Thoughts on 31 day mental wellness challenges, Friday kudos, wine for your weekend

I recently set out to complete a 31 days mental wellness challenge. More accurately, I recently tried twice to start a 31 day mental wellness challenge, but on both attempts, I stopped woefully short of making it through the entire month. This was not a product of losing interest in mental wellness, but rather that each of the challenges included a variety of activities that just weren’t practical or didn’t fit into my life and routine as nicely as I needed them too. You might be thinking that this is why it’s called a challenge; it’s about breaking out of what’s become normal and routine and pushing to do new things that bring self-awareness and “wellness.” I don’t disagree, and I often made time to do things that I otherwise might have skipped. There reached a point in both challenges though when I just wasn’t into the challenge for the day. And when I reached that point, both times I decided that my mental wellness was better served by not doing a mental wellness challenge.

That’s not to say that nothing I did was worthwhile. Each had its upside. But whoever writes these challenges and posts them to instagram and pinterest…is likely spending most of the their days writing challenges and posting them to instagram and pinterest! Here’s what worked, and where each broke down over the last 5 weeks.

Challenge #1 

mental wellness challenge #mom #selfcare #selflove

At first glance, this was going to be perfect challenge. It was listed as a mental wellness journaling challenge, and I can always make time for a little journaling in my day. I was expecting 31 days of prompts, and did really well days 1-4. Day 5 was a meditation, so no problem; I’ll just meditate instead of journal. More journaling on days 6 and 7, and then on day 8 when I had to figure out how I was making life harder on myself, I realized that sometimes I was kicking myself for not writing journal entries in response to the prompts that felt very deep or inspired. On my pamper yourself day 9, I pampered myself by watching a movie with my husband instead of journaling, which actually did wonders for my mental wellness.

On and on this went, and I probably would have seen it through had it not been for two things: first, things started to get redundant, and two, things started to not actually help my mental wellness at all. For example, I have a kind of love/hate relationship with yoga, so I wasn’t thrilled about day 16; and day 18 required research that I just didn’t need to do. I quit after that because I looked ahead and saw that day 19 was a no brainer and day 20 wouldn’t really apply. Also day 21 suggested I use glitter pens in my journal, and I’m really the kind of OCD person that has used the same type of pen to journal for the last three years. 18 days of wellness…and I’m out!

Challenge #2

img_5248Maybe I was burned out from challenge #1 (which would be ironic seeing as mental wellness shouldn’t really burn you out!), but I chose a 30 day challenge for my second attempt, but lasted even fewer days on my second challenge than my first. This one started to breakdown on day 3 when I realized that I couldn’t leave the building to have lunch with someone, but I actually have lunch with my colleagues everyday, whom I admire, so I was doing it by default. How many of these things was I going to end up doing by default. Turns our day 4 was by default too. I habitually clean out my social media follows and friends. Two days in a row without needing to really be mindful about what I was doing…and…I’m out!

In grand total, that’s about 22.5 days of mental wellness completion. And naturally, it’s left me feeling pretty confident that I can write my own wellness challenge, put it on social media, and lead others to healthier mental awareness. The ink. mental wellness challenge does not take 31 days. It takes seven. After a week, if you want to continue, you can start back at the beginning. If not you can feel fulfilled in having complete one week. My seven-day challenge comes with a few rules:

  1. You are encouraged to do all seven of these things as many days as possible during the week, but at least once during the seven-day period.
  2. Assigned days are merely a suggestion. If there’s a day that works better for one over the other in your schedule, feel free to flex the days around.
  3. If at any point an activity seems burdensome, ignore it. Burdening yourself is not an asset to mental wellness.


Friday Kudos…

To Justin and Steph go all the kudos because it’s their wedding weekend! We’ll soon be on our way to witness the main event, so congrats and kudos in advance. It’s going to be a great day!

Wine for your weekend

Image result for callia bellaIt’s Valentine’s weekend, which is when a vast majority of people will likely celebrate because Thursday night was a weird time to think about going out for a long, romantic, dinner. What Thursday night was good for was a quiet night at home and a good glass of wine, an atmosphere you can quickly recreate just about any day this weekend (including Sunday if you have President’s Day off!) My vote for your Valentine’s Day bottle of choice? Callia Bella – Syrah/Malbec blend! There’s something really unique about the flavor of this wine. It’s sweet on the front, but almost dry on the finish, and pairs well with really spicy or savory dishes, or a creamy piece of chocolate. I struggled to put my finger on where this wine fit in the spectrum of red wines. Everyone at our table loved it. Those who only liked sweet wines found enough sweetness in it to enjoy. Those who liked dryer wines did not find it too sweet. I’m a lover of Zinfandel, which is generally described as “jammy.” And I would have called this wine “jammy,” though Zinfandel was not part of the blend. We drank it with curry, and it was delicious! It seems like it would be great with pizza as well. We also drank it room temperature, and I have a hunch it’d be great slightly chilled. All and all, it’s a super versatile wine that likely to please a crowd or just two people snuggled up on the couch. Callia Bella is the perfect fit for whatever your Valentine’s weekend plans entail!



Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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