For many of us, this season brings vacations or staycations, more flexible schedules and chances to just kick back. Are you ready for all that relaxation? Our 30-Day Chill Out Challenge will help you shrink your worries and strengthen your optimism. Give it a try.
Day 1: Set a two-minute alarm on your phone, or use a kitchen timer. For those two minutes, close your eyes and take deep breaths. Fill up your abdomen with the breaths first, and then your lungs. Try not to think about other stuff…just concentrate on your breathing.
Day 2: Treat yourself to some ice cream! Or sorbet, if you’re lactose-intolerant.
Day 3: An hour before you usually go to bed, turn off your computer and TV, and put down your phone.
Day 4: Take a short walk—around the block is fine.
Day 5: People who laugh are more chill! Watch a funny show or a few funny videos online.
Day 6: Get fresh flowers for your table, desk, bedside or even beside your bathroom sink—wherever you think they’ll cheer you up most. You can cut them from outside or buy them in a store. Or steal them from your neighbors’ garden! Just kidding, don’t do that.
Day 7: Enjoy a glass of iced herbal tea.
Day 8: Take a 20-minute nap. (If you’re at work, be discreet.)
Day 9: Text someone you haven’t talked to for a while—your brother or sister, a friend, whoever—just to say hi and tell them you hope they’re having a good day.
Day 10: Write down 10 things you really like about yourself.
Day 11: Set that alarm again, this time for three minutes. Close your eyes and use the time to imagine yourself in your “happy place”—a beach, the woods, a house you used to visit or wherever you like. Hey, it sounds cheesy, but it works!
Day 12: Compliment someone.
Day 13: Try to go the whole day without hearing or reading any news—not even the headlines. You may need to stay off of social media for the day to accomplish this.
Day 14: Treat yourself to shower gel or a bath bomb in a soothing scent, and take a long bath or shower.
Day 15: Write down 15 things you’re grateful for today.
Day 16: Drink a big glass of ice-cold water. (We feel better when we’re hydrated!)
Day 17: Spend a minimum of 20 minutes reading a book.
Day 18: Listen to one song that always makes you feel happy. Dancing is optional.
Day 19: Take a walk in a park. If it’s raining, take an umbrella.
Day 20: Spend 15 minutes looking at cute animal videos online. No less than 15! The Chill Out Challenge is serious business!
Day 21: Hug somebody.
Day 22: Take off your shoes and rotate your feet in circles—10 one way, 10 the other. Then give yourself a foot rub. You can use lotion, but it’s just an option.
Day 23: Buy two pieces of chocolate (or your favorite candy or other treat). Eat one now. Tuck away the other one for later.
Day 24: Spend just 15 minutes tidying up your home. Ah, that’s better.
Day 25: Lie on the couch and watch a movie. No multitasking! (Yes, this challenge does take discipline at times, but the results are worth it.)
Day 26: Take a nap for half an hour—or longer. You can do this!
Day 27: Eat a piece of fresh fruit.
Day 28: Spend five minutes doing some gentle stretching. If you don’t know how, look up “easy yoga stretches” online and try what appeals to you.
Day 29: Play some kind of game—board, computer, video, mobile, whatever—alone or with a friend.
Day 30: Spend a whole day not worrying about one single thing!
At the end of the 30-Day Chill Out Challenge, don’t be surprised if you become the serene, breezy, take-it-easy kind of person you always knew you could be. Hopefully, you’ll discover a few new favorite ways to relax and keep your cool! If you have any other suggestions, please let us know!
Stacey Donovan has been a writer and editor at Hallmark for more than 20 years. She also writes romance novels (under a pseudonym) and has collected a wealth of obscure knowledge in the process.