Throughout the month of May, we leaned into Mental Health Awareness Month, and our community showed up in full force to take small steps with us. Thousands of people decided to take action with Madefor, joining us for our free 21-day Mental Health Text Challenge!
We were blown away by the response and loved hearing how the Madefor Community leaned into the prompts in a way that worked best for them. Participants enjoyed engaging in free small doses of self-care! Check out some of the feedback we received:
“I was so impressed by the level of connection (I didn’t expect to get a reply to my texts. And seemed like it was a real person!), the consistent voice (friendly and supportive). And I know from my experience with you that I can count on you to do what you said you were going to do (which is why I knew the survey would be 5 minutes really). I had an excellent experience. I enjoyed it and saw lots of positive small changes. Momentum. Hooray!”
“I signed up for the Challenge out of curiosity. I know isolation has affected me, so I thought why not see what it’s about. I missed the first couple days, but I can honestly say that each challenge gave me something to think about, especially Self Care. At times, I felt selfish or self indulgent, but I do realize I need to fill my own cup more. This challenge has reminded me to reconnect with myself and others in a way that is actionable in which instead of draining my energy. I can replenish it, even if only for brief moments. Thank you for the insight!”
If you joined us during the original Challenge, great! If you missed the Text Challenge, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out for good. We’ve compiled the prompts here, so you can get into action at any time that works for you! Continue reading to start the Challenge at the beginning (or jump in at Week #2 or Week #3).
A quick note before we get started—if mental illness is present in your life, 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
Day 1: Get out into 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. Nature makes us happier and healthier. Our first challenge is simple: Step outside and spot ONE tree, plant, or bird. Take a minute to notice its colors, shapes, or sounds. Even the smallest dose provides big benefits! What did you notice? Write it down in a journal or share with a friend!
Day 2: Spread a Good Mood
Spread positive vibes today! Did you know that you can "catch" another person's good mood - it's called Positive Emotional Contagion. Simply making eye contact and greeting the people you interact with provides scientifically measurable benefits to you and them. Challenge: Make eye contact, smile, wave, and say good morning to three people you encounter today. Reflect on your experience in your journal!
Day 3: Play!
Let's play! Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we lost touch with how fun and joyful it can be to just move our bodies. When we hear "move," we automatically think work-out, going to the gym, running, or lifting weights. Let's change that.
Your challenge today is to move in whatever way feels good to you for just a few minutes. You can try rolling around on the floor or dancing to your favorite song. At Madefor, we love the "beach ball baby" move from advisor, Rory Cordial. In fact, a baby’s natural movement patterns are your blueprint for better movement for life. Watch this video to try it out with us!
Day 4: Use your Breath
The way we breathe strongly impacts our states of stress - which makes breath one of the most powerful internal tools you have at your disposal. The best part is that you can lean into it whenever you need it!
Learn about how a "Sigh" can reduce anxiety, and calm yourself down in an instant by watching this SHORT video clip from Dr. Huberman (Madefor's Lead Advisor and Neuroscientist) and practice it today! Double inhale, extended exhale. You’ve got this!
Extra Credit: Journaling Exercise
Just putting pen to paper tells your brain: PAY ATTENTION 🚨 Your extra credit today is to write down answers to these questions: How did your experience with the "Sigh" breathing exercise go today? Did you notice a difference with how you moved through your day afterwards? When do you plan to use it again? Write it down!
Day 5: Practice Gratitude
Gratitude isn't soft, it's a powerful character strength. Research shows that it improves your mental and physical well-being - increasing happiness and resilience, and lowering stress and anxiety.
Your challenge today is to identify one thing you are grateful for and write about it. Did a friend do something special for you? Were you pleasantly surprised by an unexpected interaction? Are you thankful for something specific in your life? Write it down and include any positive feelings that come up. Be specific and as personal as possible with your writing.
Day 6: Hydrate
Let's hydrate today! Grab a water bottle and piece of paper. Add a checkmark to your piece of paper every time you drink a full glass or bottle of water today. Pay attention to how much water you drink and how you feel after. The goal isn't to drink as many as possible, but to drink as many that feels right for you today. How do you feel? Reflect on what it feels like to pay attention to a simple thing you do every day and the impact it has on you.
Day 7: Find Some Clarity
Clearing our physical spaces = clearing our mental spaces. Tidy up one room or section of a room today and see how it makes you feel. Which space did you organize and what was the end result? Reflect on any changes you experienced while cleaning up in your journal!
Congratulations! Once you’ve worked through the above list, you’ve completed Week #1 of the Challenge. Check out our next blog post for the Week #2 Challenges.