app today to embark on your 30 days of self-care. As an extra perk, you receive a seven-day free trial once you subscribe!
Day 2: Write three intentions
Wake up earlier this morning and write down three things you want to achieve. When you set an intention, whether physical or emotional, you map out what you want in life or to improve on. Writing intentions is a great manifestation technique. Put the intentions somewhere visible to remind you what you are working towards. Try to hold yourself accountable to these intentions.
Day 3: Create a vision board
As part of your 30 days of self-care, we’ve included a vision board challenge. Visualization is a great technique for attracting your goals and staying focused on what you want. Use photos, quotes, and textiles to build your dream life today.
Day 4: Go outside for ten minutes of sunshine in the morning
Our circadian rhythm is controlled by the sun. This impacts our hormones, mood, productivity, and energy levels. When the sun rises, it signals our cortisol to rise and start our day. To enhance this experience, step outside with your coffee, notebook, meditation, or Headway audiobook.
Day 5: Take a mini-break!
Today’s self-care challenge is here to save you from burnout. A mental health break, even if it is just for 5-10 minutes, is good for your mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and productivity. Set a timer for three mini-breaks throughout your day to step outside, meditate, stretch, close your eyes, or do anything else that sounds relaxing to you!
Day 6: Make a playlist with all of your favorite songs
This self-improvement challenge is a great mood booster! Listening to music is proven to help your productivity levels and mental health. Choose songs that make you feel the happiest and most motivated.
Day 7: Learn something new today
This self-care challenge idea is quite open to interpretation. Just like the muscles in your body, your brain requires exercise to stay healthy and strong. Take the opportunity to learn something new today! This could be as simple as watching a TED talk, cooking a new recipe, or reading your 15-minute book summary from the Headway app!
Day 8: Walk for 15 minutes (rain or shine!)
Today, your commitment to your 30-day self-care challenge is pretty simple. Walk for 15 minutes. Even amidst a busy schedule, you can probably find 15 minutes to walk (even if it is to the grocery store). While you walk, focus on the scenery and sounds. Use this time as a moment of reflection.
Day 9: Fika
Fika is a Swedish term referring to a cake and coffee break. But this isn’t any regular coffee run. Instead of staring at your computer screen or responding to emails, Fika is about pausing from your daily routine and slowing down. Take a minute to enjoy simple pleasures like a hot cup of coffee and pastry with a friend or by yourself.
Day 10: Cut out one bad food for 30 days
Cutting out unhealthy food altogether can feel impossible. The rule of moderation is important. Cut out on unhealthy food such as potato chips, ice cream, or fast food for this self-care challenge. See how you feel after 30 days!
Day 11: Spend time with mother nature
You can complete this daily challenge morning or night. Whether it’s a quick walk, stargazing, or sitting in a park, spending time in nature will always make you feel better and keep things in perspective.
Day 12: Make an appointment
The less exciting part of self-care deals with the basics — doctors, dentists, naturopaths, etc. Have you been putting off that dental cleaning for the past couple of months? As part of your 30-day self-care challenge, today is the time to schedule that appointment. Never put your health on the back burner.
Day 13: Simplify your schedule
Maintaining a daily routine is meant to make your life easier, not more stressful. Try freshening up your schedule and laying out your priorities. Include your favorite self-care challenge in your morning routine and create a soothing night routine.
Day 14: Get a new houseplant
A plant in your house is not only for aesthetics. An indoor plant has been proven to provide various health benefits to the people sharing its space. Not to mention, there are many low-risk options to choose from, so you won’t struggle to keep it alive!
Day 15: Celebrate a milestone!
For example, celebrate that you are halfway through your 30 days of self-care! Reward yourself with your favorite meal, movie, or friend gathering. It is important to celebrate all of your achievements, big and small. Celebrating yourself also serves as motivation for upcoming challenges in your life.
Day 16: Cut out one bad habit for 30 days
Are you someone who eats very late at night? Or goes on their phone before bed? Habits have their name for a reason; they can be hard to break. Choose one bad habit you want to cut out for the next thirty days. You’ll find it much easier to kick your habits one at a time rather than all at once.
Day 17: Catch up with a friend
Friends and family are the most important relationships to foster. Today’s self-care challenge is to reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. This could be as simple as a quick phone call on your way to work. Conversations with people you love can lift your spirits and start your day on the right foot.
Day 18: Unplug
Technology is somewhat addictive for many young people and working professionals. It is easy to get sucked in and distracted. Today’s self-care challenge is to unplug. If setting aside your phone and computer for a day is not feasible, try putting your phone on do not disturb or turning it off for a few hours before going to sleep.
