Introducing my 30 Day September Glow-Up Challenge, designed to get us feeling happier, healthier and fitter in time for spooky season.
I’m feeling loads better in terms of my shoulder injury recovery (I managed a lot of climbing with youngest in the park today, and I’m feeling confident I can handle pole class on Tuesday). It would be easy to slip back into being a bit sedentary now that I’m no longer in pain though, so don’t really need to continue the physio (I am going to be continuing with it for a while anyway, to be sure it’s healed, but the pain isn’t there to prompt me to anymore).
Thing is, being more active has made me feel loads better. My mood is boosted, I’m feeling more confident and capable and, most importantly, I’m feeling strong. The structure of having certain exercises I had to do daily definitely helped me. So I started looking for a structured fitness challenge.
There are loads of fitness challenges out there, but none of them quite aligned with my goals. So I started thinking about exactly what those goals were, and snaffled some bits from some other online challenges and self-help books and put together my own 30 day mind body and spirit glow up challenge. You’re very welcome to join in with me, I think it’s fairly adaptable to your own goals.
My goals when creating the challenge were:
• To develop healthier habits that I can carry forward
• To eat more consistently (more on that later)
• Build more movement into my day to counteract my sedentary job
• Be more generally hydrated
• Do all that in an hour a day (broken into chunks)
30 Day September Glow Up Challenge Rules:
• Drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water a day
The number is fairly arbitrary, it’s a glass more than I’d drink on a day I was being mindful of my hydration. Pick a number you can stick to. If you never drink water, 6 might be too much for you. My glass is around 500ml, and my water bottle counts as two glasses.
• Eat dinner with vegetables in it every day, and take your vitamins.
For me eating consistently is a challenge. I’m the only vegetarian in my household, and when the omnivores are eating meat I have a tendency to skip dinner and snack later. That isn’t helping me rebuild my strength after my injury, reach my fitness goals, or feed my brain the nourishment it needs to be creative. So for me, eating dinner every day is the goal. For you it could be give up sweet treats, or crisps, only eat meat once a week, or eat 5 bits of fruit and veg every day, depending on your goals. Pick something achievable, measurable and that won’t make you feel like you’re being punished. The idea here is to make small changes we can keep going with. Don’t restrict yourself too much in terms of calories though, you’ll be needing the energy.
• A minimum of 20 minutes a day reading, writing, or meditating daily
Yes, audio books count. Yes, reading fiction counts. Yes, journalling counts, as does fiction writing (but not social media posting or reading or writing you have to do for your job). Listening to a meditation video counts. If you’re arty, making your art counts. The idea here is to feed your brain.
• Minimum of 20 minutes outside each day
This one might be a challenge given I’m starting in September and I live in England, so I’ll probably be doing it in the rain. But I need more fresh air and more movement in my life. Brisk walking, running, a mix of both, playing in the park, throwing a ball for the dog, walking to the shops, it all counts as long as it’s outside.
• Minimum of 20 minutes other movement a day
This can be weight training, hitting the gym, or stretching, doing a dance workout, trying out yoga or pilates, going to classes, joining a team, or doing it all at home. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s probably a good idea to switch stuff up to prevent boredom. Just make sure you always know what you’re going to do tomorrow, so you don’t procrastinate on deciding and end up doing nothing.
• Wear sunscreen every day
My skin is definitely showing signs of sun damage so this is my self-care goal. Yours might be to moisturise daily, remove your make up before bed, wear lip balm, give your skin a break from make up, or try out new make up looks, stop wearing tracksuits all day, whatever makes you feel good. Choose something you can do quickly each day, that’s just for you.
• Take a progress pic each day and write a word or two about how you feel.
This may seem silly because we aren’t doing hard-core workouts here, but sometimes subtle changes are hard to see when we are watching them happen. As well as keeping track of your progress, it’s also a way of keeping yourself accountable to the process. Do keep in mind though, that if you’re drinking lots and lots of water you’re not used to, you may bloat a little at first. It’s just water, it’ll go away when your body starts processing it more efficiently instead of storing it for when drought season hits again.
This looks like a lot, but if we were to do the minimum each day, it would take an hour all together. Out of the 24 hours in your day, arent you worth an hour?
30 Day September Glow Up Challenge Rules Recap
• 6 glasses of water per day
• Eat healthy dinner and take vitamins each day
• 20 mins reading, writing or meditation
• 20 mins outside
• 20 mins indoor workout
• Sunscreen every day
• Progress pic each day
To make it easier for myself I made a little checklist for each day in advance in my notebook that goes everywhere with me. Here is a version you can print off to use if you like:
Remember, you can and should) adapt the challenge to suit your own goals and needs. If 40 mins of exercise is too much for you, make each 20 minute session 10 minutes instead. If you already use sunscreen daily, start using a night cream or eye cream. Choose the food goals that work for you, and that you can stick to. Listen to your body. This is all about nurturing and nourishing ourselves, not punishing ourselves.
The 30 day September glow up challenge starts on Friday 1st September 2023, but you can start anytime. I’ll be talking about the challenge as I go along on YouTube, and probably twitter and bluesky too. I’d love for you to join in, and if you need an accountability buddy for it just comment (here, YouTube, twitter, anywhere) and we can support each other.
Want more guidance on journalling and some prompts to help feed your brain? Check out My Strange Notebook, the self-love prompt journal for those too chaotic to journal.
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