Nature Mini-Challenge: Week 3 of Madefor's Mental Health Month

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Nature Mini-Challenge: Week 3 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.

Start with Hydration for your first week, and move onto our Movement Challenge for the second week. Once you have reviewed all the action steps for each, move onto Week 3.

Our third week is all about NATURE! 🌳🍃

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 - Nature

Day #15 (May 15): Get a Dose of Vitamin N

Welcome to Week #3! It's time to unplug, recharge, and experience the benefits of NATURE. Spending time in natural settings not only lowers stress and elevates our mood, it’s also a super-charged battery boost to our immune system. The best part: You don't need to live near a beach or mountain retreat. We are going to teach you how to lean into this abundant resource any time, any where. 

 

Your challenge today is to get a small dose of "Vitamin N". Step outside, grab a piece of nature, like a dandelion, pine needles, or mint, and take a deep whiff of the fragrant smells. Bring your object inside and display it somewhere you will notice. Lean into it throughout the day for a small boost when you need it. What did you notice?

 

Day #16 (May 16): Identify Fractal Patterns

 

Nature is full of calming visual signals - called fractals. Scientists believe that just gazing at fractals—nature’s symmetrical patterns—can bring positive shifts to our mood and stress levels. Imagine a time when you paused to notice the up-close intricacies of a snowflake or geometric spirals of a succulent - did it invoke feelings of wonder, curiosity, or a sense of calm? 

 

Your challenge today is to spend 10 minutes outside, identifying the hypnotic patterns of nature around you. Look to the sky for cloud patterns or close to the earth at a fallen leaf. Taking a moment to notice the beauty of nature is a simple way to make deposits into your mental bank account. What fractal patterns did you notice? Take a picture and send it to us!

Day #17 (May 17): View a Horizon 

Using your vision is a powerful way to enact immediate change on your body! How often do you "wind down" by watching TV or scrolling social media? 🙋‍♀️ Unfortunately, focusing on such a small point in space can be more exhaustive. Instead, viewing a horizon (long-range view) allows your brain to deliberately disengage, giving it the break it needs from a screen-heavy environment.

 

Your challenge today is to find a horizon. It could be from a mountain top or just looking outside a window. Activate your peripheral vision and let your attention drift for at least 5 minutes to give your mind space to recover and reset. Where did you go? How did it make you feel? 

Day #18 (May 18): Get 15 Minutes of Morning Light

Proper sleep is THE foundation of overall health. It recharges our bodies, sharpens our brains, and raises our baselines so we can begin each day with vitality. Light exposure on your eyes - in the morning and evening, is one of the best ways to set your circadian clocks and let your brain and body know what's going on in the world, like when it's time for sleep!

 

Your challenge is to spend at least 15 minutes in natural light within a few hours of waking up. Drink your coffee on the porch, take a stroll through your neighborhood - whatever you prefer. You will even get the benefits on a cloudy day. Tap into nature's power and share with us how you got AM light today! BONUS POINTS: Do this over the course of a few days and take note of the impact. 💤 

Day 19 (May 19): Spend 20 Minutes Forest Bathing

Bathe in the healing effects of nature today! 🌲 The practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, began as a way for the Japanese government to entice people outside & lift the collective mood of the nation. How does it work? Plants & trees emit phytoncides - natural chemicals known to boost our immune system, decrease stress hormone levels, better our sleep, & improve overall mood. 

 

Forest bathing is a powerful wellness tool and completely free! Your challenge today is to spend at least 20 minutes in nature. This doesn’t need to be strenuous, but you do need to immerse yourself. Go for a long stroll to the farmers market or check out a local park! Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the plants and animals around you. Take a photo and share with our team!

Day 20 (May 20): Seek Out Awe

When we experience awe, we experience something called “the shrinking of the self," which makes our own concerns and "mental chatter" feel small in comparison to our current experience. It's that feeling of vastness you get when you see something like the Grand Canyon for the first time. The good news is you don’t need to drive to the Grand Canyon to cultivate this experience!

 

Watch this quick clip on AWE from Ethan Kross, Psychologist and Neuroscientist then get out and experience awe today! Marvel at something around you, watch the sunrise, or stare up at a starry night sky. Focus on the feeling of vastness and what amazes you about the experience. What did you do? How did it impact your perspective? Write it down in a journal or share with us!

Day 21 (May 21): Journal in Nature 

Stop and smell the roses today! 🌹 Taking time to pause and reflect is an important part of the change process. When you do things that are good for you, journaling about them can help create deep neural patterns that result in lasting change. Just putting pen to paper tells your brain: PAY ATTENTION. However, cultivating a journaling habit can take time, so let's practice!

 

Nature journaling is a fun way to get started. Your challenge is to grab a notebook, get outside, and journal about the environment around you. Find a good spot outside, turn off your phone, and settle in with a few deep breaths. Take note of the weather, sketch a tree you observe, or write about how you feel spending quality time outside this week. What did you notice? Share with us! 
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Congratulations! Once you’ve worked through the above list, you’ve completed Week #3 of the Mental Health Challenge. Check out our next blog post for the Week #4 mini-breath Challenge!