Day 19: Create and practice affirmations
Affirmations have proven to be a powerful tool for positive thinking. If you repeat affirmations regularly, you will start to believe and act on them. Choose five affirmations that inspire you, and try practicing them for the remainder of your 30-day self-care challenge!
Day 20: Spend five minutes tidying your home
Everybody feels better when their space is clean. An organized house can represent an organized inner life. Take five minutes out of your day to wipe down the counters, put items away, and load the dishwasher. This small self-care practice will help you feel calmer in your home.
Day 21: Throw a ten-minute dance party
You can do this at any time of day but set aside ten minutes to put on your favorite songs and dance. You can dance when you’re getting ready for work, making dinner, at your lunch break, or before bed! Dancing is a great way to get your body moving and an instant mood booster.
Day 22: Solve a puzzle
It may seem like a silly challenge, but practicing puzzles enhances your short-term memory and problem-solving abilities. Choose any puzzle of your liking. You could try a crossword, jigsaw, or logic puzzle!
Day 23: Replace your coffee with green tea
This might be a hard daily challenge for those who rely on coffee to get through the day but bear with us. Replacing your coffee with green tea is a great self-care practice. Studies show that green tea helps prevent cardiovascular disease and lowers the risk of other chronic diseases. If you can’t part from your coffee for a day, maybe opt for green tea instead of a second cup of java!
Day 24: Get an extra hour of sleep
Treat yourself to a sleep-in today. Plan to give yourself an extra hour of sleep. You can go to bed an hour earlier or wake up an hour later. If you struggle sleeping soundly, try lowering the temperature in your house, drawing the blinds, or wearing an eye mask to make your bedroom dark. Try to stay off your phone an hour before going to bed — eliminating blue light before sleeping is a great way to ease your body into a restful state.
Day 25: Give something back
Ever heard the saying, in helping others, you help yourself? Science has proven that giving back to others helps your mood. This doesn’t have to be in the form of a monetary gift. Try reaching out to someone you know could use an extra hand, whether it is doing something to help your community, donating a couple of cans to the food bank, or even helping to carry your neighbor’s groceries. These acts of kindness improve our self-esteem and wellbeing.
Day 26: Take a bath
Baths are a great way to carve out quiet, comfort, and isolation in your busy day. To enhance this self-care challenge, use a bath bomb or Epsom salts to fully indulge in this solo time. A bath is an age-old practice that cleanses, pulls toxins out of the body, and allows a peaceful moment to exhale.
Day 27: Commit to making your bed
Not to sound like a nag, but make your bed! There is something about accomplishing a task early in the morning that starts your day off on the right foot. Plus, a freshly made bed makes you feel more organized in your space. Psychologically speaking, making your bed is one of the few things you can do more or less ‘perfectly.’ This makes it easier to tackle harder things that come your way throughout the day.
Day 28: Give the gift of a 20-second hug!
Believe it or not, this self-care challenge is backed by science. Giving and receiving hugs activates sensory nerves that stimulate chemical signals associated with social bonding and pleasure. Hugging stimulates dopamine production, boosts self-esteem, and supports a healthy immune system. Research suggests that it is not about how many hugs you give a day but the length of the hug that more significantly impacts your mood and mental health.
Day 29: Stretch for ten minutes in the morning
A huge part of self-care is being gentle to our body and mind. Rather than working out vigorously to change ourselves, start your day by getting in tune with your body. Notice any area of tension and take a nurturing approach to yourself. This calming routine in the morning will set the tone for your entire day. To enhance this self-care challenge, create a playlist of your favorite songs to accompany your movement.
Day 30: Meditate
Meditation is one of the most popular self-care challenges for a reason. Taking quiet time to check in with yourself will help with stress, anxiety, and overall self-reflection. If you are new to meditation, try finding an easy guided track on your phone or computer.
You’ve completed your 30-day self-care challenge!
These bite-sized self-care challenges should make it relatively easy to stay on track. Don’t worry if you miss a couple of days. Just pick it back up and try completing the tasks to the end.
Trouble staying concentrated? Try using the Headway app to learn tips and tricks on how to stay motivated! A great starting point would be to read the 15-minute book summary of Daniel Goleman’s Focus.
Frequently asked questions
What is the self-care challenge?
Self-care is often neglected due to the business of our lives. The self-care challenge prioritizes self-care for 30 days. By the end of your self-care challenge, you should notice an improvement in your overall wellbeing and happiness.
What are the biggest challenges to self-care?
Self-care is typically impeded by the lack of time in our busy lives. Another challenge to self-care is guilt and feelings of selfishness when we prioritize ourselves.
What are the eight areas of self-care?
The eight areas of self-care typically include emotional, social, environmental, physical, spiritual, psychological, professional, and financial.