Prepare to move the needle on Monday

That’s it, the final stop on this month’s Dream Big challenge. Ready to cross the finish line? Get your plan for week four, here.

Congratulations! That he I felt like it took forever to get here or went by in a flash, you made it to the final, week four of our month-long challenge. You went all the way, and for that you should be very proud of yourself. The problem with endings, however, is that you’ll never have an ending that isn’t followed by a fresh start.

Whether you want to take the current challenge up a notch (i.e. train TWICE per day) or want to achieve a whole new goal, there is no better time than now to start.

The other thing you can do is invite a friend with you on the next trip. There is power (and responsibility) in numbers. You also have us and a virtual team cheering you on on Instagram and Facebook – find us on #DreamBigGetThere. To new beginnings!

Dream big: learn to control anxiety

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Week 4: Talk to someone

Science: Knowing you have someone to talk to and actually talking to someone you trust can help reduce anxiety, study summary finds Depression and anxiety. So while having a therapist is great and can do wonders in taming those anxious thoughts, so is a strong social support network. Science doesn’t lie: we need each other.

Monday Move the Needle: According to Alice Fong, ND, naturopath and founder of Amour de Soi Wellness in Seattle, WA, the key is to open up: “With anxiety, we tend to be a lot in our head and overwhelmed with thoughts. Being with others helps us get out of our heads and not feel so alone in our struggles. “

Not to mention that talking about your anxieties – yes, even the “weirdest” ones – allows people to respond with both support and logic. “People can help us give ourselves perspective by helping us see and discover things that we might not have been able to do on our own,” says Fong. Research confirms it: a review in the journal Psychiatry have found that social support helps reduce anxiety by flooding our system with oxytocin, the warm, fuzzy love hormone.

The plan: This week, contact your loved ones or make an appointment with a therapist trained to treat anxiety. For ideas on how to talk about your anxiety with others, the National Alliance for Mental Health offers a few ways to approach the conversation, such as sharing real-life examples of how anxiety affects you (such as l insomnia or an inability to concentrate) and suggest ways people can support you (whether that’s just lending an ear or sharing great resources for professional support).

The best advice: There are many ways to deal with your anxiety, so don’t be afraid to seek help or turn to a therapist for resources. Some people find relief with the help of medicines, such as Celexa (citalopram) or Lexapro (escitalopram). Others turn to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can teach you effective skills to manage anxiety. Some people turn to expressive journaling, which research shows can also help curb anxious thinking. Ask for help. You got this.

Dream big and go for it: sweat 30 minutes a day

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Week Four: Boost Your Cardio

Science: Doing regular cardio exercise, whether it’s running, cycling or kickboxing, can go a long way for your health. Example: It can reduce stress and your risk of stroke, improve your memory, fight brain dysfunction, fight osteoporosis, and help manage joint discomfort. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense cardiac exercise spread over most days of the week for this reason. Having said that, can you guess what our goal will be for this week?

Monday “Hand movement”: Remember our main rule of thumb: whatever workout you choose, do your best to make it fun. This is especially important this week, as cardio can be a sore point for some as it is more strenuous than, say, yoga or Pilates. Keep in mind that you can totally divide your cardio exercises into five, 10, and 15 minute increments. As long as you are sweating, you are fine.

The plan: Here’s how you can do at least 10 minutes of cardio a day this week during your 30-minute sweat sessions – and love it!

  • On Monday: A five-minute jog in the morning; 25-minute evening dance workout.

  • Tuesday: Watch a kickboxing or Zumba video for twenty minutes after a 10-minute warm-up of walking or stretching.

  • Wednesday: Get on the bike, whether it’s outside or at home. If you don’t have access to a bike, rather quickly go up a hill a few times.

  • Thusday: Play a game like volleyball, pickleball, or tennis with a friend for half an hour.

  • Friday: Embark on a roller skating excursion or another bike ride. No wheels? Jump rope or do a kickboxing training video instead.

  • Saturday + Sunday: You’ve worked hard this week. Spend five minutes doing something easy like jogging in place or jumping on a mini trampoline. And walk outside for the rest of your 30 minutes.

The best advice: Use online workout videos to your advantage. There is a huge variety to choose from with so many different classes, difficulty levels, and instructor options that you are sure to find at least one that piques your interest. Watching a video is an easy, foolproof way to get your 30 minutes of exercise, without having to go out or hit the gym if you don’t have the bandwidth.

Dream big: cultivate an herb garden on the windowsill

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Week 4: Connect with others while waiting for your bounty

Science: No need to make it a solo business! Talking about your weed plan with others could have major health benefits as well. For example, a study in Current Diabetes Reports suggests that high levels of social support are associated with better health outcomes in people with chronic illnesses, including faster recovery from stressors.

Monday “Hand movement”: Because your seeds will take a while to germinate, and even starter plants will need a few weeks to “settle in” before you start harvesting, it’s a good week to connect with other gardeners. Join online groups of herb lovers – for example, garden.org, helpfulgardener.com, and gardenforums.com have active online forums – or consider taking a virtual or in-person class with others who share your new interest.

The plan: Monitor your plants’ growth daily and check the soil every few days. If the top inch is dry, water gently at the base of the plant, rather than the leaves, and water only until the soil is hydrated but not oversaturated.

While your plants are growing, consider expanding your gardening circle. You can either get started in online communities or start an “herb club” with friends where you all plant different options, then do a fresh herb swap once a month. This way you spend social time and have a much wider range of herbs for your culinary needs.

The best advice: If you see yellowing on established plants, you may need to keep them away from direct sunlight or be careful with watering as this could be a sign of giving the plant too much light or water.

– Lisa Marie Basile, Kaleigh Fasanella, Elizabeth Millard



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