Last year, we kicked off an Excy Resilience Challenge with a focus on adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can explore the 30-Day Resilience Challenge Excy videos here or read the article “30 Dares to Find and Build Your Resilience During Tough COVID Times” in Thrive Global.
As a follow on, this year we are kicking off a new Excy Rejuvenation Challenge for the month of October. Rejuvenation is defined as the action or process of giving new energy or vigor to something. The word “Rejuvenation” keeps popping into my mind as a pathway to finish 2021 and enter 2022 with a bold new energy for life.
I am inviting you to take the Rejuvenation journey with us. –Michele Mehl, Excy co-founder.
Why Rejuvenation for the Fall Season? Shedding Leaves is the Perfect Metaphor for Letting Go!
I went on an amazing sunrise hike over the weekend and enjoyed the beauty and splendor of the fall colors. It really got me thinking about Mother Nature’s process of shedding leaves on deciduous trees and how it’s the perfect metaphor for letting go.
The act of watching a sunrise over those beautiful fall colors automatically takes you into a meditative and peaceful state of rejuvenation, which inspired this challenge.
A New Bold Energy During Messy Pandemic Times
With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating much of our lives, many of us might be “carrying leaves” with the colors of burnout, fear, and stress. I know I am.
The last almost two years have worn many of us out. Almost to the point of feeling like we are constantly treading water. The Excy Rejuvenation Challenge will focus on trying to create a new energy for the mind and body to help us swim to shore. Like a tree that sheds all its leaves for self-protection at the end of a growing season, let’s use this fall for the ultimate transformation.
Ernest Hemingway said it best:
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.”
Rejuvenation: 10 Dares to Unleash Bold New Energy (the last two are a surprise)
Below are 10 themes with specific dares and tips designed to be spread out over one month. The goal is to keep it as simple as possible.
Throughout the month, enjoy pedaling Excy as a recumbent bike, upper body ergometer, and in the supine lying down exercise bike position or another fun workout position of your choice. Make sure to download the Excy app for coaching and to keep you motivated!
1) Let Sleep Heal Your Body
Dare #1: Create an evening and morning sleep routine.
Sleep feels like the best place to start this rejuvenation challenge. It’s one of the most important keys to health and is essential for muscle repair, memory consolidation, and for regulating hormones responsible for growth and appetite. So, for the next 30 days make it the centerpiece of rejuvenating your body and brain for optimal function.
Sleep Tip: I set my iPhone to have a bedtime of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. I get an alert at 9:15 to start winding down. Recently, I added an evening caffeine-free tea during this wind down period, a time that I also take a THC-free CBD Sleep tincture and magnesium from Gennev.
Sometimes I take melatonin at this time as well. My morning routine is to drink one glass of water, eat a handful of nuts, and then drink two cups of coffee followed by breakfast. I also do not drink alcohol during the week because my preference for wine consistently wakes me up in the middle of the night.
2) Nourish Your Body with Good Food
Dare #2: Eat two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables today.
Food has the power to help us rejuvenate ourselves from the inside-out. Just about everyone, no matter their health status, can benefit from shifting food and beverage choices to better support healthy dietary patterns. Ultimately, this shift is critical to help achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Know that you are not alone in struggles with eating the right foods. Almost 90 percent of the U.S. population does not meet the recommendation for vegetables. About 80 percent of the U.S. population does not meet fruit recommendations. Most Americans meet recommendations for total grain intakes, although 98 percent fall below recommendations for whole grains and 74 percent exceed limits for refined grains.
Nutrition Tip: Make a long-term commitment to healthy eating, but take it one day at a time. Hit the reset button on healthy eating habits as soon as possible after a misstep to get yourself moving in the right direction. Read the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for great information to create a healthy eating plan.
3) Use Exercise to Rejuvenate Your Cells
Dare #3: Identify a “why” behind your exercise intentions and commit to a weekly goal.
Research shows that on a cellular level, exercise can improve muscle health and, ultimately, exercise capacity, which is “the best predictor of mortality in the general population.” Exercise is medicine to rejuvenate cells and extend lifespan, making it a critical theme for the Rejuvenation Challenge and everything we do at Excy.
Exercise Tip: Fill in the blanks and circle commitments. Print it out and put it somewhere that you will see it every day.
4) Discover a Curious Mindset — Listen. Learn. Grow.
Dare #4: Discover your curiosity type using Britannica’s Curiosity Compass (it’s free). Do something today to feed that curiosity type.
We are including getting a curious mindset in our Rejuvenation Challenge because curiosity has been linked with psychological, emotional, social, and even health benefits. The power of being open-minded, the ability to step into the unknown, and desire to acquire knowledge is at the core of human nature.
Our brains reward us for being curious and then pursuing that curiosity. When we explore and satisfy our curiosity, our brain floods our body with dopamine, which makes us feel happier.
