November is an exciting time for our office. It marks the culmination of an initiative for which we spend six months planning. This initiative is UBC Thrive.
A lot of the messages we hear during Thrive are about finding small, simple and effective changes to build resilience and balance in our lives. Instead of just talking about Thrive in my editorial this month, I decided that in true health promoter fashion I would instead practice what I preach.
I set out on a seven-day challenge to incorporate more ‘Thrive’ into my life. Next week, I invite you to try the same. You might surprise yourself and find something new that will help you Thrive 365!
Thrive: My seven-day challenge (October 21-27, 2015)
Day 1: Draw circles and turn them into recognizable objects
I did this in front of the TV one night while watching the news. I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and drew six circles in Sharpie and then then went to work. I ended up with a ladybug (a childhood favourite), a jack-o-lantern (inspired by the time of year), a baseball (my mind was on the BlueJays), a lollipop (who doesn’t love candy?), a flower, and a snowman. This challenge allowed be to be creative without any pressure. It also satisfied my inner doodler.
Day 2: Eat whole foods
I tried to go a whole day without eating any processed food. I did not make it. I think that we have become so used to incorporating certain pre-made or boxed food into our meals that we consume foods before realizing what we are eating. This challenge ended up being more of an exercise in mindfulness than nutrition. When I started paying attention to what I was grabbing from the fridge, it was much easier to focus in on whole foods and ingredients.
Day 3: Illustrate your perfect day
I did this challenge during the last 15 minutes of my lunch break one day. I found a few crayons in the office arts and crafts drawer and tried not to overthink it. My perfect day would take place near the water, with the sun shining and the people I love around me. Using bright colours and thinking about nature really lifted my mood.
Day 4: Hold a solo dance party
I tend to have these on a semi-regular basis anyways. Just me in my kitchen, cooking brunch on a Saturday morning dancing along to an oldies playlist (I highly recommend this as a stress reliever). This week, however, I opted for a group dance party instead. I attended a wedding on the weekend and danced the night away with friends and strangers.
Day 5: Create a new mood or inspiration board
I was inspired by the challenge from Day 1 and created a “Perfect Day” inspiration board. I am normally up for crafting but found myself low on glue and glossy magazines so I opted to create a virtual board on Pinterest instead. Check out the images that I found to depict my perfect day(s).
Day 6: Meditate for at least 15 minutes
I accomplished this one while riding the bus on my way into work. I was nervous since I do not have a regular meditation practice outside of yoga classes, so I decided it best to download an app (Stop, Breath & Think). I chose two 6-minute guided meditations, one titled ‘gratitude’ and the other ‘the commonality of suffering’. I have been struggling recently with the cancer diagnosis of a family member and thought these themes might help give me some perspective.
Who knew that 12 minutes on the 99 B-line could leave me feeling so light? I surprised myself with how restful and peaceful my mind felt after just a few minutes.
Day 7: Write down a list of five people that you are grateful for
This was my last challenge and I found it a really fun exercise. I am incredibly fortunate to have enough amazing people in my life with whom I could fill a whole notebook. I decided instead to think a bit outside of the box. I thought about my rights and responsibilities, the things that I hold dear, and stuff that helps me through tough times. My list went as follows:
- Edgar Degas (for inspiring me to become a dancer)
- Whitney Houston (for the Bodyguard soundtrack)
- Emmeline Pankhurst (for working to win women the right to vote)
- The inventor of the cheeseburger (because they are delicious)
- Mr. Henderson (for showing me how to put the perfect curve in my baseball hats)
The great thing about this one is that the list can change every day!
I am so excited to be a part of Thrive in its seventh year at UBC’s Vancouver campus, and you will find me out and about promoting ways to build positive mental health on campus November 2-6. This year, we are encouraging UBC staff, faculty and students to find ways to thrive 365 days throughout the year.
I hope that I have inspired you with some ideas for how you can incorporate ways to thrive into your life each day. Seven down, only 358 more to go!
Happy Thrive everyone!
All my best,
Challenge inspired by: Tap Into Your Creative Side With This 7-Day Challenge (http://greatist.com/)