Sunday Coffee – Summer Break Challenge

IMG_0492The last year has been incredibly stressful. My family moved across the country to an area where we had no support, and we’re planning on moving across the country again in about a month. There have been a lot of issues in our family that are personal to the people involved, and that has been another constant source of stress. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with personal physical and mental health issues, as well as beginning the transition from stay-at-home-mom to employed-for-money (after a decade of being home with my boys). Needless to say, this has all been very rough.

Another thing I’ve learned this year: I am not terribly good at self-care. This surprises me, as I’m pretty good at giving myself time off and doing things I love and being fairly selfish from time to time. But at the same, there’s a lesson I can’t seem to learn. You know how medicines say to keep taking them even after you feel better? (Especially antidepressants?) Well, I’m really good at continuing to take my medicine. But I’m not good at doing those other things I should be doing to stay healthy (yoga, eating nutritious food, exercise) on days when I’m feeling good. Which leads to days of feeling awful. And I’m tired of this, so I came up with a personal summer vacation challenge.

A little background on a few things first.

Weight: Some of you know about my weight loss journey already, but here’s a super-brief background. For 11 years, I was very sick, and that gave me a bunch of symptoms treated with a bunch of medicines that caused a crap-ton of metabolism issues. That led to huge sudden gains and drops in weight, and over 11 years, I net-gained 130 lbs (about 15-20 of which I needed to gain as I was way too thin in the beginning). After I was no longer sick, I lost 105 lbs and maintained that for about 18 months. Until a year ago, when many factors caused my health to nosedive.

PTSD: I’ve been diagnosed with many mental illnesses over the years, none of which made any sense with my family history, none of which reacted properly to medication, and all of which changed whenever my physical illness changed. I never had a lot of faith in counselors because of this, but I began seeing one this year who 1) I adore and 2) realized that all these symptoms were related to a longstanding complex PTSD. For once, I had a diagnosis that explained why I had the problems I had, not just a label for the problems.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, my challenge. I’ve set this up as a 100-day challenge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day (106 days total, but that gives me six “off” days), my goal is to accomplish five simple basics tasks on a daily basis. These are:

  1. Exercise for at least 10 minutes. This can be heavy or light or even just stretching.
  2. Eat in moderation.
  3. Work in some way toward my career.
  4. Choose and complete one random task from a pre-made list of 100.
  5. Take one positive action toward myself and one toward others.

Again, I get six days off during the challenge, to be exempted. For the other 100 days, I get a point for each of the five tasks I complete, for up to a total of 500 points by the end of the challenge. I’m still deciding on a prize – perhaps $1/point to be awarded at the end? I’m not sure. In any case, my reasons/goals for this challenge are several:

  1. I’ve regained 20-25 lbs over the last year due to many factors, and I would like to get my health and fitness back under control. I don’t have a particular loss-goal in mind, but I would like to start on a downward trend again.
  2. Eating well not only helps my weight, but it helps me to stay mentally balanced. I’ve noticed that every time I eat junk food, I end up having a really depressed/anxious day right afterwards. The better I eat, the better I feel.
  3. I want to take care of myself in all ways – positive self-talk, taking time for myself even when I’m feeling good, taking care of my body, trying to heal from old traumas, trying to manage stress, etc.

The challenge begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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7 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Summer Break Challenge

  1. M Denise C says:

    Good luck, Amanda. I so admire you! Always inspiring 🙂


  2. Trisha says:

    I think this is a great project! I just started reading The Happiness Project as a way to help motivate me. I’ve been really unbalanced for over a year now and feeling rather unhappy because of it. I may have to copy you on this as a way to narrow down my goals and make them a daily action item.


    • Amanda says:

      I read about half of that book but never got through it all. I think it was just the wrong time for me. But it did certainly motivate me with regards to trying to be a happier, healthier, more balanced person!


  3. Shaina says:

    This sounds like a fantastic, thoughtful challenge. I’m sorry that the Boston move seems to have thrown so many things out of whack for you. 😦

    I like that your aim is to take baby steps every day, rather than stressing yourself out with giant end-goals. I’ll bee cheering for you!


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