Curious Mindset Tip: Be curious and stay curious a little longer than you are comfortable with. The unknown path is the path to growth. Something small, yet impactful that I have done during the pandemic to get a curious mindset is to start listening to thought provoking podcasts and books during my daily walk. However, my walks are short, so I rarely finished a podcast. Instead of finishing it the next day, I simply started listening to all podcasts and books at 2X the normal speed. It takes time to get used to it, but once you do, it’s a game changer for consuming knowledge.
5) Help the Helpers
Dare #5: Find someone doing something that is important to you that helps others and support their cause in an authentic way.
Volunteering your time, money, skill set or energy to help others doesn’t just make the world better—it also makes you better. Putting other people’s needs before our own can reduce stress and improve mood, self-esteem, and happiness. In addition, those who volunteer to help others consistently tend to live longer than those who don’t. They also report lower blood pressure, less depression, lower stress and greater happiness while doing it. Helping the helpers is the perfect way to help rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
Help the Helpers Tip: For me, I equated getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to help the helpers. Specifically, to help medical professionals have one less potential patient to serve and leave a bed open for others. I did get a breakthrough case, so was grateful for the decision.
I also volunteer for causes that are important to me with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. There are so many wonderful people and organizations doing inspiring things in this world with gaps to accomplish their goals. Standing in that gap in order to bridge the gaps can be incredibly rewarding.
6) Identify and Eliminate Controllable Stress Factors
Dare #6: Take a 24-hour break from the news, social media or even certain friends that cause you stress.
Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems. With the American Psychological Association warning us that physical health is declining due to an inability to cope in healthy ways with the stresses of the pandemic, we have to find a way to put out the stress fires. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Stress Tip: APA offers the following evidence-based advice to help people manage their stress:
Dare #7: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon throughout the day.
Water is essential for keeping the body functioning properly and feeling healthy. Every cell, tissue and organ in our body needs water to work properly. Drinking enough water is critical to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood to help you feel rejuvenated.
Hydration Tip: For adults, the general recommendation from The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is to drink about: 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women and 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men.
To make it easier, fill one one container with the appropriate amount and carry it with you throughout the day. If you don’t like water, try adding fruit like lemons, limes and oranges. Other delicious options could be cucumber, watermelon, strawberries and herbs.
8) Spread Positivity
Dare #8: Find a good uplifting story and share it with at least three people via a text message with a personal note explaining why you thought of them.
Lately, our days seem to fill up with streams of negative news that cause excessive worry. But we have to find ways to discover and share an optimistic outlook on life. Three studies in peer reviewed journals found that positive thinking is good for the immune system, reduces anxiety, and increases positive emotions such as happiness. We could all use more of that these days to rejuvenate our health, so start spreading positivity everywhere.
Positivity Tip: Next time you find yourself sharing a negative or uninspiring story on social media, just don’t do it. Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. So before you share, step back and process the stream of unspoken thoughts and emotions running through your head. If it generates any form of negative thoughts, don’t send it.
If we start thinking more positively, we’ll start feeling and acting more positive, and ultimately spreading positivity.
9) Watch a Sunset
Dare #9: Make time to enjoy a sunset and watch it in awe as it unfolds. Drive to your favorite spot, enjoy the beauty of the colors and fresh air and as the sunsets let your worries fade away in that one moment.
Similar to the fall leaves being the perfect metaphor for letting go, so is a wonderful sunset as it indicates the completion of a cycle and as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“Every sunset brings the promise of a new day”
Sometimes when my husband is traveling and my teenage son is away with his friends, I will order sushi for takeout and head to my local favorite spot to eat while enjoying the sunset. It’s such an awesome experience.
10) Watch a Sunrise
Dare #10: Watch the sunrise and connect with and enjoy its powerful energy.
The idea for this Rejuvenation Dare started with a sunrise hike, so on the final day, lets start with another sunrise as a representation of stepping out of darkness and into a new beginning. 2022 is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to start thinking about fresh starts after almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunrise Tip: Watch with friends or a loved one if you need motivation. I had to get up at 3:00 a.m. and drive three hours to pull off the sunrise hike that kicked off this idea. It was only possible because I did it with friends! Otherwise I would have stayed in the comfort of my bed.
Rejuvenating Your Health for Your Greatest Wealth
Our physical, mental and spiritual health are the biggest investments we’ll ever make. The Our physical, mental and spiritual health are the biggest investments we’ll ever make. The challenge is that it’s not a one time purchase. Sometimes it’s not as fun or as instantly gratifying as buying something on Amazon and having it delivered the same day. It’s an everyday investment. As you catch the last days of the fall colors, hopefully these dares and tips will give us a few ideas to rejuvenate ourselves with a bold new energy as we wrap up 2021 and enter 2022.