Movement Mini-Challenge: Week 2 of Madefor's Mental Health Month

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Movement Mini-Challenge: Week 2 of Madefor's Mental Health Month | Madefor

All throughout May, Madefor is getting Back to Basics by helping you tune into the foundational human needs that support positive mental health!

We're offering a FREE 28-day Text Challenge designed around four foundational elements of mental health: hydration, movement, nature, and breath. Everyday during the month of May, we're sending participants one small action step, the science behind it, and an occasional reflection prompt. By the end, these consistent steps will help you build positive momentum and feel more in control of your mental wellbeing.

 

Our first week was focused on Hydration. Review all the action steps here and when ready, move onto Week 2.

Our second week is all about MOVEMENT! 

 

If you've joined us by text, great! If you're unable to or missed a few days of the Text Challenge, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out for good. We’re updating this page with each of the daily prompts here, so you can get into action at any time that works for you! 

 

***A quick note before we get started—if you or someone you care about are struggling with a mental health condition, know you’re not alone. You matter, and maybe the most courageous thing you can do today is ask for help. Find professional medical care—there is no substitute.

 

Madefor Mental Health Challenge - Movement

Day #8 (May 8): Carve Out 15 Minutes for Playful Movement

Welcome to Week #2 - Let's move! Research shows clear signals that MOVEMENT positively impacts brain health in the same way as ALL effective psychological treatments - making it an amazing tool to add to your mental health toolkit. Not only does movement in any form act as a natural antidepressant, it makes your brain more sensitive to pleasure and joy and more resilient to stress. Win-win! 


Your challenge is to carve out 15 minutes throughout your day for playful movement - no gym equipment or yoga mat required. You can dance to your favorite song, kick a soccer ball, or try out this video from our Advisor & Movement Specialist, Rory Cordial. Positive mental health can start by connecting with the simple joy of movement, so let's get moving!

Day #9 (May 9): Move Every 90 Minutes

Movement in ANY dose, of any kind, is good for you. Studies show that people who frequently sit for more than 90 minutes at a time have a 200% greater risk of early death. Yikes! The good news is, you don't need to run 10 miles or join a crossfit gym to experience the benefits. Jump up and down or take a quick walk - anything to get your blood flowing and legs moving! 

 

Today, set a timer and challenge yourself to get up and move every 90 minutes. Get creative with how you move and remember, it can be as simple as walking to the kitchen and grabbing a glass of water. How did it feel to prioritize movement?

 

Day #10 (May 10): Identify Movement That Makes You Happy

 

Sustain movement as a joyous part of your life by focusing on your mindset. Research shows that believing that what you are doing is enjoyable, instead of something you "should do", strongly impacts your ability to access the social, emotional, & physical rewards. So, the secret to sticking with it long-term and reaping all the benefits is finding an activity that makes you happy. 

 

Instead of pressuring yourself to "push through" a hard workout, your challenge today is to spend 20 minutes engaging in any form of movement that is purely playful. A Madefor Teammate recently picked up rollerskating and is having a blast (wipe outs and all)! Bottom line, if you love what you are doing & it's naturally rewarding, you will keep coming back. 🛼 

Day #11 (May 11): Take a 10-minute Attention Walk

Movement is like an IV-dose of hope! When your muscles are stimulated through movement they release “medicine” into your bloodstream in the form of protein - nicknamed hope molecules - that boost your mood, experience of pleasure, purpose, happiness, and more. It's an internal pharmacy for your brain that is available to anyone who is willing to activate it! 

 

Today, instead of turning on the TV at the end of a long work day, take a 10-minute Attention Walk. The pace and distance aren't important, as long as you use your muscles, you will get this benefit. Supercharge the experience and leave the dog and headphones at home. Give yourself permission to tune into your body and the experience of becoming more hopeful.

 

Day #12 (May 12): Activate the "Runner's High"

 

Known as the "runner's high", humans are hardwired to take pleasure in the activities, experiences, and mental states that help us survive - like pursuing meaningful goals that require physical effort and persistence. Imagine our ancestors hunting for food - their brains rewarded them to keep going by unlocking positive feelings through their effort.

 

Luckily, we don't need to run to experience the "don't worry, be happy" brain chemicals. Any moderately challenging physical activity that takes more than 20 minutes will do it. That's your challenge today - pick a form of movement that is personally challenging (and safe!), like vinyasa yoga or a power walk, and engage with it for at least 20 minutes.

 

Day #13 (May 13): Connect with Others Through Movement

Feelings of loneliness and isolation are a big problem in modern society - making it more important than ever to prioritize social connection as a key piece of your wellbeing toolkit. In fact, extended periods of social isolation are likely causing the secretion of peptides through your brain and body, making you feel lousy, as a way to motivate you to seek out other people. 

 

Physical activity is an anecdote. When we exercise, we release neurochemicals that help us bond, build trust, & create a sense of belonging with others - all important processes that helped our ancestors cooperate to survive. Your challenge today is to move with others! Invite a friend over for an online yoga class, find a walking group, or take a group class - you pick! How did it feel? 

Day #14 (May 14): Try Green Exercise

Exercising in nature = instant rewards. Unlike the runners high that takes 20mins+ to activate, the mind altering effects of "green exercise" kick in almost immediately. Being in nature quiets down neural pathways that lead to worry, rumination, & self-doubt and enhances positive emotions. Your brain state most similarly resembles one of experienced meditators during green exercise. 


Since we spend about 93% of our lives indoors (including exercise!) - let's take our movement outside today. Your challenge is to pick any form of movement that is fun for you and try it outdoors. Take a hike through a local park, roll out your yoga mat on your lawn, or throw a barefoot dance party on your lawn. Text us a photo of the nature around you & how it felt!

 

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Congratulations! Once you’ve worked through the above list, you’ve completed Week #2 of the Mental Health Challenge. Check out our next blog post for the Week #3 mini-nature Challenge!